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 Vanderbilt Industries news

Vanderbilt announces the release of ACT enterprise 2.14 software providing integration with KONE
Vanderbilt announces the release of ACT enterprise 2.14 software providing integration with KONE

Vanderbilt, a provider of state-of-the-art security systems, announces the release of ACT Enterprise 2.14. ACT Enterprise is the company’s award-winning access control software that has a wealth of features and integrations. The latest additions in version 2.14 include extended integration with KONE and new video integration with Hanwha. The software has also added contact traceability reporting to its suite of tools. For instance, thanks to contact traceability reporting, users of ACT Enterprise can now successfully track potentially close contact cases within their building, including doors they may have interacted with. Tracking international travellers Commenting on the new feature, Alex Holmström, Global Sales Director at Vanderbilt, states: “This feature will help businesses create a safer and cleaner environment for their staff. System users can now remotely monitor their office from anywhere in the world, including tracking international travellers to their site.” ACT Enterprise 2.14 also sees additional benefits added to the software’s existing integration with KONE. By supporting KONE's latest API calls, it allows for a much faster install time compared with traditional hardwired input and outputs. Instead, ACT Enterprise and KONE software communicate at an API level. This optimises the KONE system by having an efficient throughput within the building. Hardwired elevator control The big benefit, certainly for large buildings, is that it allows for a large increase in footfall" Michael Moyna, Senior Product Manager at Vanderbilt, explains in more detail: “The benefits of KONE integration are twofold. It makes the installation and integration of KONE and ACT much more straightforward because there is no cabling required as with traditional hardwired elevator control since the ACT software talks directly to the KONE server via the KONE API.” “The big benefit, certainly for large buildings, is that it allows for a large increase in footfall through the elevator system. This means you can prioritise elevators and make them work efficiently. For example, during morning rush hour, the elevator can be configured for optimal utilisation to ensure effective throughput.” Lastly, a new release in this version is video integration with Hanwha’s Wisenet WAVE system and Dahua. These video additions complement an already rich set of integrations that include Milestones 3XLogic and Hikvision. Access control event ACT Enterprise users can play live video or recorded video associated with a door through these video integrations. Moyna expands on the value of this: “If an event happened last week where a door was forced open, the operator can right-click on the event in ACT Enterprise and simply replay the video recording from the Hanwha Wisenet WAVE system.” “This makes for a more precise examination of the video system concerning the access control event. It also removes the operator's need to visit the control room to retrieve the footage as it can be viewed directly within ACT Enterprise instead. This, of course, delivers an added layer of convenience to the system’s users,” he concludes.

Vanderbilt secures a hospital in Ireland with access control integrated solutions
Vanderbilt secures a hospital in Ireland with access control integrated solutions

St. James Hospital in Dublin, Ireland, which has more than 1,000 beds, is a teaching hospital that specialises in not only treatment but health promotion and preventative services at its central location. It is also a central location for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Tasked with keeping patients and staff safe from the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, St. James Hospital needed a way to add additional screening capabilities to its facility alongside its existing access control terminals. The technology needed to bring a multi-layered approach to screening individuals entering the hospital facility who could potentially introduce a significant amount of risk to those within the facility. Access control solution integrated St. James Hospital chose the Vanderbilt ACTpro access control solution integrated with the ZKTeco Proface-X-TD Facial Recognition Terminal to address its challenges. The ACTpro solution specifically used the ACT1500 Single Door IP Controller and ACT1030 MiFare Card Reader alongside the ZKTeco system. The Proface-X-TD solution uses intelligent engineering facial recognition algorithms and the latest computer vision technology. It supports both facial and palm verification for a fully touchless experience. Coupled with the Proface-X-TD solution, ACTpro can not only grant and restrict access based on biometric functionality, but can detect mask-wearing and high temperatures as a means to grant or restrict access to the facility. As a result, better hygiene is achieved with touchless biometric authentication, skin temperature detection, and masked individual identification. Anti-spoofing algorithm If a member of the staff presents to the door with high skin temperature, that individual is routed to another location, and the door will not open to identify potential infection. The Proface-X-TD solution is also equipped with an anti-spoofing algorithm for facial recognition against almost all types of fake photos and videos. The solution is ideally suited to hospitals like St. James because of their ability to be layered as part of a comprehensive approach to screening individuals considered at-risk for infection as a means to protect patients and other staff members. Elevated temperatures detections The touchless nature of the terminals brings safety and hygiene issues to the forefront, cutting down on possible exposure to infectious disease. The device detects people with elevated temperatures who can then be further scrutinised to add extra screening processes and identify potential disease exposure. This ability, along with the visitor check-in and tracking processes integrated with the ACTpro access control system, is a critical component in today’s modern healthcare facilities to provide real-time data for security officials.

Are cloud-based systems more or less secure than on-premise systems?
Are cloud-based systems more or less secure than on-premise systems?

For most security end users, keeping all their data on the premises “feels” more secure. But in the age of Internet connectivity, that feeling of safety is mostly an illusion. In any case, increasingly, video and other security systems are migrating to the cloud. So are most other business IT systems for that matter. However, when “security” is in your job title, it becomes that much more important to ensure that data is reliably protected. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Are cloud-based security systems more or less secure than on-premise systems? How and why?

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