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Physical Access Control: Critical Steps To Ensure A Smarter Future
Physical Access Control: Critical Steps To Ensure A Smarter Future

Steven Kenny, Axis Communications, looks at the benefits of physical access control systems within smart environments, and how knowledge gaps and dated methods can inhibit adoption. Physical security is becoming more dynamic and more interconnected, as it evolves. Today’s modern access control solutions are about so much more than simply opening doors, with digitalization bringing multiple business benefits, which would simply not be possible using traditional models. Digital transformation While the digital transformation of processes and systems was already well underway, across many industries and sectors, it is the transformation of physical security from a standalone, isolated circuit, to a network-enabled, intelligent security solution that brings many benefits to the smart environment. Yet, with more organizations now looking to bring their physical security provision up to date, there are many considerations that must be addressed to maximize the potential of access control and video surveillance. Not least of which is that connecting physical security devices to a network presents risk, so it is increasingly important for IT teams to play a role in helping to facilitate the secure integration of physical and network technologies, as these two worlds increasingly converge. Improved access control in smart environments These urban constructs are capable of reducing waste, driving efficiencies and optimising resources The smart city offers significant benefits, reflected in the US$ 189 billion that is anticipated to be spent on smart city initiatives globally by 2023. These urban constructs are capable of reducing waste, driving efficiencies, optimizing resources and increasing citizen engagement. Technology, which is increasingly being incorporated to protect access points within the smart environment, can take many forms. These range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems, using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. Frictionless access control During the COVID-19 pandemic, frictionless access control has provided an effective ‘hands free’ means of accessing premises, using methods such as QR code readers and facial recognition as credentials to prove identity. Frictionless access control brings health and safety into the equation, as well as the security of entrances and exits, minimizing the risk of infection, by removing the need to touch shared surfaces. Such systems can be customized and scaled to meet precise requirements. Yet, an increasing integration with open technologies and platforms requires collaboration between the worlds of physical security and IT, in order to be successful. Barriers to adoption Traditional suppliers and installers of physical security systems have built up a strong business model around their expertise, service and knowledge. Network connectivity and the IoT (Internet of Things) present a constantly shifting landscape, requiring the traditional physical security vendor to learn the language of IT, of open platforms, IP connectivity and software integration, in order to adapt to market changes and remain relevant. Many are now beginning to realize that connected network-enabled solutions are here to stay Those who cannot adapt, and are simply not ready for this changing market, risk being left behind, as the physical security landscape continues to shift and demand continues to increase. With end users and buyers looking for smarter, more integrated and business-focused solutions from their suppliers, it is clear that only those who are prepared will succeed in this space. Time will not stand still, and many are now beginning to realize that connected network-enabled solutions are here to stay, particularly within smart constructs which rely on such technology by their very nature. The importance of cyber hygiene Connecting any device to a network has a degree of risk, and it is, therefore, imperative that any provider not only understands modern connected technologies, but also the steps necessary to protect corporate networks. Cameras, access control systems and IP audio devices, which have been left unprotected, can potentially become backdoors into a network and used as access points by hackers. These vulnerabilities can be further compromised by the proliferation of connected devices within the Internet of Things (IoT). While the connection of devices to a network brings many advantages, there is greater potential for these devices to be used against the very business or industry they have been employed to protect when vulnerabilities are exploited. Cyber security considerations Cyber security considerations should, therefore, be a key factor in the development and deployment of new security systems. Access control technologies should be manufactured according to recognized cyber security principles, incident reporting and best practices. It is important to acknowledge that the cyber integrity of a system is only as strong as its weakest link and that any potential source of cyber exposure will ultimately impact negatively on a device’s ability to provide the necessary high levels of physical security. The future of access control There is a natural dispensation towards purchasing low-cost solutions There is a natural dispensation towards purchasing low-cost solutions that are perceived as offering the same value as their more expensive equivalents. While some have taken the decision to implement such solutions, in an attempt to unlock the required benefits, while saving their bottom line, the limited lifespan of these technologies puts a heavier cost and reputational burden onto organizations by their association. The future of access control, and of physical security as a whole, will, therefore, be dependent on the willingness of suppliers to implement new designs and new ways of thinking, based around high-quality products, and to influence the installers and others in their supply chains to embrace this new world. Cyber security key to keeping businesses safe In addition, cyber security considerations are absolutely vital for keeping businesses safe. The integration of cyber secure technologies from trusted providers will provide peace of mind around the safety or corporate networks, and integrity of the deployed technologies. As we move forward, access control systems will become data collection points and door controllers will become intelligent I/O devices. QR codes for visitor management and biometric face recognition for frictionless access control will increasingly be managed at the edge, as analytics in a camera or sensor. The future of access control presents an exciting and challenging time for those ready to accept it, to secure it and to help shape it, offering a true opportunity to innovate for a smarter, safer world.

Automatic Gates – The Latest Development In Access Control
Automatic Gates – The Latest Development In Access Control

Automatic gates remain an increasingly popular security choice for family homes, business premises or public buildings – anywhere that full control over access is needed. While there is much to consider for installers when advising clients on the right solution for their property, from the size, weight and cost of a gate system, it’s useful to be aware of the latest developments in the market, as this can help to find the right option to fit their needs. The need for speed Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open, and there are many factors to take into consideration, when advising on which option to use. However, swing gate motors tend to be slower than the speeds achievable for sliding gates, which means the latter are usually more popular, especially for commercial sites where timing can be among the more important factors. One of the most recent developments in the sliding gates market is the introduction of faster motors One of the most recent developments in the sliding gates market is the introduction of faster motors, such as those from Bft Automation, which allow for opening and closing at a quicker speed than has previously been achievable. Fast authorized access control From a security point of view, the ability to allow people and goods in and out of a property at a quicker pace reduces the risk of unauthorized entry, while waiting for a gate to close – an important consideration in both commercial and residential contexts. Other benefits of a faster motor include reduced waiting times. This can be particularly useful for properties in busy areas, where a vehicle could risk blocking traffic, while waiting to turn into a site controlled by a slower gate. Faster motors Also, a faster motor could potentially reduce the risk of an accident from vehicles entering a property at speed. For example, this might happen if someone was making their first visit to a property situated off a fast road in an unfamiliar area. Beyond these practical considerations, in today’s fast-paced world, people aren’t as used to having to wait for things and this applies to the time it takes to get in and out of their own property. So, security benefits aside, faster motors are likely to be more appealing for clients who have sliding gates fitted to their domestic property and who prioritize convenience. The choice of which of the new faster motors to use will be impacted by a number of factors, including the weight of the gates. Essentially, the lighter the gate is the higher the speed achievable. And, as always, it’s important to make sure that any installation complies with safety regulations. Intelligent torque management systems A further development in access control technology includes intelligent torque management systems A further development in access control technology includes intelligent torque management systems, which update the level of torque required to perform the gate’s operation, allowing it to work at the optimum level, regardless of weather conditions, temperature or the degree of wear and tear on the device. Depending on the typical weather conditions experienced at the site and the anticipated frequency of use, it’s worth looking at options that take these factors into account. Importance of security rights In some scenarios, it’s important for particular individuals to have security rights. In which case, there are motors available that come with personalized keys, which are unique, providing an additional level of security. Installers often face the challenge of fitting gate motors in confined spaces, potentially making for a time consuming and technically demanding task. Available space When you only have a small space to work with, simple details can go a long way to helping you. For example, by putting the fastening screws on the front of a motor’s casing, installation and maintenance are easier and more convenient, even in particularly compact areas. Working with suppliers that offer more than just a manual means you’ll have access to advice and support on how new products work in practice and what you need to consider before advising on an installation.

Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)
Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)

Display solutions play a key role in SOCs in providing the screens needed for individuals and teams to visualize and share the multiple data sources needed in an SOC today. Security Operation Center (SOC) Every SOC has multiple sources and inputs, both physical and virtual, all of which provide numerous data points to operators, in order to provide the highest levels of physical and cyber security, including surveillance camera feeds, access control and alarm systems for physical security, as well as dashboards and web apps for cyber security applications. Today’s advancements in technology and computing power not only have increasingly made security systems much more scalable, by adding hundreds, if not thousands, of more data points to an SOC, but the rate at which the data comes in has significantly increased as well. Accurate monitoring and surveillance This has made monitoring and surveillance much more accurate and effective, but also more challenging for operators, as they can’t realistically monitor the hundreds, even thousands of cameras, dashboards, calls, etc. in a reactive manner. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making In order for operators in SOC’s to be able to mitigate incidents in a less reactive way and take meaningful action, streamlined actionable data is needed. This is what will ensure operators in SOC truly have situational awareness. Situational awareness is a key foundation of effective decision making. In its simplest form, ‘It is knowing what is going on’. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making and in accidents attributed to human error. Achieving ‘true’ situational awareness Situational awareness isn’t just what has already happened, but what is likely to happen next and to achieve ‘true’ situational awareness, a combination of actionable data and the ability to deliver that information or data to the right people, at the right time. This is where visualization platforms (known as visual networking platforms) that provide both the situational real estate, as well as support for computer vision and AI, can help SOCs achieve true situational awareness Role of computer vision and AI technologies Proactive situational awareness is when the data coming into the SOC is analyzed in real time and then, brought forward to operators who are decision makers and key stakeholders in near real time for actionable visualization. Computer vision is a field of Artificial Intelligence that trains computers to interpret and understand digital images and videos. It is a way to automate tasks that the human visual system can also carry out, the automatic extraction, analysis and understanding of useful information from a single image or a sequence of images. There are numerous potential value adds that computer vision can provide to operation centers of different kinds. Here are some examples: Face Recognition: Face detection algorithms can be applied to filter and identify an individual. Biometric Systems: AI can be applied to biometric descriptions such as fingerprint, iris, and face matching. Surveillance: Computer vision supports IoT cameras used to monitor activities and movements of just about any kind that might be related to security and safety, whether that's on the job safety or physical security. Smart Cities: AI and computer vision can be used to improve mobility through quantitative, objective and automated management of resource use (car parks, roads, public squares, etc.) based on the analysis of CCTV data. Event Recognition: Improve the visualization and the decision-making process of human operators or existing video surveillance solutions, by integrating real-time video data analysis algorithms to understand the content of the filmed scene and to extract the relevant information from it. Monitoring: Responding to specific tasks in terms of continuous monitoring and surveillance in many different application frameworks: improved management of logistics in storage warehouses, counting of people during event gatherings, monitoring of subway stations, coastal areas, etc. Computer Vision applications When considering a Computer Vision application, it’s important to ensure that the rest of the infrastructure in the Operation Center, for example the solution that drives the displays and video walls, will connect and work well with the computer vision application. The best way to do this of course is to use a software-driven approach to displaying information and data, rather than a traditional AV hardware approach, which may present incompatibilities. Software-defined and open technology solutions Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need, including computer vision. In the modern world, with everything going digital, all security services and applications have become networked, and as such, they belong to IT. AV applications and services have increasingly become an integral part of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Software-defined approach to AV IT teams responsible for data protection are more in favor of a software-defined approach to AV that allow virtualised, open technologies as opposed to traditional hardware-based solutions. Software’s flexibility allows for more efficient refreshment cycles, expansions and upgrades. The rise of AV-over-IP technologies have enabled IT teams in SOC’s to effectively integrate AV solutions into their existing stack, greatly reducing overhead costs, when it comes to technology investments, staff training, maintenance, and even physical infrastructure. AV-over-IP software platforms Moreover, with AV-over-IP, software-defined AV platforms, IT teams can more easily integrate AI and Computer Vision applications within the SOC, and have better control of the data coming in, while achieving true situational awareness. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people, at the right time, in order to address security incidents and challenges. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people Often, the people who need to know about security risks or breaches are not physically present in the operation centers, so having the data and information locked up within the four walls of the SOC does not provide true situational awareness. hyper-scalable visual platforms Instead there is a need to be able to deliver the video stream, the dashboard of the data and information to any screen anywhere, at any time — including desktops, tablets phones — for the right people to see, whether that is an executive in a different office or working from home, or security guards walking the halls or streets. New technologies are continuing to extend the reach and the benefits of security operation centers. However, interoperability plays a key role in bringing together AI, machine learning and computer vision technologies, in order to ensure data is turned into actionable data, which is delivered to the right people to provide ‘true’ situational awareness. Software-defined, AV-over-IP platforms are the perfect medium to facilitate this for any organizations with physical and cyber security needs.

Latest Nortech Control Systems Ltd news

uPASS Reach Provides Primary Vehicle Access Solution For Science Park
uPASS Reach Provides Primary Vehicle Access Solution For Science Park

Exeter Science Park is a business park developed by the Exeter Science Park Company, a partnership between Devon County Council, the University of Exeter, the Exeter City Council, and the East Devon District Council. It is a 26-hectare site located on the outskirts of the city of Exeter next to junction 29 of the M5 freeway. Sustainable solution The site has 2 entry lanes and 3 exit lanes. A vehicle access control solution was required to resolve problems at these entry and exit points. It was necessary to reduce staff involvement in barrier control, relieve congestion at the barriers, and improve reporting data using a sustainable solution that has low maintenance costs. Long-range tag reader Upon approach to the entry barrier, the uPass reader senses the RFID tag Each entry and exit lane has been fitted with a barrier, an HD ANPR camera, and an uPass long-range tag reader. The tag reader is used as the primary method of access control. Staff members will attach their RFID tags to their windscreens. Upon approach to the entry barrier, the uPass reader senses the RFID tag. The uPass Reader passes the information the barrier control, which opens the barrier. The whole process takes approximately 3 seconds. The same procedure is used on the exit barriers. HD ANPR cameras For staff that don’t have RFID tags and visitors, a secondary system using HD ANPR cameras provides access control. This removes the need for any ticket issue/chip coin at entry, avoiding human involvement and resulting in a faster throughput on entry and exit. Further staff and tenants can be added to a limitless categorized white list using the vehicle license plate as the ID. The white list can be used to allow automatic entry of visitors without the driver having to press the intercom button. Benefits Cost-effective and reliable hands-free access control Windshield tags are read at up to 5 meters Prevents unauthorized vehicle access Allows vehicles to be tracked “The uPass long-range tag reader has allowed a quicker throughput through the barrier while improving security on vehicle access. We are extremely happy with the positive impact the product has had on our client,” said Mustafe Omar, Business Development Manager, Newpark Solutions.

Nortech Control Systems Provides UPASS Long-Range Reader And Tags To Facilitate Asset Management At Border Caravan Storage Site
Nortech Control Systems Provides UPASS Long-Range Reader And Tags To Facilitate Asset Management At Border Caravan Storage Site

Border Caravan Storage, a family run business that offers storage for 170 caravans, motor homes and trailers has been operated by Keith, Alison and Helen Rogers for over 15 years. The site used an access control system to control access to the site, but there wasn’t an ideal method of tracking which units were on site, at any given time. The management team had been using a manually operated display board that was prone to error, so they decided to look for a reliable automatic method of identifying which units were on site. Airlock system with uPASS long-range reader The Border management team spoke to Paul Evans of BTT Comms (ex MMV), who suggested using Nortech’s airlock system, where vehicles have to pass through two separate electronically controlled gates to enter or exit the site. The existing drivers’ access control fobs are used alongside uPASS tags, which are placed in the side window of the caravans for detection by the uPASS long-range reader. The system has been recognized by CaSSOA, who endorse the system giving the highest level of security possible If a caravan passes through the first gate, the second gate will only open if the uPASS tag and the driver's fob are both detected and provide a valid match. The information is also relayed to a specially designed asset management system that keeps a real-time log of all units on and off the site. High level of access control security This system has been recognized by CaSSOA, the Caravan Storage Owners’ Association, who endorse the system giving the highest level of security possible, which is recognized by insurance companies, thereby reducing insurance costs for caravan owners. Benefits Simple and reliable means of monitoring the movement of caravans on and off the site. Reliable long-range tag detection avoids manual intervention and reduces running costs. Enhanced security reduces insurance costs for caravan owners. Helen Rogers of Border Caravan Storage stated, “We are very pleased with the new system which provides information in real time and we now know which caravans and owners are on site at any time giving us total peace of mind.”

Nortech Announces Multiple Technology Access Control Reader NVITE
Nortech Announces Multiple Technology Access Control Reader NVITE

Nortech announced its most advanced NVITE multiple technology reader, designed for contactless identification. The NVITE supports a wide range of credential technologies including QR, Proximity Cards, Smartcards, BLE and NFC, making it an effective access control reader. The NVITE solves one of the major issues in larger sites with multiple facilities and mixed technology credentials, by providing an all-in-one reader solution. It also simplifies the transition from one technology to another without having to replace and re-install the reader. It’s a future-proof technology offering more flexibility, increased convenience, enhanced security identity management, and improved human resource management. Multi-technology reader “The NVITE multi technology reader reads multiple credential technologies, enables contactless identification and includes mobile ID Protocol for implementation with third part Apps. We have already received many enquiries for Nedap’s NVITE, the latest product in their AVI portfolio and are very excited to officially launch the product in the UK,” Stephen Blackler, Managing Director. NVITE offers seamless integration and supports a variety of well-established industry-standard protocols, such as Wiegand, clock & data and serial connections such as RS485. It also supports the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) for advanced and secure communication between the NVITE reader and the control panel. LED and beeper indication The built-in high intensity red, green and blue LED’s provide the user with visual feedback that the credential has been read or authorized. The LED and beeper functionality can be either controlled by the access control panel or pre-reconfigured. The NVITE reader is ideal for mounting at a height of about 1.5 meters. The reader is IP65 rated, so it can be used outdoors as well as indoors. The reader is fitted with a tamper switch. Secure channel protocol Mobile ID Protocol for implementation with third party Apps. OSDP v2 supported including secure channel protocol. Read range: BLE up to 15 meters (may be restricted by cellphone app). NFC, LF proximity card and smartcard up to 5cm.

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