Hands On: Invixium Biometric Access Control Integrates with Control4 Home Automation
CEDIA Expo 2015: Invixium fingerprint scanners look sleek for residential market, take a beating, integrate beautifully with Control4 via SDDP home automation protocol.
Joe Whitaker · October 12, 2015
Invixium fingerprint scanners fit Control4 smart-home systems like a glove. For those who want industrial-grade access control, coupled with consumer-oriented home automation, Invixium with SDDP (Control4’s device discovery protocol) fits the bill.
The U.S. market will get its first look at Invixium/Control4 integration during CEDIA Expo 2015.
European dealers first discovered Invixium at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2015 in February. Legend has it that CEO Shiraz Kapadia was enjoying a leisurely stroll through ISE the year prior when he happened upon the Control4 stand. Someone there asked about the black box in his hand, took one look at it, and then whisked Kapadia off to a secret meeting place where he was told, “This is just what we’ve been looking for.”
Whatever the legend … this is exactly what I have been looking for.
Invixium fingerprint scanners were built to house all of the bells and whistles of the most sophisticated biometric scanners, while having the size and form factor typically found in consumer-grade access controls. In fact, the physical build of Invixium’s smallest model features a footprint similar to that of a Kwikset, Schlage, Yale or other smart lock.
Invixium has three models – Mycro, Sense, and Touch – each with its own feature set, design and price (specs below). I tried the crown jewel of the line, the IXM Touch, which starts at $1,499 "retail."
Based on the Android operating system and featuring a capacitive touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the Invixium fingerprint scanner was made to look beautiful while taking a beating. It is "anti-shock vandal proof" and boasts an IP65 rating for rather severe outdoor conditions.
The device can be powered over Ethernet or line-voltage wiring, but it has a back-up battery, just in case.
It can communicate with third-party control systems and peripheral devices in a number of ways, including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, RS-232/-485.
One of the insane things is the number of users that can be enrolled compared to other access/entry products available to the residential market: a whopping 5,000 users or 10,000 bio records (1:N) or 50,000 users or 100,000 bio records (1:1).
That is one big party.
Brief Explanation of Commercial-Type Locking Systems
The Invixium products are not "locks" as we know them. Think of them as glorified keypads.
Typically, a Control4 dealer would use consumer-centric Kwikset or Yale locks for integration. Through Control4 programming, you would tell the system to unlock the bolt based on verified user. (By the way, I recommend clearing user codes from the lock itself.)
However, the optimal way to manage access is to do it with a product like Invixium, which is how the commercial pros do.
Here's how it works: There are a bunch of leads emanating from the Invixium panel. One pair is for a door magnet so Invixium knows when the door is open or closed; a second set of leads is for an electronic lock.
For those not familiar with these types of commercial entry systems, there are two popular lock choices – magnetic door strike ("mag lock") and electric strike. For residential I prefer electric strikes as they allow the best options and are easiest to retrofit. Communications between the Invixium controller and third-party lock is via Wiegand, the two-way access-control standard for commercial installations.
Once I installed my door strike, contact and the Invixium Touch, I had an elegant and full-featured standalone entry system.
What I mean as standalone is that the identification, lock operation, and door status can all be monitored and controlled from this single device – no third-party controller required. The key here is that if the network goes down or your Control4 system fails, the Invixium Touch remains operable and continues to log activity.
Here are some installation tips I picked up along the way: For best operation, go wired of course and if possible, go PoE for a hardwired Ethernet connection.
The first wire you need to get to the device is either a Cat 5e or better, or a power wire if you are using Wi-Fi. The second wire – if you are going my route – is standard security wire for the door contact. The final wire is for the electric or mag strike. Refer to the lock's instruction for wiring requirements.
So, yes, there is some retrofit work to be done, but the end results are worth it.
Hands On with Invixium
Once unboxed and installed, set-up of the IXM Touch is a snap – maybe not the “snap” of a typical DIY smart lock, but pretty simple for a pro.
Today, you need a Windows PC on the network or in the rack to run a SQL Server instance. Included with the Invixium touch is a USB stick with all required software. You simply run the USB, it installs everything needed, and you simply follow the directions to get everything set up.
The SQL instance is used only to store recorded user information. With the Touch version of Invixium, users can be enrolled right from the device.
Rumor has it that after CEDIA Invixium will not require a PC or SQL instance.
Enrolling users is much easier than I anticipated, having done my share of biometric access systems in the past. Through the software, or directly on the Touch, I simply entered the user’s name, scanned the fingerprint, and I was done.
The beauty of having such a large capacity for fingerprints is that multiple fingers of multiple individuals can be scanned and used for different purposes.
For example, while the index finger might unlock the door as usual, the middle finger could signal duress, unlocking the door and turning on the lights as usual, but also alerting the police (via Control4 and a security system).
In my case, I had the duress profile set to entertainment options. The ability to do this with different finger profiles is big for flexibility. I have already toyed with the concepts of garage entry, office entry, gun rooms, and several other “cool factors."
Control4 Integration via SDDP
Invixium integrates seamlessly with Control4 via the Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP). Get the device on the network and its profiles automatically populate the Control4 system.
Currently, these features are exposed within Control4, but Invixium is working on even more device characteristics that can be exploited by the home automation system:
- IdentifyFailed: Somone tried to get access but wasn't recognized
- IdentifySuccess: Someone was successfully identified
- IdentifyDuress: Someone was successfully identified, but that fingerprint was tagged as indicating duress. This provides a means for a user to trigger two different sets of actions according to which finger is used
- DoorForcedOpen: Door was forced open (without being released)
- DoorOpenLong: Door was held open for a long period
- DoorFreeAccessExpired: Door was opened for free access, but that period has now expired
- AlarmTemperDetected: Tamper detected
- FireDetected: Fire detected (device has an input that could be integrated with a fire detection system if desired)
- SystemErrorDetected: Generic System error
Invixium also included the following variables that allow for user-specific interactions.
- Identify Success UserName
- Identify Success UserID
- Identify Duress UserName
- Identify Duress UserID
Also added were direct commands that can be triggered directly from the Control4 system. A good example I used was programming a double-tap from the foyer light to release the magnetic door strike for exiting.
- Release Door: Releases the lock (free access) for the specified period
- Lock Door: Disables Free Access and immediately locks the door
- Clear Alarm Door Force Open
- Clear Alarm Temper
- Clear Alarm Fire
But the fun doesn’t stop there. I am told by Shiraz that at CEDIA we will see the Touch with full two-way audio intercom functionality with Control4, as well as a method to mimic the doorbell.
When that happens, Invixium becomes my one-stop doorbell and access-control system while giving me the ability to use my third-party camera to see the visitor (or salesperson) just as I do today with Control4 door-station products.
The pairing of Control4 with Invixium is something I have been seeking for a while. The uses are endless and the security and safety are unparalleled.
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With over 20 years of experience in home systems installation and design as well as being an award winning product designer, Joe Whitaker currently is principal of the integration firm thethoughtfulhome.com. He is a current member of the CEDIA board of directors first elected in 2013 and is a frequent contributor to CE Pro magazine. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Joe at email@example.com
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