Integrating security systems using XML and APIs

Tying together security and building systems using data exchange standards rather than hardware

Utilizing an XML application programming interface, this integration consists of a software-only add-on module -- Chamberlain's Versa XS -- that transforms a telephone entry system into a Web-programmable appliance. As noted above, users increasingly seek systems that offer compliance with industry standards, open interfaces, and network-friendly, IP-based solutions that leverage existing resources in a simple manner to their best advantage.

This add-on software module fits these many needs, retrieving account information from the access control management system and providing it directly to the Chamberlain Versa XS software -- all without any manual intervention or additional hardware investments. Once the add-on is installed, the security management system is regularly polled for up-to-date resident telephone numbers. Using the XML API, each resident's record is retrieved and the system extracts pertinent items such as the name to display on the panel outside of the unit along with their number and dial code, thus ensuring the facility is much easier to manage and significantly more secure.

The integration of the two systems' data eliminates the need for administrators to enter the same information twice, thereby reducing data entry errors, improving overall system performance, increasing security, and cutting labor costs.

The XML-API Integration Advantages
What are the services that a company can provide through XML-API integration? In broad terms, they can be described as:

  • Synchronizing user identity data with other applications and databases (as in the integration showcased above)
  • Controlling behavior of access control equipment and connected physical devices (remotely unlatching doors or gates, for example)
  • Receiving real-world event notifications detected through connected sensors (such as temperature gauges)
  • Forwarding of alarms, security violations, and business rule triggers

The enhanced capabilities offered through XML-API integration allow an access control solution to do much more than solve the physical security needs of a client installation. New applications can be created that are tailored right down to each specific customer requirement. Applications can be as simple and powerful as turning on the lobby lights after the first person has swiped in for the day, to assigning an access card to an employee immediately after the HR enrollment process (and cancelling it at anytime). The days of security systems operating in isolation are over, and I think the dawn of an XML-API integration era is now in full swing.