Access control software - Expert commentary

4 smart ways to use security to power the business of the future
4 smart ways to use security to power the business of the future

In the new era of work, our relationship with the workplace is defined by flexibility and mobility. Employees are working across the home, office, and blended spaces more than ever before, as well as working varied hours to suit the modern work schedule.  This new hybrid workforce model holds the potential for more diverse talent and better productivity, but it also comes with its challenges – one being how to ensure security, health, and safety in the workplace.  Strong and smart security ecosystem While nearly one-third of companies report that they’ve implemented a hybrid model, according to a recent survey by STANLEY Security, many still have much to do to prepare their office for the future.  Building a strong – and smart – security ecosystem is crucial in preparing for the future. As such, businesses should consider technologies that help protect their people, as well as safeguard their assets, optimise their operations, and secure their network. 1)Protect your people  Implementation of a security ecosystem combines health, safety, and security hardware and software solutions seamlessly Nearly 60% of mid-market and enterprise businesses across the UK and US report that the health and safety of their employees and customers are a primary concern when implementing modern and hybrid working models.  This begs the question: How can businesses create a safe and healthy work environment when 59% are planning to bring employees back on-site in some capacity within the next 18 months? The answer lies, in part, in the implementation of a security ecosystem that combines various health, safety, and security hardware and software solutions seamlessly. Integrating platform Nearly half (46%) of business decision-makers say they are interested in adopting an integrated platform such as this. This means integrating traditional and digital security solutions, then leveraging the data and insights they produce to further enhance the workplace experience. Take this example:  With employees and visitors moving in and out of the office at different times, a business may lack oversight of occupancy or density levels, people flow, workspace scheduling, visitor check-in processes, and more. However, with visitor management, access control, and other building/business systems integrated, employees can reserve a workspace for a specific date and time and be granted access to the building. Leveraging AI and machine learning Visitors can pre-register, answer a health screening questionnaire, and receive a mobile credential before arriving. Once the visitor arrives on-site, the system can alert the respective department – all without the close contact typically required for traditional visitor check-in processes. When layering artificial intelligence and machine learning on top of the data, a business may identify trends in people flow and opportunities to optimise congested areas. They may also see that certain rooms within the building get more use than others and leverage these insights to manage their space more effectively.  All of this is powered by a security ecosystem that can help a business better protect its people while realising other benefits in the process. 2) Safeguard your assets Businesses are concerned about the security of their assets when it comes to the hybrid workforce model Even more, businesses are concerned about the security of their assets when it comes to the hybrid workforce model. About 72% of leaders say this is, in fact, their primary concern with the hybrid approach.  This figure isn’t surprising when you consider the impact of the pandemic, which left many businesses closed either temporarily or permanently, with few people allowed on-site to manage facility operations.  As a result of the pandemic, we saw tech adoption accelerate at an astonishing rate – simply because businesses had to implement cloud and remote technologies to survive during a time when buildings were closed indefinitely.  Remote management and visibility This was particularly true for security solutions, such as cloud video surveillance and cloud access control solutions like wireless IoT-connected locks. Nine out of 10 businesses (91%) report that they have already implemented cloud security technology; of those, nearly half (48%) stated that this was due to the pandemic. These technologies allow for remote management and provide visibility into business operations at the same time. In a retail setting, for example, cloud video surveillance allows businesses to identify and track not only criminal activity, but also foot traffic patterns, peak operating hours, staff shortages, and more.  Loss prevention strategy When integrated with the retailer’s point-of-sale (POS) system, businesses can gain greater insights into their traffic counts, end cap effectiveness, loyalty card activity, and a variety of POS exceptions, such as high-dollar transactions, repeated transactions, excessive returns, employee discounts, and more. For retailers especially, a security ecosystem means a more efficient loss prevention strategy that helps safeguard assets and profits. 3) Optimise your operations The “future of work” is still very much a work in progress, but one thing is clear: Businesses are looking for ways to increase efficiencies, drive cost savings, and, ultimately, optimise their operations – especially now with the challenges posed by price inflation. A relatively untapped opportunity for businesses to achieve these goals lies within their security infrastructure. Security technology and solutions gather incredibly rich data which, when unlocked, can help businesses understand how their buildings are being used, when the busiest times are, where there are highly trafficked areas, and more.  Leveraging cloud video surveillance systems, businesses could identify emerging staff training needs Cloud video surveillance systems For example, by leveraging the insights produced by cloud video surveillance systems, businesses could identify emerging staff training needs, which could ultimately result in improved employee satisfaction and reduced attrition. However, much of this data sits untouched within the infrastructure, leaving businesses unaware of the opportunities in front of them. 44% of businesses that currently use a cloud security system for its primary use say they want to know how else this technology can be utilised, and an additional 20% aren’t even aware that it could be used in other ways. AI and analytics The interest in adoption is promising for the office of the future, especially when we see that the majority of businesses (78%) would consider using AI and analytics technologies to optimise their operations, helping their business to operate more effectively and efficiently.  The increase in adoption of cloud technology – paired with the rise in interest in AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics – could make it possible for businesses to uncover invaluable insights from their security infrastructure and leverage them to adapt and build business resilience. 4) Secure your network Advanced technology help businesses improve their cybersecurity, making it harder for hackers to gain entry With cyber threats becoming more prevalent, businesses are increasingly looking to secure their networks and protect their data. More than half (54%) of those surveyed expressed interest in using AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics to secure their network by identifying and eliminating cybersecurity threats.  Advanced and automated technology can help businesses improve their cybersecurity, making it harder for hackers to gain entry to the larger corporate network. Modern cybersecurity tools that use AI and machine learning can detect anomalies in network traffic or alert and act on suspicious behaviour.   Cybersecurity software For example, if an IoT device suddenly begins broadcasting and establishing connections with multiple devices, cybersecurity software could detect this abnormal behaviour, send an alert, and suspend traffic or quarantine an endpoint immediately – saving precious time during a potential breach.  A single data breach could result in widespread distrust from workers and customers, potentially leading to decreased business as well as litigation issues. As such, businesses need to take action to update and strengthen their defences so that they can avoid downtime and continue to operate with peace of mind.  Prepare your business for the future Businesses will continue to look for more ways to extract value out of their existing infrastructure, including their security technology. For many, the tools to do so are already in place, it’s just a matter of unlocking the insights with a security ecosystem.  With such an ecosystem – one that helps protect a business’ people, assets, and network, while optimising operations – companies can better safeguard the future of their workspaces and usher in the new era of work with confidence. 

Fix up look sharp
Fix up look sharp

Metal theft is nothing new, but the impact of the pandemic has left many in financial uncertainty, couple this with the rising price of metal, and one result is an increase in the level of acquisitive crime. It seems there is no limit to the types of materials stolen. Just recently, lead stolen from church roofs has caught the media’s attention again, but this type of theft reaches to more commonplace materials too, including steel, cast iron, and aluminium, and even items like street signs and fencing panels. As such, publically accessible infrastructure could be left vulnerable if measures aren’t taken to properly protect them. Perimeter fencing solution Begin this process by thoroughly checking and assessing the perimeter fencing of the site. Here, you’re looking for any signs of tampering or wear and tear, and checking if the fencing is still robust. If the fixings in fencing systems can be removed easily, the entire perimeter fencing solution risks being compromised with little effort. Both the fixings themselves, and the metal fence panels they secure can be targets for theft, and if stolen would significantly reduce the security on and around the site. The connectors, fittings, and fixings are arguably the most integral part of any security fencing installation The connectors, fittings, and fixings are arguably the most integral part of any security fencing installation. They’re responsible for holding the fencing and gates together and keeping them in place. Remember, fencing solutions will only be as robust as the components used to hold them together, if these have inherent flaws, the fencing and gates in question will be more vulnerable to attack. Equal level of protection This is because poor quality fixings can often be easily broken or removed by their design or placement, so it’s best to steer clear. Further, while fencing labelled as ‘quick and easy installation’ may sound cost effective, if it takes no time to install, it’s likely it will also be quick to take down, defeating the purpose of perimeter fencing. There’s a multitude of varying types of fixings available on the market, and it’s important to remember that not all fencing and gates provide an equal level of protection. Below we take a closer look at fixings that should be avoided where possible. Standard head screws Standard head screws and bolts. This can be extended to anything that looks like it can be easily removed with a screwdriver or drill. Security Torx or ‘Star’ screws. These were once an effective tamper-proof fixing, however, in more recent times the driver bits have become more readily available in most DIY toolkits, and as such these fixings are now far from secure. Installing screws on the outside of the fence line. Leaving the fixings accessible from the outside of the fence ultimately means you’re exposing them to anyone and everyone, authorised or not. This enables them to attempt to remove the fixings without the added deterrent of having to climb the fence and risking being caught. Low quality fixings. All fixings should be galvanised or stainless steel to ensure they don’t rust away. Tamper-proof fixings Vertical bar fencing and metal railings have concealed bolts and screws So now we know what not to specify, let’s take this one step further and discuss some of the most effective design components found in fencing systems. Look for security fencing with ‘tamper-proof fixings’. We believe this is so essential, that all Jacksons metal fencing is produced using these in one form or another. Vertical bar fencing and metal railings have concealed bolts and screws, while the welded mesh panels have tamper-proof screws with unique heads that can’t be loosened or fastened with normal tools. Be wary when specifying fencing types such as steel palisade fencing; not only does this type of fencing hinder surveillance and provide an unattractive aesthetic, but the bolts and rivets are also very easily accessible meaning it isn’t very secure. Twin wire panels V mesh and twin wire panels can be attached to posts in different ways. Most commonly this will be via the use of clips. These vary in the level of security they provide, for example, generic mesh clips secured with generic Torx screws can be easily removed using a standard toolkit. However, there are other products on the market which make use of anti-vandal connectors and tamper-proof fixings. Once tightened, the hexagonal part of the nut breaks off, leaving a smooth dome These fixings can only be accessed from the secure side of the fence, significantly improving the level of security. Shear nuts are arguably one of the most secure fixings which should ideally be used on gate hinges. They are a type of breakaway nut which are almost impossible to remove once installed. Once tightened, the hexagonal part of the nut breaks off, leaving a smooth dome that is hard to grip with normal tools. Knit mesh fencing With tightly knit mesh fencing such as 358 mesh, panels can be fixed to the posts in different ways, but again not all ways are secure. Some manufacturers use smaller clips and screws/bolts, however, the clips are susceptible to damage – being so small, and it also leaves the edge of the panels exposed to tools that could prise the panel away from the posts. Close-knit mesh panels with clamp bars and tamper proof bolts are highly secure. Concealed panel to post connectors and tamper proof bolts help to further enhance the security of the fencing, these are commonly used in vertical bar and metal railings. Highly secure finish Here rails are sleeved onto the pales and welded for a seamless, highly secure finish. There are no bolts or rivets that could be removed to enable swing pales to be set aside and gain access. The role that fixings and connectors play is absolutely crucial to the level of security of the perimeter fencing. This article touches on the myriad of different options available on the market, but if in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult an expert on what type of components should be used when specifying fencing and gate solutions for your specific project.

Why face recognition as a credential is the ideal choice for access control?
Why face recognition as a credential is the ideal choice for access control?

In the field of access control, face recognition has come a long way. Once considered too slow to authenticate people's identities and credentials in high traffic conditions, face recognition technology has evolved to become one of the quickest, most effective access control identity authentication solutions across all industries. Advancements in artificial intelligence and advanced neural network (ANN) technology from industry leaders like Intel have improved the accuracy and efficiency of face recognition. However, another reason the technology is gaining traction is due to the swiftly rising demand for touchless access control solutions that can help mitigate the spread of disease in public spaces. Effective for high volumes Face recognition eliminates security risks and is also virtually impossible to counterfeit Modern face recognition technology meets all the criteria for becoming the go-to solution for frictionless access control. It provides an accurate, non-invasive means of authenticating people's identities in high-traffic areas, including multi-tenant office buildings, industrial sites, and factories where multiple shifts per day are common. Typical electronic access control systems rely on people providing physical credentials, such as proximity cards, key fobs, or Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, all of which can be misplaced, lost, or stolen. Face recognition eliminates these security risks and is also virtually impossible to counterfeit. Affordable biometric option Although there are other biometric tools available, face recognition offers significant advantages. Some technologies use hand geometry or iris scans, for example, but these options are generally slower and more expensive. This makes face recognition a natural application for day-to-day access control activities, including chronicling time and attendance for large workforces at construction sites, warehouses, and agricultural and mining operations. In addition to verifying personal credentials, face recognition can also identify whether an individual is wearing a facial covering in compliance with government or corporate mandates regarding health safety protocols. Beyond securing physical locations, face recognition can also be used to manage access to computers, as well as specialised equipment and devices. Overcoming challenges with AI So how did face recognition become so reliable when the technology was once dogged by many challenges, including difficulties with camera angles, certain types of facial expressions, and diverse lighting conditions? Thanks to the emergence of so-called "convolutional" neural network-based algorithms, engineers have been able to overcome these roadblocks. SecurOS FaceX face recognition solution FaceX is powered by neural networks and machine learning which makes it capable of authenticating a wide range of faces One joint effort between New Jersey-based Intelligent Security Systems (ISS) and tech giant Intel has created the SecurOS FaceX face recognition solution. FaceX is powered by neural networks and machine learning which makes it capable of authenticating a wide range of faces and facial expressions, including those captured under changing light, at different resolution levels, and varying distances from the video camera. Secure video management system A common face recognition system deployment begins with IP video cameras that feed footage into a secure video management system connected to a video archive. When the software initially enrolls a person’s face, it creates a "digital descriptor" that is stored as a numeric code that will forever be associated with one identity. The system encrypts and stores these numeric codes in a SQL database. For the sake of convenience and cost savings, the video server CPU performs all neural network processes without requiring any special GPU cards. Unique digital identifiers The next step involves correlating faces captured in a video recording with their unique digital descriptors on file. The system can compare newly captured images against large databases of known individuals or faces captured from video streams. Face recognition technology can provide multi-factor authentication, searching watchlists for specific types of features, such as age, hair colour, gender, ethnicity, facial hair, glasses, headwear, and other identifying characteristics including bald spots. Robust encryption SED-compatible drives rely on dedicated chips that encrypt data with AES-128 or AES-256 To support privacy concerns, the entire system features an encrypted and secure login process that prevents unauthorized access to both the database and the archive. An additional layer of encryption is available through the use of Self-Encrypting Drives (SEDs) that hold video recordings and metadata. SED-compatible drives rely on dedicated chips that encrypt data with AES-128 or AES-256 (short for Advanced Encryption Standard). Anti-spoofing safeguards How do face recognition systems handle people who try to trick the system by wearing a costume mask or holding up a picture to hide their faces? FaceX from ISS, for example, includes anti-spoofing capabilities that essentially check for the "liveliness" of a given face. The algorithm can easily flag the flat, two-dimensional nature of a face mask, printed photo, or image on a mobile phone and issue a "spoof" alarm. Increased speed of entry Incorporating facial recognition into existing access control systems is straightforward and cost-effective Incorporating facial recognition into existing access control systems is straightforward and cost-effective. Systems can operate with off-the-shelf security cameras and computers. Users can also leverage existing infrastructure to maintain building aesthetics. A face recognition system can complete the process of detection and recognition in an instant, opening a door or turnstile in less than 500ms. Such efficiency can eliminate hours associated with security personnel checking and managing credentials manually. A vital tool Modern face recognition solutions are infinitely scalable to accommodate global enterprises. As a result, face recognition as a credential is increasingly being implemented for a wide range of applications that transcend traditional access control and physical security to include health safety and workforce management. All these capabilities make face recognition a natural, frictionless solution for managing access control, both in terms of performance and cost.

Latest Visonic Ltd. news

Johnson Controls acquires Qolsys, Inc. to enhance its smart building solutions portfolio
Johnson Controls acquires Qolsys, Inc. to enhance its smart building solutions portfolio

Johnson Controls has announced it has acquired the remaining stake of Qolsys Inc., a globally renowned residential and commercial security and smart-home manufacturer, after owning a majority stake in the company since 2014. Smart building solutions expert Qolsys enhances Johnson Controls global innovation platform, delivering next generation security and smart building solutions. The Qolsys founders and leadership team will remain in Silicon Valley (San Jose, California), assuming key roles in Johnson Controls’ global intrusion business. Qolsys enhances Johnson Controls global innovation platform, delivering next-gen smart building solutions Johnson Controls continues in its mission to deliver smarter, safer, more intelligent and connected buildings, by deploying emerging technologies, such as embedded IP, artificial intelligence and machine learning through state-of-the-art solutions and partnerships. Johnson Controls is at the forefront of fundamental transformation of how spaces and places are perceived and enjoyed by balancing and responding to the flow of information, services and people that occupy buildings. OpenBlue digital platforms By applying data from both inside and outside buildings, Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue digital platforms empower customers to manage operations, while delivering safety and security in dynamic and agile environments.       "Qolsys has grown from a startup to a renowned security platform provider with over 4,000 dealers and service providers worldwide. Johnson Controls sees long-term opportunities to bring Silicon Valley innovation and culture to our broader cloud-enabled IoT solutions in building management, fire and HVAC businesses," said Jeff Williams, President of Global Products, Johnson Controls. "The opportunity to acquire Qolsys allows Johnson Controls to achieve operational efficiencies and scale across our global markets, while further enhancing the suite of products and services offered on our digital platform, OpenBlue." IQ Panel 2 Plus and peripherals The award-winning IQ Panel 2 Plus and peripherals have driven explosive growth in North America and across the globe with future-proof features, supported by over-the-air software updates, built-in panel camera, Bluetooth disarming and innovative installation, and diagnostic tools to reduce costs and increase user engagement and satisfaction. Qolsys continues to show consistent growth of services and dealers, which led to US$ 150 million in revenues during fiscal year 2019.    "As the world becomes more connected and the innovation curve continues to ramp at unprecedented speed, we are excited to join Johnson Controls," said Dave Pulling, Qolsys Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Dave will be occupying the post of Vice President and General Manager of the global intrusion products business for Johnson Controls, which had US$ 500 million in revenue in fiscal year 2019. Advanced cloud-enabled solutions firm This is a major milestone in our 10-year journey to disrupt and transform the security industry" Dave adds, "We are committed to our customers in the security channel while continuing to invest in our roadmap and emerging verticals around the globe. This is a major milestone in our 10-year journey to disrupt and transform the security industry with advanced cloud-enabled solutions that transcend traditional intrusion offerings including advanced automation, energy management, apartment management, building management and wellness for aging in place." The combined volume of Qolsys, DSC, Bentel, Visonic - PowerG and Tyco products positions Johnson Controls as the market share major in advanced security solutions worldwide. IQ Hub, Panel, Water and Router products Qolsys recently announced roadmap products, including the IQ Hub, a lower-priced, third-generation IQ Panel; the IQ Router, a next-generation mesh networking solution to elegantly address the rapidly complex connected home; IQ Water, a connected water shut-off valve designed for mass market retrofit and a fourth generation IQ Panel due in 2021 with Qualcomm chipset supporting AI, M2M and next generation connectivity. Johnson Controls will offer Qolsys products throughout global markets. The IQ Panel 2 Plus and a full line of security and home automation devices are available from authorised Qolsys distributors.

Tyco to launch a wide range of access control, intrusion and video products at The Security Event 2019
Tyco to launch a wide range of access control, intrusion and video products at The Security Event 2019

Visitors to The Security Event will be among the first to see live demonstrations of some of the latest products to be launched by Tyco, the security division of Johnson Controls. A wide range of access control, intrusion and video products from the American Dynamics, Exacq, Illustra, Bentel, CEM Systems, DSC, Kantech, Software House and Visonic brands, which are supplied under the Tyco umbrella, will be on show on stand SE102. These include: Access control credential iotega, an all-in-one smart security and home automation platform for residential and small commercial properties A new camera to cloud solution which provides a cost-saving and efficient and method of managing IP cameras and securely storing video in the cloud. The recently launched Illustra Flex IR 30 x PTZ cameras which have adaptive IR illumination that adjusts the intensity of the IR in line with the operator controlled zoom setting of the camera. A new 8 channel VideoEdge Deep Intelligence Network Video Recorder (NVR), which utilises machine learning techniques with the help of a powerful Graphic Processing Unit (GPU). This optimises the ability of the NVR to display highly accurate video intelligence compared to standard methods of video analytics. Kantech EntraPass software which enables users to operate any number of doors where card access is required and provides support for a server based Go Pass mobile App that allows card holders to use their mobile phones as an access control credential. iotega, an all-in-one smart security and home automation platform for residential and small commercial properties. Commercial security exhibition Tyco is a Founding Partner of The Security Event which takes place at the NEC Birmingham on 9-11th April, 2019 and is intended to fulfil the need for a UK focused commercial security exhibition. “The opportunity to take an active role as a Founding Partner in an industry event which will be at a location which so many of our customers consider ‘home’, is extremely welcome,” said Gordon Morrison, GB Sales Director for the Tyco Security Products access control and video brands. “The concept, focus and size of the show makes it ideal for us to showcase our unified fits with our requirements and plans for a major part of our business."

Visonic, Tyco Security Products division wins 2016 ADI Global Distribution Supplier of the Year award
Visonic, Tyco Security Products division wins 2016 ADI Global Distribution Supplier of the Year award

The award recognises the enthusiasm and expertise of the Visonic sales and technical support teams Visonic, the wireless intruder detection division of Tyco Security Products, has won the 2016 ADI Global Distribution Supplier of the Year award. The award, which was announced at a recent conference attended by ADI Global Distribution staff and suppliers, recognises the enthusiasm and expertise of the Visonic sales and technical support teams. Visonic PowerG alarm systems ADI Global Distribution has been a distributor of Visonic products for a number of years and has achieved considerable success with the sale of Visonic PowerG alarm systems. Designed to meet the demand for a cost-effective, reliable wireless intruder alarm solution, PowerG is easy and quick to install, and provides central monitoring stations with remote diagnostic and maintenance tools. “The award is in recognition of the positive attitude and expertise of the Visonic pre and post sales teams,” said Mark Massie, Sales Director, UK & Ireland for ADI Global Distribution. “Visonic has done a superb job in getting Visonic PowerG specified and creating new business opportunities for us, as well as establishing close working relationships with our team. To win this prestigious award against stiff competition from a large number of other manufacturers is testament to Visonic’s efforts to provide ADI Global Distribution with the highest levels of service, as well as quality products.”

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