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 Idesco news

RYS Deploys Idesco’s Automatic RFID Access Control Solution At Bratislava Apartment Building, ‘The Pentagon’
RYS Deploys Idesco’s Automatic RFID Access Control Solution At Bratislava Apartment Building, ‘The Pentagon’

Slovakian integrator, RYS, has recently deployed a system that provides a textbook example of how RFID access control can concretely improve people’s lives every day. Before automatic access control was introduced there, a Bratislava apartment building, known as ‘The Pentagon’, had suffered a reputation as a place to avoid. RFID access control system Drug dealers, vandals, and a similar criminal element were a chronic presence, leaving residents constantly feeling unsafe in their own homes. Idesco customer RYS was contracted to design and deploy an RFID access control system to better guarantee safety and enhance the residents’ quality of life. With over 30 years specialized experience in residential building access control, RYS designed a solution and chose Idesco to supply the over 100 RFID readers to be deployed. Currently, those readers control both ground floor access and section/hallway entrances on each floor. Elevator readers restrict residents’ access to their own floors. Access to only RFID tag-holding residents The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their use only by its RFID tag-holding residents. Simultaneously, the entire system collects real time data about access events, including unclosed doors or unauthorized access attempts, to help strengthen prevention and control. Due to the building’s history of vandalism, RYS recognized the importance of choosing readers capable of withstanding malicious impacts, moisture and dust. Idesco optical tamper Idesco’s optical tamper proved better than many other readers whose manufacturers rely on mechanical tampers" Marcela Benuskova, RYS Assistant Project Manager, commented “Idesco’s optical tamper proved better than many other readers whose manufacturers rely on mechanical tampers. Whereas alarms should be sent whenever a reader is intentionally mishandled, mechanical tampers trigger false alarms more often than those cued optically.” Marcela continues, “The technical solutions Idesco and RYS implemented, combined with the efforts of an excellent crisis management team, triggered almost unbelievable changes inside that apartment building. Our access control not only strengthened crime prevention immediately, but also empowered law enforcement in discouraging unwanted or illegal activity.” Enhanced building security He adds, “As that building’s security increased, the market value of individual flats began trending upward. Today, the building’s residents feel safer and they have actually started thinking positively about their community’s future.” Marcela Benuskova with RYS closed by stating, “Idesco’s team is so nice to work with; they always respond fast, with a friendly, professional and positive attitude. Any technical question or problem gets looked at, given proper thought and action. They have always been open to, and repeatedly implemented, product changes we asked for.”

Idesco Transparent Readers Secure Site And Equipment Access At Construction Sites
Idesco Transparent Readers Secure Site And Equipment Access At Construction Sites

Transparent readers provide a significantly different method for powerfully strengthening high security access control systems. The security of transparent readers’ relies on eliminating as much hosted data, or software, as possible; essentially, their function depends entirely on instructions their system host sends to them. Their role is similar to loudspeakers in a sound system: hacking a loudspeaker doesn’t let you change the music. Another analogy likens transparent readers to antennae, merely transmitting data to and from transponders and the system, whereas system software determines a transparent reader’s functionality. This is why the French security authority, ANSSI, prescribes transparent readers for sites with the highest security requirements. Simplified system updates However, powerful security isn’t transparent readers’ only benefit – they also massively simplify system updates. With all software instructions hosted in the system, device updates are no longer required, even after a comprehensive system change. Any changes to reader functionality can be completely integrated into the system’s software update. Swedish Infobric chose Idesco’s 9 CD 2.0 Slim Pin T transparent readers to implement a remarkably flexible solution for construction sites. Their system controls both site and equipment access while conveniently collecting data that employers need to fulfill their employee reporting obligations to government authorities. For Infobric, transparent readers greatly simplified system management while also letting them tailor their product to different markets and technology standards.

Idesco Access Control Chosen By RYS In Integration At Residential Building In Slovakia
Idesco Access Control Chosen By RYS In Integration At Residential Building In Slovakia

Slovakian integrator RYS, recently deployed a system that provides a textbook example of how RFID access control can concretely improve people’s lives every day. Before automatic access control was introduced there, a Bratislava apartment building, known as ‘The Pentagon’, had suffered a reputation as a place to avoid. Drug dealers, vandals, and a similar criminal element were a chronic presence, leaving residents constantly feeling unsafe in their own homes. Idesco customer RYS was contracted to design and deploy an RFID access control system to better guarantee safety and enhance the residents quality of life. Access control readers The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their use only by its RFID tag-holding residents With over 30 years specialized experience in residential building access control, Rys designed a solution and chose Idesco to supply the over 100 readers to be deployed. Today, those 7 C 2.0 and 8 CD 2.0 readers control both first floor access and section/hallway entrances on each floor. Elevator readers restrict residents’ access to their own floors. The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their used only by its RFID tag-holding residents. Simultaneously, the entire system collects real time data about access events, including unclosed doors or unauthorized access attempts, to help strengthen prevention and control. Due to the building’s history of vandalism, Rys recognized the importance of choosing readers capable of withstanding malicious impacts, not merely high IP67 protection from moisture, dust and dirt, but Idesco’s high, IK-09/10 impact durability (10-20 joules). Better tampering protection Marcela Benuskova, RYS assistant project manager, comments that Idesco’s optical tamper proved better than many other readers whose manufacturers rely on mechanical tampers. Whereas alarms should be sent whenever a reader is intentionally mishandled, mechanical tampers trigger false alarms more often than those cued optically. Marcela continues, “Idesco’s team is so nice to work with; they always respond fast, with a friendly, professional and positive attitude. Any technical question or problem gets looked at, given proper thought and action. They have always been open to, and repeatedly implemented, product changes we asked for. For example, they provided a special 8 CD 2.0 Compact reader module for our door phone, and customized orange lenses for our Basic readers. Product deliveries have always been timely and in proper condition. In short, Idesco has been a very reliable supplier for us, with great customer support. Additionally, their high quality, modern readers offer unique features such as RS232 connections, optical tampers, great security, all in addition to their high IK and IP ratings”, maintains Rys’ Marcela Benuskova. Engineering for future needs “They not only use the most modern technology but engineer for future needs. This lets us design new features in our access control systems. Despite their readers’ durability and reliability, they still look fresh and modern while still having the latest security features. This is exactly what we want from readers upon which we will build our systems. Even better, their stable pricing policy and frame order option greatly supports our own planning and product marketing cycles”, Marcela explains. She closes, “The technical solutions Idesco and Rys implemented, combined with the efforts of an excellent crisis management team, triggered almost unbelievable changes inside that apartment building. Our access control not only strengthened crime prevention immediately, but also empowered law enforcement in discouraging unwanted or illegal activity. As that building’s security increased, the market value of individual flats began trending upward. Today, the building’s residents feel more safe; they have actually started thinking positively about their community’s future.”

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