Places of leisure, where one spends one’s downtime, are public by design. Unlike a bank vault or power plant, they actively invite visitors. One can’t just lock them down and hope no one turns up.

Equally, to ensure user and property safety, access must not be a free for all. Managing risk - separating authorized from unauthorized people and locations - is part of every site manager’s daily routine. Intelligent locking makes this workload a whole lot easier.

Intelligent keys combine the powerful features of electronic access control with the convenience and familiarity of mechanical keys. In hugely diverse leisure settings across Europe, they already help managers do more with less. Everyone treasures their leisure. The right access solution can help one do it safely without putting a burden on those responsible for one’s security.

We treasure our leisure. The right access solution can help us do it safely without putting a burden on those responsible for our security.

Controlling access to outdoor sites and visitor attractions

Obviously, for many leisure attractions, wired electronic security is not an option. Locations may be remote - far beyond the reach of mains electricity. Assets themselves may be outside. Thankfully, cabling is not essential for effective intelligent access control. Robust, battery-powered locking, backed by intuitive admin software one can access from anywhere, matches or exceeds the functionality of traditional wired access control.

Padlocks built to withstand climate extremes integrate within one’s system exactly like standard interior locks. Intelligent electronic key systems are also budget friendly. Making the switch from mechanical security is not an all-or-nothing decision. The best intelligent key systems let one roll out gradually, as needs evolve and budgets allow.

For example, the Llyn Brenig Reservoir and Visitor Center in Wales attracts tens of thousands of tourists every year. Both mechanical and electromechanical locking protect a site which houses critical infrastructure and watersports facilities - with disparate security needs. Here electromechanical locking brings long-term cost savings to site owners Welsh Water, because locks no longer need to be changed when keys are lost. Permissions are simply deleted from the system software.

In 2015, Twycross Zoo launched a £55 million, two-decade development plan. High on the agenda was a new intelligent key solution to replace a mechanical master-key system which was labor-intensive to administer. The new system’s flexibility has put zoo security managers in full control of their site. Only staff with the necessary authority and training can access animal enclosures.

Carrying one programmable key able to open doors, windows and padlocks makes the security team’s rounds easier

It’s simple for system administrators to issue time-defined user keys. These can permit vets or zookeepers access to enclosures for a specific time period outside regular hours - for example, in an emergency. When the period expires, the key no longer works and site integrity is automatically restored.

Access control in the museum sector

When Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” was stolen from an Oslo museum in 1994, thieves left a note which read: “Thanks for the poor security”. Securing museums - open spaces with priceless contents - presents one of security’s biggest challenges. Around 50,000 artworks are stolen every year, according to some estimates.

Adding further complexity, many museums are located within historic properties. The building itself may be integral to the attraction - and come with strict heritage protections. Any new locking installation must make minimal mess. For this reason, wireless is increasingly the preferred choice.

Wireless access systems based on robust, key-operated locking, rather than cards and other keyless credentials, combine a familiar technology (the metal key) with the intelligence to keep staff and collections safe. Carrying one programmable key able to open doors, cabinets, windows and padlocks makes the security team’s rounds easier. It also minimizes the number of keys in circulation - with obvious security benefits.

Companion software makes key tracking straightforward: one always knows who exactly is carrying credentials, can refine or amend those permissions quickly and order a full audit trail on demand. And these locks are discreet enough to maintain the property’s appearance.

Museum access control in action

London’s Design Museum needed access control designed to protect high-value assets and exhibits. Devices here protect a contemporary site with three galleries, a restaurant/café and an events space, with 100 permanent staff and hundreds (sometimes thousands) of daily visitors. The building has multiple door sizes and must meet British Standards compliance.

Installation was easy and wire-free, because encrypted electronics inside CLIQ locks are powered by the standard batteries

Electromechanical locks now control access through 56 doors, forming part of a security ecosystem which incorporates traditional mechanical locks, too. Using intuitive management software, security managers ensure every staff member accesses only the right areas. Contractors are issued with temporary programmable keys, which saves time formerly wasted escorting them around the building. The system the Design Museum chose - CLIQ® from ASSA ABLOY - also enables integration with third-party cloud-based solutions, for control via a single, central management interface.

The delicate balance between protecting a precious building and guarding its contents sets a major challenge. Security and access control must be “subtle, but ever present,” according to one former moderator of the Museum Security Network. Invasive installation, showy or inappropriately designed devices and components cannot be considered. This was the checklist facing France’s Musée Maurice Denis: the museum is inside a listed 17th-century monument, so they turned to CLIQ access control technology for a solution.

Drawing on extensive experience in the heritage sector, ASSA ABLOY delivered security without disrupting the building aesthetic. Installation was easy and wire-free, because encrypted electronics inside CLIQ locks are powered by the standard batteries inside every programmable key. No further power supply is needed at the door.

Around 70 robust, hard-wearing cylinders and padlocks now secure doors and windows inside and outside the main building; waterproof padlocks protect CCTV camera housing on the exterior. Every employee receives access to relevant areas via a single CLIQ key, which administrators program with only the appropriate permissions.

Insurance compliance is another major concern in the heritage sector. Indeed, insurers for 17th-century warship Vasa demand Sweden’s highest level of locking: Class 3. Yet the Vasamuseet’s access system must also allow 1.2 million annual visitors to move around freely, while keeping exhibits safe.

To upgrade an existing mechanical system, around 700 interior door cylinders were equipped with CLIQ Remote electromechanical technology. Museum staff used to carry heavy chains with ten or more keys. Now facility managers can amend the access rights of everyone’s single CLIQ key at any time, even remotely, using the CLIQ Web Manager. It’s easy to issue contractors such as carpenters with access rights scheduled to end automatically as soon as their work is complete.

Security for shopping and indoor leisure sites

The electronics inside CLIQ locks are powered by the standard battery inside every key, not mains electricity

According to one study completed two decades ago, one spends 87% of one’s time indoors. The number is probably higher now - and includes a huge chunk of one’s leisure time. Large retail multiplexes like Festival Place in the UK are a popular destination. Here over 170 shops, a cinema, sports center and restaurants have an ever-changing roster of permanent staff, cleaners and out-of-hours contractors. Every person requires secure entry on demand. The public also needs open access for 18 hours every day.

Yet a single lost mechanical key could become a security problem for all users and tenants. Installing 100 CLIQ electromechanical cylinders drastically cut the burden of mechanical key management.

Now, cleaners and maintenance workers carry an intelligent key which unlocks specific doors for a pre-defined time period. Using simple online admin software, site managers can immediately de-authorize and reissue a lost key or amend any key’s permissions. Generating a comprehensive audit trail - who accessed which lock, and when - takes a couple of mouse clicks.

CLIQ also cuts Festival Place operational costs. The electronics inside CLIQ locks are powered by the standard battery inside every key, not mains electricity. Installation was wireless, a huge saving on potentially expensive electrical work.

At Festival Place and wherever one gathers to enjoy leisure - indoors or outside - CLIQ enables easy access control for all openings with just a simple, single, programmable key.

To learn how you can put CLIQ® intelligent key technology to work in agile, flexible, secure public services, download a free introductory guide at https://campaigns.assaabloyopeningsolutions.eu/eCLIQ

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HID Global Pilot Program Demonstrates Social Distancing and Contact Tracing
HID Global Pilot Program Demonstrates Social Distancing and Contact Tracing

If one employee stands less than six feet away from another employee, a fob attached to a lanyard around his or her neck emits an auditory beep – an immediate reminder to observe social distancing. If an employee were to be diagnosed with COVID-19, a cloud-based database provides a record of who at the company the sick employee had contact with. These capabilities of HID Location Services ensure social distancing and provide contact tracing to enable companies to return to work safely. They have been deployed in a pilot program at HID Global’s Corporate Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Social distancing using a BLE beacon To ensure social distancing, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon is emitted from an employee’s fob (or from a badge that has the same functionality). The beacon communicates peer-to-peer with a beacon emitted by another employee’s fob or badge to alert if the location of the two employees is less than six feet apart. To ensure social distancing, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon is emitted from an employee’s fob For contact tracing, the beacons communicate via a nearby “reader” (a BluFi BLE-to-Wi-Fi gateway) to the Bluzone cloud-based software-as-a-service. The building area covered by each reader constitutes a “zone,” and the system records when two beacons are signaling from the same zone, which indicates contact between employees. In effect, the system records – historically and forensically – who was near whom (and for how long) using the zone-based approach. “In the workplace, we provide organizations with visibility into the location of their workforce,” says Mark Robinton, Vice President, IoT Services Business Unit at HID Global. Pilot program spans variety of environments By documenting where a sick individual moved in the building, the system also can guide any need to close off a certain area for deep cleaning. Instead of quarantining a whole building, a company could quarantine a small subset of employees who were likely exposed. Importantly, the system only reports data, while management makes the actual decisions about how to respond. The site of the pilot program is the 250,000-square-foot HID Global facility in Austin, which includes a variety of environments, including manufacturing areas, an executive suite, cubicles, a training area, a cafeteria, and lobbies. This spectrum of use cases enables the pilot program to evaluate how the system works in various scenarios. The building in Austin has two floors, plenty of natural lighting and emphasises sustainability in its design. HID Location Services ensure social distancing and provide contact tracing Pilot starts small and expands For the pilot program, 80 readers were installed in a wide area in the facility, including a variety of environments. Initially 30 badges and 30 fobs, all BLE-enabled, were issued to employees. If a badge identifies another nearby beacon (suggesting a social distancing failure), it emits a blinking LED light, which can be seen by the offending co-worker. The fobs emit an audible beep, which employees have overwhelmingly said they prefer. Observers overseeing the pilot program have documented employee reaction and comments. It emits a blinking LED light, which can be seen by the offending co-worker There were challenges in setting up the pilot program remotely to ensure fewer employees were on site during the pandemic. The equipment was provisioned in Florida and then shipped to the Austin location. Fine-tuning was required to adjust the signal strength of the BLE beacons. The badges were initially more powerful, but the strength was dialed back to be comparable to the fobs and within the six-foot social distancing range. Signal strength is also a variable in diverse environments – the 2.4 Ghz signal tends to reflect easily off metal, so adjustments in signal strength are needed in a factory setting, for example, versus a collection of cubicles.   “This facility is large enough and diverse enough that it provides great test results and quality data to analyze,” says Dean Young, Physical Security Manager at HID Global. “Our employees are eager to be part of the pilot to demonstrate that we use the technologies we provide to our customers, and they want to help us stay in compliance with social distancing and contact tracing.” Ensuring privacy while protecting employees HID Global’s headquarters had approximately 425 employees before the coronavirus pandemic lowered the number drastically to include only essential workers. As more people return to work, additional fobs and badges are being issued to expand the scope of the pilot program. The program is also incorporating contact tracing of suppliers and others who visit the facility. Except when triggered by contact among employees, locations are not recorded. Each employee’s location is always available in real-time (e.g. in case of an emergency), but they are not “tracked.” Through BluFi placement and geofence capabilities, the system closes off private areas where location should not be monitored, such as a rest room. Geofencing also identifies when employees enter and/or exit the area covered by the pilot program. Although each beacon is associated with an employee, the employee’s identity is not part of the data stored in the cloud, so there are no privacy concerns. Data is completely anonymized, and no personally identifiable information (PII) is stored in Bluzone. Other computer systems in a company, such as a human resources (HR) program, can privately and securely store the identities associated with each beacon.   Other applications for HID location services In addition to social distancing and contact tracing applications, HID Location Services offer other use cases ranging from asset tracking and employee safety/security to location analytics. For example, the system can analyze room usage for better building management and operational efficiency. It can also quickly find people in emergency situations. These use cases ensure continued value for a system even after concerns about social distancing and contact tracing have faded. The system can analyze room usage for better building management and operational efficiency Another big selling point is the ability of a company to be better prepared in case of a future pandemic, or a second wave of this one, says Robinton. The HID Location Services social distancing and contact tracing applications will be available at the end of Q3 and will be rolled out through HID Global’s existing integrator channel. Vertical markets likely to embrace the technology include healthcare, where hospitals need to track patients as they come in and to know which other patients or staff they may have been exposed to. The financial sector is another likely market, as is manufacturing, which is looking to avoid the prospect of shutting down an entire plant. It’s better to address the three or four people who were near a sick employee than to shut down the plant. In the hospitality industry, fobs can be used to signal duress by the housekeeping staff.

Debunking The Myths Of EBT Cameras In A COVID-19 World
Debunking The Myths Of EBT Cameras In A COVID-19 World

The new buzz in the thermal imaging world goes by many names. In a short time, a small niche in the world of IR, which was previously sidelined to make way for more lucrative markets such as security and defence, has taken the top spot in the attention, production and sales for many manufacturers and integrators.  It’s no surprise considering the size of this new market. Suddenly, hotels, cinemas, malls, hospitals, critical services, public transportation, office buildings and more have become consumers of thermal imaging cameras. Along with that, the more traditional markets, such as security, defense and industry are suffering from budget cuts, project cancellations, or postponements. Combine two of these elements, and the new elevated body temperature (EBT) camera market is easily 3-4 times the size of the other markets combined. Thermal imaging cameras and common misconceptions Can thermal cameras detect viruses?  The answer is NO. The best the camera can do is tell you if someone has a higher skin temperature than others. There are many reasons for an elevated body temperature which are not all health-related, such as exercise or even sitting in a warm environment without air-conditioning. Are the cameras accurate? The accuracy debate is a significant and controversial discussion with much misinformation running around. When discussing accuracy, there are two considerations: The first consideration is the accuracy of the camera itself versus a blackbody. Blackbodies are devices which can regulate temperature very accurately (although not all are equal) and have a high emissivity level, which means they are almost not affected by surrounding heat or energy. All thermal cameras are calibrated against blackbodies. Still, some manufacturers have been using them in their EBT solutions to give the camera a consistent temperature reference to which it can adjust. The accuracy of the camera in this discussion talks about the camera itself. How sensitive the detector is, internal reflections, lens aperture, noise level and the calibration process itself. Also, if you read the fine print, most manufacturers quote accuracy levels which are valid only in a controlled or laboratory environment. As in, a room with a steady 25°C and a slow shift in temperature (not more than 1°C per hour). Most field conditions don’t allow this – so this low level of accuracy is challenging to replicate in practice.Blackbodies are devices which can regulate temperature very accurately The other focuses on the fact we are not looking for COVID in black bodies. We are looking for it in humans. And, the substance known as human skin acts very differently. To date, there are no medical models which can predict how skin will behave in different scenarios. We don’t know what the external skin temperature of a man weighing X who was exposed for X minutes to direct or indirect sunlight would be. So, while the black body may be spot on – it has no bearing on the temperature reading of humans.  So, while we can improve the first issue, the second one is more complicated. One way to circumvent it is by using population statistical analysis and looking for the gradient between the healthy population (which does have existing medical models) to the people with a higher temperature which are statistical anomalies for such a camera. Thermal cameras and their suitability  Are all thermal cameras suitable for temperature readings? There is a difference between a thermal camera and a thermometric camera. A thermal camera developed for security and defence are used to detect threats and give situational awareness. We don’t care that two trees with different temperatures will have different colors – we care about the person standing between them. We manipulate the image, so the viewer has a better understanding of what he sees. With thermometric measurement (as in – thermal temperature reading) we do the exact opposite. We want accurate temperatures readings for each pixel in our screen. A thermometric camera will go through a rigorous calibration together with the lens, which often takes longer. We need to offset, in the calibration tables, minute pixel-sized blemishes in the detector and lens. Those blemishes would be invisible in a thermal image – but can skew the temperature reading and produce inaccurate results. We regularly see suppliers who are using regular thermal cameras with blackbodies to auto adjust the temperature reading as described above. But, if you take that same blackbody and move it a meter to one side, you may discover the camera suddenly registers a different temperature – as not all pixels have a uniform calibration. Does it matter where we scan in humans? Yes and no. The inner canthus of the eye (the tear duct) is the most relevant external point with the best correlation to internal temperature. People looking at the inner canthus will manage to avoid a lot of the effects of ambient temperature on the skin. The tradeoff is that the inner canthus is a tiny area, and people would need to remove their glasses. Most of the world’s health organisations consider the difference between a healthy and sick individual to be 1.5° C (or 2.7° F). That change is consistent whether you’re looking at the tear duct, the forehead or a mouth. Thus, the solutions that look at the gradient temperature (population-based solutions) are just as effective when measuring the ambient temperature on the skin of the population tested.  Do people need to stop in front of the camera? Not necessarily. It depends on the speed of the camera and the temperature detection algorithm. Some cameras can detect people walking very quickly as they only need a few frames to detect the temperature. Will the camera work outdoors? Most outdoor cameras will suffer from false alarms and misses. Some cameras have very advanced compensation algorithms for this, but they can’t take into account all the dynamic temperature changes, humidity, sporadic energy readings and the “bane of thermal imaging” - turbulence. Therefore, the conditions can strain even the most advanced algorithm.  Why invest in this technology? The WHO states, that while asymptomatic transmission exists, it’s much less contagious then symptomatic transmission. Some doctors claim that a person with a fever sheds the virus five times more aggressively than a person with no fever.  There are clear regulations for businesses to screen individuals for fever In some countries, there are clear regulations for businesses to screen individuals for fever as they come into the establishment. While you can have a person in the entrance with a contactless thermometer, they must stop people for a 5-second check each time they come in. That would cause long lines in many places with high traffic. And, during testing, standing less than 2 meters from the individual would throw social distancing out the window. If the tester got sick, the next day they would start endangering everyone else they checked. It’s better to screen automatically and only use the IR thermometer in cases where an alert was triggered and needed to be verified. Various forms of technology  We’ve also seen much use of the IR tablets recently. While they are low cost, a person usually needs to stand very close (less than 1 meter) from the monitor to be caught by the camera. Thus, spreading his germs on the glass or plastic cover of the tablet while being screened.  In conclusion – Thermal EBT cameras are important. They aren’t a miracle cure, and they won’t stop the spread of the virus. And one should be careful of false promises. But along with other solutions (most importantly – masks), they can help protect us during these times and allow the wounded global economy to rejuvenate itself.

Beyond Video Analytics, What Are the Benefits of AI and Machine Learning?
Beyond Video Analytics, What Are the Benefits of AI and Machine Learning?

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have made a big splash in the physical security market, transforming video analytics to a new level of accuracy. In fact, the terms have become common buzzwords throughout the industry. However, the potential for AI and machine learning to impact the physical security industry goes far beyond their ability to improve video analytics. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Beyond better video analytics, how can artificial intelligence (AI) and/or machine learning benefit the physical security market?