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Avigilon Alta vs. Kisi access control

Kisi is an access control provider with software and hardware solutions, including a reader, controller, cloud-based management platform and a mobile app. Kisi access control employs mobile credentials via a smartphone app, and the reader also supports keycards. Cloud-based access control systems and mobile credentials are great for commercial real estate, office buildings and multi-family residential applications, as they offer more flexibility and simpler management compared with legacy systems. 

Quick look: key differences between Avigilon Alta and Kisi access control 


Avigilon Alta


Triple Unlock technology

Avigilon Alta’s patented technology simultaneously uses three connections for reliable unlock at all times 

Full door reader range

Avigilon’s award-winning reader options include keypad, video and embeddable models 

Entry type support

Both Avigilon and Kisi can secure doors, elevators and turnstiles

Video capabilities

Avigilon has multi-tech readers with a camera for optimal visual verification 

Remote, cloud-based management
Both Avigilon Alta and Kisi offer cloud software for access control

The leading solution in access control

  • Multi-tech readers support mobile, PIN codes, key cards and fobs

  • Touchless and remote unlock backed by 99.9% reliability

  • Intuitive cloud software with real-time remote management

  • 5MP video and smart AI intercom with mobile monitoring

  • Open standards for frictionless integration across all systems

  • Scales to secure a single entry or entire enterprises with ease

  • Standard wiring and PoE options with easy snap-in installation

  • Automatic updates, offline sync and encryption at every level

Comprehensive Kisi access control and card reader review

There are many benefits to choosing a cloud-based access control platform over a legacy option. By eliminating the need for on-site maintenance, a cloud-based system like Kisi or Avigilon Alta allows businesses to get real-time updates to software. Additionally, both Avigilon Alta and Kisi support remote management, giving administrators the flexibility to unlock doors remotely, issue visitor credentials and receive system alerts from anywhere. Avigilon Alta has the added benefit of allowing you to troubleshoot hardware directly in the Control Center, without needing to be on site. 

Access control speed and reliability

When choosing a door access control system for your building, reliability is one of the most important factors of your system. You’re depending on your access control system as your first line of security, as well as to make your life easier. If your access control is only as reliable as the Wi-Fi signal, you may run into trouble. Kisi’s access control reader uses Wi-Fi signals to communicate with credentials, followed by BLE and NFC if the Wi-Fi fails. Avigilon readers provide a fast, consistent unlock experience with patented Triple Unlock technology, using Wi-Fi, cellular data and Bluetooth signals simultaneously. Whichever signal reaches the reader first triggers the unlock. For the best access control method, readers also need to be able to work, even when the Internet is down or if the power goes out, which is why Avigilon readers also feature built-in fail-safe security to withstand power and Internet outages.

Flexible, secure access methods

Access methods, or how users will be able to unlock the door, is also a factor in choosing an access control system. See which credentials types Kisi access control supports, and how they stack up in the industry:

Mobile credentials

Mobile credentials are the favored access method for most tenants and employees in today’s digital age, as users can unlock a door by using their smartphone. Both Kisi and Avigilon Alta support mobile credentials on iOS and Android devices. When using Avigilon Alta mobile credentials, the readers communicate with the smartphone once the device is in-range, and the users don’t need to have the app open or even take their phone out to gain entry.

Touchless access control

Having an access control system that supports a hands-free access method is an important consideration when choosing your system. Going hands-free makes accessing the property more convenient for users, as well as enhances the safety of the entire property. Kisi’s MotionSense and Avigilon Alta’s Wave to Unlock both offer a touchless entry solution and can be paired with automatic door openers for a contactless experience. Avigilon Alta’s touchless option is also configurable to different distances depending on the application, such as for a parking garage gate or a lobby front door. 

Key cards and fobs 

While Kisi readers do support some key card and fob credentials, many common legacy card types are not supported, and the high-frequency options are limited. At the time of this Kisi access control review, the Kisi Reader Pro can support 13.56 Mhz NFC cards or fobs, and a few models of HID® 125 kHz RFID cards and fobs. Avigilon readers support the most secure, encrypted DESfire EV3 credentials, as well as MIFARE, HID® Proximity and LenelProx® credentials. 

Video surveillance and access control

Many organizations want to add video surveillance to their access control systems. Providers like Kisi only offer video capabilities as an integration with third-party surveillance systems. While this is a great way to add security monitoring throughout a space, traditional business security cameras still have some limitations, and require additional hardware installation and maintenance. 

To have a more complete picture of security in your space, it’s recommended to invest in a door reader with a built-in camera. With the camera mounted at eye level, you have a clear view of access events exactly where they are happening. Avigilon’s Video Reader Pro and Video Intercom Reader Pro combine all the security features of the multi-technology Smart Readers with the power of real-time, high-definition video, all in one device. Plus, the Avigilon Alta system is ONVIF-compliant and integrates with the leading VMS providers right out of the box for a complete, clear picture of what’s happening in your entire space.

Intercoms and visitor access

At the time of this review, Kisi has announced a video intercom product, but it is not yet available. For intercom and access control functionality right now, you would need to install a separate intercom system, and connect with Kisi’s access control product and software.

Avigilon’s Video Intercom Reader Pro offers full doorbell and video intercom functionality in a single device. To protect privacy, the reader is voice-activated, with AI-powered call routing based on visitor’s responses and requests, with an optional QR code directory feature. Tenants can answer visitor calls, see who’s there and unlock the door right in the app, from anywhere and at any time. 

Kisi’s digital visitor passes are similar to Alta’s Guest Pass feature, allowing users to create and send temporary links via email. WIth time and door-based temporary access, both systems give users more control over visitor access to maintain high levels of security throughout any space. Avigilon Alta aso allows admins to generate and send PIN codes for Smart Keypad Readers to visitors.

Scalable access control hardware for small and large deployments

For the best access control overall, your system should be able to accommodate all the entries in your building or campus without adding extra costs. When doing an access control system comparison, check the number of entries and readers that are supported on controller hardware, and see how it measures up with your property. 

Controllers and door support

Kisi makes it simple to install and configure a 4‑door controller. The device is a well-designed and solid controller that gets the job done, much like Avigilon’s similar 4‑door controller. For most small businesses or offices, somewhere between 4 and 8 entries is typical to accommodate main entrances, storage and server rooms. Both Avigilon and Kisi hardware are designed to be modular for simplified scaling.

If you need 20 or 30 doors supported, however, you may have to mount between 5 and 8 different Kisi controllers on the wall in your IT closet to support the required door density of your building. A more cost-effective solution is using controllers that support more doors. The company also claims to provide larger controllers, but these are not listed on their website. 

Enterprise businesses will need a system with greater flexibility to accommodate multiple floors and secure additional buildings such as parking structures. Avigilon’s highly configurable suite of enterprise-ready door controllers support from 2 to 16 doors or up to 16 elevator floors. The Avigilon Core Series Controller alone can support up to 16 doors on a single network uplink, allowing you to expand and scale your system efficiently. 

Access reader design

Kisi only offers one access control reader option. With a small form factor and minimal design, the Kisi Reader Pro has many good security features, including tamper detection and offline functionality. However, this reader may not work for all types of spaces and is limited in functionality. Avigilon offers a more complete line of readers including the same security features, with options including built-in video, capacitive touch keypads, smart AI intercom capabilities and embeddable designs for invisible” access control or use in turnstiles and elevators.

Interoperability with elevator, turnstile and parking systems

Because Kisi’s access control is designed primarily for small offices and co-working spaces, it’s important to consider your options for integrating with larger commercial building security systems. For businesses operating on multiple floors or across multiple locations, an enterprise-level access control system is necessary for optimal interoperability.

If you have a requirement for your mobile credential to control your elevators, turnstiles and parking garages, Avigilon Alta provides a comprehensive and proven solution, with touchless capabilities for all of them.

  • Avigilon Alta leverages industry-leading middleware technology to integrate with all the leading elevator technology control systems, including Otis, Schindler, Kone, Mitsubishi and ThyssenKrupp. Plus, Avigilon Alta’s open architecture makes integrating with existing platforms a seamless experience.
  • The Avigilon Embedded USB Smart Reader has a small form factor for seamless installation in elevators, turnstiles and behind walls for architectural applications. It can also be used as an enrollment reader and for printer access control.
  • Connect Avigilon Alta to SKIDATA systems for seamless integration with the leading parking management software.
  • Avigilon readers are designed to work across a variety of spaces and entry types, and are IP65 rated for outdoor performance. 

The ultimate guide to access control

Learn everything you need to successfully future-proof your physical access control system with this buyer’s guide.

Alternatives to Kisi access control

Avigilon Alta offers additional capabilities and features that make it a great alternative access control solution for many organizations. While Kisi and Avigilon Alta are both complete access control systems, Avigilon Alta offers a wider range of controllers and readers that support native video, intercom, keypad and mobile capabilities. Plus, with patented Triple Unlock technology that races Wi-Fi, cellular data and Bluetooth signals, unlocking the door is always fast and reliable with Avigilon Alta. It works even when the Internet goes down or if cellular data is spotty. Having backup methods and fail-safes in place is vital to the security of your building, and keeps users and tenants happy.

Another benefit to Avigilon Alta access control is the scalable system. Avigilon Alta can support any number of doors and easily scales up or back with your business. The Alta system is also backward compatible with legacy security systems and credentials, giving businesses greater flexibility. With software packages and add-on features designed for every size and type of organization, Avigilon Alta is a smart option for businesses that want to future-proof their access control security operations.

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