Access control controllers - Expert commentary

Video Intercoms For A Smarter, Safer Workspace
Video Intercoms For A Smarter, Safer Workspace

Though many office workers across the globe have found themselves working remotely for the past year, we are seeing a bit of a silver lining, as vaccine rollouts hint at a return to some pre-pandemic sense of normalcy. However, while some of us might opt for a fully-remote work life, others are anticipating a hybrid solution. Even before the pandemic, offices were taking a new, more open layout approach—moving past the days of cubicles and small office configurations. Going forward, offices and other workspaces will be tasked with supporting a hybrid work solution, as well as increasing hygiene measures. Video intercom solution This is where an IP video intercom solution can assist. Below are four ways they can help usher in a smarter, safer work environment: Video intercoms assist in creating a more hygienic work environment - The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised awareness of germs and just how easily a virus can be transmitted by face-to-face contact. Germ barriers are popping up in many aspects of our daily lives, where we were not likely to see them before Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach As such, we’re becoming accustomed to seeing plexiglass barriers at restaurants, grocery stores, and even coffee shops. However, many don’t realize that one of the best germ barriers is a simple door. Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach. All it takes is a knock or a doorbell ring to make us open our germ barrier and be face-to-face with whomever is on the other side. Increasing hygiene safety A simple step to increase hygiene safety and visitor security in commercial buildings and workspaces is an IP video intercom. Installing a video intercom will allow staff to see and speak with visitors without breaching that all-important germ barrier. A video intercom system provides a first line of defense, enabling the user to visually confirm the identity of the person on the other side of the door first before granting access. It can also be used to make sure proper procedures are being followed before a person is allowed to enter, such as using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask, and following social distancing guidelines. Basic security needs A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities Video intercoms for occupancy management and basic security - A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities—ranging from grocery stores and retail shops to restaurants and commercial buildings. Workspaces and offices are no exception. A video intercom provides a quick and convenient method of seeing who, or what, is on the unsecure side of the door before opening. For basic security needs, if a business has a door opening into an alley, a video intercom would be used to ensure no one is waiting outside to force their way in when the door is opened. Personal protection equipment Such solutions can also be used to ensure a person is carrying proper credentials, or wearing proper personal protection equipment (PPE), before entering a sensitive area. For example, if a lab has a room which can only be accessed by two persons at a time wearing specific protective gear, a video intercom could ensure each person is properly equipped, before allowing access that particular room. Additionally, for office or workspaces that have shared common areas, such as a cafeteria, gym or even conference rooms, managing access to these spaces will remain a priority, especially with post-pandemic restrictions in place. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace Deliveries of packages, work-related materials, or even food are common in any office or workspace. Video intercoms can assist in facilitating safe deliveries by visually and audibly confirming the identity of the individual. The visitor could be your next big client, your lunch delivery, a fellow employee with a faulty access card, or your mail. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace. Visitor management systems Video intercoms provide a cost-effective solution in small to mid-sized office facilities - One significant advantage of video intercom systems is the variety of applications available. Systems range from simple one-to-one video intercoms, to buzz-in systems, to full-fledged visitor management systems in mixed-use buildings. While they might lack the resources and manpower many enterprises have, small-to medium-sized offices can also take steps to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Like any business, controlling who comes into the building is a primary way of maintaining safety. Video intercoms work in conjunction with access control systems to provide an identifying view of visitors or employees with lost or missing credentials. They allow staff to both see and hear those on the unsecured side of the door to determine intent before granting access. Most quality video intercoms will provide a clear enough image to allow an identification card to be read by holding it close to the lens, adding another opportunity to verify identity. Touchless intercom activation One major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation Video intercoms provide a touchless option - Even prior to COVID-19, one major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation or touchless intercom activation of a video intercom for those without proper credentials. Though touchless isn’t a new solution to the access control market, the pandemic introduced a renewed focus on these types of solutions to provide hygienic access to visitors. For offices and other workspaces looking to make investments into post-pandemic solutions to assist in reopening, touchless can support these efforts. When it comes to smart, secure workspaces, many people think instantly of cameras or monitors, access control, and alarm systems. Proper access credentials However, video intercoms are often the missing piece of a building’s security puzzle. A video intercom provides an identifying view that is not always available from a camera covering a large area. They allow those without proper access credentials a method of requesting entry, and just like cameras, they can be activated by alarms to allow staff to clearly see and communicate. If a workspace or office is important enough to be secure, it’s important enough to be sure of who is there before the door is opened. In 2021, it’s not enough to ensure the physical security of your staff and visitors, but also to ensure they are accessing a hygienic environment. Video intercoms provide that security and peace of mind.

Physical Security in 2021: Post-Pandemic Solutions
Physical Security in 2021: Post-Pandemic Solutions

In a world forever changed by the coronavirus pandemic, companies worldwide are now expanding their concept of physical security to best safeguard their facilities and employees. Few incidents have had as much of an impact on businesses globally as the COVID-19 pandemic; much of the world is still struggling to contain COVID-19, navigating the lasting effects and exploring what the “new normal” looks like. While some organizations are still engaged primarily in “anywhere operations”, i.e. remote work, many organizations are implementing strategic physical security solutions that better protect everyone through the use of video surveillance technology and advanced intelligence capabilities. As this new normal takes hold within the business environment, security strategies will largely be centered around several key initiatives like access control, people counting, occupancy controls, temperature screening, contact tracing, and reducing office touch points. With the use of a video management system (VMS) in the shadow of COVID-19, occupancy data from a VMS can trigger a lockdown and not permit new entrants until the occupancy drops below a certain threshold; this is significantly useful for organizations that have returned to in-person work.  But there’s a caveat: though many legacy security systems are being re-evaluated to allow for touchless or frictionless access control — a move designed to eliminate the need for employees and visitors to physically touch a surface when using an access control system — upgrading the outdated technologies can be cumbersome and expensive, especially for organizations that had not planned for an interruption like the pandemic. Security contractors will be vital So, what is the solution? Security contractors will play a vital role in helping end-users across a range of vertical markets — large and small — to achieve their goals in the new paradigm. For some, this may mean leveraging existing access control and video surveillance systems with upgrades where needed. For others, an entire overhaul is made possible with budget friendly solutions for businesses to migrate to integrated access control through end-to-end security solutions that tie into existing infrastructures without major disruptions (meaning the organization will never be left vulnerable). Cybersecurity is becoming even more intertwined with physical security There is massive transformation occurring in the security industry, most notably the movement to digitise physical access and integrate it with video management systems and surveillance. This shift means that cybersecurity is becoming even more intertwined with physical security, allowing organizations the ability to correlate the metadata of people’s behaviors and activities — a plus point for those looking to remain vigilant against future pandemic-esque business interruptions. Access, video, and audio are converging into consolidated platforms. Due to lower costs and pairings with IP-based, wireless infrastructure, there are infinite solution configurations. IT security requirements are beginning to apply to physical security because of this integrated infrastructure. Multi-factor authentication The security industry is also beginning to see a trend of multi-factor authentication, which is going to dominate in the days to come as it makes solutions more reliable. Most people carry smartphones these days, which have green check communication capabilities that allow easy multi-factor authentication. Costs are going down, and algorithms are getting better, making more people willing to try it. Some new solutions have both the fingerprint reader and a camera for facial biometrics Some new solutions have both the fingerprint reader and a camera for facial biometrics. Cameras and CCD modules cost almost nothing, and they do not have to be super high-end anymore, especially if organizations are doing one-to-one verification. It’s not just about security now; it is security, health, and safety. Access control with video, intelligent readers, and credentials is a perfect platform for next generation solutions.

Access Control and Door Entry Management: How Technology is Driving Change
Access Control and Door Entry Management: How Technology is Driving Change

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.

Latest Nortech Control Systems Ltd news

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.

Does Long-range Access Control Offer A Future Solution For Healthcare?
Does Long-range Access Control Offer A Future Solution For Healthcare?

Across the globe, healthcare providers and facilities from care homes to hospitals and private clinics are working around the clock to reduce the risk to their staff and reduce the spread within their facilities. There are increasing reports in the UK that the virus has devastating effects in care homes, with fears that the US will be next in tow. The impacts on healthcare staff have also been stark with absence levels growing. In some health bodies across the UK up to almost 20% of their staff are off sick. The consequences of COVID-19 are clear to see in the short term, but it may also drive the need for technology that will help mitigate against pandemics and the spread of disease in the long term. One of these technologies that offers some promise is long-range RFID.  The value offered is more than just security and safety Why long-range RFID? The value offered is more than just security and safety. Implemented correctly, it not only helps minimize the dangers posed to staff and patients, but also helps improve the efficiency and workflow around the facility. Here are 5 reasons long-range access control is part of the solution: Reduce contact spread of viruses Most viruses spread through droplets inhaled from someone else’s cough or sneeze. But a common indirect way of infection is germs being passed on when people touch surfaces such as doors, pin pads and handles. This can lead to the dangerous spread within healthcare facilities as it only takes one infected person to spread the virus to those that touch the same surface. Hence, during the current times of peak capacity, the risk increases. The right long-range access control solution can help minimize the risk by reducing shared contact points. Integrating vehicle and people access Long-range RFID is gaining traction as a complete people and vehicle solution. As an ideal solution that automates vehicle access without the need for ticket stations, pin pads or manned gates, members of staff can now go from their doorstep to the room they are required in without having to touch surfaces in order to access the car park and building. All of this can be done from a card that is transferred from a special holder in your car to a land yard for centrally managed, hands-free access around the facility. Card readers providing hands-free access around the facility More efficient building workflow Time is a precious commodity for medical staff and any time that is wasted on trying to enter the building, search for a badge or entering a PIN should be limited. Once in the building, a long-range electronic ID badge allows automated access around the building without having to present a card to the reader. For more emergency situations, its also common to attach cards to push trolleys, wheelchairs and other heavy equipment to help protect staff and patient safety. Fight against theft It’s a sad circumstance that in times of crises, theft is an issue that healthcare facilities have to deal with. Amid global shortages, there have been numerous cases of masks, medical equipment and other supplies being stolen from hospitals. A modern access control solution using long range readers can help by keeping supplies locked in a dedicated room with access granted only for approved staff ID badges, whilst also restricting access in staff car parks to only approved staff members. Proactively manage the flow of staff members in your facility Access control software offers a unique insight of real-time data Access control software offers a unique insight of real-time data into key staff members and their movements within the building. This software can then compile the data collected into reports which can help reveal bottlenecks in the flow of staff members around the facility.   In the case of an emergency, an access system with connections to readers and cameras, can lock/unlock certain doors, or revoke access to particular people in case their badge was stolen. Whilst we cannot accurately predict what the world will look like post COVID-19, long-range RFID technology could prove to be a powerful tool going forward. It offers solutions that go beyond just security, and helps healthcare facilities build a better future by improving workflow, manage medical equipment, protect patients, staff and visitors from infection and future pandemics.

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