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 MAXxess Systems Europe Ltd. news

ExcelRedstone to deploy Maxxess eFusion integration at Square Mile’s first residential and hospitality development project
ExcelRedstone to deploy Maxxess eFusion integration at Square Mile’s first residential and hospitality development project

ExcelRedstone is implementing an ambitious integration project, using Maxxess eFusion technology, at the first high-rise residential and hospitality development in the City of London for many years. Currently under construction, the £300m 43-storey One Bishopsgate Plaza development will see security and building management technology operating seamlessly together in a setting that includes both new-build and listed conservation area structures. As well as having 160 new private apartments, when completed the development will include a 237-bed five star Pan Pacific Hotel, a public plaza and a Pacific Ballroom, promoted as the Square Mile’s first dedicated banqueting venue. ExcelRedstone selected eFusion for the project because of the flexibility it allows, enabling rapid integration, off-the-shelf, with a wide choice of security, safety and business-critical technologies. Umbrella management system “The customer wanted a seamless, single interface that allows front of house guest services to be linked to back of house functions and give the highest operator efficiency and enhanced customer experience,” says Matt Salter, Director, ExcelRedstone. eFusion provides an umbrella management system for an expanding choice of preferred technologies With its modular, building block approach, eFusion provides an umbrella management system for an expanding choice of preferred technologies for commercial, hospitality and mixed-use settings, including guest check-in, reservation & visitor management, access control, surveillance, and building systems. In use, eFusion drives efficiency and eliminates gaps in security by removing the need for operators to continually switch between systems. Video management system Two of the most important technologies being integrated by eFusion at One Bishopsgate Plaza are the full-featured, Oracle Hospitality Opera property management & guest service system, and a 266 door ASSA ABLOY wireless electronic locking solution. ExcelRedstone is also using eFusion to integrate Zenitel IP intercoms, a KONE lift system, and the building management (BMS) system using the BACnet protocol, which will enable estate managers to optimise energy efficiency based on usage and occupancy. The eFusion integration also allows a more flexible approach with the surveillance system - for example, making it easy to use a choice of Axis cameras, with specialist mounts, in the listed conservation areas of the site, integrating them with over 350 Mobotix fixed lens and panoramic cameras through the highly-secure Wavestore video management system (VMS). Networking and AV systems ExcelRedstone is also responsible for networking and AV systems at the development The surveillance and other security systems will be monitored live from two separate control rooms, one for the hotel and one for the wider estate. As well as integrating these and fitting out the control rooms, ExcelRedstone is also responsible for networking and AV systems at the development. “Our engineers are pre-staging the entire system off-site,” explains Salter. “This is allowing us to test everything in advance and to reduce packaging waste and environmental impact on site. It also lets us work more efficiently, in step with the ongoing construction schedule, floor by floor.” Providing secure solutions One Bishopsgate is the latest of a growing number of mixed-use developments - including hotels, retail, office and residential complexes - to use eFusion to streamline security, safety and facilities management. “We are seeing a growing trend towards automation and centralised management, and the solutions being deployed at these locations are increasingly sophisticated – but that doesn’t mean they have to be complex,” says Lee Copland, Managing Director EMEA, Maxxess. “Quite the opposite in fact. By keeping things simple and integrating off-the-shelf with the widest choice of technologies, Maxxess is providing secure solutions that are easier to install and to use than traditional alternatives.”

Maxxess' InSite solution for improving situational awareness on display at IFSEC 2019
Maxxess' InSite solution for improving situational awareness on display at IFSEC 2019

Transforming the way security teams monitor, manage and control multiple systems, Maxxess is launching its new, open-architecture InSite solution at IFSEC International, (London ExCel 18-20 June, stand IF2120). Maxxess InSite is a cyber-secure, cloud-based service that has been developed to give organisations impressive new levels of situational awareness and allow the most rapid, coordinated response to wide range of incidents, both emergency and non-emergency. InSite can pull data from a wide array of security and safety systems and infrastructure thanks to its open-architecture design. Applications range from device fault monitoring, maintenance tracking and reporting, to incident handling and emergency response coordination.  Effective coordination during emergency InSite doesn’t simply integrate disparate systems, it unifies their capabilities and makes them more powerful in use"For large organisations, or those with complex sites or multiple premises to manage, InSite reduces complexity and allows seamless central control. It lets day-to-day operations to be managed more efficiently, identifying problems early and reducing risks, and it enables more effective coordination during emergency incidents. “InSite doesn’t simply integrate disparate systems, it unifies their capabilities and makes them more powerful in use,” said Lee Copland, Managing Director, Maxxess EMEA. “InSite pulls together critical security infrastructure and systems – everything from cameras to door controls - bringing everything under a single operating umbrella, and unifying their functions to allow rapid communications, analysis and action.” eFusion security management platform Ambit allows system controllers to link with remote personnel via their personal devicesInSite joins Maxxess’s full suite of advanced control solutions, including the Ambit family of mobile apps and the eFusion security management platform. Ambit allows system controllers to link with remote personnel via their personal devices, enabling alerts, notifications, status assessment and functions including video surveillance support. And eFusion integrates seamlessly with more than 60 off-the-shelf systems from leading vendors, including surveillance, access control, fire and intruder systems with back-office processes. For managers and teams that need to be mobile, the Maxxess MX+ client gives secure web access to eFusion controls and functions via smartphones and tablets. The full suite of Maxxess technologies will be on show at IFSEC, providing complete solutions for organisations looking to streamline their operations and improve control of multi-system infrastructure.

Maxxess to exhibit smart hospitality access control and visitor management solutions at Intersec 2019
Maxxess to exhibit smart hospitality access control and visitor management solutions at Intersec 2019

Maxxess will be at Intersec 2019 showcasing its latest advances in corporate risk reduction, improved people management and smarter hospitality access solutions - including new releases in its popular eFusion and Ambit solutions. eFusion security management The latest version of the VisitorPoint module within the eFusion security management platform will be showcased, offering a host of new streamlined functions for efficient people and visitor management. Harnessing current advances in cloud computing and mobile communications, VisitorPoint is being used at premises from hotels and campuses to corporate headquarters. It allows the whole process of visitor management to be streamlined in a way never previously possible. For example, it lets guests’ phones be used as access credentials, making it a perfect alternative to room keys in the hospitality sector. Compatibility of the VisitorPoint system with ASSA Abloy Hospitality products has proved to be particularly popular with hotels. VisitorPoint System VisitorPoint is also ideal for busy hotel reception teams who need to keep across who is entering the premises VisitorPoint is also ideal for busy hotel reception teams who need to keep across who is entering the premises. With the latest version of VisitorPoint, users can easily view pre-registered visitors in advance; manage and sign-in large groups in seconds; book meeting rooms; manage visitor car parking; and automate notifications and messaging. Now organisations can go even further in streamlining their people and diary management processes, thanks to integration with Outlook and Google calendars. A new VIP feature allows automatically tailored welcomes for specified guests and/or groups; and a QR Scan App allows visitors and VIPS to be immediately verified. In addition, a new, sleek self-service kiosk will be unveiled at the show, which is ideal for positioning in hotels and high-end corporate lobbies. Open-technology systems integration Meanwhile, with its versatile, open-technology software eFusion is proving a practical alternative to costly or complex conventional PSIM solutions. It offers the advantages of a modular, building block approach and gives users the freedom to integrate, customise and adapt their security systems to meet both current needs and emerging risks. Ensuring compatibility with leading surveillance, intruder, access and fire detection systems, eFusion now supports more than 60 off-the-shelf integrations and several important additions are confirmed for the show. These latest integrations include Jaquies IP intercom hardware; the mobile phone app GuardPoint; and the Metra locker system hardware. “For users who want control and better value from their security investments, eFusion with its expanding choice of integrations is the ideal management platform”, says Lee Copland, Managing Director, Maxxess EMEA. Smart, open infrastructure The eFusion platform allows legacy systems to be transformed into a smart, open infrastructure and extends the life of equipment" “The eFusion platform allows legacy systems to be transformed into a smart, open infrastructure and extends the life of equipment. Our technology is proving particularly popular because it gives users all the advantages of advanced PSIM without the associated cost or complexity.” eFusion can be easily scaled from one site to multiple sites globally and it can connect stand-alone systems for easy upgrades such as retro-fits with existing hardware. Network monitoring for public safety Also on show, Ambit allows security controllers to communicate directly with both individuals and groups and to monitor the safety of everyone on site (or on multiple sites), for example employees, residents, visitors, or contractors. Now Ambit users will benefit from direct notification of a wide range of risks thanks to a new integration with the NC4 incident alert service. NC4 monitors risks and issues alerts in real time, covering potential threats ranging from terrorist incidents to weather events, from civil disruption to cyber-attacks. With this new integration, as N4C alerts arise they will be filtered by proximity/relevance and directly sent to Ambit users. Lone worker monitoring   Visitors to the Maxxess stand will also learn how Ambit’s latest life-saving technology comes with a choice of applications tailored to the user’s needs. For example, it can allow lone-worker monitoring; courtesy communications and remote escorting after-hours; panic alarm features; and individualised messaging during incidents. It can help security teams co-ordinate and work more effectively with emergency responders too as well as improving the efficiency of day-to-day operations.  We are well positioned to further capitalise on major infrastructure projects across the region such as hotels and leisure" With new customers and projects including Bluewater Island, TAJ Hotel & Residences JLT Dubai, TAJ Hotel & Palace on Palm Jumeirah, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Emirates Flight Catering Extension, the Jewel of the Creek and Yahsat, 2019 will be an exciting year of growth for Maxxess in the Middle East.  Maxxess expands Middle East reach  “We are well positioned to further capitalise on major infrastructure projects across the region such as hotels and leisure. The demand for increased operational efficiencies across the MENA region has seen many organisations look to automate tasks and at the same time mitigate against the potential for human error. This is evident in the demand we’re seeing for streamlined visitor management, the elimination of keys and better optimised workforces across security and facilities management functions.”, said Lee Copland, Managing Director, Maxxess EMEA. He adds, “And as real-world applications for artificial intelligence become a reality, we are continuing to collaborate with our world leading video surveillance partners to bring these advanced analytics into the eFusion platform. Meanwhile, we will continue to support our customers in complying with revised fire and safety codes and new security regulations.” 

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