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 Inner Range (Europe) Ltd news

EU’s tallest building complete with Forge visitor management and Inner Range access control
EU’s tallest building complete with Forge visitor management and Inner Range access control

The tallest building in the European Union, Varso Place in Warsaw, Poland, is now live with Forge Bluepoint visitor management and Inner Range intelligent access control. Forge Bluepoint, Forge’s cloud-based visitor management solution was chosen by Varso Place’s developer HB Reavis after the firm researched the market and found it could provide a great experience for visitors as it was multi-tenant ready, multi-lingual and it could integrate seamlessly with Inner Range’s sophisticated Integriti system. Jakub Kacer, Security Manager at HB Reavis said: “When all tenants use Forge Bluepoint, our receptionists will have less administration work, we will have real-time visitor statistics and it’s a modern attractive visitor system.” Access control system Forge Bluepoint will allow the main reception teams at each building to focus on the experience at Varso Place. Visitors will be invited by tenants via email which will provide them with a unique QR code. Visitors will use this QR code to check-in at the Forge Bluepoint kiosk or with the reception team. The integration with Inner Range’s Integriti access control system allows visitors to also use the QR code to call the lifts, supplied by Schindler, to access the floor of the tenant company and nowhere else. Paul Speariett, Co-founder and Director at Forge, said: “Working closely with the onsite security and building management team at Varso Place, in Warsaw, we were able to implement Forge Bluepoint during the COVID-19 crisis from the UK. It wasn’t ideal, but we overcame the challenges and are proud to see Forge Bluepoint working to give visitors a great experience.” Visitor management supplier Forge is currently rolling out Forge Bluepoint at Nivy Tower in Bratislava and the Agora Tower in Budapest Tim Northwood, General Manager at Inner Range, said: “Our flagship intelligent integrated access control system Integriti provides robust security and sophisticated controls around access to these new buildings. But it also allows trouble-free access for users, including the ability to invite and manage visitors easily via Forge Bluepoint.” With 1.5 million sq ft of leasable space, companies including Cambridge Innovation Centre, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (a state-owned development bank in Poland) and the Polish offices of Nvidia, Yves Rocher and Workday will call Varso Place home and use Forge Bluepoint to invite visitors easily, safely and securely. Forge, as the chosen visitor management supplier for HB Reavis globally, is currently rolling out Forge Bluepoint at Nivy Tower in Bratislava and the Agora Tower in Budapest. Access and security solution Inner Range has been a world leader in the design and manufacture of intelligent security solutions since it was established in 1988. More than 150,000 Inner Range systems have been installed in over 30 countries. Customers include hospitals and high-security units, colleges, distribution centres and pharmaceutical companies, government and critical national infrastructure. It’s Integriti product is an award-winning intelligent access control and security system that can integrate with a multitude of third-party products to create a sophisticated and highly secure access and security solution while also providing trouble-free access for site users. Varso Place is Warsaw’s largest mixed-use development and consists of Varso 1, Varso 2 designed by HRA Architekci, and Varso Tower, the tallest building in the European Union at 310m high which was designed by celebrated architects, Foster + Partners.

Access control systems: Ethernet vs proprietary bus network cabling
Access control systems: Ethernet vs proprietary bus network cabling

When designing a security system for a site, the question of how it should be interconnected is often one of the first you need to answer. Should you choose a system that has its own proprietary bus network, which might require twisted pair cabling, or perhaps one based on an ethernet backbone? Both types of network have their advantages and disadvantages as discussed below. Ethernet connectivity Some security systems are based on a number of modules, and each module is connected to its own ethernet connection. One big advantage of a system like this is that, in many cases, it can be much more convenient, allowing the installer to utilise existing network cabling and other infrastructure, rather than needing to install new cabling. On the other hand, if a security system relies entirely on networking infrastructure controlled by others, typically the IT department, then the stability and reliability of the security system is dependent on that network being available when your system needs it. The stability and reliability of the security system is dependent on that network being available Another potential disadvantage is that certain areas of the premises may not be equipped with a nearby network outlet, and if the network in question is not managed by you, it might be necessary to request the IT department add an outlet for you to use. Proprietary bus connectivity A system with its own proprietary bus network can also have advantages. Perhaps the first and most important difference is that, because the network cabling is installed specifically for the security system, the designer has the luxury of being able to decide exactly where the wiring should be placed and terminated. Another advantage is that the cabling would only be used by the security system, so the installation company can be sure the network will always be available, and there would be very little chance part of it could be accidentally unplugged. Another potential advantage is that some systems are able to run bus cabling of distances well over 1,000 metres, whereas individual ethernet connections are typically limited to 100 metres or less. Another consideration, which applies particularly to intruder and holdup alarm systems, is that communications between elements of the security system should not be prevented by other factors, such as a power failure. Obviously, if a part of such a network is formed by ethernet infrastructure, such as network switches and/or media converters, then that infrastructure needs to be battery backed, and the power supply must be monitored. In some cases, the equipment must be able to withstand a power failure of 24 or even 60 hours. Such long standby times are unusual in IT infrastructure, but are quite common in the case of security systems. The equipment must be able to withstand a power failure of 24 or even 60 hours How this all fits together When selecting a system, it is usually most helpful to have a flexible system that can support a number of different deployment options. This is especially true if the system in question can support a combination of different interconnection types. For example, a single system that can contain a variety of interconnections can then be deployed in a very wide variety of systems where existing infrastructure may be used to aid in the design and deployment: Fibre connections – Many modern sites are pre-cabled with existing fibre connections which can be used to form a dedicated interconnection between system components which can be of the order of kilometres apart. Ethernet connectivity – With the increasing ubiquity of networking within premises, some elements of a security system can be deployed using the existing infrastructure. Repeater - For very large or densely packed systems, a device that can be used as a form of “repeater” can be extremely useful to permit very long interconnect cabling distances. Systems can be formed by utilising a fusion of all of the above connectivity methods Some security systems can be set up to enable multiple discrete access control modules to be deployed, connected to an existing ethernet network, and treated as a single ‘system’ by the management software, while retaining full offline functionality in the event the network becomes unavailable. Further, some systems can be formed by utilising a fusion of all of the above connectivity methods. In practice, of course some applications would suit a deployment that relied solely on ethernet connectivity. Some other applications, especially systems or parts of systems that are part of an intruder and/or holdup alarm system, would better suit a deployment using a dedicated proprietary bus network, and other systems would suit a combination of these communications options. Selecting a system that can be deployed in a variety of ways can be enormously helpful in providing the flexibility projects might demand.

Inner Range announces Concept systems customers to upgrade to Integriti
Inner Range announces Concept systems customers to upgrade to Integriti

Integrated access control system manufacturer Inner Range has announced customers with Concept systems should now migrate swiftly to Integriti as Concept has reached End of Life. Award-winning Integriti is compatible with 95% of Concept hardware so migrating is easy, efficient and extremely cost-effective at only a fraction of the cost of an entire system replacement. Concept technology no longer economical Inner Range first announced Concept was nearing End of Life in January 2019. Some Concept parts are still available to buy and Inner Range is currently continuing to provide technical support for existing customers, repairing or replacing parts from existing stock or suitable alternatives as necessary. Concept was our flagship product, first launched in 1989, so it’s had a good innings" However, the system’s underlying technology is no longer economical to maintain in comparison with modern platforms like Integriti. The manufacturer is now urging customers to migrate before parts become obsolete. Concept systems use Insight software. Insight follows the same End of Life timeline as Concept. Migration path for Concept users Tim Northwood, General Manager at Inner Range, said: “Concept was our flagship product, first launched in 1989, so it’s had a good innings and we remain very proud of its legacy. But we gave notice 18 months ago that Concept was reaching End of Life and we are renewing our call for any remaining Concept customers who have not yet migrated, to move to our Integriti system.” “We’ll continue to provide technical support for Concept users where we can. But eventually we’ll reach a point where it’s no longer possible to source suitable parts so we want to help customers secure their systems for the long term.” “Integriti is a brilliant product for small, medium and enterprise spaces and offers a very cost-effective migration path for our Concept customers.” Integriti - Integrated security solution Integrated security solution ideal for managing and controlling single and multiple sites Integriti is an award-winning intelligent integrated security solution ideal for managing and controlling single and multiple sites at local, national and global levels. Benefits for Concept users migrating to Integriti include more integrations with current manufacturers for security, building automation, people and business continuity processes, superb graphics, enhanced reporting, more flexibility around global programming and permissions as well as being compatible with current and future IT platforms, such as Windows and Vista. Security solutions for private and public sectors Concept 2000 was Inner Range’s flagship system. It was designed by three of the four founders of Inner Range: Doug Frazer, David Baughan, and Alan Winch. First installed in 1989, the system was updated to the Concept 3000 and later the Concept 4000, which have been installed around the globe. Inner Range has been a provider in the design and manufacture of intelligent security solutions since it was established in 1988. More than 150,000 Inner Range systems have been installed in over 30 countries. Customers include hospitals and high-security units, colleges, distribution centres and pharmaceutical companies, government and critical national infrastructure.

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