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When maximizing physical security, the access control hardware you invest in matters. But how can you know that you’re getting the best devices the market has to offer? One way you can tell is by learning about the standards that access control manufacturers hold themselves to and only purchasing products that meet those standards. And one of the most important of those standards is OSDP, or the Open Supervised Device Protocol.

In this post, we explain what OSDP is and the benefits of using OSDP devices. Then, we explain why OSDP matters and help you pick the OSDP device that will serve your needs best.

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What is OSDP?

OSDP stands for Open Supervised Device Protocol. OSDP is a set of standards that access control manufacturers follow to make the devices they produce more secure and easier to use.

Devices that benefit from OSDP standards include:

  • Keypads
  • Fobs
  • Key cards
  • Credential readers
  • Biometric readers

OSDP standards call for bidirectional communication between different access control devices.

So why does bidirectional communication matter?

Although credential readers, like keypads or fob readers, have an important job, they’re not the only part of an access control system. While readers take in data, they actually send this data over to a controller.

Controllers are the “brains” of an access control system. They verify the data and determine whether a credential is legitimate or not. But property staff also use controllers to edit access permissions and add and remove tenants from the system.

Before this standard was invented, information could only flow one way — from the reader to the controller. But thanks to bidirectional communication, controllers can send instructions to readers, which makes managing an access control system a lot easier.


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3 Benefits of OSDP devices

Bidirectional communication is a great innovation — but it’s not the only reason that OSDP devices are useful.

Compared to other devices, devices that use OSDP are:

  1. More secure
  2. Easier to integrate
  3. Compatible with more features


1. More secure

OSDP readers and controllers can exchange more information than just credential data. With the help of these standards, controllers can now monitor the signals coming out of a reader and automatically detect if anything has been tampered with.

Another way these devices maintain security is by using AES-128 encryption. You don’t need to be an expert to understand why AES-128 is a top-tier encryption method — all you need to know is that it’s the same algorithm the U.S. government uses to protect sensitive information!


access control reader with osdp


2. Easier to integrate

OSDP devices are easier to install, maintain, and integrate into existing systems. Plus, OSDP wiring is minimal — each device only requires two wires. Meanwhile, devices that were built according to other standards may require as many as 11.

Most of today’s major access control manufacturers follow these standards. This means that you can easily add new devices to your existing access control system, no matter who the manufacturer is, because every device in the system interprets information in the same way. Manufacturers often use the term interoperability to describe this.

To illustrate:

Say you want to add a new keypad to your existing access system. If your keypad and the existing access system follow different sets of standards, adding this keypad would be a major headache. But thanks to the popularity of OSDP standards, you’ll likely be able to add that new keypad with no problems.


3. Compatible with more features

The Open Supervised Device Protocol standard was developed in the late 2000s, but manufacturers and global organizations like the Security Industry Association are always making updates and ensuring devices are compatible with the latest security technology.

For example, these devices support the ability to read biometric data, like fingerprints, as well as modern features like cloud-based administration.


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Why does OSDP matter to you?

At first glance, OSDP might sound like a technical term that you can leave to the installers. But for owners, developers, and operators, security and safety are major concerns. And as access control goes electronic, real estate professionals should continue to maximize security by adapting to the latest innovations and standards.

By understanding the OSDP protocol, you’ll be able to answer any of your tenants’ questions about the security and safety of your property. You’ll also be able to use security as a selling point — and you’ll have the technical knowledge to back it up.

And when it comes to maintaining and buying new access control devices for your property, more knowledge can only help. You’ll be able to have more in-depth conversations with installers. Ensure that your current access system is OSDP-compliant to make it easier to add new devices to your access system in the future.


gate keypad using osdp technology


The best OSDP devices for your property

OSDP powers some of the most effective and feature-rich devices on the market, including ButterflyMX access control readers and keypads.

Our mullion readers and keypads are OSDP compliant, allowing for conveniences like remote system management. In an analog access control system, adding a resident to the system means manually and painstakingly adding a resident’s credential to every device throughout the property.

But with the ButterflyMX access control system, staff members can send instructions to every reader simultaneously. A staff member can add residents to every keypad and reader on a property with one keystroke — and thanks to the internet, staff members don’t even have to be onsite to make changes.

On top of ODSP, ButterflyMX makes use of something every resident is guaranteed to have in their pocket — a smartphone. Residents can use their smartphones to swipe to open any ButterflyMX-controlled door or gate. With ButterflyMX, you can extend the benefits of unified access control throughout your entire property.



  • OSDP is a set of standards that allows access control devices from different companies to talk to each other.
  • You can choose between card readers, fob readers, and keypads.
  • One of OSDP’s biggest technical innovations is bidirectional communication between readers and controllers.
  • These devices are more secure thanks to OSDP encryption. They’re also easier to integrate and have a greater number of features.
  • If you’re a property owner or operator, knowledge of OSDP will benefit you because you’ll be able to use that knowledge to attract more tenants and work better with installers.


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Ferdison Cayetano

I’m a proptech enthusiast from New Jersey who’s looking forward to the innovations that will revolutionize real estate.

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