Access control cards/ tags/ fobs - Expert commentary

Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?
Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?

If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organisations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. But what are the key reasons for considering such a setup in 2021? But why is this new technology so well-suited to future-proof your physical access system, and why is it becoming so popular? Eradicating outdated legacy credentials Have you seen just how vulnerable outdated Proximity card technology can be? Low-frequency 125kHz cards can be cloned in a matter of seconds with the use of cheap, readily available tools. Despite their weaknesses, they are still used by a huge majority of businesses – big and small. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential Replacing such a system with a mobile-enabled system is one of the best ways to increase security ten-fold. Thanks to a cloud-based infrastructure, mobile ID offers best-in-class security and cryptography. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential. Bluetooth Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) make them the best product to operate such a credential via a secure app. If you’re looking for best-in-class security in 2021, mobile access is most definitely the way forward. Removing touch points across the business Reducing touch points and the adoption of touchless facilities has become a key priority for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Even as businesses start to return to the office and operate a home/office split, it will be imperative that unnecessary contact is kept to an absolute minimum between staff. The traditional issuance of identification and access control credentials can pose problems in this regard. Facility and security managers who are responsible for onboarding and processing ID have done the process face to face. Mobile access makes it possible to carry this process out without people coming into direct content. First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organisations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. Summing up, mobile access is changing the way we access the office by: Eliminating weak links in security systems such as outdated legacy card technologies Eradicating the need for touch points across multiple areas of the workplace Enabling a smarter, more flexible approach to onboarding Increasing convenience – for both employers and employees.

Access control and door entry management: How technology is driving change
Access control and door entry management: How technology is driving change

Access control and door entry is a huge responsibility, and challenge, for local authorities and housing associations UK wide. For councils, they’re accountable for the security and safety of many public facilities such as leisure centres, libraries as well as residential housing developments which are often large scale and home to hundreds of people. Housing associations manage affordable rental housing which also means they’re responsible for the appropriate access control management for each individual house or flat. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage. For example, with modern intercom and access control systems, remote management and communication is something that offers local authorities and housing associations features that enable them to reduce costs and cut their carbon footprints by managing multiple sites from one place. On the other hand, such technological innovation has meant that local authority and housing association specifiers and consultants now have a wide range of systems and products to choose from which can cause issues in ensuring the right system for a specific building or development is chosen. Choosing an appropritate access control system In choosing an appropriate system, local authorities and housing associations need to opt for a cost effective solution that can be easily maintained with excellent support from the manufacturer and guarantees that the system and system parts will remain supported for the duration of its expected life cycle. It is also important that the chosen system is flexible to cater for the varying needs of the tenants and visitors. Of increasing importance is the reduction of anti-social behaviour which new technology can help by providing the use of data loggers which track the use and events of a door entry system, allowing specific evidence to be located by integrating with CCTV. Using technology to our advantage Through advancements in management systems and services, we can gain a much better visual representation of the events and general usage of an intercom entry system and not just its proximity access control. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management. We are now able to modify user rights and access levels on the go from a mobile app which enables a much greater control over service and maintenance engineers, such as making sure they have full access when required via an app, rather than arriving to site with the incorrect keys or access fob. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management Dealing with tenant’s lost and stolen keys has never been so easy either. The blocking or deletion of lost fobs and adding a new fob can be carried out in minutes while at the same time removing the cost of sending an engineer to the development to programme new fobs. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the whole task as fobs can now be sent out via post to a secure location for collection. Technology has also helped local authorities and housing associations to overcome the issue of not being able to have a concierge or building manager available 24/7 at some developments. Now with internet communication, it’s possible for tenants and visitors to get in touch with someone should they need assistance, whether that’s from within the apartment or from an entrance point. For example, lets take the Videx VX2200 with IP concierge integration. This system is exceptionally flexible, enabling calls to be answered on Videx intercoms and also mobile phones if required. With the integration of the IP concierge each block can be either standalone or networked via the internet back to a central control room. Reduced maintenance costs and carbon footprint We work with a wide range of local authorities and housing associations to help them overcome access control and door entry challenges. One organisation we have recently partnered with is The Living Group to help them greatly reduce their maintenance costs and carbon footprint by installing the MiAccess offline proximity system on many of their developments across the North East. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage By installing an appropriate system, The Living Group has managed to overcome issues caused by the existing system’s limitations and also enabled much more flexibility when it comes to effectively managing the access control system of all their included developments. For those responsible for effective and appropriate access control, the management of the systems are easier, quicker and there’s no delay or on-going costs for needing a specialist programme to modify fobs and access rights as this can now all carried out in-house. Improved security legislation Further advancements in programmes such as Secured by Design (SBD), a police initiative that improves the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work and visit, means that there’s more security legislation being implemented that’s making intercoms and access control more secure, without affecting ease and convenience. Videx holds an SBD accreditation and we know, from first-hand experience, how it’s making a difference in keeping tenants safe. When you combine the safety features promoted by an SBD member company like ourselves with the likes of the Videx event logging, image capture and ability to modify access users on the go, for example, we can help to create a very safe and secure environment. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation Technology has completely transformed the way local authorities and housing association are able to choose, install and manage door entry and access control systems for tenants and visitors alike. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation such as Secured by Design to ensure all councils and housing association consultants are up to date with what constitutes a robust and secure system that’s also cost effective too. In my role, I see weaknesses in systems and constant ongoing costs that could easily be avoided. For instance, features such as timed remote entry means local authority and housing association management no longer need to worry about keys being lost, the wrong keys being supplied or locks needing to be changed. With new systems such as the Videx MiAccess and Videx WS4 range, we can help to massively reduce a housing association’s or council’s carbon footprint and engineer costs by allowing them the access to management and control from an offsite location. Crime prevention We can also use live and logged events to help prevent crime in different ways, from antisocial behaviour growing around a tenant being called or visited much more regularly than others, to knowing a tenant is currently still living at a property but isn’t paying rent or answering to any correspondence. Technology enables local authorities and housing associations to receive detailed data and therefore behavioural insights on the people under their management and care. If consultants and specifiers are advised on the most appropriate systems that meet their specific entry needs, they can ensure greater, safer and more convenient access control that meets the requirements of both the end user and the those responsible for its effective management.

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.

Latest Controlsoft Limited news

Controlsoft announces total integration of its Identity Access platform with Aperio wireless locking technology
Controlsoft announces total integration of its Identity Access platform with Aperio wireless locking technology

Controlsoft, global developer, manufacturer and distributor of access control solutions, has fully integrated its latest Identity Access platform with the Aperio wireless locking technology from the ASSA ABLOY Door Hardware & Access Control Group. Identity Access platform upgraded By updating and upgrading its Identity Access platform to fully integrate with the Aperio AH30 1-to-8 communication hub, Controlsoft’s customers can easily add mechanical doors to their existing access control system. Aperio ensures users require minimal additional hardware to upgrade their premises to wireless access control. A communications hub providing a wireless connection with up to eight doors, the Aperio AH30 operates within a 25-metre transmission range, and has been designed for prompt, cost-effective installation and integration. Suitable for interior doors, the hub is particularly practical for hallways with a number of adjacent corridors. Identity Access security management software Easy to use and intuitive, Controlsoft’s Identity Access is a complete security management software Easy to use and intuitive, Controlsoft’s Identity Access is a complete security management software. The individual access rights of employees, visitors and contractors can be assigned according to their responsibilities. Individual time restrictions can also be applied for each access control point, and the system offers full auditing and reporting capabilities. The software also includes advanced features such as a lockdown function, which prohibits authorised users from accessing doors, as well as a further function that can allow for multiple levels of lockdown, depending on the scenario. Identity Access can even be integrated with a fire alarm system, so that selected doors automatically open when a fire alarm is activated. Controlsoft access control solutions Jonathan Summers, Managing Director at Controlsoft, said: “We are committed to providing a comprehensive range of access control solutions that are competitively priced, easy to install and highly secure. It is with this commitment in mind that we have fully integrated our Controlsoft access control solution with the Aperio AH30 1-to-8 communications hub from the Door Hardware & Access Control Group.” He further said, “The AH30 has an excellent reputation as a reliable, functional and high-performance access control solution, and this integration will help us provide customers with faster, more effective installations.” Battery-operated Aperio innovations David Hodgkiss, Director of Access Control at the Door Hardware & Access Control Group, added: “As one of our original Aperio partners, we are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with Controlsoft and integrate our award-winning technology with its latest access control platform, Identity Access. Battery-operated Aperio innovations are highly reliable, available in a stylish, contemporary design, and offer a quick and easy installation.”

ASSA ABLOY Access Control to unveil Aperio H100 Handle at IFSEC 2017
ASSA ABLOY Access Control to unveil Aperio H100 Handle at IFSEC 2017

ASSA ABLOY Access Control, a UK division of ASSA ABLOY, a provider of door opening solutions, will unveil the new Aperio® H100 handle at IFSEC International 2017. Aperio® H100 door handle The contemporary designed Aperio® H100 door handle will be presented at IFSEC 2017, which takes place between June 20-22 at ExCeL London. Integrations with the following OEMs will be shown at the event: Nedap, Maxxess, Controlsoft, RBH, Pacom, Genetec, and HID. The Aperio® H100 is available both online and offline and can be easily retrofitted without drilling. It is suitable for almost any door, whether a wooden, steel or tubular frame between 30-80mm thickness. In addition, the handle can be specified by selecting either left or right-hand models, with the option for a U-handle.  The Aperio® H100 is battery-operated and supports iCLASS, iCLASS SEOS, iCLASS SE, ISO14443B UID, Mifare, Mifare Plus, Desfire SE and Desfire EV1 smart card technology.

HID Mobile Access Solution provides access control system for CafeX offices globally
HID Mobile Access Solution provides access control system for CafeX offices globally

HID Global mobile access app holds employee and visitors’ digital credential allowing passes to be issued within minutes CafeX Communications, headquartered in New York City, was founded in 2013 and employs approximately 150 staff. The company develops software that helps enterprises transform real-time digital engagement via the Web and mobile applications. Many top global banks, insurers and other industry leaders use CafeX’s technology to help employees collaborate with customers, partners and colleagues more easily and effectively. The company has offices in the UK and United States. CafeX was seeking to modernise its existing card-based access control system across multiple sites and offices. Key selection criteria included Centralised mobile access control solution enabled on smartphones and wearables for its international office locations. Scalable and easy to install. Speedy issuance of employee and visitor digital IDs. Mobile access control solution capable of allowing for multiple applications in the future. HID Global was selected based on these stringent criteria and its best-in-class advanced mobile access control solutions. HID Mobile Accessenabled employeesto easily and securelyopen doors usingtheir smartphonesor wearable devices HID Mobile Access In 2016, CafeX implemented HID Mobile Access that has enabled employees to easily and securely open doors using their smartphones or wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch, in their office in the UK in Cardiff and their US offices in New York and Boston. Employees use HID Global’s patented ‘twist and go’ feature or simply tap their smartphone on the HID Global readers that were already installed, to access the building or other sensitive entrances within the offices. HID Global collaborated with regional experts, Controlsoft, a HID Global platinum partner in the UK and US, to meet CafeX’s requirements. “HID Global’s mobile access control solution was easy to deploy and to integrate into CafeX’s credentials management platform. The readers are simple to configure, which made it possible for us to provide CafeX with an identity and access management solution very speedily,” said Jonathan Summers, Managing Director with Controlsoft. Centralised digital ID credential issuance The installation on the UK site in Cardiff was very quick and took less than a day to complete, with minimal disruption to the day-to-day functions of the CafeX teams. This was followed by installation for their offices in New York and Boston that was also very easy and simple. With the mobile access control solution centralised in Cardiff, the CafeX IT team can easily issue digital ID credentials to staff in offices both in the UK and US. By downloading the HID Global mobile access app, which holds the digital credential, employee and visitors passes can be issued within minutes. Convenient mobile access control solution CafeX is now able to offer its employees and visitors a secure and convenient mobile access control solution that integrates into their everyday lifestyles in the workplace. Today, everyone in the workforce has a smartphone or a smart device. The ability to use this solution instead of card technology has resulted in positive experiences and feedback on how satisfied employees and visitors are with this new innovative, hassle-free access control solution. It has resulted in employees citing the ‘cool factor’ for access control. Being able to use wearables such as the Apple Watch to enter the CafeX offices has bolstered this further. It has boosted CafeX ’s credibility with its financial customers who visit the offices frequently by issuing visitor passes in a sleek and professional manner with advanced technological capabilities. Furthermore, it has helped CafeX meet compliance requirements of its financial services customers and other Global 2000 companies, which typically require tight security around any sensitive data. HID Global’s secure access control solutions are regarded as the best and most well respected in the industry" Reduced administration costs Kevin Glass, Chief Innovation Officer with CafeX said, “Thanks to HID Global, we have been able to offer the very latest mobile access control technology to our employees and visitors. It has resulted in our employees and customers having an enriched customer experience that they are finding very convenient and innovative.” It has allowed the company to adhere to access control policies globally and streamline its business processes, thereby reducing administration costs and saving money. This is because it is very simple to issue, manage and revoke Mobile IDs to smartphones and wearables. “HID Global’s secure access control solutions are regarded as the best and most well respected in the industry. Our financial customers are very happy to know we have implemented HID Global’s access control solutions. We have already recommended HID Global to a number of our clients given our high level of satisfaction,” said Kevin Glass, Chief Innovation Officer with CafeX.

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