Access control readers - Expert commentary

How are new management systems innovating the hospitality industry?
How are new management systems innovating the hospitality industry?

Technology has certainly become an intrinsic part of our day-to-day lives, from the retail industry, to food and beverage outlets, and even within the health and fitness industry. It’s all around us, in varying formats, making processes more efficient. It has refined some of our older approaches, and in the hospitality industry, this is certainly true. Technological advances are leading the way forward for the future of hotels, and with the sector now free from COVID-19 restrictions, venues are looking for ways to improve the guest experience with technology. A staggering recent statistic has suggested that 75 percent of activities in hospitality could one day become automated — so where exactly are we heading on this journey into the future of hotels? Join Cairn Collection, owner of The Stirling Highland, and explore a whole host of innovations that are changing the face of hotel management systems. The 21st-century check-in desk The breadth of technology that is slowly becoming more widely available is transforming the hospitality industry The digital age is constantly finding new ways to innovate and prove its value and worth for modern consumers, and the breadth of technology that is slowly becoming more widely available is transforming the hospitality industry. In the past, connotations of a check-in desk were long queues and excessive pieces of paper — from room service menus to a mini catalogue of highlights of the local area. Technological innovations such as face recognition are one of the major ways that this process is changing. Using artificial intelligence A handful of hotels have already trialled or introduced artificial intelligence (AI) into their daily running, and it looks set to become far more mainstream by 2025. From paying the bill by using biometrics to allowing hotel managers to handle data more efficiently, AI looks set to be welcomed with the potential for it to reduce costs by 13 percent. The entire hotel check-in process could become automated, making one of the most established parts of the hotel experience redundant — but staff could be freed up to engage with customers, allowing them to get into their rooms quicker in the meantime. Many venues have even gone fully paperless when it comes to checking in, choosing instead to upload the process to cloud computing systems where information can be stored and viewed by connected devices. Convenience is the key More hotels operate their room unlocking facilities through mobile phone-connected technology, NFC After having checked in to a hotel, guests will want to explore the room that they’ve booked. Doing so has never been easier, and the classic magstripe locks which were once the most commonly used method of accessing hotel rooms are being progressively phased out. More and more hotels now operate their room unlocking facilities through mobile phone-connected technology, near-field communication (NFC).  This technology allows for data transfer at up to 424 kb per second, and it is enabled when connected devices come into contact with each other. Mobile key systems Most mobile key systems require guests to download and activate a key through the hotel’s digital app, and upon arrival, they can use the activated key to unlock the door to their hotel room. Combined with online/digital check-in services, guests can use the e-key to check in early or at a time that suits them best, knowing that they don’t have to wait around to pick up a physical key. Small touches like this build a sense of brand familiarity for customers, as well as streamline their hotel experience, and this distinguishes them from competitors. Hotel management systems Hotel management systems need to account for the experience that guests have while staying at the venue Of course, hotel management systems also need to account for the experience that guests have while staying at the venue and technology can do a lot to enhance this. Hotels have to innovate the spaces that they are presenting to their customers and technology has become a valuable asset to help enhance customer satisfaction, as the hotel room is certainly not simply a place for rest anymore. Voice-enabled devices Voice-enabled devices are becoming common features in rooms, with popular models such as Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon Echo providing guests with information on the local area — if you’re looking for the perfect backdrop to the business dinner you’re attending, just ask Alexa! Hotels could even record and distribute their personalised voice messaging to help reinforce the brand presence into the technology. Technology can help you attract and retain customers by offering services above and beyond what they’d usually receive A room and then some As the generational switch to millennials and Gen Z continues, the need for an experience has grown and, through a mixture of technology, hotels can cater to these revised consumer needs. From setting up messaging platforms to providing a remote control that monitors absolutely everything in the room — from atmospheric mood lighting to music streaming services and more, a hotel room can be whatever the user wants, and the experience is therefore generated by the customer. Technology doesn’t stop advancing, and there are constantly new, refined approaches to hotel management systems that have marked a stark departure from ways of the past. With guests returning after over a year of COVID-19 restrictions, competition for their business is even tougher. Technology can help you attract and retain customers by offering services above and beyond what they’d usually receive.

Why is key management so important?
Why is key management so important?

More and more business security practices are going digital. Mechanical keys are still the backbone of most corporate security plans, and it can be very expensive for companies to switch to electronic access control on a large scale. Therefore, enterprises need to choose the most suitable access control system. What is key management? Key management is the process of protecting, tracking, and scheduling mechanical keys. Why is this important? Because the key carries access to sensitive locations and assets within the organisation, when you increase the security of the key, you can enhance the security of these valuable resources. The key management system also controls the cost of using physical keys. The system reduces the overhead caused by key loss or security breaches. Some smaller companies may be able to adopt a paper-and-pencil key management protocol. Larger companies, or those who want to better understand and control keys, usually choose to use an electronic key management system. Key management systems can store and assign keys securely and increase the efficiency of organisation Why use a key management system? The key management system can become the cornerstone of your key control process. At the most basic level, key management systems can accomplish two things that paper and pen systems cannot: they store and assign keys securely, and they increase the efficiency of your organisation's use of keys through automation and analysis. What can key management systems do? 1) Improve access control By better protecting the keys, you can improve the access control to the spaces and devices unlocked by these keys. You can use your key management to simplify the process of providing temporary employees with one-time-key access. In addition, the system can record all their key access records, so that everyone's behavior can be traced. 2) Enhanced accountability traceability The software is a good key management system that can generate reports on key usage, user access requests, access exceptions, and loss. In addition, you can track and audit key usage in real-time. Combined with a comprehensive key control strategy, you will implement better accountability for key use to meet any industry or risk management compliance standards. 3) Reduce costs and prevent losses When an employee loses a key, you will incur direct costs for a replacement key or relocking it when it is lost When an employee loses a key, you will incur direct costs, including purchasing a replacement key or relocking it when it is lost. However, the indirect cost of key loss is usually more significant. This is because employees first spend time looking for the lost key and then process the replacement request, all of which time is not spent on production work. 4) Improve workflow As we discussed, keys are often used in important workflows. The key management system allows you to better control these workflows. A passive electronic lock system, also known as a key-centric access control system, has outstanding advantages in key management. Compared with the electronic access control system, the passive electronic lock system's "passive" characteristics have reduced the update cost for many enterprises.

Insider threats are on the rise – even in the virtual workplace
Insider threats are on the rise – even in the virtual workplace

More than a year and a half after the COVID-19 pandemic began, countless workers are still doing their jobs remotely rather than from their offices. While there are many positives to working from home, there can also be some negatives at play like nefarious actors taking advantage of the tools and connections that employees use in work from home environments. Insider threats, a security risk that comes from within the organisation, are posing a major security problem for businesses. This is partially due to the widespread use of social media, encrypted communication platforms, and other tools. Now more than ever insider threats need to be identified, thwarted, and prevented. Social distancing policies When social distancing policies and mandates began keeping people apart, many turned to social media to stay connected. While social networking tools have provided a positive outlet and a way for people to feel more connected, these platforms have also become a hotspot for insider targeting because they provide a way to propagate disinformation and target individuals likely to be receptive to it. The ideal mark for an insider threat is someone who is active on social media Even more so, they have provided a means to develop relationships with organisational insiders and socialise with them. The ideal mark for an insider threat is someone who is active on social media, has sufficient access to sensitive information, lacks supervision in their day-to-day work, and works remotely. As the relationship develops, through the process of grooming, an employee can become more likely to disregard company policies and commitments. Disregarding company policies One reason insiders might act against their own organisation involves monetary gain. The pressures of the pandemic have led to record levels of unemployment and financial strain for millions of Americans. Financial issues can include struggling to pay for childcare, supporting family obligations, paying rent and more. Those who find themselves in a financial bind might not just act against their own company but could also more easily fall victim to a threat. Another reason that insiders act is that they may be disgruntled. Insiders may hold a grudge because they were passed over for promotion, were given an unsatisfactory performance rating, or they may be facing termination. While just one of these factors may not be a trigger to involve the company’s security team, any combination of these factors along with a change in the employee’s demeanour or behaviour should serve as a red flag to pay closer attention to the situation. Potentially malicious insiders Sending confidential information to an unsecured location in the cloud exposes the organisation to risk Another challenge employers face directly relates to the somewhat limited supervision of employees who work remotely. In this situation, identifying potentially malicious insiders is more difficult, largely because face-to-face interactions are limited. When the pandemic began, many companies shifted their primary areas of focus to keeping the business viable, which is understandable. However, with this shift of focus, less attention may have been paid to security issues. The proactive company will have ensured their employees are aware of the following: Steps they should take to ensure their devices -- both company-issued and personal -- are secured at all times. Sending confidential information to an unsecured location in the cloud exposes the organisation to risk. Breaking security policies to simplify tasks is prohibited. Ensuring their devices are updated with the latest security patches. A failure in any of these areas can produce an environment ripe for malicious insider activity. Cyber security teams This multidisciplinary group can lead the initiatives that are paramount to keeping the company secure The insider threat is an organisational threat and so it is most effectively addressed from a holistic perspective. Stakeholders from different parts of the organisation need to be at the table to understand and address such threats. An effective team includes personnel from the legal, human resources, communications, and physical and cyber security teams. This multidisciplinary group can lead the initiatives that are paramount to keeping the company and its employees secure. Conduct a risk assessment of the company’s security processes or a threat assessment to the company’s people or assets. No organisation is without some level of vulnerability, so identify the most critical assets, information, and systems; identify those who have access to these critical assets; and build controls around them to provide extra security. Delivering refresher training Build a training program to help employees and management identify concerning behaviours. Educate staff about insider threat indicators and provide instructions for how to report concerns. Require employees to complete training and deliver refresher training and updates throughout the year. Training on this matter is not a one-and-done situation. Ensure there is an impartial and confidential process in place for employees to report possible insider threats. Employees need to trust that if they report concerns about behaviours or actions on the part of a fellow employee, their information will be handled discreetly and if warranted, acted upon. Write a communications strategy clearly defining the process for relaying insider threat incidents. An effective plan lays out what information and when this information should be shared with specific individuals and to the broader community, who has authority to communicate sensitive information, and how the information should be disseminated. Remote working challenges Establish a check-in process for managers and their direct reports to enable a means for employees to share concerns and for managers to identify challenges or opportunities to assist employees working in the virtual environment. Make an EAP (employee assistance program) readily available to employees. Ensure they understand how to access their EAP and assure them that contacting the EAP will not have a negative impact on their career or growth potential. Providing venues for employees to share their concerns and talk with trained staff can greatly help organisations navigate insider threats and general remote working challenges. Security risk environment The virtual workplace has created a serious security risk environment for companies in which employees who would not normally engage in insider threats become more vulnerable to them. Through new technologies and possibly due to new financial hardships, those looking to harm an organisation are out there, searching for opportunities to strike. It is leadership’s responsibility to take proactive action to ensure their employees are aware of the possibility of insider threats, the seriousness with which management views them, and the resources available should someone fall victim. It is everyone’s responsibility to remain vigilant.

Latest Vicon Industries news

Vicon appoints Andronicus Turner and Jason Lloyd as new regional sales managers
Vicon appoints Andronicus Turner and Jason Lloyd as new regional sales managers

Vicon Industries, Inc., a subsidiary of Cemtrex Inc., and leading designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware, and components, announced the appointment of both Andronicus Turner and Jason Lloyd as Regional Sales Managers. The appointments follow several other key additions to the Vicon team. Vicon is expanding rapidly to address escalating demand as end-users seek a reliable source of video surveillance and access control technologies fit for today’s highly dynamic environment. Work experience As Regional Sales Manager for California, Nevada, and Hawaii, Vicon was pleased to appoint Andronicus Turner. Turner has an extensive career within the industry and a demonstrated ability to nurture strong relationships with system integrators, dealers, and end-users. Before Vicon, he served as a Regional Sales Representative for Hikvision. Turner studied International Business at California State University, Northridge, and Global Management at the University of Phoenix for Business.  Vicon was also pleased to appoint Jason Lloyd as Regional Sales Manager for Chicago, Northern Illinois, and Wisconsin. Lloyd has over 20 years of experience and expertise working at the dealer and integrator levels. He also brings an extensive technical history to the position, with a degree in Electrical Engineering and roles as Senior Design Engineer and Low Voltage Director. Leadership hires Vicon enable end-users to scale their security with high-performance and extraordinarily flexible security solutions These appointments follow several other recent key leadership hires. This includes Bob Germain, an industry vet who came from Hikvision to become Vicon’s Director of Hardware Management, and Rakesh Sharma, who came from Exacq to spearhead the company’s hardware engineering efforts filling the position of Director of Hardware Engineering. Recent hires also include Leland Jacobson, who serves Vicon as Regional Sales Manager covering Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas, and Bob Kriegisch, who joined Vicon’s U.S. Sales team as Regional Sales Manager covering Delaware, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Security solutions “We are excited to continue our expansion and welcome Andronicus Turner and Jason Lloyd to the Vicon family,” said Bret McGowan, Senior Vice President, Sales, and Marketing. “Together, they bring vast technical knowledge, passion, and dedication that will lend itself immensely to customers and the team. We look forward to expanding Vicon’s security solutions account base in these regions,” added McGowan. “The growth that Vicon has achieved is a testament to its vision, product excellence, and execution,” McGowan continued. “We are excited that each of these individuals joined the Vicon team and share our mission of driving strategy and execution, to enable end-users to scale their security with high-performance and extraordinarily flexible security solutions.”

Vicon launches NDAA-compliant Roughneck Camera Series to provide exceptional quality and performance
Vicon launches NDAA-compliant Roughneck Camera Series to provide exceptional quality and performance

Vicon Industries, Inc., a subsidiary of Cemtrex Inc., designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware, and components fills the supply gap caused by NDAA compliance and the emerging FCC ban on certain Chinese surveillance cameras and components with a sophisticated portfolio of compliant solutions. Since Congress passed the 2019 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) more than two years ago, many U.S. businesses have been faced with the adversity of removing and replacing numerous components of their security system. National security risks Recently, the Federal Communications Commission proposed a ban on the use of certain telecommunications products and other electronics made by Chinese companies. The order, which cites alleged national security risks, also seeks to forbid future U.S. sales and could revoke prior authorisations. Many companies in the industry kept moving forward selling banned technology" “Prior to the recent FCC ruling, many companies in the industry kept moving forward selling banned technology because it only impacted Federal opportunities. This new FCC ruling is an upheaval event bound to once again cause a major transformation in the industry impacting every space in the market” explained Bret McGowan, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Vicon. Competitive surveillance technology The ban’s enactment will create many challenges for integrators, specifiers, and end-users. The first, finding compliant and competitive surveillance technology that does not utilise any SoC (System on Chip) components from these now-banned Chinese companies. Once dealers, integrators, and specifiers identify compliant technologies, then price, quality, and time to implement them add to the complexities. As new and stricter laws began taking effect, the engineers at Vicon worked diligently to create a camera line specifically dedicated to solving the issues their government customers and prospective clients were facing. Moreover, they wanted to ensure delivering premium quality cameras at value price points. Delivering exceptional quality Vicon’s NDAA-compliant Roughneck Camera Series is designed to deliver exceptional quality To overcome this challenge, Vicon developed the Roughneck Series. Vicon’s NDAA-compliant Roughneck Camera Series is designed to deliver exceptional quality and performance at competitive pricing. Vicon recognised that to become a potential alternative to these value brands, a new pricing strategy was needed and that’s what Vicon implemented. “Vicon is pleased to have the ability to solve the challenge of compliance with our fully NDAA-compliant Roughneck Camera Series. From vandal-proof micro-domes to robust outdoor domes, these Roughneck cameras include a variety of form factors, making them an ideal solution for any market,” shared Bob Germain, Director, Hardware Product Management, Vicon. Time-consuming installations All Roughneck cameras boast a range of distinctive features, including smart IR, durable IP67/IK10 construction, and smart H.265 encoding to reduce bandwidth and storage costs. For more cutting-edge capabilities, the Pro series adds advanced AI-driven analytics, adaptive IR for clearer images in darkness, and Starlight low-light colour imaging in the 2, 5 and 8MP dome and bullets. Vicon understands the urgency in finding solutions that integrate without stressful time-consuming installations regardless of the VMS. In addition to being certified with most major VMS systems, the Roughneck Camera Series is also ONVIF certified and seamlessly transitions into any video surveillance security operation.

Vicon Industries announce the release of the advanced V1020-WIR-360 multi-sensor camera for day/night surveillance
Vicon Industries announce the release of the advanced V1020-WIR-360 multi-sensor camera for day/night surveillance

Vicon Industries’ V1020-WIR-360 multi-sensor camera is designed to provide users with the straightforward installation while delivering powerful performance and quality. This exceptional camera is comprised of four independently adjustable sensors that eliminate blind spots so that users can monitor extremely wide areas, with just a single IP address and cable. V1020-WIR-360 camera The V1020-WIR-360 camera is a great addition to Vicon’s camera line, providing the widest coverage area. This powerful camera is perfect for indoor and outdoor use such as parking lots, airports, stadiums, correctional facilities, commercial building corridors, warehouses and more. The multi-sensor is available with 5 MP sensors, creating a 20 MP model, providing exceptional image quality The multi-sensor is available with 5 MP sensors, creating a 20 MP model, providing exceptional image quality for any application. Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, this durable, reliable and flexible multi-sensor camera is IK10 rated for vandal protection and IP66 to withstand the toughest of environments. Easy installation and remote configuration These multi-sensor cameras are engineered to save installers’ time, money and frustration. Traditional non-repositionable multi-sensor cameras typically require at least two individuals for installation and tedious manual adjustments of the modules to obtain the desired FOV. The V1020-WIR-360 multi-sensor camera is designed to be effortlessly configured remotely from a PC and eliminate the need of requiring multiple people for an installation. Users are provided with the freedom to change their FOV as needed, without having to worry about manual installation changes. PTZ control and 360º coverage The camera offers presets for 270⁰ or 360⁰ views, along with which, users can also create custom views through each sensor’s independent PTZ control. Additionally, they can also save up to two user-defined presets, with each camera module independently positioned and zoomed as required, providing optimal surveillance. The 270º view is commonly used in corners, such as the corner of a building. Typical installation practice for a 270º setup is to mount on the corner of a building, allowing users to view directly in-front of them and to their left and right. The fourth sensor can then be positioned as desired to provide additional coverage such as looking straight down to eliminate blind spots. Integration with Valerus and other VMS platforms The ONVIF-compliant multi-sensor cameras integrate with most major VMS platforms and Vicon’s acclaimed Valerus A 360º is ideal for wide areas and is typically mounted to a pole and used in settings such as intersections and parking lots. This view’s FOV takes all angles, also eliminating the potential of any blind spots. The ONVIF-compliant multi-sensor cameras integrate with most major VMS platforms and Vicon’s acclaimed Valerus. When integrated with Valerus, the multi-sensor camera also supports Museum Search to streamline security investigations. Starlight technology for exceptional colour images These powerful cameras also deliver fantastic detail, day or night. With True WDR, the cameras can overcome challenging lighting conditions during the day, while 131 ft of IR illumination ensures that users can see every detail, even in the darkness of the night. The standout feature of this multi-sensor camera, when compared to the competition, is the advanced starlight imaging capabilities. Starlight illumination allows users to see vivid colours and sharp details that would otherwise go unnoticed. Operators can see critical forensic details that they would otherwise miss in traditional IR black-and-white images. PoE source The camera can be powered by 24 VAC, 24 VDC or with either IEEE 802.3at (PoE+) or IEEE 802.3bt Class 5 (PoE++) Power over Ethernet. The PoE source is automatically detected with the only performance difference being the IR distance of up to 131 ft (40 m) on PoE++ and up to 98 ft (30 m) on PoE+.

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