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 Hirsch / IDENTIVE news

Identiv’s COVID-19 response solutions support enterprises and government customers in reopening of global offices
Identiv’s COVID-19 response solutions support enterprises and government customers in reopening of global offices

Identiv, Inc. has announced its cohesive collection of COVID-19 response solutions in order to support enterprises and government customers in worldwide offices that are now reopening. Identiv’s frictionless, touchless solutions create healthier and more hygienic offices. The hands-free technology also streamlines transactions and access, temperature tracking, and contact tracing to help employees and visitors feel safe and secure. Frictionless, hands-free technology “With the threat of COVID-19 still around us, frictionless, hands-free solutions are a key part of any organisation’s efforts to make a healthier, safer environment,” said Steven Humphreys, Identiv Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Identiv’s highly secure access and identity solutions address multiple business needs to re-open and grow" Steven adds, “Identiv’s highly secure access and identity solutions address multiple needs for businesses to re-open and grow again in the new pandemic-era normal.” Quick, affordable temperature tracking “As large public venues begin to reopen, quick, affordable temperature tracking will be the first line of defense to assure visitors and employees that operators have their safety at top of mind,” added Dr. Manfred Mueller, Identiv Chief Operations Officer (COO) and General Manager, Identity. Dr. Mueller adds, “For those not yet comfortable returning to work, secure network log-in options facilitate a bridge between on-site and telecommuting teams.” Identiv’s complete portfolio of COVID-19 response solutions include: Smart, frictionless access control MobilisID uses the latest in Bluetooth and capacitive technologies to allow complete frictionless access, no touching required. The MobilisID App (available via Apple iOS and Android) acts as a physical credential — the user can keep their mobile device in their pocket, wave their hand near the MobilisID Reader and the door automatically unlocks. MobilisID can also integrate with ADA-compliant automatic door hardware to form a complete touchless solution. With the Freedom access control system, no reader is even required at the door. Freedom’s software-defined architecture uses the location of a user’s mobile device to determine their proximity to a door for hands-free ingress and egress. The system can also be used in parallel with conventional reader doors. Frictionless, battery-less uTrust UHF Credentials work with identification applications that require long-distance reading (i.e., more than 18 - 21 feet). Ultra high-frequency (UHF) technology is ideal for parking lot access and gate control, door entry in hospitals or gated communities, logistics, object and people tracking in emergency situations, real-time locationing, cafeteria access, and any hands-free environment, including medical or care facilities, club and resort membership, sport facilities, and universities. The credentials can be read through badge holders, handbags, pockets, and  No-touch time and attendance uTrust 3721 F multi-technology smart card reader features multiple frequency options and a keyboard emulation. Perfect for employers who use a mixture of technologies for logical access, uTrust 3721 F leverages existing 125 kHz low-frequency (LF) or 13.56 MHz high-frequency (HF) cards. Out-of-the-box, uTrust 3721 F can work with most time and attendance systems, letting employees simply tap a card to the reader to clock in.  Nearly hands-free transactions and access With Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, it’s easy to get near an access point without ever actually touching it. Identiv’s NFC-enabled solutions feature a catalogue of transponders compatible with NFC Forum created for secure contactless transactions and connecting electronic devices with a simple tap-and-go model. Designed for comfort and wearability, the uTrust Proximity Wristband keeps wearers from reaching for their phone or card every time they need to gain access to a parking garage, building, room, or elevator. A passive radio frequency identification (RFID) device, the no-battery credential is robust, resistant to cracking, and impervious to moisture.  Temperature tracking and contact tracing Identiv’s Body Temperature Measurement Patch is a wearable NFC-enabled transponder that supports the reopening of public spaces worldwide, including theme parks and stadiums, and helps operators keep attendees and employees comfortable, confident, and safe. The patch also supports global governments and healthcare workers that need to periodically monitor quarantined patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The new solution combines the simplicity of using NFC and the smart technology potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), making body temperature monitoring easier than ever. Identiv has partnered with Telaeris to deliver a rapidly deployable, industry-renowned, mobile access control hardware and software solution that provides security in a variety of mission-critical situations where traditional systems cannot be supported. By leveraging Telaeris’ mobile credential verification hardware, Hirsch Velocity Software-based access control systems can go beyond protecting the perimeter and empower security staff to authenticate and authorise users with photos from anywhere, at any time, with real-time server synchronisation. Telaeris handheld units with HealthCheck functionality can prompt staff to ask a series of health questions and input the taken temperature of a validated user to create a ‘health/access check’ profile upon entering which can then be repeated upon exiting. If a person enters a building and is later found to be symptomatic, Hirsch Velocity Software with Contact Tracing can pull a report of everyone who entered the same door who can then be notified to either get tested or self-quarantine. While this is useful during the days of COVID-19, it can also be used for other applications, such as the seasonal influenza. This means every office can be proactive in responding to potential outbreaks, while simultaneously providing employees with the peace of mind that there are measures in place to keep them safe.  Working from Home For some organisations, even as worldwide economies are restarting, employees continue to or are more comfortable working from home. Identiv’s smart card reader portfolio keeps work flowing while ensuring everyone’s data and health stays safe and secure. Top selections for secure network log-in while telecommuting include, uTrust Token Pro Mini Type A (smallest form factor, strong PKI, and Java Card technology, uTrust Token Pro Mini Type C (USB C and can feature user branding and applets), uTrust 2700R Contact (supports all PC operating systems and cards ICs), 0 USB (ultra-compact, CAC and PIV-approved, and available in USB C, uTrust 4701 F Dual Interface (combines contact, contactless, and NFC tech), and uTrust SmartFold SCR3500 A (USB A, ultra-compact, and CAC and PIV-approved). As the economy begins to open up and people around the world return to work, it’s critical to have solutions in place that keep employees and visitors feeling safe, comfortable, and confident.

Identiv’s Hirsch Velocity access control platform now enables contact tracing for Hirsch customers
Identiv’s Hirsch Velocity access control platform now enables contact tracing for Hirsch customers

Identiv, Inc. announced the availability of Hirsch Velocity Software with Contact Tracing. Available via download for Hirsch customers, the free feature has been launched to support worldwide office re-openings with improved health and safety management tools. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ (CDC) recommendations, contract tracing is a key strategy for preventing further spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  Hirsch Velocity Software with Contact Tracing is a means of proactively and reactively protecting visitors. If a person enters a building and is later found to be symptomatic of an illness, Velocity can pull a report of everyone who entered the same door who can then be notified to either get tested or self-quarantine. The feature is free, easy to download, and simple to implement into existing Velocity physical access control system (PACS) platforms.  Manage access control While this is useful during the days of COVID-19, it can also be used for other applications, such as seasonal influenza" “While this is useful during the days of COVID-19, it can also be used for other applications, such as seasonal influenza,” said Mark Allen, Identiv GM, Premises. “This means your office can be proactive in responding to potential outbreaks, while simultaneously providing your employees with the peace of mind that there are measures in place to keep them safe.” Hirsch Velocity Software provides the security and functionality expected from high-end systems with the ease-of-use found in entry-level packages. Velocity is an integrated platform that manages access control and security operations in thousands of different facilities, from single high secure rooms to multi-building, multi-location campuses with the most stringent security compliance. Prevent unwanted access With Velocity, users can control doors, gates, turnstiles, elevators, and other equipment, monitor employees and visitor behaviour, prevent unwanted access, maintain compliance, and provide a robust audit trail. The latest version of the software platform is designed to deliver the highest level of security, interoperability, and backwards compatibility, and it accommodates the evolution of security technology.

Identiv's Hirsch Velocity physical access control solution approved by the UK Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Identiv's Hirsch Velocity physical access control solution approved by the UK Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure

Identiv, Inc. has announced that after extensive testing of its Hirsch Physical Access Control System (PACS) CPNI solution, the platform is now approved by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), the UK government authority for protective security advice to the country’s national infrastructure. CPNI-approved physical access control platform The CPNI works with partners in government, police, industry, and academia to protect the nation from threats and terrorism, only recommending physical security equipment that meets its stringent certification requirements.  “UK sites classified as critical infrastructure, where deep encryption standards are paramount, can confidently deploy the Hirsch CPNI-approved physical access control platform,” said Mark Allen, Identiv General Manager, Premises Security Solutions. Hirsch Velocity Software Hirsch products, like our innovative Scramblepad readers, protect critical government and infrastructure facilities" Mark adds, “Hirsch products, like our innovative Scramblepad readers, protect critical government and infrastructure facilities across the UK, the U.S., and other governments around the world. Our CPNI-approved Hirsch Velocity Software security management system provides a highly scalable, end-to-end physical access control solution from the door to the server cluster, ideal for mission-critical environments. He further stated, “We are proud to continue to work with the UK government’s risk-critical sites to provide the most robust, reliable, highly secure yet cost-effective access control solution.” Hirsch PACS CPNI solution The Hirsch PACS CPNI solution encompasses Identiv’s highly secure product portfolio, including Hirsch Velocity Software, Hirsch Mx-8 Controllers, and Secure Network Interface Board 3 (SNIB3). Identiv’s suite of advanced access control solutions is approved for use in some of the world’s most security-sensitive organisations, including many UK government agencies. Hirsch Velocity Software’s security management system is an integrated platform that manages access control and security operations across thousands of disparate facilities, from single highly secure rooms to multi-building, multi-location campuses, with the most stringent security compliance. Hirsch Mx-8 Controllers Users can control doors, gates, turnstiles, elevators, and other equipment, monitor employees and visitors as they move around a facility, prevent unwanted access, maintain compliance, and provide a robust audit trail. Hirsch Mx-8 Controllers provide scalable, networked communication and are also available in two or four supervised door models. The modular design and scalable architecture enable an installation to start small and grow large, from a single controller system to a larger, multi-site enterprise. The Mx Controller is fully firmware, function, and communication protocol compatible with Hirsch systems so that existing credentials, readers, and databases can be retained. SNIB3 communication device SNIB3 is a renowned communication device that provides IPv6, Gigabit Ethernet, and AES 256 bit encryption SNIB3 is a renowned communication device that provides IPv6, Gigabit Ethernet, and AES 256 bit encryption. These features are already foundational for the critical U.S. FICAM security standard. For deployments already equipped with a Hirsch solution, SNIB3 is a drop-in replacement for Identiv’s SNIB2 and SNIB communications boards. Identiv Global Services Identiv Global Services (IGS) provides a comprehensive cybersecurity-hardening service to ensure the solution is deployed to the rigorous CPNI standard. This covers securing the operating system, database, and services, including all Identiv-supplied server components and networking equipment, as well as the Velocity client workstation. To protect against the rapidly evolving threat landscape, IGS through service-level agreement (SLA) supports the customer and the solution, updating security patches and applying the latest information assurance guidelines following UK standards and best practices.

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