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 RISCO Group news

RISCO to unveil Agility4 wireless system and Installer Cloud solution at The Security Event 2019
RISCO to unveil Agility4 wireless system and Installer Cloud solution at The Security Event 2019

Global security solutions provider, RISCO Group, is taking its team of experts to The Security Event at the NEC Birmingham this April. Agility4 wireless system From the 9th to the 11th of April, RISCO’s team of engineers and product professionals will be showcasing the company’s latest products including the recently updated Agility4 wireless system which includes outdoor intruder detection, a newly designed keypad and a PIR (passive infrared) camera detector. The team will also be introducing new wireless keypads, detectors and communication devices at the show. The event is dedicated to UK security professionals, installers and integrators who will have the chance to experience RISCO’s innovative technology first-hand as well as learning about upcoming releases. Ian Stones, Head of UK sales at the firm, said “We have some really exciting and innovative product releases coming up this year including a potentially game changing device which will be unveiled for the first time at the show. We can’t wait to introduce these new developments to our installers.”  Installer Cloud Visitors to our stand on SE56 will have the opportunity to see the Secured by Design accredited Installer Cloud and the new Agility4 system" He adds, “I’m looking forward to sharing more at The Security Event and RISCO’s team of experienced engineers will also be available for technical demonstrations and to answer any questions. Visitors to our stand on SE56 will have the opportunity to see the Secured by Design accredited Installer Cloud and the new Agility4 system. We love bringing our technology to life and can’t wait to join our industry peers at the event.” Further to speakers and interactive educational content, The Security Event will also host a ‘Designing Out Crime Zone’ in association with Secured by Design, a national police crime prevention initiative. “We are looking forward to revealing updates, launching new products and sharing expert knowledge with visitors to the event,” added Ian.

RISCO Group unveils Agility 4 wireless, modular and multi-layered security system
RISCO Group unveils Agility 4 wireless, modular and multi-layered security system

RISCO Group, globally renowned intruder alarm and security solutions provider has launched a new wireless product designed to deliver an enhanced performance for UK installations. The Agility 4 is a wireless, modular and multi-layered security systemAgility 4 multi-layered security system The Agility 4 is a wireless, modular and multi-layered security system which includes a new range of accessories available immediately with more add-ons expected to follow. With an enhanced choice of communication modules, ranging from IP to 3G, the new solution is designed to provide an adaptable solution for any type of installation and monitoring. Multi-socket communication modules enable parallel reporting to the cloud and monitoring stations with multiple IP addresses using one communication module. Enhanced intrusion detection Detecting intruders outside, before they enter the property was a key challenge as the risk of false alarms has historically been an issue in new security systems. This was a significant design consideration in respect of the design of the new Agility4 system with the inclusion of the new Beyond Wireless DT outdoor detector. Beyond Wireless leverages cutting-edge outdoor detection technologies and algorithms based on four detection channels. It is widely regarded as one of the most secure wireless outdoor detectors in the industry. The multi-layered protection includes cover tamper, active IR Anti-Mask and an accelerometer-based shock sensor. If force is applied to the detector, the shock sensor generates a tamper alert to the panel. Indoor and outdoor camera detectors  RISCO Group has now developed both indoor and outdoor camera detectors for alarm verification with new features RISCO Group has now developed both indoor and outdoor camera detectors for alarm verification with new features including Agility 4’s ability to receive a short clip of the event alongside a series of snapshots through an integrated camera. Upon detection, the camera is triggered automatically with snapshots and video clips available to the end user and the monitoring station simultaneously; all of which can be enabled by an installer using RISCO Cloud, the manufacturer’s remote, cloud-based system. Remote, cloud-based wireless system The complimentary range of new accessories include a contemporary keypad, a compact key fob and award-winning BWare detector now available as wireless. A Beyond Wireless DT detector camera will also be released in the forthcoming months, along with a discreet PIR detector and contemporary indoor sounder. Commenting on the launch, Ian Stones, head of sales for RISCO UK: “For a long time, RISCO has led the way for cloud-based wireless intruder system technology. Agility 4 moves this on a step further with significantly enhanced technology and improved aesthetics demanded by today’s end user customer.”

NSI Summit 2018 to focus on community security and fire safety innovations
NSI Summit 2018 to focus on community security and fire safety innovations

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) is pleased to announce the gold sponsors for this year’s NSI Summit 2018 taking place in March at the Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham are confirmed as BT Redcare, CSL, RISCO Group and summit partner, IFSEC International, all of whom are preparing to share updates, industry insights and product demonstrations. Exclusively open to all NSI approved companies spanning security, guarding services and fire safety, and industry stakeholders including the Police and Insurer Community, the summit, now in its fifth year, is growing from strength to strength. Alongside the gold sponsors and summit partner, NSI approved companies will have access to the UK’s leading equipment, technology and business support providers, with over 60 exhibitors across two halls.  Delegates will benefit from: a Plenary session featuring the latest industry updates; an educational seminar programme led by high calibre specialists incorporating master-classes, panel discussion and case study presentations; one-to-one sessions with NSI industry experts; and not-to-be-missed special offers.The NSI Summit has always delivered in terms of staying abreast of current developments Building security partnerships John Ware, General Manager, BT Redcare comments “BT Redcare is again delighted to be sponsoring the NSI Summit which will bring into focus the latest initiatives, standards and developments in the industry. Redcare plays a key part in all these areas and we’re looking forward to meeting with delegates – we have lots to share.”  Speaking on behalf of CSL, Group Managing Director Simon Banks states “CSL are delighted to be a headline sponsor of the NSI Summit, for the 5th year in a row. It’s a must attend event in the Fire & Security calendar. Visit us on the day to find out more about our latest innovations and make the most of our live product demonstrations, whilst catching up with the team.” Greg Smith, Field Marketing Manager, RISCO Group adds “This is a fantastic event which has always delivered in terms of staying abreast of current developments and providing an opportunity for NSI approved companies to meet with the leading players within the industry. We’re delighted to support this key event.”This year’s summit theme of ‘Strengthening Partnerships’ explores the relationship between the private and public sectors Community security Gerry Dunphy, Brand Director IFSEC & FIREX International, said, “IFSEC is delighted once again to be a key partner of the NSI Summit in 2018. All NSI approved companies are essential to IFSEC and we always welcome an opportunity to meet with them to relay the key developments for the show in 2018. Our major offering for the installer community this year is the ‘Show Me How’ programme which will emphasise a wide range of learning opportunities and exhibitor demonstrations which will help our installer customers better understand the capabilities and potential of the technologies on offer at IFSEC 2018.” This year’s summit theme of ‘Strengthening Partnerships’ explores the relationship between the private and public sectors, shining a spotlight on working closer together to safeguard people, property and the wider community.  Maintaining industry standards NSI Chief Executive, Richard Jenkins comments, “We would like to thank BT Redcare, CSL, RISCO Group and IFSEC International for their continued collaboration on the NSI Summit. This essential one-day event is specially designed for NSI Approved Companies, the UK’s elite within the security and fire safety companies, to keep them abreast of industry developments and provide an important opportunity to share best practice, conduct business and meet face-to-face with our sponsors and exhibitors who provide an array of expertise within the security and fire safety sectors. It centres on maintaining the highest standards within our industry.”

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