Openpath vs. Latch Access Control

See why enterprise customers prefer Openpath’s mobile access control for commercial building security.

Latch smart lock and access control review

Traditionally a residential and home door lock company, Latch recently announced they are introducing LatchOS for commercial office spaces. At the time of this review, the company’s products include a line of Latch Smart Lock options, a Latch Camera, and a Latch Intercom, with LatchOS cloud-based management software. In addition to the Latch door lock products, the company also offers Latch Visitor Express to assist with temporary access for guests, deliveries, and visitors. 

Quick look: key differences between Latch and Openpath

See what factors most differentiate these cloud-based providers in access control reviews. 

  • Complete access control: As a newcomer to the commercial space, LatchOS Commercial Office is not a complete access control system. Latch commercial locks and readers need to connect to an existing panel, or operate as standalone components, and Latch does not currently offer any ACU or controller products. Openpath offers complete access control for a wide range of commercial applications, with scalable access control to accommodate any office door density. 

  • All-in-one video access control: Latch readers and door locks only capture a still photo of access activity—they do not have video capabilities. Businesses have to install a separate Latch Camera to see video footage. Openpath’s Video Reader Pro features live video footage of all access activity, plus best-in-class access control features on a single device at the door. 

  • Integrations: At the time of this Latch smart lock review, LatchOS supports few third-party integrations, which are mostly focused on residential applications. Built on an open-architecture platform, Openpath supports an unlimited number of integrations with an extensive list of leading enterprise software, apps, and business tools.

  • Unlock reliability: In a Latch smart lock review, people commonly complain about the frustratingly slow and inconsistent unlock experience. Openpath’s patented Triple Unlock technology uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular data simultaneously for ultra-fast unlocks with 99.9% reliability, even in spotty cell service or during an Internet outage.  

  • Touchless unlock: Openpath’s Wave to Unlock feature is a completely touchless way to trigger an unlock, without needing to open the app. While both Latch and Openpath support flexible unlock methods including in-app unlock and encrypted key cards, the Latch commercial door lock does not have a comparable convenient and contactless unlock method.

Discover the power of the Openpath Video Reader Pro

Openpath's Video Reader Pro combines best-in-class access control with visual verification right at the door in one sleek, modern device.

Latch smart lock review

Latch offers a few different smart lock and door lock options. Their products were originally intended for multifamily and residential use, and are now being made available for commercial spaces with the addition of LatchOS Commercial Office. However, the LatchOS product line does not offer complete access control. Compared to other cloud-based providers, a Latch access control review reveals that the company does not offer controllers or hubs designed for office use. Latch smart lock and Latch door lock products are designed to be battery-operated, but do have the option for POE+ wiring. Before installing a Latch office smart lock system, ensure your building is POE+ compatible, or be prepared to monitor and change batteries on Latch smart locks and readers frequently.

While the cloud-based LatchOS management platform offers more flexibility than a traditional on-prem access control system, it may not be the best option for enterprise or multisite businesses. Organizations would need to connect Latch smart lock and Latch door lock products to an existing ACU or other controller hardware to get the best security for commercial spaces. It is recommended to choose a provider that offers a complete line of commercial-grade products to get the most durable hardware from a single company, rather than having to search for compatible devices.

Video-enabled access control for offices

Visual verification is the future of remote access control. A common complaint seen in a Latch access control review is that they do not offer an all-in-one product for video and access. With Latch access control, businesses need to install a Latch Camera alongside their Latch office Smart Lock in order to view video of access activity. While some Latch Door Lock and reader products have a built-in camera, they are only capable of capturing still photos. Having multiple devices installed at the door is not ideal, and is more expensive than having a single edge device that can handle both user access and video surveillance.

Alternatively, Openpath’s Video Reader Pro combines best-in-class access control functionality with video capabilities in a single device right at the door. A key advantage of this type of technology is that the reader is positioned so that you see people’s faces, rather than the tops of their heads. To get a similar experience with Latch, both the Latch access control reader and the camera would need to be mounted in the same place, which is not aesthetically pleasing, and more difficult to install.

Flexible access methods and Latch unlock reliability

Being able to choose your way in is a sign of a good access control system. Both LatchOS and Openpath support flexible unlocking methods including unlocking via a mobile app using Bluetooth or NFC, Apple Watch unlock, and key cards. Some readers from the Latch door lock lineup also can be unlocked using a PIN code, but the user experience is not as intuitive as some other keypad door locks, and it’s not touchless.

Touchless unlock is the preferred access method for mobile users, as it’s more convenient and safer than unlocks that require having a credential handy, or touching a shared reader. At the time of this Latch smart lock review, Latch supports voice-command unlock on some readers. Openpath’s Wave to Unlock feature is completely touchless; users don’t need to have their phone our or open the app to unlock the door, which is a more convenient, frictionless user experience.

A common complaint you may find in a Latch smart lock review is that the locks are slow to respond, or don’t unlock at all. There’s nothing worse than being locked out when you’re in a hurry, in the rain, or when you’re carrying coffee for the entire office. Latch smart locks use Bluetooth and NFC technology, are battery-powered, and require the user to have their Latch mobile app open in order to trigger an unlock. If you want a more reliable unlocking experience, look for a provider like Openpath that uses multiple signals simultaneously for a faster unlock.

Another feature to look for in a modern access control system is a secure, digital identity. Latch has added this to its product lineup by introducing LatchID, which is a single credential for all Latch products. However, LatchID functionality is currently limited. Adding visual verification to physical access control, a true digital badge like Openpath’s gives users additional flexibility. In addition to opening authorized entries across locations and sites, the Openpath digital badges feature identifying information such as title, department, photos, and specific user information to help on-site staff authenticate employees, contractors, vendors, and other personnel quickly and efficiently.

Go 100% touchless with Openpath's unique Wave-to-Unlock feature

Cloud-based access control with open architecture

Latch products are designed to work primarily with other Latch products. The LatchOS platform is cloud-based, which gives added flexibility over on-premise systems, such as over-the-air software updates. However, the current available integrations for LatchOS are mostly focused on residential applications, including personal thermostats and smart lighting. While some small offices may be able to use this, it’s not as helpful for multi-site and enterprise office deployments. Plus, the cloud-based platform is only as secure as the backend access control system installed—standalone Latch smart locks and readers would not make for an easy-to-manage system in a large building with more than a few doors.

The ability to integrate seamlessly with ANY device, software, or app is crucial to creating a holistic, full-building system that streamlines operations in the modern office. A commercial access control provider that runs on truly open standards, such as Openpath, allows greater flexibility to customize a security system that fits each organization’s unique needs. Choosing a complete cloud-based provider with open API and mobile SDKs also means less existing hardware to rip and replace, and a more future-proof security platform.

Enterprise visitor management for business

Visitor management is an essential tool for businesses, especially when it comes to security. Many commercial access control providers offer a feature for issuing visitor credentials, beyond lending out temporary key cards. With Latch Visitor Express, businesses using LatchOS Commercial Office can send visitor PIN code credentials to short-term guests such as contractors, maintenance staff, or guests. While this is great for supporting access for visitors, a PIN code is not the most secure (as it can be easily shared during the visit), and requires guests to touch a common reader. A unique QR code that can be scanned at readers is a more secure and convenient option for guest credentials.

Some businesses may want additional features, such as custom check-in flows, the ability to sign and record digital signatures, and scan IDs in the lobby. These functions will require integration with a third-party visitor management system on LatchOS and Latch smart locks, which will likely have to be managed independently of the LatchOS Commercial Office access control software.

A better option is to choose a provider with an open API architecture that lets you easily connect any enterprise-grade visitor management system or kiosk software. A visitor management integration with Openpath, for example, issues guests temporary credentials instantly upon check-in without having to interact with a single staff member, and all visitor activity is tracked throughout the building. 

Ultimate guide to visitor management systems

Learn the reasons and benefits of upgrading to cloud-based visitor management for business, and compare the top visitor management platform providers.

Customer support 

When comparing providers in a Latch access control review, it’s important to make sure you have access to support whenever you need it. Commercial access control is vital to the security and safety of your business. That’s why your access control provider should be easy to reach, and ready to help when you need it. Openpath is known for great customer service, fast response times, and providing additional training and learning opportunities to address specific use cases, along with 24/7 priority support for enterprises. For better in-person service, Openpath partners with certified access control installers, and works with leading technology companies to give customers best-of-breed solutions. Openpath customers also have access to an extensive online library of how-to and troubleshooting articles, FAQs, and free security guides.

Alternatives to Latch access control

If Latch smart locks are not the right fit for your commercial access control, consider a provider that still gives you the flexibility of a cloud-based system, designed for businesses and enterprise. Openpath offers a complete, end-to-end access control solution, with hardware designed to accommodate any door density. Openpath is also easy to install, using standard wiring to avoid hidden installation costs. Openpath access control hardware is hard-wired for improved reliability over a battery-operated system. Plus, Openpath’s cloud-based integration with Allegion Schlage® wireless smart locks gives businesses more options for interior door security, with all the convenience of one credential for every door, all managed in one interface.

For improved security monitoring, Openpath’s Video Reader Pro has a built-in camera to capture live video of all activity at the door. In conjunction with a cloud-based video surveillance system, businesses can get a clear picture of everything that’s happening in their space, without having to be there. Openpath’s access alerts with video ensure building admins can accurately assess the situation and react swiftly to any security incidents, giving you greater peace of mind that your assets stay safe.

If unlock reliability and flexible access methods are important to you, Openpath may be a better alternative to Latch access control. Openpath is backed by patented Triple Unlock technology, which uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular data signals simultaneously to provide the fastest unlocking experience with 99.9% reliability, even during an Internet outage or in spotty cell coverage. Openpath also gives users greater flexibility in how they unlock the door, with touchless Wave to Unlock, in-app mobile unlock, Apple Watch support, and ultra-secure DESFire EV2 128-bit AES cryptographic key cards and fobs. Openpath is also backwards compatible with many legacy access credentials, so you don’t have to reissue every key card when you update the system.

To learn more about Openpath and set up a free product demo, contact our team.

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