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 MOBOTIX AG news

MOBOTIX video technology products and systems are 100% NDAA compliant
MOBOTIX video technology products and systems are 100% NDAA compliant

MOBOTIX AG proudly confirms that all MOBOTIX products and systems comply with the requirements of the United States National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and are 100% NDAA-compliant. The NDAA Section 889 contains a new set of guidelines that allow for increased protection against espionage and hacker attacks. In addition, there are named Chinese companies that produce components used for telecommunications purposes, (including security products) that will be no longer be acceptable. For clarification purposes, MOBOTIX does not use any SoC (System on Chip) or any other components that are capable of processing software from Chinese companies. 3-step self-certification process Furthermore, MOBOTIX products that are sourced from OEM partners (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are also 100% NDAA compliant. MOBOTIX has clearly demonstrated a defined 3-step self-certification process that our products and systems do not contain Chinese components. NDAA conformity letters have already been communicated to several US institutions as well as key integration partners who purchase and install MOBOTIX products. "MOBOTIX technology is not only a world leader from a quality perspective, but also from a data and cyber-security perspective. It has always been extremely important for us not to use components from risky suppliers to protect the security of our customers and partners through our own design." explains Hartmut Sprave, CTO of MOBOTIX AG. Even in times of globalisation, national security interests continue to dominate international trade policy. Individual countries and groups of countries control investments and establish rules for defence and security procurement. Compliance guidelines are designed to effectively identify and minimise risks along global supply chains. These guidelines reflect the real purpose and embedded integrity of the NDAA.

MOBOTIX video technology considered the standard for video security solutions in education & science sectors
MOBOTIX video technology considered the standard for video security solutions in education & science sectors

Security at educational institutions is a highly sensitive issue. No matter whether it is a kindergarten, school, university or private learning institute, concentrated learning requires a harmonious environment to focus on the essentials. High-end video technology can make a decisive contribution to protecting students from any kind of disturbance or untoward incident. Safeguarding schools In the past, schools and universities have repeatedly been the target of active shooter and terrorist attacks. The primary goal of educational institutions, owing to this constant threat, is to prevent ‘unauthorised access’ to the school grounds and to allow only authorised visitors. Further potential danger exists internally, such as cases of vandalism, bullying and violence by or among students, which are issues that may arise sometimes in school life. Of course, early smoke and fire detection are also important components for a safe learning and living environment. MOBOTIX video security solutions MOBOTIX has video security solutions for the education & science sector in its portfolio" In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new health protection requirements into focus. Video technology can provide reliable support in all these scenarios. "MOBOTIX has video security solutions for the education & science sector in its portfolio that makes school, learning and studying safe. These solutions are already in use around the world and have proven themselves to be very effective," said Thomas Lausten, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MOBOTIX AG. With its unique product portfolio consisting of hardware, software, services and intelligent partner solutions, MOBOTIX can precisely map the requirements of various industries. The latest technologies can be used to protect people, facilities and infrastructure in schools, universities or private educational institutions. Access and entry control Video technology from MOBOTIX helps to prevent unauthorised access and regulate access to buildings, or individual areas in a targeted manner. In addition, doors can be opened totally contactlessly, for example using RFID chip cards, access codes and identification of authorised personnel, based on face recognition technology. An overview in real time is possible and also helps in emergency situations, e.g. during evacuations to find out whether and which persons are where. At entrances and parking lots, vehicles can be automatically registered via the license plate and compared with databases. The identifying video technology can thus, efficiently restrict access to authorised vehicles or persons. MOBOTIX 7 open video system platform Using the new open video system platform, MOBOTIX 7, numerous camera apps can be used for intelligent video analysis. Among other things, the applications can register, for example, ownerless luggage, stolen furnishings, can track down suspicious persons, count people, recognise overcrowding situations or alert when one or more virtual blocking lines are crossed for burglary protection. The robustness of the MOBOTIX hardware also protects the video technology of MOBOTIX itself against vandalism. The use of thermal imaging cameras is also recommended in special areas. For example, an email can be sent to the building maintenance department if the system, which reacts to invisible heat radiation, detects increasing overheating in an IT server room before a dangerous fire breaks out. Campus security and perimeter protection The MOBOTIX M16 and M73 offer several simultaneous sensors in a robust, weatherproof design For outdoor applications, the MOBOTIX M16 and M73 offer several simultaneous sensors in a robust, weatherproof design. The wide range of interchangeable sensor modules can be configured to meet the exact requirements of the educational institution in question, with the aim to detect danger or any untoward incident in time and thus, effectively thwart them. For example, a floodlight could automatically shine if an unauthorized person enters the campus outside of opening hours. If desired, this could also be combined with an acoustic warning. Cyber-secure MOBOTIX video technology While the communication infrastructure in the education sector constantly improving, there are usually few resources (personnel, know-how) available for the maintenance of the technology. For this reason, the systems used must be stable and, if possible, maintenance-free and also protected against physical and digital attacks. MOBOTIX video systems are made in Germany. With an above-average ‘Mean Time Between Failures’ (MTBF) of more than 80,000 hours, the follow-up costs of a MOBOTIX system are reduced to a minimum. Resources for technology support can be saved. Due to their durability and robustness, they are predestined for use in education and science. "Particularly in the educational sector, the security of pupils, students, teaching staff, but also of equipment and facilities is of particular importance, real and digital. MOBOTIX has optimal solutions that are robust, reliable and cyber-secure. Solutions that help to make our educational institutions more convenient and secure," concludes Thomas Lausten.

Alha Group integrates MOBOTIX thermal technology for enhanced security at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy
Alha Group integrates MOBOTIX thermal technology for enhanced security at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy

On an average, approximately 400,000 tons of cargo passes through Malpensa Airport every year, located in Milan, Italy. The Alha Group is the major cargo handling agent at the 25,000-square-meter site, which houses 32 airlines, with 34 large cargo aircrafts. Handling cargo at Malpensa Airport In 2012, Malpensa Cargo became a certified competence and administration centre for air cargo and road transport, especially for premium-quality small goods, such as smartphones, tablets, designer clothing and accessories. The Alha Group chose a system from MOBOTIX AG, a renowned manufacturer of cameras in Germany Since then, passenger transport in Malpensa has increased exponentially, which has driven the Alha Group to procure a video surveillance system that offers the very highest level of protection. The Alha Group chose a system from MOBOTIX AG, which has been manufacturing cameras in Germany for over 20 years. MOBOTIX thermal imaging cameras "We have installed nine MOBOTIX thermal imaging cameras at our sites in Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino, Segrate, Pioltello, Verona and Prato to strategically cover the key traffic areas," said Marco Alesi, Security Manager at the Alha Group. The MOBOTIX thermal systems were installed by Alha's business partner, Trium at the beginning of March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alha can now reliably control access to its offices and warehouses. Virtual security cage The project also saw the construction of a ‘Virtual security cage’ that Alha uses to protect the valuable goods of its customers that are being transshipped against theft. An infrared alarm system delineates a defined area and the video-based system triggers an alarm, as soon as an intruder enters this area. With the help of live images from the camera, the uninvited guest can be identified and stopped immediately. The Alha Group has consequently replaced an expensive conventional locking system with an advanced digital video solution and sped up routine work processes at the same time. The MOBOTIX cameras are integrated into the burglar alarm system, which is controlled using security badges. A detailed log is kept to track when the system is deactivated. Integrated thermal imaging solution "We were, and still are, extremely satisfied with the MOBOTIX cameras we installed previously," emphasizes Marco Alesi, adding "Not only because of their high quality and durability, but also because of the numerous integration and development options we've been able to make use of over time. This is a huge advantage, and one that applies to our most recent installation too." The timesheet system has an integrated thermal imaging camera that is activated, every time an employee signs in The timesheet system has an integrated thermal imaging camera that is activated, every time an employee in the warehouse and office access area signs in. A recorded message asks the employee to look into the camera and remove any glasses or head coverings that they may be wearing for proper identification. If the camera measures their body temperature as being 37.5 degrees Celsius or less, a green LED on the camera flashes to allow access to the cargo bay. If the temperature measured is higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius, a flashing red light and another recorded message informs the employee to wait for a specialist member of staff to take their temperature using a clinical thermometer. VoIP intercom system At the same time, the system sends an email with a dated camera screenshot, stored personnel data and the measured temperature. The VoIP intercom system integrated into the camera enables Alha security staff to immediately communicate with employees who were temporarily stopped when entering the company building. "The extra checks are making us all safer during this crisis. We see the ability to contact someone immediately after they receive negative results for a preliminary test as an intrinsic part of our duty of care toward our employees," explains Alesi.

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