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The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorization and the appropriate credentials. The access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions 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. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customized and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms powers continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.
There’s a lot of hype around the term ‘digital transformation.’ For some, it’s the integration of digital technology into everyday tasks. For others, it’s the incorporation of innovative processes aimed at making business optimization easier. In most cases, digital transformation will fundamentally change how an organization operates and delivers value to its customers. And within the security realm, the age of digital transformation is most certainly upon us. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality. No longer are the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities foreign and distant concepts full of intrigue and promise. Enhancing business operations We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other These elements are increasingly incorporated into security solutions with each passing day, allowing enterprises the chance to experience countless benefits when it comes to enhancing both safety and business operations. The term ‘connected world’ is a derivative of the digital transformation, signifying the increasing reliance that we have on connectivity, smart devices and data-driven decision-making. As we become more familiar with the advantages, flaws, expectations and best practices surrounding the connected world, we can predict what issues may arise and where the market is heading. We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other through the IoT to achieve both simple goals and arduous tasks. Within our homes, we’re able to control a myriad of devices with commands (‘Hey Google...’ or ‘Alexa...’), as well as recall data directly from our mobile devices, such as receiving alerts when someone rings our doorbell, there’s movement in our front yard or when a door has been unlocked. Analytics-Driven solutions The focus is now shifting to the business impacts of connectivity between physical devices and infrastructures, and digital computing and analytics-driven solutions. Within physical security, connected devices can encompass a variety of sensors gathering massive amounts of data in a given timeframe: video surveillance cameras, access control readers, fire and intrusion alarms, perimeter detection and more. As the data from each of these sensors is collected and analyzed through a central platform, the idea of a connected world comes to fruition, bringing situational awareness to a new level and fostering a sense of proactivity to identifying emerging threats. The connected world, however, is not without its challenges, which means that certain considerations must be made in an effort to protect data, enhance structured networking and apply protective protocols to developing technology. Physical security systems We can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well As the use of connected devices and big data continue to grow, we can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well. Connectivity between devices can open up the risk of cyber vulnerabilities, but designing safeguards as technology advances will lessen these risks. The key goal is to ensure that the data organizations are using for enhancement and improvements is comprehensively protected from unauthorized access. Manufacturers and integrators must be mindful of their products' capabilities and make it easy for end users to adhere to data sharing and privacy regulations. These regulations, which greatly affect physical security systems and the way they're managed, are being implemented worldwide, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the United States, California, Vermont and South Carolina have followed suit, and it can be expected that more countries and U.S. states develop similar guidelines in the future. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality Automatic security updates Mitigating the concerns of the ‘connected world’ extends beyond just data privacy. IoT technology is accelerating at such a pace that it can potentially create detrimental problems for which many organizations may be ill-prepared - or may not even be able to comprehend. The opportunities presented by an influx of data and the IoT, and applying these technologies to markets such as smart cities, can solve security and operational problems, but this requires staying proactive when it comes to threats and practicing the proper protection protocols. As manufacturers develop devices that will be connected on the network, integrating standard, built-in protections becomes paramount. This can take the form of continuous vulnerability testing and regular, automatic security updates. Protocols are now being developed that are designed to ensure everything is encrypted, all communications are monitored and multiple types of attacks are considered for defensive purposes to provide the best security possible. IoT-Connected devices Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices Built-in protection mechanisms send these kinds of systems into protection mode once they are attacked by an outside source. Another way for manufacturers to deliver solutions that are protected from outside threats is through constant and consistent testing of the devices long after they are introduced to the market. Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices, taking every avenue to discover vulnerabilities. But a manufacturer that spends valuable resources to continue testing and retesting products will be able to identify any issues and correct them through regular software updates and fixes. ‘IoT’ has become a common term in our vocabularies and since it’s more widely understood at this point and time, it's exciting to think about the possibilities of this revolutionary concept. Providing critical insights The number of active IoT devices is expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025 — a number that is almost incomprehensible. The rise of 5G networks, artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving cars can be seen on the horizon of the IoT. As more of these devices are developed and security protocols are developed at a similar pace, connected devices stand to benefit a variety of industries, such as smart cities. Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches to ensuring a city is well-run and safe. For example, think of cameras situated at a busy intersection. Cameras at these locations have a variety of uses, such as investigative purposes in the event of an accident or for issuing red-light tickets to motorists. But there are so many other possible purposes for this connected device, including providing critical insights about intersection usage and traffic congestion. These insights can then be used to adjust stoplights during busy travel times or give cities valuable data that can drive infrastructure improvements. Physical security market The impact of connected devices on cities doesn’t stop at traffic improvement. The possibilities are endless; by leveraging rich, real-time information, cities can improve efficiencies across services such as transportation, water management and healthcare. However, stringent protections are needed to harden security around the networks transmitting this kind of information in an effort to mitigate the dangers of hacking and allow this technology to continuously be improved. Whether you believe we’re in the midst of a digital transformation or have already completed it, one thing is certain: businesses must begin thinking in these connectivity-driven terms sooner rather than later so they aren’t left behind. Leveraging smart, connected devices can catapult organizations into a new level of situational awareness, but adopting protections and remaining vigilant continues to be a stalwart of technological innovation within the physical security market and into the connected world.
Johnson Controls recently unveiled the findings of its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey that examined the current and planned investments and key drivers to improve energy efficiency and building systems integration in facilities. Systems integration was identified as one of the top technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the implementation in smart buildings over the next five years, with respondents planning to invest in security, fire and life-safety integrations more so than any other systems integration in the next year. As advanced, connected technologies drive the evolution of smart buildings, security and safety technologies are at the center of more intelligent strategies as they attribute to overall building operations and efficiencies. SecurityInformed.com spoke with Johnson Controls, Building Solutions, North America, VP of Marketing, Hank Monaco, and Senior National Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Smart Cities, Lisa Brown, about the results of the study, smart technology investments and the benefits of a holistic building strategy that integrates security and fire and life-safety systems with core building systems. Q: What is the most striking result from the survey, and what does it mean in the context of a building’s safety and security systems? The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems Hank Monaco: Investment in building system integration increased 23 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey. When respondents were asked more specifically what systems they we planning to invest in over the next year, fire and life safety integration (61%) and security system integration (58%) were the top two priorities for organizations. The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems to improve overall operations and bolster capabilities beyond the intended function of an individual system. Q: The survey covers integration of fire, life safety and security systems as part of "smart building" systems. How do smarter buildings increase the effectiveness of security and life safety systems? Hank Monaco: A true “smart building” integrates all building systems – security, fire and life-safety, HVAC, lighting etc. – to create a connected, digital infrastructure that enables individual technologies to be more intelligent and perform more advanced functions beyond what they can do on their own. For example, when sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems, if abnormal activity is detected on the building premise, key stakeholders can be automatically alerted to increase emergency response time. With integrated video surveillance, they also gain the ability to access surveillance footage remotely to assess the situation. When sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems abnormal activity on the premise can automatically be detected Q: How can integrated security and life safety systems contribute to greater energy efficiency in a smart building environment? Hank Monaco: Security, fire and life-safety systems can help to inform other building systems about how a facility is used, high-trafficked areas and the flow of occupants within a building. Integrated building solutions produce a myriad of data that can be leveraged to increase operational efficiencies. From an energy efficiency standpoint, actionable insights are particularly useful for areas that are not frequently occupied or off-peak hours as you wouldn’t want to heat or cool an entire building for just one person coming in on the weekend. When video surveillance is integrated with HVAC and lighting systems, it can monitor occupancy in a room or hallway. The video analytics can then control the dimming of lights and the temperature depending on occupant levels in a specific vicinity. Similarly, when access control systems are integrated with these same systems, once a card is presented to the reader, it can signal the lights or HVAC system to turn on. In this example, systems integration can ultimately help enable energy savings in the long run. Security and life safety systems contribute to help enable greater energy efficiency and energy savings in the long run Q: What other benefits of integration are there (beyond the core security and life safety functions)? Hank Monaco: Beyond increased security, fire and life-safety functions, the benefits of systems integration include: Increased data and analytics to garner a holistic, streamlined understanding of how systems function and how to improve productivity Ability to track usage to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs Enhanced occupant experience and comfort Increased productivity and workflow to support business objectives Smart-ready, connected environment that can support future technology advancements Q: What lesson or action point should a building owner/operator take from the survey? How can the owner of an existing building leverage the benefits of the smart building environment incrementally and absent a complete overhaul? Lisa Brown: Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator found that 77% of organizations plan to make investments in energy efficiency and smarter building technology this year. This percentage demonstrates an increased understanding of the benefits of smart buildings and highlights the proactive efforts building owners are taking to adopt advanced technologies. There is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected As smart buildings continue to evolve, more facilities are beginning to explore opportunities to advance their own spaces. A complete overhaul of legacy systems is not necessary as small investments today can help position a facility to more easily adopt technologies at scale in the future. As a first step, it’s important for building owners to conduct an assessment and establish a strategy that defines a comprehensive set of requirements and prioritizes use-cases and implementations. From there, incremental investments and updates can be made over a realistic timeline. Q: What is the ROI of smart buildings? Lisa Brown: As demonstrated by our survey, there is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected. The advanced analytics and more streamlined data that is gathered through systems integration can provide the building-performance metrics to help better understand the return on investment (ROI) of the building systems. This data is used to better understand the environment and make assessments and improvements overtime to increase efficiencies. Moreover, analytics and data provide valuable insights into where action is needed and what type of return can be expected from key investments.
Access control and security systems manufacturer, Inner Range has announced a new integration option for customers with specialist IP-based intercom systems from 2N. Integriti Inner Range’s intelligent integrated access control and security system, Integriti can now integrate with 2N’s IP-based intercom systems. 2N products allow secure and comfortable communication across even the most complex commercial sites, with multiple communication points, such as entrances, car parks, reception, lifts and meeting rooms. Integration with 2N’s IP-based intercoms Like Inner Range, 2N designs and manufactures its own products, taking the time and many rounds of testing" Tim Northwood, General Manager at Inner Range, said, “Like Inner Range, 2N designs and manufactures its own products, taking the time and many rounds of testing to get things right, before releasing systems to the market. As a result, we are confident 2N intercoms will be a reliable and useful addition for our customers in the UK and across the world.” Michal Kratochvil, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at 2N, said, “Inner Range and 2N are natural partners, and not just because both companies have such extensive experience in security access control systems and a global footprint. We also share the same commitment to innovation through ongoing investment in R&D, and have built our companies through the same focus on customers.” Strategic collaboration He adds, “We see alliances like this as vital to maintaining 2N's status as an innovator in the residential and commercial markets. Together, I am confident that Inner Range and 2N can meet the growing demand we are seeing across the globe for smarter access control systems.” 2N offers intercom systems for residential and commercial markets with products that are Bluetooth, smartphone and tablet-enabled. The company developed the world’s first IP intercom in 2008 and the first LTE/4G intercom, ten years later. Intelligent access control and security system 2N now covers the full range of solutions in the field of security, access control systems and communication within buildings. Integriti is Inner Range’s award-winning intelligent access control and security system that can integrate with a multitude of third-party products to create a sophisticated and highly secure access and security solution, while also providing trouble-free access for site users.
The tallest building in the European Union, Varso Place in Warsaw, Poland, is now live with Forge Bluepoint visitor management and Inner Range intelligent access control. Forge Bluepoint, Forge’s cloud-based visitor management solution was chosen by Varso Place’s developer HB Reavis after the firm researched the market and found it could provide a great experience for visitors as it was multi-tenant ready, multi-lingual and it could integrate seamlessly with Inner Range’s sophisticated Integriti system. Jakub Kacer, Security Manager at HB Reavis said: “When all tenants use Forge Bluepoint, our receptionists will have less administration work, we will have real-time visitor statistics and it’s a modern attractive visitor system.” Access control system Forge Bluepoint will allow the main reception teams at each building to focus on the experience at Varso Place. Visitors will be invited by tenants via email which will provide them with a unique QR code. Visitors will use this QR code to check-in at the Forge Bluepoint kiosk or with the reception team. The integration with Inner Range’s Integriti access control system allows visitors to also use the QR code to call the lifts, supplied by Schindler, to access the floor of the tenant company and nowhere else. Paul Speariett, Co-founder and Director at Forge, said: “Working closely with the onsite security and building management team at Varso Place, in Warsaw, we were able to implement Forge Bluepoint during the COVID-19 crisis from the UK. It wasn’t ideal, but we overcame the challenges and are proud to see Forge Bluepoint working to give visitors a great experience.” Visitor management supplier Forge is currently rolling out Forge Bluepoint at Nivy Tower in Bratislava and the Agora Tower in Budapest Tim Northwood, General Manager at Inner Range, said: “Our flagship intelligent integrated access control system Integriti provides robust security and sophisticated controls around access to these new buildings. But it also allows trouble-free access for users, including the ability to invite and manage visitors easily via Forge Bluepoint.” With 1.5 million sq ft of leasable space, companies including Cambridge Innovation Center, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (a state-owned development bank in Poland) and the Polish offices of Nvidia, Yves Rocher and Workday will call Varso Place home and use Forge Bluepoint to invite visitors easily, safely and securely. Forge, as the chosen visitor management supplier for HB Reavis globally, is currently rolling out Forge Bluepoint at Nivy Tower in Bratislava and the Agora Tower in Budapest. Access and security solution Inner Range has been a world leader in the design and manufacture of intelligent security solutions since it was established in 1988. More than 150,000 Inner Range systems have been installed in over 30 countries. Customers include hospitals and high-security units, colleges, distribution centers and pharmaceutical companies, government and critical national infrastructure. It’s Integriti product is an award-winning intelligent access control and security system that can integrate with a multitude of third-party products to create a sophisticated and highly secure access and security solution while also providing trouble-free access for site users. Varso Place is Warsaw’s largest mixed-use development and consists of Varso 1, Varso 2 designed by HRA Architekci, and Varso Tower, the tallest building in the European Union at 310m high which was designed by celebrated architects, Foster + Partners.
When designing a security system for a site, the question of how it should be interconnected is often one of the first you need to answer. Should you choose a system that has its own proprietary bus network, which might require twisted pair cabling, or perhaps one based on an ethernet backbone? Both types of network have their advantages and disadvantages as discussed below. Ethernet connectivity Some security systems are based on a number of modules, and each module is connected to its own ethernet connection. One big advantage of a system like this is that in many cases it can be much more convenient, allowing the installer to utilize existing network cabling and other infrastructure, rather than needing to install new cabling. On the other hand, if a security system relies entirely on networking infrastructure controlled by others – typically the IT department, then the stability and reliability of the security system is dependent on that network being available when your system needs it. The stability and reliability of the security system is dependent on that network being available Another potential disadvantage is that certain areas of the premises may not be equipped with a nearby network outlet, and if the network in question is not managed by you, it might be necessary to request the IT department add an outlet for you to use. Proprietary bus connectivity A system with its own proprietary bus network can also have advantages. Perhaps the first and most important difference is that because the network cabling is installed specifically for the security system, the designer has the luxury of being able to decide exactly where the wiring should be placed and terminated. Another advantage is that the cabling would only be used by the security system, so the installation company can be sure the network will always be available, and there would be very little chance part of it could be accidentally unplugged. Another potential advantage is that some systems are able to run bus cabling of distances well over 1,000 metres, whereas individual ethernet connections are typically limited to 100 metres or less. Another consideration, which applies particularly to intruder and holdup alarm systems, is that communications between elements of the security system should not be prevented by other factors, such as a power failure. Obviously, if a part of such a network is formed by ethernet infrastructure, such as network switches and / or media converters, then that infrastructure needs to be battery backed, and the power supply must be monitored. In some cases, the equipment must be able to withstand a power failure of 24 or even 60 hours. Such long standby times are unusual in IT infrastructure, but are quite common in the case of security systems. The equipment must be able to withstand a power failure of 24 or even 60 hours How this all fits together When selecting a system, it is usually most helpful to have a flexible system that can support a number of different deployment options. This is especially true if the system in question can support a combination of different interconnection types. For example, a single system that can contain a variety of interconnections can then be deployed in a very wide variety of systems where existing infrastructure may be used to aid in the design and deployment: Fiber connections – Many modern sites are pre-cabled with existing fiber connections which can be used to form a dedicated interconnection between system components which can be of the order of kilometres apart. Ethernet connectivity – With the increasing ubiquity of networking within premises, some elements of a security system can be deployed using the existing infrastructure. Repeater - For very large or densely packed systems, a device that can be used as a form of “repeater” can be extremely useful to permit very long interconnect cabling distances. Systems can be formed by utilising a fusion of all of the above connectivity methods Some security systems can be set up to enable multiple discrete access control modules to be deployed, connected to an existing ethernet network, and treated as a single ‘system’ by the management software, while retaining full offline functionality in the event the network becomes unavailable. Further, some systems can be formed by utilising a fusion of all of the above connectivity methods. In practice, of course some applications would suit a deployment that relied solely on ethernet connectivity. Some other applications, especially systems or parts of systems that are part of an intruder and/or holdup alarm system, would better suit a deployment using a dedicated proprietary bus network, and other systems would suit a combination of these communications options. Selecting a system that can be deployed in a variety of ways can be enormously helpful in providing the flexibility projects might demand.
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