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Access control and door entry is a huge responsibility, and challenge, for local authorities and housing associations UK wide. For councils, they’re accountable for the security and safety of many public facilities such as leisure centers, libraries as well as residential housing developments which are often large scale and home to hundreds of people. Housing associations manage affordable rental housing which also means they’re responsible for the appropriate access control management for each individual house or apartment. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage. For example, with modern intercom and access control systems, remote management and communication is something that offers local authorities and housing associations features that enable them to reduce costs and cut their carbon footprints by managing multiple sites from one place. On the other hand, such technological innovation has meant that local authority and housing association specifiers and consultants now have a wide range of systems and products to choose from which can cause issues in ensuring the right system for a specific building or development is chosen. Choosing an appropritate access control system In choosing an appropriate system, local authorities and housing associations need to opt for a cost effective solution that can be easily maintained with excellent support from the manufacturer and guarantees that the system and system parts will remain supported for the duration of its expected life cycle. It is also important that the chosen system is flexible to cater for the varying needs of the tenants and visitors. Of increasing importance is the reduction of anti-social behavior which new technology can help by providing the use of data loggers which track the use and events of a door entry system, allowing specific evidence to be located by integrating with CCTV. Using technology to our advantage Through advancements in management systems and services, we can gain a much better visual representation of the events and general usage of an intercom entry system and not just its proximity access control. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management. We are now able to modify user rights and access levels on the go from a mobile app which enables a much greater control over service and maintenance engineers, such as making sure they have full access when required via an app, rather than arriving to site with the incorrect keys or access fob. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management Dealing with tenant’s lost and stolen keys has never been so easy either. The blocking or deletion of lost fobs and adding a new fob can be carried out in minutes while at the same time removing the cost of sending an engineer to the development to program new fobs. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the whole task as fobs can now be sent out via mail to a secure location for collection. Technology has also helped local authorities and housing associations to overcome the issue of not being able to have a concierge or building manager available 24/7 at some developments. Now with internet communication, it’s possible for tenants and visitors to get in touch with someone should they need assistance, whether that’s from within the apartment or from an entrance point. For example, lets take the Videx VX2200 with IP concierge integration. This system is exceptionally flexible, enabling calls to be answered on Videx intercoms and also mobile phones if required. With the integration of the IP concierge each block can be either standalone or networked via the internet back to a central control room. Reduced maintenance costs and carbon footprint We work with a wide range of local authorities and housing associations to help them overcome access control and door entry challenges. One organization we have recently partnered with is The Living Group to help them greatly reduce their maintenance costs and carbon footprint by installing the MiAccess offline proximity system on many of their developments across the North East. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage By installing an appropriate system, The Living Group has managed to overcome issues caused by the existing system’s limitations and also enabled much more flexibility when it comes to effectively managing the access control system of all their included developments. For those responsible for effective and appropriate access control, the management of the systems are easier, quicker and there’s no delay or on-going costs for needing a specialist program to modify fobs and access rights as this can now all carried out in-house. Improved security legislation Further advancements in programmes such as Secured by Design (SBD), a police initiative that improves the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work and visit, means that there’s more security legislation being implemented that’s making intercoms and access control more secure, without affecting ease and convenience. Videx holds an SBD accreditation and we know, from first-hand experience, how it’s making a difference in keeping tenants safe. When you combine the safety features promoted by an SBD member company like ourselves with the likes of the Videx event logging, image capture and ability to modify access users on the go, for example, we can help to create a very safe and secure environment. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation Technology has completely transformed the way local authorities and housing association are able to choose, install and manage door entry and access control systems for tenants and visitors alike. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation such as Secured by Design to ensure all councils and housing association consultants are up to date with what constitutes a robust and secure system that’s also cost effective too. In my role, I see weaknesses in systems and constant ongoing costs that could easily be avoided. For instance, features such as timed remote entry means local authority and housing association management no longer need to worry about keys being lost, the wrong keys being supplied or locks needing to be changed. With new systems such as the Videx MiAccess and Videx WS4 range, we can help to massively reduce a housing association’s or council’s carbon footprint and engineer costs by allowing them the access to management and control from an offsite location. Crime prevention We can also use live and logged events to help prevent crime in different ways, from antisocial behavior growing around a tenant being called or visited much more regularly than others, to knowing a tenant is currently still living at a property but isn’t paying rent or answering to any correspondence. Technology enables local authorities and housing associations to receive detailed data and therefore behavioral insights on the people under their management and care. If consultants and specifiers are advised on the most appropriate systems that meet their specific entry needs, they can ensure greater, safer and more convenient access control that meets the requirements of both the end user and the those responsible for its effective management.
The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for mail and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing while obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc while sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for maneuver. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.
The unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 has taken its toll on all of us, but as cases of the virus thankfully recede, employers are now forced to confront how they can enable a safe return to work for employees. For many employers, this means they will have to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, redesign workspaces to maintain social distances, carry out more frequent cleaning, manage the transmission risk and find alternatives to touch-based security devices. Protecting workplace occupants in any emergency requires preparation and clear communication. This is especially critical in a health crisis involving an infectious disease. These are some of the essential best practices that could help organizations reduce the impact on their employees and operations during this pandemic. 1. Use a visitor management system With a visitor management system, organizations have a single source of real-time and historical insights into who is, or was recently, in the workplace. This is especially important because of the need to perform contact tracing should anyone in the organization show symptoms of COVID-19, meaning everyone they have been in contact with needs to be contacted and asked to isolate. Yet still, first impressions are made at the front desk or lobby, where the visitor experience needs to be a positive one. At the same time, though, any emergency event requires that there be strict control over who is entering the workplace. This policy also needs to be clearly communicated to visitors. Doing this minimizes risk to visitors as well as the workforce. In addition to delivering a high-quality visitor experience, the ideal visitor management system must: Enable organizations to meet regulatory compliance mandates and facilitate check-in at a self-service kiosk to minimize wait times. Customize the visitor experience to support specific security needs, such as accelerating and simplifying check-in or requiring additional security pre-checks. Automate compliance as it relates to visitor access rules with historical visit reports. 2. Pre-check questions at visitor registration kiosks Organizations can strengthen security at the registration kiosk using a flexible, enterprise-grade visitor management system to add visitor sign-in steps. This has proven successful in the past when used to control the spread of infectious disease during an outbreak. An example of this is a U.S. children's hospital which managed to reduce facility infection rates by 25 percent over a two-year period using a commercial, off-the-shelf physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution from HID Global. The solution provides two particularly important capabilities that can be used by organizations to protect their workplace from the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease: Enhance visitor registration policy with additional mandatory questions to help identify any visitors who may need other screenings. Extend the visitor registration kiosk with a mandatory pop-up asking further questions during visitor check-in. 3. Understand who has visited your workplace Successful controlling the spread of infection throughout a facility requires the ability to automatically maintain an auditable trail of activity. This can be done using an enterprise-grade visitor management system that makes it easy to retrieve historical visit reports. This provides a timeline of who was in the workplace, and when they were there. Key features include: A single dashboard providing useful visitor insights at your fingertips. Historical reports that provide visitor details including location and contact information, all in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regulations. 4. Clearly communicate how infection risks can be reduced Global organizations must actively communicate with visitors and employees on the outbreak of infectious diseases and follow best practices outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are several things organizations can do in this area to help maintain a safe and healthy workplace: Re-enforce and communicate WHO best practices with guideline posters in the front lobby and throughout the workplace. Add posters that also encourage regular and thorough washing of hands. Encourage everyone to cough or sneese into their shirt sleeve in their flexed elbow or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Encourage everyone to keep a relatively safe distance from each other and use alternatives to handshakes when saying hello. Organizations must contend with a variety of workplace challenges during the outbreak of an infectious disease. These challenges can be solved with best practices that include a comprehensive visitor management system that automates critical check-in policies and maintains an auditable trail of visitor activity.
Cozaint Corporation, manufacturer of ‘smart’ physical security platforms, has announced the launch of the BOBBY-W wall-mounted physical security kiosk. Available immediately, this ‘Video Surveillance as a Service’ (VSaaS) device has been designed to augment human security guard environments that need additional eyes and ears on their premises. BOBBY-W physical security kiosk BOBBY-W is based on a custom, Cozaint-built expandable platform that allows for the integration of a multitude of IoT sensors which allow for the monitoring and alerting of motion, water leaks, door/window opening, room temperature, lighting, and much more. All of these sensors are centrally monitored and the service can interact with an organization’s existing security team. BOBBY-W standard features include: 24/7 180-degree video surveillance Facial recognition-based access control Smartphone-based access control IoT Sensor management Remote monitoring and concierge service Panic communication Expandable platform Touchless access control solution The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the need of a touchless access control solution" “The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the need of a touchless access control solution and the BOBBY-W physical security kiosk seems to fit the current market requirements. The integration of the BOBBY-W kiosk, along with Cozaint’s facial recognition technology, and Isonas’ Pure IP Access smartphone reader controller using Pure Access is ideal,” stated Fred Sumner, West Region Account Executive at Isonas, Inc. He adds, “Cozaint has been great to work with and we’re thrilled that our Pure IP access control API was able to integrate so well into the BOBBY-W platform. “ 24/7 remote monitoring With 24/7 remote monitoring included with the BOBBY-W service, customers can rest assured that their environment has the added protection to deal with unauthorized entries or incidents that could cause personal harm or property damage. BOBBY-W’s interactive touchscreen display is designed to showcase company news and information (or even specific advertising) as well as communication in cases of emergency to trained remote monitoring staff. With the current global pandemic challenges, BOBBY-W also has an optional integrated kiosk offering that incorporates the non-contact thermal imaging system from feevr. feevr non-contact thermal imaging system “We are delighted to be an available integration partner with Cozaint’s BOBBY-W security kiosk that allows organizations to monitor individuals that may show possible symptoms of an elevated skin temperature as they enter a particular campus,” said Barry Oberholzer, Founder and CEO of x.labs, the company behind the feevr non-contact thermal imaging system. He adds, “We agree that the integration of the feevr platform with the BOBBY-W physical security kiosk delivers enhanced peace-of-mind and situational awareness to an organization.” Facial recognition access control Every BOBBY-W wall-mounted kiosk comes standard with facial recognition access control Every BOBBY-W wall-mounted kiosk comes standard with facial recognition access control, which utilizes the Isonas Pure IP access control solution with smartphone authentication capabilities, as well as IoT sensors for motion detection, door/window openings, and environmental conditions (temperature, etc). Another integration partner to the BOBBY platform is the Enterprise Asset Tracking platform from Sympler. Enterprise Asset Tracking platform “With Enterprise Asset Tracking, organizations can simply place asset tags (small/thin devices with unique identifiers) onto valuable equipment, keys, lanyards, or even an individual’s wrists with a standard watch band and continually track and locate those company assets,” stated Jeff Debrosse, Principal and Founder of Sympler. Jeff adds, “The tags report asset's positions within the enterprise campus or jobsite. This information is integrated into the BOBBY-W monitoring platform and an asset’s real-time location, distance, and movement pattern can be quickly determined.” BOBBY security towers The BOBBY-W platform is the first in the Cozaint line of physical security kiosks and towers. Cozaint will be delivering new BOBBY security towers later in 2020. BOBBY-W wall-mounted physical security kiosks are available as of August 2020 and are rented to customers on a monthly basis, alleviating any capital equipment expenses and maintenance costs. Complete maintenance and service of the BOBBY-W kiosk is provided throughout the life of agreement, as well as 24/7 online technical support and remote monitoring service.
ISONAS Inc., a globally renowned IP access control and hardware solutions provider, and part of the Allegion family of brands, has announced that the ISONAS Pure IP access control solution has been installed at a new flagship distribution center for Premier Packaging, an international packaging solutions company, with facilities in 14 locations nationwide. ISONAS Pure IP access control In the summer of 2018, Premier Packaging was looking to implement an access control system to help secure their brand-new 320,000-square-foot facility in Louisville, Kentucky. After working closely on a recent project with Orion Networks, a trusted IT infrastructure provider, Premier Packaging relied on their recommendation to implement a cutting-edge access control solution from ISONAS. With no access control system in place at any of their 14 locations and a combination of office workers, support staff, truck drivers and warehouse employees entering and existing the building daily, a process to control access was a necessity. Monitoring and tracking visitors to distribution center A major challenge facing the new distribution center was truck drivers, who came into the facility, were not company employees. With on average 250 people coming in and out of the new facility in Kentucky daily, monitoring and tracking who those people were and if they belonged there was imperative. They were also looking for the flexibility to manage the locking and unlocking of doors remotely, rather than having to rely on physical keys. “After comparing ISONAS to other access control systems out there, we knew that ISONAS was the right flexible access control solution to meet Premier Packaging’s security needs,” states Brock Jamison, VP and Director of Sales at Orion Networks. ISONAS RC-04 reader-controllers installed ISONAS Pure Access software was implemented to give the packaging company remote access capabilities The initial project consisted of 18 ISONAS RC-04 reader-controllers installed at their new distribution center in Louisville. The RC-04 reader-controllers from ISONAS delivers advanced technical functionality with an easy installation process. In addition to the ISONAS hardware, the ISONAS Pure Access software was implemented to give the packaging company remote access capabilities. Pure Access Pure Access, ISONAS’s industry-renowned software, is a cloud-based access control application that provides users the ability to manage their access control from anywhere at any time, on any device. “We are extremely happy that our unique access control solution could help Premier Packaging improve safety and security at their new distribution center seamlessly,” states Jonathan Mooney, ISONAS Sales Leader. ISONAS cloud-based platform By using both the ISONAS hardware and software solution together, Premier Packaging was able to improve security and keep employees safe. With the ISONAS cloud-based platform, Premier now required all Louisville employees to enter the building using their ID badges to gain access. If an employee was not in the database and verified, then access would be denied. Future plans include rolling out the ISONAS access control solution to additional buildings and possibly integrating it with other security systems.
Cybersecurity has become a major element – and a major source of discussion – in the physical security marketplace as a result of the rise in networked systems. And we may still not be talking enough about cybersecurity. Here is part one of our Cybersecurity series. “Cybersecurity requires everyone in the security industry to be playing offense and defense at the same time, every single day,” says Bill Bozeman, President and CEO of PSA Security Network. “It needs to just become part of the standard conversation when we are talking about physical security because they are so intertwined.” Creating New Industry Leaders Cybersecurity and physical security can be seen as two parts of a single entity, and increasingly the two will be combined at the enterprise level over the next several years. “This convergence of physical security and cybersecurity will create new industry leaders that will emerge to lead a new segment of the combined market through strong investment and leadership,” says Rob Lydic of ISONAS, now part of Allegion. Data capture form to appear here! Cybersecurity issues dominate almost every discussion in today’s physical security industry, and the clear message is that “manufacturers and integrators must continue to create robust and scalable cybersecurity offerings to protect customer data and facilities,” says Lydic. He contends that cloud services providers (such as ISONAS) are more cybersecure and reliable ‘by orders of magnitude’ than non-cloud solutions. Cybersecurity is linked to cloud-based systems and managed security service provider models Cloud-Based Services The Security Industry Association (SIA) has listed cybersecurity as one of 2019’s ‘Top Megatrends’ in the physical security market. SIA says it is important to prioritize cybersecurity among security businesses, for customers’ businesses, and for vendors. The trend calls for continual process improvement and investment. Bill Bozeman of PSA Security Network agrees: “Cybersecurity has definitely taken a strong foothold in the industry.” With the continued expansion of cloud-based services, cybersecurity will be more important than ever to integrators, manufacturers and end users alike, he says. Notably, cybersecurity is directly linked to two other important industry trends listed by Bozeman: cloud-based systems and the rise in recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and managed security service provider (MSSP) models, whose focus will include cybersecurity. Loss Prevention Executives The days when cybersecurity was exclusively the domain of the information technology (IT) department are gone. “Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats organizations of all sizes and types face today,” says Michael Malone, CEO of ADT Cybersecurity (formerly known as Datashield). “Considering the magnitude of these crimes, it now falls on the entire organization, including the traditional security or loss prevention executives, to band together to combat these threats.” Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats organizations of all sizes and types face today Malone favors (and his company offers) a managed detection and response (MDR) service, which combines advanced technology and human analysis. Using packet capture on the network, an MDR analyst can ‘replay’ a cyber security event and dig deeper into the incident and determine remediation steps. It’s an approach that significantly cuts through false positive ‘noise’ so security teams can focus on what matters. Helping Security Officers Interestingly, cybersecurity is poised to benefit from another major trend in the physical security market – the rise of artificial intelligence. Specifically, machine learning applications for cybersecurity include: detecting malicious activity, helping security officers determine what tasks they need to complete in an investigation process, analyzing mobile endpoints, decreasing the number of false positive threats, automating repetitive tasks like interrupting ransomware, and potentially closing some zero-day vulnerabilities. But AI in this case is not a panacea. Christopher McDaniels of Mosaic451 recommends pairing human intellect with machine technology to sort through data faster and catch hackers before they do much damage. See part two of our Cybersecurity series here.
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