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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.
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.
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.
Slovakian integrator, RYS, has recently deployed a system that provides a textbook example of how RFID access control can concretely improve people’s lives every day. Before automatic access control was introduced there, a Bratislava apartment building, known as ‘The Pentagon’, had suffered a reputation as a place to avoid. RFID access control system Drug dealers, vandals, and a similar criminal element were a chronic presence, leaving residents constantly feeling unsafe in their own homes. Idesco customer RYS was contracted to design and deploy an RFID access control system to better guarantee safety and enhance the residents’ quality of life. With over 30 years specialised experience in residential building access control, RYS designed a solution and chose Idesco to supply the over 100 RFID readers to be deployed. Currently, those readers control both ground floor access and section/hallway entrances on each floor. Elevator readers restrict residents’ access to their own floors. Access to only RFID tag-holding residents The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their use only by its RFID tag-holding residents. Simultaneously, the entire system collects real time data about access events, including unclosed doors or unauthorised access attempts, to help strengthen prevention and control. Due to the building’s history of vandalism, RYS recognised the importance of choosing readers capable of withstanding malicious impacts, moisture and dust. Idesco optical tamper Idesco’s optical tamper proved better than many other readers whose manufacturers rely on mechanical tampers" Marcela Benuskova, RYS Assistant Project Manager, commented “Idesco’s optical tamper proved better than many other readers whose manufacturers rely on mechanical tampers. Whereas alarms should be sent whenever a reader is intentionally mishandled, mechanical tampers trigger false alarms more often than those cued optically.” Marcela continues, “The technical solutions Idesco and RYS implemented, combined with the efforts of an excellent crisis management team, triggered almost unbelievable changes inside that apartment building. Our access control not only strengthened crime prevention immediately, but also empowered law enforcement in discouraging unwanted or illegal activity.” Enhanced building security He adds, “As that building’s security increased, the market value of individual flats began trending upward. Today, the building’s residents feel safer and they have actually started thinking positively about their community’s future.” Marcela Benuskova with RYS closed by stating, “Idesco’s team is so nice to work with; they always respond fast, with a friendly, professional and positive attitude. Any technical question or problem gets looked at, given proper thought and action. They have always been open to, and repeatedly implemented, product changes we asked for.”
Transparent readers provide a significantly different method for powerfully strengthening high security access control systems. The security of transparent readers’ relies on eliminating as much hosted data, or software, as possible; essentially, their function depends entirely on instructions their system host sends to them. Their role is similar to loudspeakers in a sound system: hacking a loudspeaker doesn’t let you change the music. Another analogy likens transparent readers to antennae, merely transmitting data to and from transponders and the system, whereas system software determines a transparent reader’s functionality. This is why the French security authority, ANSSI, prescribes transparent readers for sites with the highest security requirements. Simplified system updates However, powerful security isn’t transparent readers’ only benefit – they also massively simplify system updates. With all software instructions hosted in the system, device updates are no longer required, even after a comprehensive system change. Any changes to reader functionality can be completely integrated into the system’s software update. Swedish Infobric chose Idesco’s 9 CD 2.0 Slim Pin T transparent readers to implement a remarkably flexible solution for construction sites. Their system controls both site and equipment access while conveniently collecting data that employers need to fulfil their employee reporting obligations to government authorities. For Infobric, transparent readers greatly simplified system management while also letting them tailor their product to different markets and technology standards.
Slovakian integrator RYS, recently deployed a system that provides a textbook example of how RFID access control can concretely improve people’s lives every day. Before automatic access control was introduced there, a Bratislava apartment building, known as ‘The Pentagon’, had suffered a reputation as a place to avoid. Drug dealers, vandals, and a similar criminal element were a chronic presence, leaving residents constantly feeling unsafe in their own homes. Idesco customer RYS was contracted to design and deploy an RFID access control system to better guarantee safety and enhance the residents quality of life. Access control readers The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their use only by its RFID tag-holding residents With over 30 years specialised experience in residential building access control, Rys designed a solution and chose Idesco to supply the over 100 readers to be deployed. Today, those 7 C 2.0 and 8 CD 2.0 readers control both ground floor access and section/hallway entrances on each floor. Elevator readers restrict residents’ access to their own floors. The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their used only by its RFID tag-holding residents. Simultaneously, the entire system collects real time data about access events, including unclosed doors or unauthorised access attempts, to help strengthen prevention and control. Due to the building’s history of vandalism, Rys recognized the importance of choosing readers capable of withstanding malicious impacts, not merely high IP67 protection from moisture, dust and dirt, but Idesco’s high, IK-09/10 impact durability (10-20 joules). Better tampering protection Marcela Benuskova, RYS assistant project manager, comments that Idesco’s optical tamper proved better than many other readers whose manufacturers rely on mechanical tampers. Whereas alarms should be sent whenever a reader is intentionally mishandled, mechanical tampers trigger false alarms more often than those cued optically. Marcela continues, “Idesco’s team is so nice to work with; they always respond fast, with a friendly, professional and positive attitude. Any technical question or problem gets looked at, given proper thought and action. They have always been open to, and repeatedly implemented, product changes we asked for. For example, they provided a special 8 CD 2.0 Compact reader module for our door phone, and customised orange lenses for our Basic readers. Product deliveries have always been timely and in proper condition. In short, Idesco has been a very reliable supplier for us, with great customer support. Additionally, their high quality, modern readers offer unique features such as RS232 connections, optical tampers, great security, all in addition to their high IK and IP ratings”, maintains Rys’ Marcela Benuskova. Engineering for future needs “They not only use the most modern technology but engineer for future needs. This lets us design new features in our access control systems. Despite their readers’ durability and reliability, they still look fresh and modern while still having the latest security features. This is exactly what we want from readers upon which we will build our systems. Even better, their stable pricing policy and frame order option greatly supports our own planning and product marketing cycles”, Marcela explains. She closes, “The technical solutions Idesco and Rys implemented, combined with the efforts of an excellent crisis management team, triggered almost unbelievable changes inside that apartment building. Our access control not only strengthened crime prevention immediately, but also empowered law enforcement in discouraging unwanted or illegal activity. As that building’s security increased, the market value of individual flats began trending upward. Today, the building’s residents feel more safe; they have actually started thinking positively about their community’s future.”
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