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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Access control software - Expert commentary

Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?
Smart Offices: How is mobile ID changing the way we access the office?

If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organisations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. But what are the key reasons for considering such a setup in 2021? But why is this new technology so well-suited to future-proof your physical access system, and why is it becoming so popular? Eradicating outdated legacy credentials Have you seen just how vulnerable outdated Proximity card technology can be? Low-frequency 125kHz cards can be cloned in a matter of seconds with the use of cheap, readily available tools. Despite their weaknesses, they are still used by a huge majority of businesses – big and small. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential Replacing such a system with a mobile-enabled system is one of the best ways to increase security ten-fold. Thanks to a cloud-based infrastructure, mobile ID offers best-in-class security and cryptography. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential. Bluetooth Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) make them the best product to operate such a credential via a secure app. If you’re looking for best-in-class security in 2021, mobile access is most definitely the way forward. Removing touch points across the business Reducing touch points and the adoption of touchless facilities has become a key priority for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Even as businesses start to return to the office and operate a home/office split, it will be imperative that unnecessary contact is kept to an absolute minimum between staff. The traditional issuance of identification and access control credentials can pose problems in this regard. Facility and security managers who are responsible for onboarding and processing ID have done the process face to face. Mobile access makes it possible to carry this process out without people coming into direct content. First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organisations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. Summing up, mobile access is changing the way we access the office by: Eliminating weak links in security systems such as outdated legacy card technologies Eradicating the need for touch points across multiple areas of the workplace Enabling a smarter, more flexible approach to onboarding Increasing convenience – for both employers and employees.

We have the technology to make society safer – how long can we justify not using it?
We have the technology to make society safer – how long can we justify not using it?

While the application of facial recognition within both public and private spheres continues to draw criticism from those who see it as a threat to civil rights, this technology has become extremely commonplace in the lives of iPhone users. It is so prevalent, in fact, that by 2024 it is predicted that 90% of smartphones will use biometric facial recognition hardware. CCTV surveillance cameras  Similarly, CCTV is a well-established security measure that many of us are familiar with, whether through spotting images displayed on screens in shops, hotels and offices, or noticing cameras on the side of buildings. It is therefore necessary we ask the question of why, when facial recognition is integrated with security surveillance technology, does it become such a source of contention? It is not uncommon for concerns to be voiced against innovation. History has taught us that it is human nature to fear the unknown, especially if it seems that it may change life as we know it. Yet technology is an ever-changing, progressive part of the 21st century and it is important we start to shift the narrative away from privacy threats, to the force for good that LFR (Live Facial Recognition) represents. Live Facial Recognition (LFR) We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition Across recent weeks, we have seen pleas from UK organisations to allow better police access to facial recognition technology in order to fight crime. In the US, there are reports that LAPD is the latest police force to be properly regulating its use of facial recognition to aid criminal investigations, which is certainly a step in the right direction. While it is understandable that society fears technology that they do not yet understand, this lack of knowledge is exactly why the narrative needs to shift. We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition, we respect these anxieties. However, it is time to level the playing field of the facial recognition debate and communicate the plethora of benefits it offers society. Facial recognition technology - A force for good Facial recognition technology has already reached such a level of maturity and sophistication that there are huge opportunities for it to be leveraged as a force for good in real-world scenarios. As well as making society safer and more secure, I would go as far to say that LFR is able to save lives. One usage that could have a dramatic effect on reducing stress in people with mental conditions is the ability for facial recognition to identify those with Alzheimer’s. If an older individual is seemingly confused, lost or distressed, cameras could alert local medical centres or police stations of their identity, condition and where they need to go (a home address or a next of kin contact). Granted, this usage would be one that does incorporate a fair bit of personal data, although this information would only be gathered with consent from each individual. Vulnerable people could volunteer their personal data to local watchlists in order to ensure their safety when out in society, as well as to allow quicker resolutions of typically stressful situations. Tracking and finding missing persons Another possibility for real world positives to be drawn from facial recognition is to leverage the technology to help track or find missing persons, a lost child for instance. The most advanced forms of LFR in the market are now able to recognise individuals even if up to 50% of their face is covered and from challenging or oblique angles. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity not only to return people home safely, more quickly, but also reduce police hours spent on analysing CCTV footage. Rapid scanning of images Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match, as a more reliable and less time-consuming option than the human alternative. Freed-up officers could also then work more proactively on the ground, patrolling their local areas and increasing community safety and security twofold. It is important to understand that these facial recognition solutions should not be applied to every criminal case, and the technology must be used responsibly. However, these opportunities to use LFR as force for good are undeniable.   Debunking the myths One of the central concerns around LFR is the breach of privacy that is associated with ‘watchlists’. There is a common misconception, however, that the data of every individual that passes a camera is processed and then stored. The reality is that watch lists are compiled with focus on known criminals, while the general public can continue life as normal. The very best facial recognition will effectively view a stream of blurred faces, until it detects one that it has been programmed to recognise. For example, an individual that has previously shoplifted from a local supermarket may have their biometric data stored, so when they return to that location the employees are alerted to a risk of further crimes being committed. Considering that the cost of crime prevention to retailers in recent years has been around £1 billion, which therefore impacts consumer prices and employee wages, security measures to tackle this issue are very much in the public interest. Most importantly, the average citizen has no need to fear being ‘followed’ by LFR cameras. If data is stored, it is for a maximum of 0.6 seconds before being deleted. Privacy Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story. It is essential we spend more time and effort communicating exactly why watchlists are made, who they are made for and how they are being used, if we want to de-bunk myths and change the narrative. As science and technology professionals, heading up this exciting innovation, we must put transparency and accountability at the centre of what we do. Tony Porter, former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and current CPO at Corsight AI, has previously worked on developing processes that audit and review watch lists. Such restrictions are imperative in order for AI and LFR to be used legally, as well as ethically and responsibly. Biometrics, mask detection and contactless payments Nevertheless, the risks do not outweigh the benefits. Facial recognition should and can be used for good in so many more ways than listed above, including biometric, contactless payments, detecting whether an individual is wearing a facemask and is therefore, safe to enter a building, identifying a domestic abuse perpetrator returning to the scene of a crime and alerting police. There are even opportunities for good that we have not thought of yet. It is therefore not only a waste not to use this technology where we can, prioritising making society a safer place, it is immoral to stand by and let crimes continue while we have effective, reliable mitigation solutions.  

Unlocking human-like perception in sensor-based technology deployments
Unlocking human-like perception in sensor-based technology deployments

Like most industries, the fields of security, access and safety have been transformed by technology, with AI-driven automation presenting a clear opportunity for players seeking growth and leadership when it comes to innovation. In this respect, these markets know exactly what they want. They require solutions that accurately (without false or negative positives) classify and track people and/or vehicles as well as the precise location and interactions between those objects. They want to have access to accurate data generated by best-of-class solutions irrespective of the sensor modality. And, they need to be able to easily deploy such solutions, at the lowest capex and opex, with the knowledge that they can be integrated with preferred VMSs and PSIMs, be highly reliable, have low install and maintenance overheads and be well supported. With these needs in mind, camera and computer vision technology providers, solutions providers and systems integrators are forging ahead and have created exemplary ecosystems with established partnerships helping to accelerate adoption. At the heart of this are AI and applications of Convolutional neural networks (CNN), an architecture often used in computer vision deep learning algorithms, which are accomplishing tasks that were extremely difficult with traditional software. But what about 3D sensing technologies and perception? The security, safety and access market have an additional crucial need: they must mitigate risk and make investments that deliver for the long-term. This means that if a systems integrator invests in a 3D sensing data perception platform today, it will support their choice of sensors, perception strategies, applications and use cases over time without having to constantly reinvest in alternative computer hardware and perception software each time they adopt new technology or systems. This begs the question - if the security industry knows what it needs, why is it yet to fully embrace 3D sensing modalities? Perception strategy Intelligent perception strategies are yet to evolve which sees designers lock everything down at the design phase Well, one problem facing security, safety and access solutions providers, systems integrators and end-users when deploying first-generation 3D sensing-based solutions is the current approach. Today, intelligent perception strategies have yet to evolve beyond the status quo which sees designers lock everything down at the design phase, including the choice of the sensor(s), off-the-shelf computer hardware and any vendor-specific or 3rd party perception software algorithms and deep learning or artificial intelligence. This approach not only builds in constraints for future use-cases and developments, it hampers the level of perception developed by the machine. Indeed, the data used to develop or train the perception algorithms for security, access and safety use cases at design time is typically captured for a narrow and specific set of scenarios or contexts and are subsequently developed or trained in the lab. Technology gaps As those in this industry know too well, siloed solutions and technology gaps typically block the creation of productive ecosystems and partnerships while lack of commercial whole products can delay market adoption of new innovation. Perception systems architectures today do not support the real-time adaptation of software and computing engines in the field. They remain the same as those selected during the design phase and are fixed for the entire development and the deployment stage. Crucially, this means that the system cannot deal with the unknowns of contextually varying real-time situations where contexts are changing (e.g being able to reflex to security situations they haven’t been trained for) and where the autonomous system’s perception strategies need to dynamically adjust accordingly. Ultimately, traditional strategies have non-scalable and non-adaptable competing computing architectures that were not designed to process the next generation of algorithms, deep learning and artificial intelligence required for 3D sensor mixed workloads. What this means for industries seeking to develop or deploy perception systems, like security, access and safety, is that the available computing architectures are generic and designed for either graphic rendering or data processing. Solutions providers, therefore, have little choice but to promote these architectures heavily into the market. Consequently, the resulting computing techniques are defined by the computing providers and not by the software developers working on behalf of the customer deploying the security solution. Context…. we don’t know what we don’t know Perception platform must have the ability to adjust to changes in context, thereby improving the performance post-deployment To be useful and useable in the security context and others, a perception platform must have the ability to adjust to changes in context, can self-optimise and crucially, can self-learn, thereby improving the performance post-deployment. The combinations of potential contextual changes in a real-life environment, such as an airport or military base, are innumerable, non-deterministic, real-time, often analogue and unpredictable. The moment sensors, edge computing hardware and perception software are deployed in the field, myriad variables such as weather, terrain as well as sensor mounting location and orientation all represent a context shift where the perception systems’ solution is no longer optimal. For example, it might be that a particular sensor system is deployed in an outdoor scenario with heavy foliage. Because the algorithm development or training was completed in the lab, the moving foliage, bushes or low trees and branches are classified as humans or some other false-positive result. Typically, heavy software customisation and onsite support then ensue, requiring on-site support by solutions vendors where each and every sensor configuration needs to be hand-cranked to deliver something that is acceptable to the end customer. A new approach for effective perception strategies Cron AI is building senseEDGE, which represents a significant evolution in the development of sensing to information strategy.  It is a 3D sensing perception and computer vision platform built from the ground up to address and remove the traditional deployment and performance bottlenecks we’ve just described. senseEDGE is aware of the user application reaction plan indication to trigger an alarm or turning on a CCTV camera The entire edge platform is built around a real-time scalable and adaptable computing architecture that’s flexible enough for algorithms and software to scale and adapt to different workloads and contexts. What’s more, it has real-time contextual awareness, which means that the entire edge platform is, at any time, aware of the external context, the sensor and sensor architecture and the requirements of the user application. Furthermore, when it produces the object output data, it also aware of the user application reaction plan indication, which could be triggering an alarm or turning on a CCTV camera when a specific action is detected. This approach turns traditional perception strategies on their head: it is software-defined programmable perception and computing architecture, not hardware-defined. It is free from the constraints imposed by traditional CPU or GPU compute dictated by hardware architecture providers and not limited to the perception built defined during design time. And, being fully configurable, it can be moved from one solution to another, providing computation for different modalities of sensors designed for different use cases or environments, and lower risk of adoption and migration for those developing the security solution.  Future perception requirements senseEDGE is also able to scale to future perception requirements, such as algorithms and workloads produced by future sensors as well as computational techniques and neural networks that have yet to be invented. Meanwhile, latency versus throughput is totally software-defined and not limited by providers of computing architecture. Finally, contextually aware, it is fully connected to the real world where the reflexes adapt to even the subtlest changes in context, which makes all the difference in time and accuracy in critical security situations. This is how CronAI sees the future of perception. It means that security and safety innovators can now access and invest with low risk in a useable and scalable perception solution that can truly take advantage of current and future 3D sensor modalities.

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