Systems typically include an electronic locking mechanism which replaces the existing door strike.
Electronic controllers are then installed to communicate with specified doors and respond to signals received from special "readers". Persons wishing to gain entry to restricted areas are required to present a card or and electronic key to the reader.
Some readers will even accept biometric data such as a fingerprint. First, the reader scans the card or electric key. The information is then passed to a computer which records the identification of the user and based on the parameters established for the user, determines whether or not to allow entry.
If entry is permitted, the controller allows current to flow to the electronic strike and the door is opened.