Vanderbilt Industries offers a full line of access control systems to cover facilities of all sizes, with a strong integration of video and alarm features.
Choice of product lines
Online video educational offerings
Event notifications via email
Support is required to go through the installer
Lowest tier limited to smaller installs only
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Vanderbilt Industries goes back to 2012, when Ingersoll Rand separated from Schlage Electronic Security to become an independent company. It quickly started to garner awards, including in 2013 the Access Control Top Panel Award winner. Things grew fast as well, and in 2015, Vanderbilt Industries acquired Siemens’ Security Products. It is based in the US in Parsippany, New Jersey with the global headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. It is a worldwide company doing business in everywhere from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
Vanderbilt Industries access control offerings are based around different product lines. At the entry level is the Lite Blue, which is web-based for ease of administration. It is best for a smaller location as it supports just two readers, and 1 to 8 entry points, although up to a healthy 5000 cardholders. It also is capable of firmware upgrades, and video integration. Lite Blue runs on the Linux OS via a 400 MHz ARM processor, and connects via 10/100 internet. The good news is that it has the same intuitive software of the next product line up, and as needs change, can be upgraded to support more readers and doors to the next higher offering.
Moving a rung up, the Vanderbilt Industries product ladder brings us to its Bright Blue offering. This product is targeted to small to medium sized businesses. This is also a web-based access control solution, which means there is no local server requirement, with the additional benefit that it can be controlled over the web from anywhere. This more robust system supports a total of up to 32 doors, and 5000 users. Administration is handled with three tiers of access: User, Operator, and Administrator. Bright Blue interfaces with the Schlage AD and NDE Series locks. Advanced features include holiday and event scheduling, manual overrides to temporarily unlock doors, and standardized reports.
Moving up the tiers, and well suited for a larger deployment is the SMS, Security Management System designed for an enterprise deployment. It can support an unlimited number of portals, and also cardholders for total flexibility. The list of features is expansive, with the goal of total integration of access control with overall security and video for a single solution. Advanced features include the ability to design and print badges, including temporary visitor badges through a full-featured Guest Pass system. For an example of integration, SMS offers video retrieval that can be done in response to access control events. It can also schedule calendar events, and offers support for holidays and timezones. Finally, there is portrait monitoring.
This access control system offers a variety of support methods, although the options vary if you are an end user, or installer.
For the end users, they are directed to deal with their installer directly, as they are “Trained and fully supported by Vanderbilt.” There are also videos posted for on demand education.
Installers have additional options available for both technical support, and RMA requests. These include a toll free number, a direct email, and live chat support. There is also an online portal on the site, although it does not specifically indicate if it is for customers or installers, although we are inferring it is for the latter only. Another limitation is that the hours of support are limited to 8 am to 5 pm in the local time, and the days are not specified.
We are divided on this. For some folks, it certainly will make considerably more sense to deal directly with an installer, as these are the people that put the system in, and therefore are in the best position to understand any issues, and be dispatched as needed. However, in cases where the installation may be the source of the problem, or the installer for whatever reason is less than responsive, there should be more of a direct route to Vanderbilt Industries to escalate the issue.
There is also a social media presence, with Vanderbilt Industries having accounts with Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. We reviewed those pages, and did not find any specific customer issues, although there was little interaction. For example, most YouTube videos have under 1K views, with no user comments.
Vanderbilt Industries does not provide pricing for its products on its website. Rather, by going through the ‘Contact Us’ portion of the website, it takes us to an online portal that we can designate for a sales inquiry. Here, providing a first and last name, along with an email and company name initiates a contact. We appreciate that the form of contact can be designated for email or phone, and there is no requirement that a phone number be supplied (unless that is your preferred mode of contact).
There is also a direct email, and a phone number (although not toll free) for those that want to skip the online portal and just want to proceed more directly.
There is also a link to find vendors that deal with Vanderbilt Industries products for those that prefer a more local contact.
Vanderbilt Industries has a variety of access control tiers to provide for access control needs of different types of facilities both large and small. The pros include robust video integration, email notification of event triggers, and web-based servers that foster administrator control from anywhere. The cons include a limited entry tier that only covers eight doors, end user support that goes through the installer only, and very opaque pricing.
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Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.
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