Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

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 Videx Security Ltd news

Videx Appoints James Rose As The National Projects Manager To Monitor Project Life Cycle From Initiation To Completion
Videx Appoints James Rose As The National Projects Manager To Monitor Project Life Cycle From Initiation To Completion

Videx Security appoints James Rose, an experienced professional in the access control and door entry market, to National Projects Manager. In the newly created role, James is responsible for Videx’s large-scale access control and entry projects, predominately in the social and private residential sector. A key element of his role involves onsite leadership for the project team, taking ownership of the full project life cycle from initiation to completion. Developing strong relationships James is an integral part of the Videx team and has been working at the company for over 10 years. He has a strong technical and sales background with extensive knowledge and expertise of the Videx range of access control and entry systems. John Rickard, Managing Director of Videx, said: “James not only has an in-depth understanding of the business, our products, and the industry generally, but he also has developed strong relationships with key partners - installers, distributors and integrators - through his technical and sales roles at Videx over the years. Together with his passion for innovation, James will be able to create new business opportunities with large scale, expansive projects in his new role.” Prioritizing technology innovations Both James and James will work closely together in securing larger contracts for Videx “At Videx, we pride ourselves on providing a bespoke security solution and understanding a customer’s specific requirements which sets us apart from other entry manufacturers. Building on this USP, James will help us to secure more projects where the specification required is highly bespoke and tailored to specific customer needs.” The news follows the appointment of James Gray to National Sales Manager. Both James and James will work closely together in securing larger contracts for Videx, focusing on those sectors that provide the most growth potential to the business. Of particular focus this year are local authority and housing sectors as well as the healthcare industry which is calling for increased door entry and access control measures as they focus on bringing the current pandemic under control by reducing the spread of COVID-19. James added: “I am looking forward to taking on a challenging, but exciting, role as we push forward with our growth plans, prioritizing technology innovations and best-in-class customer service.”

Videx Security Appoints New National Sales Manager
Videx Security Appoints New National Sales Manager

Videx Security has appointed a new National Sales Manager following the departure of Neil Thomas. James Gray, who has been with the company for over a decade, becomes the firm’s National Sales Manager after Neil left the company following a 20-year career at Videx. Neil has moved out of the access control industry, relocating to Cyprus. In his role as National Sales Manager, James is responsible for maintaining and growing Videx’s sales pipeline across the UK. He will manage and oversee the Videx team of Regional Sales Managers, Key Account Managers, and Sales Estimators. James will also play a key role in developing Videx’s existing relationships with the company’s network of distributors, wholesalers, and security installers. Business growth and product range Focused on bringing new products to market and building on the success achieved through in-depth knowledge of the industry John Rickard, Managing Director at Videx, said, “James has been with the company for a considerable time and, as well as being highly skilled and experienced, he fully understands how Videx operates and is committed to the long-term future of the business.” “James’ tenacity and desire to drive us forward even during tumultuous times is an asset to Videx as we continue to grow the business and develop a wider range of products to a larger customer base. This year, we’re focused on bringing new products to market and building on our success which we’ve achieved through our in-depth knowledge of the industry and relationship-focused approach to growth.” Experience Prior to his new role, James was the Senior Projects Lead, responsible for managing the firm’s biggest access control and door entry projects. Because of this, James has an extensive understanding of the access control market and in-depth knowledge of Videx and the services and products it provides. Raising profile James added, “It’s great to be appointed as National Sales Manager and I am looking forward to developing our relationships with distributors and installers across the UK.” “Working closely with my team of regional sales managers and senior leadership, I’m focused on raising our profile, particularly with local authorities, to help meet the entry needs of a wide range of public sector organizations including schools, hospitals, and housing developments.”

Videx VX2200 System Touch Free Entry Protects Patients, Visitors And NHS Workers At Milton Keynes University Hospital
Videx VX2200 System Touch Free Entry Protects Patients, Visitors And NHS Workers At Milton Keynes University Hospital

Milton Keynes University Hospital has installed a Videx VX2200 system, one of the UK’s renowned access control manufacturer’s flagship door entry systems with 5178 hands free audio units and touch free entry points. Through opting for a touch free entry solution, the hospital has been able to reduce physical contact between people to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Four independent units were installed by ST Fire and Security in different buildings of the hospital. One was installed at The Campbell Center, a 38-bed acute inpatient mental health unit, another system fitted at the hospital’s dental surgery, a system fitted at the entrance of urgent care and a final one at Eaglestone Health Center which is a specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) facility. Audio apartment station Simon Turpin, Owner of ST Fire and Security, said: “The Videx VX2200 system with hands free audio apartment station and touch free entry points delivers huge benefits to the hospital by safeguarding patient, visitor and NHS staff safety as well providing easy and convenient access. The new system reduces waiting times as when a visitor uses it, someone in the building is immediately notified and will come to see them to complete entry.” “The Videx kit is the only one on the market currently that can offer convenient access in a touch-free way - they’re highly useful in helping the hospital ensure people stick to the designated one way system in place.” Touch free access Proximity access control can be added allowing authorized personnel to enter buildings touch free" As well as providing touch free access, the Videx system has replaced an existing system that had failed, affecting secure and convenient access to and from The Campbell Center. The Videx solution means no patient or member of staff is waiting for access into the secure mental health unit, safeguarding patients and employees. Ben Davies, South East Sales Manager, Videx UK, said: “Our touch free access control range has proved hugely popular in recent months as minimal contact remains key to reducing the spread of the coronavirus. The range offers both exit buttons and entrance panels in a touch free format using infrared sensor technology, providing a no touch solution for businesses as they focus on creating a COVID secure environment for their employees, partners and customers.” Bespoke entry panels “Proximity access control can be added allowing authorized personnel to enter buildings touch free, which is particularly useful for hospitals and other NHS buildings such as GP surgeries and urgent care facilities. We can also provide fully customized options, offering bespoke entry panels and exit buttons that are in keeping with the surroundings of the building whether that’s a specific hospital ward, GP surgeries, or dentist practices.”

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