Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

Wireless Technology Is Transforming Motion Detection
Wireless Technology Is Transforming Motion Detection

Motion detection is a key feature of security systems in residential and commercial environments. Until recently, systems have relied heavily on closed circuit television (CCTV) and passive infrared (PIR) sensors, which both require significant investment and infrastructure to install and monitor. Developments in wireless technology are increasing home security possibilities. Few years ago, these developments led Cognitive Systems to discover that the wireless signals surrounding oneself can be used to detect motion. Known in the wireless industry as WiFi sensing, this technology brings many benefits that other motion detection solutions have not been able to provide. The working of WiFi sensing At Cognitive Systems, the company has used WiFi sensing technology to develop a motion detection solution called WiFi Motion™, which measures and interprets disruptions in RF signals transmitted between WiFi devices. When movement occurs in a space, ripples in the wireless signals are created. WiFi Motion interprets these ripples and determines if an action, such as sending a notification, is needed. Enabling this functionality in a space is incredibly simple. With a software upgrade to only one’s WiFi access point (or mesh router), motion sensing capabilities are layered into one’s WiFi network. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors without detracting from their original functions or slowing down the network. Using artificial intelligence (AI), WiFi Motion establishes a benchmark of the motionless environment and learns movement patterns over time, which could be used to predict trends. This allows unusual movement patterns to be detected with greater accuracy while decreasing the potential for costly false alerts. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation WiFi sensing and other home monitoring solutions All of these capabilities are made possible by WiFi sensing and together create a motion detection system that provides unparalleled accuracy, coverage, privacy and affordability compared to other solutions on the market. PIR integration is far more complex and imposes electronic and physical design restrictions compared to WiFi sensing. In terms of placement, PIR systems are difficult to install, requiring line-of-sight and a device in every room for localization. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation and is also a scalable solution compared to PIR. Much like cameras, PIRs can only cover so much space, but WiFi Motion can cover the entire home and even detect motion in the dark and through walls, without adding additional devices to the home. WiFi Motion detects less distinguishing context than cameras and microphones, but more context than regular PIR sensors for the perfect balance of privacy and highly accurate motion detection. Privacy solution While cameras have been the security solution for years, WiFi Motion offers a more affordable solution that can rival the privacy and coverage capabilities of even the most high-end cameras. With such a wide coverage area, one might think that WiFi sensing infringes on privacy, but actually, the opposite is true. With WiFi Motion, the contextual information collected cannot be used to identify a specific individual, unlike cameras which can clearly identify a person’s face or microphones, which can identify a person’s voice. It is different from other smart home security options that use cameras and microphones because it only senses motion using WiFi signals - it doesn’t “see” or “listen” like a camera or microphone would. This provides opportunities for added security in spaces where privacy might be a concern and installing a camera may not be a comfortable solution, such as bathrooms and bedrooms. The data collected is also anonymized and highly encrypted according to stringent industry privacy standards. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors Additional WiFi sensing applications Since WiFi sensing technology requires no additional hardware or subscription fees, it is much more affordable than other motion detection solutions. It can be used as a standalone solution, or it can be easily layered into more complex systems. This ease of integration, scalability and relatively low cost brings a lot of potential for various applications. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off In eldercare, for example, WiFi sensing can be used to help seniors live comfortably in their homes for as long as possible. With the increasing aging population and high costs associated with care homes, the market for this application is considerable. Caregivers can use an app to monitor movement in their loved one’s home and be alerted about unusual movement patterns that could indicate a concern. For smart homes and other environments that have a network of smart devices, the artificial intelligence (AI) component of the technology allows for improvements to automated features. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off or make adjustments to the temperature in a room. Security for the commercial sector For office buildings and other commercial properties, it is easy to see how all of these features could be scaled up to offer a highly accurate and cost-effective motion sensing and smart device automation solution. Cognitive Systems is closely involved with the development of WiFi sensing technology, working with various industry groups to establish standards and help it reach its full potential. WiFi Motion is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of motion sensing possibilities, but its applications in the world of security are undeniably compelling. It is an exciting time for the wireless industry, as one works with stakeholders in the security space to explore everything this technology can do.

Automatic Gates: Making The Right Investment For Access Control
Automatic Gates: Making The Right Investment For Access Control

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.

4 Ways To Keep Your Workplace Protected From COVID-19
4 Ways To Keep Your Workplace Protected From COVID-19

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.  

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Videx Launches Touch Free Entry Range To Help Businesses Return To Normal Post COVID-19 Pandemic
Videx Launches Touch Free Entry Range To Help Businesses Return To Normal Post COVID-19 Pandemic

For more than 35 years, Videx have manufactured door entry and access control solutions and have now launched their latest range of touch free entry panels and exit buttons as businesses return to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The range offers both exit buttons and entrance panels in a touch free format using infrared sensor technology, providing a no touch solution for companies as they focus on creating a COVID secure environment for their employees, partners and customers. Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx, said: “As businesses return to normal, health and safety is the key priority. With our touch free entry panels, it means visitors can alert someone of their arrival without needing to press a button. The panels can also include proximity access control, allowing authorized personnel to enter the building touch free. Both surface and flush exit buttons are also available to allow users to exit without the need to press buttons.” Adjustable activation range The panels and buttons are compatible with a number of Videx systems including our IP system, two wire video kits and GSM kit. The panels and exit buttons, which are for internal use unless appropriately protected externally, boast several key features including adjustable activation range (3cm-15cm) and activation time (from 0.5 seconds to 20 seconds). All panels are IP55 rated and require a power input of 12Vdc. They can operate in a temperature change from -20 degrees to 75 degrees. Neil added: “The new touch free range can offer better protection against COVID-19 transmission and other viruses too that can spread from touching common use surfaces and devices. We can also provide fully customized options, offering bespoke entry panels and exit buttons that are in keeping with the surroundings of the building.”

Videx Security Announces Release Of New Installer App For Videx GSM Intercom Systems
Videx Security Announces Release Of New Installer App For Videx GSM Intercom Systems

Videx Security has strengthened its flagship GSM intercom range by adding a new app designed specifically for installers and engineers who fit and maintain Videx GSM systems. The new app which complements the existing GSM app includes a new host of features that’s compatible with all GSM models and enables an engineer to program an unlimited number of sites and intercoms that they’re responsible for to help manage them all more effectively and conveniently. Programming access codes and proximity fobs James Gray, project manager at Videx, said “The new app provides a wide range of convenient, user friendly features that help make an engineer’s job easier. Within the app, installers can store useful information about the site such as the address and site contact details and they’re able to program all apartments and buttons, access codes, proximity fobs, dial to opens, time bands and general settings too”. Events for each intercom and site can be viewed from within the app, which are also stored on a cloud server" James added, “Events for each intercom and site can be viewed from within the app, which are also stored on a cloud server and sent directly from the intercom to the cloud allowing them to be viewed on multiple devices. Additionally, there is an advanced settings page and a diagnostics tools section to assist the engineer should they need to diagnose a problem. Installation manuals and a useful help section can also be easily accessed within the app too.” Videx GSM systems app The app is available for both Android and iOS and allows the intercoms to be programmed via SMS. All the intercom settings are stored on a cloud server which offers the advantage to allow multiple engineers to share the data on their devices and also offers peace of mind as the data is backed up automatically. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store free of charge. Once downloaded, installers will need to register via the app. Registration can take up to three working days while the user is verified as an installer or engineer. The app can be used with all current and older model GSM intercoms.

Videx Expands Market Reach With New Web Server Access Control System, WS4 Launch
Videx Expands Market Reach With New Web Server Access Control System, WS4 Launch

Videx, globally renowned manufacturer and supplier of access control and door entry systems, has strengthened its presence in the international access market by launching a new web server access control system, WS4. WS4 web server access control  The WS4 web server access control system can manage up to 20 entrances locally or remotely from anywhere via a mobile phone, tablet or PC using a web browser to connect to the system. Additionally an app is available for both iOS and Android. The WS4 can have up to 2,500 users and store up to 50,000 events which can also be viewed online or via the app. The system also has up to 250 programmable access levels to restrict access to certain days and times for users. Easy and flexible installation The WS4 is designed to ensure installation and use is extremely easy and flexible" Sian Luxton, Key Accounts Manager at Videx, said “The WS4 is designed to ensure installation and use is extremely easy and flexible. There’s no need for a dedicated computer or requirement to download specific software; it’s completely managed via the web server. Operators simply need to register online with their serial number to start using the system’s software application and get it up and running.” The heart of the system is the WS4 controller available in a one entrance, two entrance and four entrance control cabinet complete with battery backed power supply. The cabinet includes an Ethernet connection to connect to a LAN or the internet allowing programming and management to be carried out from anywhere. Remote access control and management Sian Luxton adds, “What’s extremely attractive about the WS4 is that full management of the system can be carried out remotely. This can include the adding and deleting of users, the changing of settings and the viewing of event logs. Up to 10 operators can be setup with different access rights." He gave an example saying, “An administrator/manager or an installer or monitoring facilities only. Additionally, the firmware of the devices can also be updated remotely”. Seamless integration with Mifare proximity readers Mifare proximity readers and coded access keypads connect to the control cabinet via an RS485 link further simplifying the installation. Readers are available as a standalone surface in the compact black finish of the mini range of readers and can also be integrated into door entry panels, both vandal resistant and modular. Sian added, “Email alerts to inform the administrator or engineer of certain situations such as mains failure, devices offline or doors left open can also be set up. These can be categorized specifically too, so that the right person is alerted to any issue. For instance, offline device alerts can be emailed to the engineer, and ‘door open too long’ events to the system manager. Additionally, a daily or weekly email can be scheduled to inform the administrator or engineer of the health of the system, all online and connected to the internet.”

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