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 ISONAS, Inc. news

Allegion UK announces release of advanced ISONAS Pure IP access control solution in the UK market
Allegion UK announces release of advanced ISONAS Pure IP access control solution in the UK market

Allegion UK, global specialist in fire safety and security products, has launched the ISONAS Pure IP family of access control solutions in the UK. ISONAS believes access control belongs on the network and should have the ability to be managed from anywhere across an unlimited number of facilities, that is why ISONAS created Pure IP Access Control Hardware. Access control hardware Patented reader controllers eliminate the need for cumbersome control panels at every door, removing complex wiring and power supplies – meaning it is simple to install. By utilising standard category cabling installation time is significantly reduced making it the ideal choice for integrators. Commenting on the launch, Trevor Ball, business development manager at Allegion UK and Ireland said, ‘’Since Allegion’s acquisition of ISONAS in 2018, ISONAS is generating a huge amount of interest in the UK market. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of ISONAS is the ability to manage and administer devices across the globe.” ISONAS Pure IP access control Built-in Bluetooth Low Energy enables the door to be configured directly from smartphones and tablets He adds, “The ability to program the system centrally and manage many different remote sites is an intrinsic benefit. This singular advantage is one of the reasons why many customers are choosing to invest in ISONAS Pure IP access control. With the flexibility, scalability and accessibility of ISONAS, I’m certain that this is the future of access control.” Built-in Bluetooth Low Energy enables the door to be configured directly from smartphones and tablets. This permits them to be installed, managed and monitored remotely from one single device. Pure IP hardware also eliminates the need for a physical card, allowing organisations to efficiently manage an unlimited number of credentials and manage access control in real-time. Intelligent access control system ISONAS’s innovative access control solutions allow businesses to use their existing security network to bring intelligent decision-making to the forefront and to embrace an open platform with both an API for 3rd party software integrations and an SDK for integration of Allegion’s patented Pure IP hardware. ISONAS Pure IP access control is not technology of the future. It is a technology of today and here to stay, making it a logical choice for businesses that want full control over their security and a proven IP solution at their door.

Cybersecurity: why it matters now and forever
Cybersecurity: why it matters now and forever

Cybersecurity has become a major element – and a major source of discussion – in the physical security marketplace as a result of the rise in networked systems. And we may still not be talking enough about cybersecurity. Here is part one of our Cybersecurity series. “Cybersecurity requires everyone in the security industry to be playing offense and defense at the same time, every single day,” says Bill Bozeman, President and CEO of PSA Security Network. “It needs to just become part of the standard conversation when we are talking about physical security because they are so intertwined.” Creating new industry leaders Cybersecurity and physical security can be seen as two parts of a single entity, and increasingly the two will be combined at the enterprise level over the next several years. “This convergence of physical security and cybersecurity will create new industry leaders that will emerge to lead a new segment of the combined market through strong investment and leadership,” says Rob Lydic of ISONAS, now part of Allegion. Data capture form to appear here! Cybersecurity issues dominate almost every discussion in today’s physical security industry, and the clear message is that “manufacturers and integrators must continue to create robust and scalable cybersecurity offerings to protect customer data and facilities,” says Lydic. He contends that cloud services providers (such as ISONAS) are more cybersecure and reliable ‘by orders of magnitude’ than non-cloud solutions. Cybersecurity is linked to cloud-based systems and managed security service provider models Cloud-based services The Security Industry Association (SIA) has listed cybersecurity as one of 2019’s ‘Top Megatrends’ in the physical security market. SIA says it is important to prioritise cybersecurity among security businesses, for customers’ businesses, and for vendors. The trend calls for continual process improvement and investment. Bill Bozeman of PSA Security Network agrees: “Cybersecurity has definitely taken a strong foothold in the industry.” With the continued expansion of cloud-based services, cybersecurity will be more important than ever to integrators, manufacturers and end users alike, he says. Notably, cybersecurity is directly linked to two other important industry trends listed by Bozeman: cloud-based systems and the rise in recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and managed security service provider (MSSP) models, whose focus will include cybersecurity. Loss prevention executives The days when cybersecurity was exclusively the domain of the information technology (IT) department are gone. “Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats organisations of all sizes and types face today,” says Michael Malone, CEO of ADT Cybersecurity (formerly known as Datashield). “Considering the magnitude of these crimes, it now falls on the entire organisation, including the traditional security or loss prevention executives, to band together to combat these threats.” Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats organisations of all sizes and types face today Malone favours (and his company offers) a managed detection and response (MDR) service, which combines advanced technology and human analysis. Using packet capture on the network, an MDR analyst can ‘replay’ a cyber security event and dig deeper into the incident and determine remediation steps. It’s an approach that significantly cuts through false positive ‘noise’ so security teams can focus on what matters. Helping security officers Interestingly, cybersecurity is poised to benefit from another major trend in the physical security market – the rise of artificial intelligence. Specifically, machine learning applications for cybersecurity include: detecting malicious activity, helping security officers determine what tasks they need to complete in an investigation process, analysing mobile endpoints, decreasing the number of false positive threats, automating repetitive tasks like interrupting ransomware, and potentially closing some zero-day vulnerabilities. But AI in this case is not a panacea. Christopher McDaniels of Mosaic451 recommends pairing human intellect with machine technology to sort through data faster and catch hackers before they do much damage. See part two of our Cybersecurity series here.

ISC West 2019: ISONAS to exhibit IP-based access control solutions at ISC West 2019
ISC West 2019: ISONAS to exhibit IP-based access control solutions at ISC West 2019

Booth number: 20043 ISONAS, now part of the Allegion family of brands, is an IoT solution for physical access control with a purely IP-based reader-controller driven from a fully featured access control software hosted in the cloud. ISONAS has been revolutionising access control with this simple solution and is a leading manufacturer of Pure IP Access Control hardware. The open architecture hardware can be paired with their cloud-hosted software or with any full-featured access control solution; providing a complete access control platform. An ISONAS system provides an ideal product solution for securing facilities while reducing costs and providing all of the advantages that Pure IP technology brings to the door. We use ISC West to establish thought leadership opportunities in the market and drive the appropriate groups to our booth Q: What was the first year your company exhibited at ISC West? Please share your remembrances of that experience?  The first full year we exhibited at ISC West was in 2015. We had a smaller booth in relation to the show, but one of the most memorable moments was the energy of the tradeshow floor and in our booth – almost like being on the floor of the stock exchange. The constant flow of people through our booth was a fulfilling experience - the number of folks that patiently waited to hear the ISONAS story and learn why our products could provide differentiation for them in the market was validation of our hard work. Q: What strategies do you use to get the most out of exhibiting at ISC West? We have a strategic formula for pre-show, during show and post show communications and messaging. ISC West has traditionally been one of the largest marketing spends annually and our objective was to drive significant traffic and see as many people as possible. To do this we task our teams with setting meetings with customers ahead of time. In addition, we use ISC West to establish thought leadership opportunities in the market and drive the appropriate groups to our booth to help proliferate our message. Q: How do you quantify your success at ISC West? What ROI do you receive from the show? We quantify success by the number of leads, along with the quality of those leads and how many turn into viable opportunities. We also measure success based on the amount of thought leadership coverage we obtain, and relationships we build. The face-to-face conversations with partners and customers is also invaluable and tough to gauge from the ROI perspective, but it is an important part to building real relationships and trust with customers. Q: What company activities (outside the show floor) does your company organise each year? ISC West is where the who’s who of the security industry debut new products and partnerships Traditionally we have held our annual sales meeting prior to ISC West to bring our teams together for some face time as well as educate them on new products, messaging and talking points for the trade show.    Q: What sets ISC West apart from other trade shows on the calendar? ISC West is where the who’s who of the security industry debut new products and partnerships. The educational workshops, industry events and ability to connect with the majority of your network for three days in one place is incredibly valuable. Customers from all verticals and sizes see value in the ISC West show, and this drives high attendance rates and a greater opportunity to interact with new and existing customers.

Related white papers

RFID and smartphone readers in physical access control

OSDP is the strongest access control for your business

Is your access control as effective as you think?