ACT continue to develop & improve the ACTWin pro access control software
ACT continue to develop & improve the ACTWin pro access control software

ACTWin pro is the licensed version of the sophisticated PC application for use with the ACTpro door controllers.  With an attractive and easy to use graphical interface this software simplifies database management and the day-to-day administration of users and the access control system in general; the management is also aided by live reporting of the systems in an attractive and intuitive system tree configuration which mirrors the site. The ACTWin pro software currently manages and supports over 2,000 doors and 30,000 users.  The ACTWin software also supports up to 1,024 user groups which is a very efficient method for managing users, where each user is assigned to an individual user-group.  A number of reports are available as standard including muster, event analysis, user tracking and time and attendance reporting.  The muster report automatically generates and prints a list of all people in the building to preset printers on fire alarm activation.       The software is also capable of managing offices located in different geographical areas through the use of TCP / IP.  Controllers located in different time zones will report events to the software in their own local time.  The multi-tenant module enables large installations to be partitioned into smaller more manageable sub sites, where a local administrator or tenant only sees the locale doors, controllers and events and the regional manager may view several sites. It's possible to manage up 200 multi tenant sites.Each new release of ACTWin pro, currently at 2.6, introduces new features into the software to enhance functionality.  Some of the most recent additions have been DVR Integration, ACT Notifier and a browser based interface ACT Web. DVR Integration Video footage from a Digital Video Recorder may now be linked to events in the ACTWin pro database. When any event occurs at a door, the associated video may be retrieved from the DVR, showing what happened leading up to the event, directly from ACTWin pro. (2.5 and onwards)  ACT Notifier The ACTWin pro software can now send notification, via e-mail or SMS, to any number of authorised users on the occurrence of any event. The Security Guard could receive a text when a door is opened outside of office hours and the Finance Manager could receive an e-mail each time the cash room is accessed. It is also possible to track the movements of an individual, in real time, thorough e-mails or SMS messages. (ACTWin pro 2.6)  ACT Web browser based interface ACTWeb is a web-based interface that allows you to manage the basic functions of the access control system, including user lists, reports and enrolling users.  It provides you with 24-hour access to your access control software from internet Explorer.  ACTWeb has been developed for use in combination with the ACTWin pro PC application (2.5 or later).Input / Output Module - area fullThe ACTWin software now allows for an output to be fired on the Input / Output Module when an area is full (the system allows for up to 8 different areas). A typical use of this feature would be a car park with a "Full" sign being activated when all spaces are occupied. (ACTWin pro 2.6)ACTWin pro is a Client / Server version of the ACTWin software for multiple users.  The Lite version is available for single users and it does not carry all the features of ACTWin pro.

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Update to SAMS access control management software
Update to SAMS access control management software

SAMS, Samsung's Access Control Management software, has been updated with a number of practical and user-friendly features added. Available license-free for projects with up to 40 doors (80 readers) and 1000 users, SAMS now has a Muster Reporting feature which can configured to produce a report as to who is on site at any given time, as well as  automatically generate a list  in the event of a fire alarm activation.Also included in the latest version of SAMS is an ID badge production facility. In addition to static text and a company logo, this new feature also allows the addition of dynamic database fields. SAMS software is now fully compatible with the Samsung SRN-3250 and SRN-6450 network video recorders ensuring that high quality recorded images are always time synchronised with related access control alarm events. "This feature may not at first glance seem be very important. For many years however, users have suffered the frustration of finding that the video they have retrieved from a video recorder relates to an event that may have occurred several seconds or even minutes before or after the actual event they wished to view," said David Cawley Access Control and Home Security Products Manager for Samsung Techwin Europe Limited.Samsung's RFID and biometric technology based access control systems collectively provide a cost effective solution for any access control application from single door to large building or multi-sited projects. The range is broken down into standalone controllers, single & four door controllers, readers and software, with versions suitable for standalone or full TCP/IP or RS-485 operation. Samsung Access Control range allows it to compete for projects which have up to 128,000 doors with choice reader technologies which encompass fingerprint recognition, proximity and smart card & PIN, as well as time and attendance options. Our biometric fingerprint reader capability is particularly impressive in that it can hold up to 4,000 fingerprint templates and yet has a read time of just half a second.Whilst our standalone controllers offer the ideal solution for single door security, we also provide the option to link multiple doors together over a network.  When networked, it is possible to easily share the biometric database to other connected standalone controllers without the need for a separate computer or additional software.The challenge is to ensure users can have full control over what may be a complex system and as such be able to monitor, record and retrieve valuable data which could be needed as evidence when looking to prosecute unwanted visitors who have engaged in criminal activity.  The good news is that Samsung Access Management Software (SAMS) is able to provide detailed reports on card holder activity which can be exported in Excel or PDF form for integration with other software packages, e.g. Time & Attendance, ERP or Payroll. The professional version, SAMS "Pro" does the same, but also provides additional advanced functionality, including the support of integrated access control and video monitoring to allow an operator to view video activity related to a specific card holder. The status of readers and cameras can also be monitored on a user defined map.

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ACT launches Sitemaps in ACTWin 2.7, the latest version of the ACTpro access control software
ACT launches Sitemaps in ACTWin 2.7, the latest version of the ACTpro access control software

Access Control Technology (ACT) Ltd. has launched ACTWin 2.7 with the much anticipated ACT Sitemaps.  With ACT Sitemaps you can visually monitor events as they occur on your site.  As normal door events and alarms are generated by the access control system the status is updated live on the map.  The most recent events are highlighted to make them easily identifiable to the operator. The recent events panel lists all events that have occurred.    To use Sitemaps simply import a visual layout / map of your building into the program and allocate your access control points and input / output modules to the appropriate locations via a drag and drop facility. Each door on the map may be linked to a different map which is useful when there are several different buildings on a site, the building has multiple floors or the operator does not know the building very well. Another feature of ACTWin 2.7 is break glass detection.  The break glass detection allows the customer to monitor and report when the break glass device has been activated.  It is also possible to trigger a relay on the ACT controller on break glass activation. The ACTWin software is used in conjunction with ACTpro door controllers and is available in both a free (Lite) and a licensed (pro) version.  Other features included in the software include ACT Notifier, DVR Integration, Muster Reporting and Elevator Control (some are pro only).  ACTWin software can also be integrated with third party software for increased functionality including visitor management and time and attendance.

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Hanwha Techwin America provides a standard solution for visually verifying access control activity
Hanwha Techwin America provides a standard solution for visually verifying access control activity

With end-users looking for maximum benefit from their investment in security, a major objective to the success of any video surveillance system is to seek ways in which it can interact with other security systems. A major trend we are seeing at the moment is linking CCTV with Access Control systems. The opportunity to pass video, data or alarm information between these systems has obvious operational benefits. As well as providing visual verification of anyone attempting to gain access to restricted areas, there is also an opportunity to obtain valuable management information such as time and attendance records.For end-users to have confidence in the information provided by a video surveillance system and an access control system working in harmony, it is obviously important that access control events and alarms can be reliably and consistently synchronised with the relevant video. Until now there  has not been a low cost method of doing this and for many years users have suffered the frustration of finding that the video they have retrieved from a DVR relates to an event that occurred several seconds or even minutes before or after the actual event they wished to view.  However, there is some good news for end-users who are looking to gain maximum ROI from their security systems as this technology becomes more widely available. Samsung already provides, as a standard feature, time synchronisation between its fingerprint recognition, proximity and smart card & PIN based access control systems and its SRD digital video recorder range. This can also be taken onto the network by using an encoder with a built-in SD card that records an event when access is granted or denied at the access control reader, allowing users to view video via a webpage.This easy to implement and powerful feature provides therefore installers and system integrators with an opportunity to increase revenue streams, whilst offering both new and existing clients with reliable access control data, verified by high quality video evidence.

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ACTWinPro 2.4 - software for the new generation
ACTWinPro 2.4 - software for the new generation

ACTWin pro 2.4 is the new ‘Windows VISTA' compatible version of the ACT software application.  It provides enhanced reporting, support for global Anti-Passback, count areas, multiple user cards, validity times and extra user rights.Global Anti-Passback support can be used to ensure users clock in for Time and Attendance and stop entry tailgating.  This system provides extra security at entry points and the functionality to monitor employees' timekeeping.Global Input/Output support allows an event on one controller to trigger the output or door on another controller.  This is useful for large sites with multiple controllers, by reducing cabling needs, ensuring efficient networking installation time and cost savings.The Communications Service Module ensures a simplified and speedy installation by eliminating the security setting or user privilege issues that often occur at installation.Validity Times function enables cards to be programmed with time periods for validity, and is fully managed by the ACTWinpro software.  A variety of locations, for example sports clubs, need to grant, plan and co-ordinate short term access.  The option can manage these needs, thus saving time for the system user and allowing efficient card re-use.Multiple User Cards can be used with the ACT 3000, using a single database entry to manage proximity cards, mifare cards, magstrips, barcodes and long range transmitters.  This optimises database entry time and management for the end user.Enhanced Reports may now be exported from the report view.  A System Status report is also available showing the number of offline doors, doors ajar, tampers etc.Counting Areas feature is ideal for locations (eg. car parks) that need to manage user volumes.  This helps end-users manage volumes at an optimum, while still adhering to health and safety levels.New product developments for 2007ACT door entry over IPACT 10 Audio/VideoDVR integrationAlarm management

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Access control software - Expert commentary

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 role of building systems to ensure safety as employees return to work
The role of building systems to ensure safety as employees return to work

Returning to work after the global pandemic will not be business as usual, and security systems are an important asset when it comes to helping to keep occupants and buildings safe. For example, video analytics can provide insight into how spaces have previously been used and can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other or congregate. These foot-traffic patterns can inform settings for a variety of devices – like ventilation and temperature controls – and even help owners create social distancing plans and monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance. “While the ‘new normal’ is still being defined, we believe there will be a greater focus on creating healthier environments while also complying with new regulations,” says Marcus Logan, Global Offering Leader, Honeywell Commercial Security. “Temperature, humidity, energy efficiency, security, safety, comfort, productivity, and demonstrating compliance with regulations are all a part of a healthy building.” For example, social distancing is a new concept for the workplace. How do you make that happen in an open work setting, in breakrooms, elevator lobbies and meeting spaces? Optimised systems create healthier environments Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace Building owners will need to look at how they can optimise their systems – or deploy new ones – to create a healthier environment. Building technologies, like those provided by Honeywell's Healthy Buildings solutions, provide building owners with more control over critical factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations, and a company's risk management policies. These solutions also provide transparency for occupants into a building's status, says Logan. Hygiene will be a critical issue: People will want to know that the spaces are ready for their return. Increased cleaning procedures and schedules will evolve, and a way will be needed to demonstrate the procedures are effective and that they have been strictly adhered to. Identifying ways to measure effectiveness of sanitisation and track compliance to the procedures will be a key challenge to solve. This is a space that will evolve significantly in the coming months and years, says Logan. Access control and video analytics Contact tracing is a new requirement in some businesses, and security technology – like access control and video analytics with advanced reporting – can help. Access control technology integrated with video analytics can be used to trace occupant movements within a facility. These technologies capture data that can be used with advanced reporting to provide a digital footprint of where a person has been within a facility and if they may have been exposed to someone identified as being infected with a contagious virus. Building owners can then proactively notify exposed individuals evolve to self-quarantine and minimise further spread of an infection. Video analytics can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace. They will not only seek confidence that the building is optimised for a healthier environment but also that processes are in place to quickly identify and respond to potential issues. Transparency and visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace. “One way to do this is to share building analytics with occupants – to help them understand factors about the indoor air quality or occupancy density,” says Logan. Controlled health, safety and security Honeywell’s solutions provide building owners with more control over critical health, safety and security factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations and a company’s risk management policies, Logan adds. Visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace Every day there is new information coming from the medical and scientific community about COVID-19, and the building industry is just starting to learn what it all means. Logan warns that there is no single solution that will keep every environment healthy and safe. A good strategy features deploying a combination of solutions, optimising systems and being vigilant to make sure that companies are sustaining compliance to new and changing regulations, says Logan. “Today more than ever we must be mindful of the changing culture of how buildings are managed by making apparent the need to be mindful of health and well-being in all aspects of our lives,” says Logan. Honeywell has developed outcome-based solutions that allow building owners to transparently address building quality factors while supporting their business continuity needs in the uncertain environment. “We’re giving them the data they need to confidently reassure their employees to accelerate their business operations,” he adds.

Elevated temperature screening is paving the way to Britain’s reopening
Elevated temperature screening is paving the way to Britain’s reopening

Technology has played a vital role in how businesses have enabled their employees to work productively from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of us who can do our jobs from home you only have to look at the ‘Zoom Boom’ to see how much our working lives have changed compared to the beginning of the year. Despite the fact that those companies that can are now productively and efficiently operating remotely, the country is now facing the next challenge in this crisis: how to safely reopen workplaces for those who can’t. There is no argument that the economy hasn’t taken a hit during this unpredictable time. Shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities have been forced to close, and 23% of the country’s workforce (6.3 million people) has been furloughed. It’s no surprise that the Bank of England has warned that the UK is heading towards its sharpest recession on record. To counter this economic risk, the government is taking steps to slowly and cautiously reopen the economy by easing lockdown measures, sending people back to work and allowing businesses to reopen. With non-essential retail outlets now able to open from the 15th June, the question business owners face is how to operate safely and maintain social distancing practices, which are set to remain in place until such time as a vaccine is widely available. With lockdown easing and a ‘new normal’ on the horizon, the health of the country’s workforce mustn’t be forgotten in a bid to save the economy. This is why technology that can allow for a controlled return to work, while mitigating any risks to the health of consumers and employees, must play a part in the easing of lockdown. Temperature screening in the new normal Elevated temperature screening is one technology that should play a key part in return to work strategies and the safe reopening of businesses. This valuable solution uses a thermal and optical camera to analyse body temperature, which is a key indicator of the presence of a potential illness, and discreetly alerts the operator when the set temperature threshold is exceeded by someone screened by the tool. With temperature screening technology in place, the exposure of potentially infected individuals to others can be dramatically decreased and the risk of a localised outbreak minimised. Furthermore, for businesses such as retailers whose success is dependent on customers feeling safe to visit the premises, it has the added benefit of giving them additional assurances that visible measures for their protection are in place. In combination with other solutions, such as vigorous testing and screens to protect employees and customers, returning to work can be safe and controlled. With temperature screening technology in place, the exposure of potentially infected individuals to others can be dramatically decreased The reality of a ‘new normal’ may already be visible in some industries, such as grocery retail where one-way systems, plastic screens and constant cleaning are already in place. However, elevated temperature screening has countless applications for both essential and non-essential industries, ranging from offices and train stations, to hospitals and pharmacies. This screening technology allows businesses to take preventative steps to minimise the chances of the wider workforce and customers coming into contact with someone exhibiting symptoms of a potential illness. A number of businesses are already deploying this technology, such as Vodafone, which has deployed heat detection cameras at key UK sites to protect its employees. The camera used by the telco can screen up to eight people at once and 100 people per minute, while judging body temperature in less than half a second – all of which makes it ideal for congested and high traffic areas. Not all solutions are created equal Over the past few months, we have been inundated with images and videos of temperature screening taking place within key industries, which have continued to operate through the pandemic. However, the hand-held thermometers commonly being used require the device to be within an extremely short range of the subject and are only able to screen one person at a time. This is why remote elevated temperature screening solutions are so valuable – especially given that social distancing guidelines are unlikely to be relaxed in the near future. Stand-off solutions can enable temperature screening to take place without the need for close human interaction, further safeguarding employees and reducing the risk of contact with potentially infected individuals. Elevated temperature screening has countless applications for both essential and non-essential industries, ranging from offices and train stations, to hospitals and pharmacies Along with remote capabilities, there are a number of other crucial factors to take into account. The solution must be quick and easy to implement, as well as being highly accurate. When paired with a blackbody, the accuracy of temperature screening solutions can be within 0.3°C. Connectivity is also key and adopting an end-to-end solution linked to a centralised command and control location is invaluable. With holistic connectivity, these solutions can encompass cameras installed in multiple locations, and alarms can be viewed locally, remotely or on a smartphone app. This means that staff don’t need to provide direct supervision to the device on-site. With the guidelines regarding which industries and sectors can reopen changing on an almost daily basis, it’s important that these protective solutions can be installed without overhauling the surveillance infrastructure already in place. Looking ahead, adopting a solution with an upgrade path to other enhancements, such a facial recognition, is favourable as they can be used in conjunction with future and existing security measures.  Shop local Stand-off solutions can enable temperature screening to take place without the need for close human interaction Businesses have plenty on their minds as they prepare for the uncertainty that is sure to continue throughout the rest of the year and beyond. However, due diligence can’t be left to the wayside when looking to adopt an elevated temperature screening solution. There are high-risk vendors present in the market, many of which have been blacklisted in the US, and they must be given a wide berth. Buying British-made technology can alleviate these security concerns, as well as avoiding any logistical issues caused by the breakdown of global supply chains.  As the economy cautiously reopens, the country will have to adapt to a ‘new normal’ over the coming months. Elevated temperature screening solutions should be implemented by businesses to protect the health of the workforce and customers alike – ultimately paving the way to a safe and controlled return to work.

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