Kisi access control and security review

See why customers choose Openpath over Kisi to provide future-proof access control, intercoms, and building security.

Openpath 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 Openpath and Kisi access control
Kisi
Openpath
Unlock reliability

Openpath simultaneously uses three connections for reliable unlock at all times

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Infinite scalability

Kisi can only support a limited number of doors, making it harder to scale

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Entry type support

Unlike Openpath, Kisi can only secure doors and is best for smaller offices

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Video capabilities

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

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All-in-one solution

Kisi requires installation to separate devices to get an all-in-one functionality

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Openpath’s reliable video access control
  • Multi-tech readers support mobile, key cards, fobs, and more

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

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 WiFi signal, you may run into trouble. Kisi’s access control reader uses WiFi signals to communicate with credentials, followed by BLE and NFC if the WiFi fails. But being locked out of your own office in the rain while your access control system tries to find a working signal is both hugely frustrating, and a security risk. Openpath readers provide a fast, consistent unlock experience with patented Triple Unlock technology, using WiFi, 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 Openpath readers 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 Openpath support mobile credentials on iOS and Android devices. When using Openpath 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. Having a hands-free option makes accessing the property more convenient for users, as well as enhances the safety of the entire property. Kisi’s MotionSense and Openpath’s Wave to Unlock both offer a touchless entry solution, and can be paired with automatic door openers for a contactless experience. Openpath’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. Openpath readers support the most secure 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, using a door reader with a built-in camera is the smarter option. With the camera mounted at eye level, you have a clear view of access events exactly where they are happening. Openpath’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 Openpath 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 does not have any native intercom functionality. You would need to install a separate intercom system, and connect with Kisi’s access control product and software. In contrast, Openpath’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. 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 Openpath’s Guest Pass feature, allowing users to create and send temporary links via email. However, Kisi’s visitor passes can only be assigned to an existing team or group, and gives visitors the same access levels as that group. Openpath gives users more control over visitor access to maintain high levels of security throughout any space.

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 a simple to install and configure 4-door controller. This device is a well-designed and solid controller that gets the job done, much like Openpath’s similar 4-door controller. For most small businesses or offices, somewhere between four and eight entries is typical, to accommodate main entrances, storage, and server rooms. 

If you need 20 or 30 doors supported, however, you are going to be mounting 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. Enterprise businesses will need a system with greater flexibility to accommodate multiple floors, and secure additional buildings such as parking structures. Openpath’s highly configurable suite of enterprise-ready door controllers support from 2-16 doors, or up to 48 elevators floors. The Openpath Core Series Controller alone can support up to 16 doors on a single network uplink, allowing you to expand and scale your system more efficiently. 

If you only need one or two doors to be secured, a 4-door controller would be unnecessarily expensive. In this case, a Single Door Controller, like the one offered by Openpath, would be a better and less expensive option. Openpath offers a variety of door controller options that allow you to support the smallest to the largest door densities without sacrificing wall space, labor cost, wiring fees or upfront capital. 

Access reader design

Kisi only offers one access control reader option. While minimal in design, this reader may not work for all types of spaces, and is limited in functionality. Openpath offers a more complete line of readers, with options including built-in video, smart AI intercom capabilities, and embeddable designs for “invisible” access control. Openpath readers are also award-winning for their design, which beautifully combine form and function.

Interoperability with elevator, turnstile and parking systems

Because Kisi’s access control is designed primarily for small offices and co-working spaces, options for integrating with larger commercial building security systems are limited. For businesses operating on multiple floors or across multiple locations, an enterprise-level access control system offers more interoperability. If you have a requirement for your mobile credential to control your elevators, turnstiles and parking garages, Openpath provides a more comprehensive and proven solution, with touchless capabilities for all of them. 

  • Openpath leverages industry-leading middleware technology to integrate with all the leading elevator technology control systems including Otis, Schindler, Kone, Mitsubishi & ThyssenKrupp. Plus, Openpath’s open architecture makes integrating with existing platforms a seamless experience.

  • The Openpath 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 Openpath to SKIDATA systems for seamless integration with the leading parking management software.

  • Openpath 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

Openpath offers additional capabilities and features that make it a better access control manufacturer choice for many organizations. Openpath is a more complete access control system, with a range of controllers and readers that support native video, intercom, and mobile capabilities. Plus, with patented Triple Unlock that races Wi-Fi, cellular data, and Bluetooth signals, unlocking the door is always fast and reliable—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 Openpath access control is the scalable system components. Openpath can support any number of doors, and easily scales up or back with your business. The Openpath 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, Openpath is a smart option for businesses that want to future-proof their access control security operations.