Access control cards/ tags/ fobs - Expert commentary

Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control
Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for post and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing whilst obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc whilst sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for manoeuvre. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.

4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19
4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19

The unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 has taken its toll on all of us, but as cases of the virus thankfully recede, employers are now forced to confront how they can enable a safe return to work for employees. For many employers, this means they will have to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, redesign workspaces to maintain social distances, carry out more frequent cleaning, manage the transmission risk and find alternatives to touch-based security devices. Protecting workplace occupants in any emergency requires preparation and clear communication. This is especially critical in a health crisis involving an infectious disease. These are some of the essential best practices that could help organisations reduce the impact on their employees and operations during this pandemic. 1. Use a visitor management system With a visitor management system, organisations have a single source of real-time and historical insights into who is, or was recently, in the workplace. This is especially important because of the need to perform contact tracing should anyone in the organisation show symptoms of COVID-19, meaning everyone they have been in contact with needs to be contacted and asked to isolate. Yet still, first impressions are made at the front desk or lobby, where the visitor experience needs to be a positive one. At the same time, though, any emergency event requires that there be strict control over who is entering the workplace. This policy also needs to be clearly communicated to visitors. Doing this minimises risk to visitors as well as the workforce. In addition to delivering a high-quality visitor experience, the ideal visitor management system must: Enable organisations to meet regulatory compliance mandates and facilitate check-in at a self-service kiosk to minimise wait times. Customise the visitor experience to support specific security needs, such as accelerating and simplifying check-in or requiring additional security pre-checks. Automate compliance as it relates to visitor access rules with historical visit reports. 2. Pre-check questions at visitor registration kiosks Organisations can strengthen security at the registration kiosk using a flexible, enterprise-grade visitor management system to add visitor sign-in steps. This has proven successful in the past when used to control the spread of infectious disease during an outbreak. An example of this is a U.S. children's hospital which managed to reduce facility infection rates by 25 percent over a two-year period using a commercial, off-the-shelf physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution from HID Global. The solution provides two particularly important capabilities that can be used by organisations to protect their workplace from the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease: Enhance visitor registration policy with additional mandatory questions to help identify any visitors who may need other screenings. Extend the visitor registration kiosk with a mandatory pop-up asking further questions during visitor check-in. 3. Understand who has visited your workplace Successful controlling the spread of infection throughout a facility requires the ability to automatically maintain an auditable trail of activity. This can be done using an enterprise-grade visitor management system that makes it easy to retrieve historical visit reports. This provides a timeline of who was in the workplace, and when they were there. Key features include: A single dashboard providing useful visitor insights at your fingertips. Historical reports that provide visitor details including location and contact information, all in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regulations. 4. Clearly communicate how infection risks can be reduced Global organisations must actively communicate with visitors and employees on the outbreak of infectious diseases and follow best practices outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are several things organisations can do in this area to help maintain a safe and healthy workplace: Re-enforce and communicate WHO best practices with guideline posters in the front lobby and throughout the workplace. Add posters that also encourage regular and thorough washing of hands. Encourage everyone to cough or sneese into their shirt sleeve in their flexed elbow or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Encourage everyone to keep a relatively safe distance from each other and use alternatives to handshakes when saying hello. Organisations must contend with a variety of workplace challenges during the outbreak of an infectious disease. These challenges can be solved with best practices that include a comprehensive visitor management system that automates critical check-in policies and maintains an auditable trail of visitor activity.  

The growth of the mobile access card market in 2020
The growth of the mobile access card market in 2020

The emergence of smartphones using iOS and Android is rapidly changing the landscape of the IT industry around the world. Several industries, such as digital cameras, car navigation, MP3, and PNP, have been replaced by equivalent or even better performance using smartphones. Smartphones provide increasing portability by integrating the functions of various devices into a single unit which allows them to connect to platforms with network-based services and offer new services and conveniences that have never been experienced before. These changes have expanded into the access control market. Although not yet widespread, ‘Mobile access cards’ is one of the terminologies that everyone has been talking about. RF cards used for access security are being integrated into smartphones just as digital cameras and MP3s were in the past. While people might forget their access cards at home in the morning, they seldom forget their smartphones. Using smartphones for access control increases entry access reliability and convenience. Mobile/smartphone access control A key aspect of mobile credential is that it makes it possible to issue or reclaim cards without face-to-face interaction As in other markets, the combination of smartphones and access cards is creating a new value that goes beyond the simple convenience of integration enhancing the ability to prevent unauthorized authentication and entrance. People sometimes lend their access cards to others, but it is far less likely they might lend their smartphone with all their financial information and personal information – to another person. This overcomes an important fundamental weakness of RF cards. Another valuable aspect of mobile credential is that it makes it possible to issue or reclaim cards without face-to-face interaction. Under existing access security systems, cards must be issued in person. Since card issuance implies access rights, the recipient’s identification must be confirmed first before enabling the card and once the card has been issued, it cannot be retracted without another separate face-to-face interaction. Mobile access cards In contrast, mobile access cards are designed to transfer authority safely to the user's smartphone based on TLS. In this way, credentials can be safely managed with authenticated users without face-to-face interaction. Mobile cards can be used not only at the sites with a large number of visitors or when managing access for an unspecified number of visitors, but also at the places like shared offices, kitchens and gyms, currently used as smart access control systems in shared economy markets. The market share of mobile access cards today is low even though the capability can offer real benefits to users and markets. While the access control market itself is slow-moving, there are also practical problems that limit the adoption of new technologies like mobile access cards. Use of Bluetooth Low Energy technology While NFC could be an important technology for mobile credential that is available today on virtually all smartphones, differences in implementation and data handling processes from various vendors prevents universal deployment of a single solution to all devices currently on the market. Accordingly, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has been considered as an alternative to NFC. Bluetooth is a technology that has been applied to smartphones for a long time, and its usage and interface are unified, so there are no compatibility problems. However, speed becomes the main problem. The authentication speed of BLE mobile access card products provided by major companies is slower than that of existing cards. Enhancing credential authentication speed Authentication speed is being continuously improved using BLE's GAP layer and GATT layers The second problem is that mobile access cards must be accompanied by a supply of compatible card readers. In order to use mobile access cards, readers need to be updated but this is not a simple task in the access control market. For 13.56 MHz smart cards (which were designed to replace 125 kHz cards), it has taken 20 years since the standard was established but only about half of all 25 kHz cards have been replaced so far. Legacy compatibility and the need for equivalent performance, even with additional benefits, will drive adoption timing for the Access Control market. While BLE technology helps resolve the compatibility problem of mobile access cards, it can identify some breakthroughs that can solve the speed problem. Authentication speed is being continuously improved using BLE's GAP layer and GATT layers, and new products with these improvements are now released in the market. Making use of key improvements allows Suprema's mobile access card to exhibit an authentication speed of less than 0.5 seconds providing equivalent performance to that of card-based authentication. AirFob Patch MOCA System's AirFob Patch addresses the need for technological improvements in the access control market in a direct, cost effective, and reliable way – by offering the ability to add high-performance BLE to existing card readers – enabling them to read BLE smartphone data by applying a small adhesive patch approximately the size of a coin. This innovative breakthrough applies energy harvesting technology, generating energy from the RF field emitted by the existing RF reader – then converting the data received via BLE back into RF – and delivering it to the reader. By adding the ability to use BLE on virtually any existing RF card reading device, MOCA allows greater ability for partners and end users to deploy a technologically-stable, high performance access control mobile credential solution to their employees, using devices they already own and are familiar with. Adding MOCA AirFob Patch eliminates the need to buy and install updated readers simply to take advantage of mobile credential, lowering costs and risks, and increasing employee confidence and convenience. Growth forecast of mobile access card market in 2020 In 2020, forecasts show that the mobile access card market will grow far more rapidly Several companies have entered the mobile access card market, but they have not set up a meaningful product solution stream until 2019. In 2020, forecasts show that the mobile access card market will grow far more rapidly. Reviewing new entries into the market allows identification of the latest products that provide improving solutions to compatibility and speed problems. MOCA AirFob Patch addresses development plans in process today that overcome the legacy installed base of card readers – allowing rapid creation of an environment that can make immediate use of BLE mobile access cards. Integrated mobile digital ID With proven usability and within suitable environments, mobile access cards will also begin to make inroads into other markets, not just the access control market. In the sharing economy market, which seeks access management without face-to-face interaction, the integrated mobile digital ID led by the 'DID Alliance' will serve as a technical tool that can be used in access authentication – forging increasing links between the access control and digital ID markets.

Latest ASSA ABLOY news

Traka Automotive enters mechanical key systems market with the launch of TrakaMEC key management range
Traka Automotive enters mechanical key systems market with the launch of TrakaMEC key management range

Traka Automotive, one of UK’s renowned electronic key management solution provider for automotive dealers, has expanded its product portfolio by launching TrakaMEC, a mechanical key management range. TrakaMEC is an affordable new addition to Traka Automotive’s extensive range of solutions, designed to meet the needs of dealerships and services centres that are not yet requiring fully networked and integrated electronic key management systems. Presenting a highly secure mechanical key management solution, TrakaMEC is available in two systems; TrakaMEC Supreme as tested to rigiorous LPS1175 and EN14450 standards, and TrakaMEC Lite for a simpler and more low cost solution. Electronic key management Says Paul Smith, Director Traka Automative: “Latest statistics show nearly a third of Brits are now looking to prepare to return to regular commuting, purchasing a car to limit their exposure to other members of the public and avoid public transport where possible. Dealerships, large and small across the UK, need to be up and running as efficiently as possible to meet demands.” “TrakaMEC has been launched as a cost effective solution to help those aspiring to move to an electronic system as they grow in this new working environment. Traka Automotive is already the market-leading electronic key management solution provider amongst larger franchise and prestige dealerships brands. With the launch into mechanical, we’re making the upgrade path very easy and attractively-priced for dealerships to advance at their own pace.” Key management solution Each Supreme cabinet comes with a modern electronic Code Handle which can be programmed with nine user codes Each TrakaMEC Supreme cabinet is built with the highest quality Union ASSA ABLOY components including force resistant, anti-drill, anti-pick and anti-saw BS 5-lever mortice deadlocks for extra peace of mind and security. Additionally, each Supreme cabinet comes with a modern electronic Code Handle which can be programmed with nine different user codes to improve security. TrakaMEC Lite is a low cost and effective key management solution, designed to meet the needs of dealerships with less stringent security specification demands than TrakaMEC Supreme provides. TrakaMEC Lite cabinets are available with 50, 100 or 150 key capacity. Individual dealership requirements Paul concluded: “TrakaMEC customers can be assured at an uncertain time of getting the best of many worlds. They will receive a solution designed, made and supported by Traka; the global leader in access solutions dedicated to satisfying end user needs for security, safety and convenience. At the same time benefit from a highly cost-effective, outstanding quality mechanical product designed specifically for automotive customers that can be scalable to suit individual dealership requirements.”

Lifesafety Power launches ProWire XPRESS models with single-voltage power systems for cost-effective installation
Lifesafety Power launches ProWire XPRESS models with single-voltage power systems for cost-effective installation

ProWire Unified Power Systems, the highest level of integration between a power system and an access control solution, has expanded its family of products with the introduction of ProWire XPRESS, a new value line of single-voltage power systems featuring prewired controller terminal strips for rapid, reliable setup and in-the-field savings. ProWire XPRESS models come prewired for system power, faults, communication and tamper switch. Models are currently available for Mercury Security controllers in four-door (FPV4-E2M/T4X) or 12-door (FPV102-D8PE2M1/T12X; FPV104-D8PE2M1/T12X) configurations at 12 or 24VDC. ProWire XPRESS carries a joint Mercury/LSP UL, ULC certification and CE listing (EU). Pre-wired integrated access solutions ProWire XPRESS provides faster, more consistent installations, helping overcome manpower challenges by freeing the technician from tedious enclosure wiring to quickly move on to other tasks. The solution comes in LifeSafety Power’s spacious E2 enclosures measuring 20 inches high, 16 inches wide and 4.5 inches deep with lock and tamper switch, as well as lifetime warranty. ProWire XPRESS also provides a lower-cost opportunity for installation consistency Part of the ProWire pre-wired integrated access solutions, ProWire XPRESS also provides a lower-cost opportunity for installation consistency and standardisation by eliminating guesswork and site variability. “There’s a large sector of the security integrator market looking for an inexpensive, yet professional way to expand their access control projects,” said Matt Virga, Vice President of Sales, North America, LifeSafety Power. Intelligent networking power solutions “ProWire XPRESS checks all the boxes, with the ability to save precious time and labour costs. With the addition of ProWire XPRESS, LifeSafety Power now has a product to meet every job, vertical market and price point.” LifeSafety Power is a consummate innovator and specialist in physical security and access control, creating a new category of intelligent networking power solutions that monitor and manage system connectivity across the enterprise. Embracing technology collaboration with some of the most recognisable companies in the industry, LifeSafety Power has carved a unique niche and along the way received numerous awards for its innovation, including Security Industry Association New Product of the Year; Secure Campus Award for Networked Power; and many others. LifeSafety Power is an ASSA ABLOY company.

CLIQ® access control solution from ASSA ABLOY helps secure museums, shopping and indoor leisure sites
CLIQ® access control solution from ASSA ABLOY helps secure museums, shopping and indoor leisure sites

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 authorised from unauthorised 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 Centre 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 labour-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 minimises 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 centre 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-authorise 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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