Traka presents its latest standalone touch screen key management system
Traka presents its latest standalone touch screen key management system

Traka, a division of ASSA ABLOY presents the Traka Touch L Series intelligent touch screen key management system. Traka Touch is a standalone key management solution that operates independently of a company’s IT system via an embedded Windows software and SQL Server database. No server is required to maintain its database. The system is managed via the full colour 7-inch multi-language touch screen on the front panel, from the initial administrative setup of users and keys to the management of day-to-day user access. As with conventional Traka systems the Touch gives the administrator control over the access levels for each particular user. To gain access to keys, users must identify themselves using a PIN code, swipe card or biometric recognition. LEDs indicate which keys a user can and can’t take when they access the cabinet. The Traka Touch provides a real time audit of all key transactions and the unit’s solid state memory can store up to 250,000 events. Administrators can view a report of all key usage and search for a key that is “out of system” via the touch screen. “The new Traka Touch is a secure, cost-effective means of ensuring that only authorised individuals have access to keys, while making them readily available to authorised users 24/7. It is not always feasible for organisations to allow access to IT infrastructures and networks and Traka Touch addresses this” said Robert Smith, Managing Director, Traka plc.

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Traka intelligent, keyless, electronic lockers
Traka intelligent, keyless, electronic lockers

Managing assets effectively helps businesses to run more smoothly and increases efficiency - knowing where equipment is located; controlling who has access; saving time at shift start up - all combine to make a powerful business case.  At the same, time damage and losses are reduced because users have an increased sense of ownership and accountability;  wasted administration time in resolving issues is eliminated and this helps to reduce demands on your staff, so they can concentrate on profitable work - it also makes important equipment more available to those who really need it, 24/7. Who uses our intelligent lockers? Traka intelligent lockers are used in a number of Government offices, Airports, Police, Distribution Centres, Power Stations and a range of commercial organisations to manage a diverse range of equipment - anything from tools and specialist equipment to data communications and portable computing equipment.  Hospitals use Traka for managing access to a special variant of our intelligent lockers so that only authorised staff can gain access to controlled drugs and Police use them to control and restrict access to crime scene evidence and confiscated property, thus ensuring that it is not tampered with. In reality, organisations use Traka intelligent lockers because they want to ensure that only authorised, competent and trained staff can gain access to valuable or dangerous equipment - both for security and compliance reasons. What type of equipment do they hold? As an example, Traka intelligent lockers can be used to house and control access to pooled or shared equipment and portable assets such as: Airwave and security radios Controlled drugs Arm mounted data terminals Breathalyzers Police evidence Mobile phones Laptops Specialist tools

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Traka Touch key cabinet with standalone ‘plug & play’ system
Traka Touch key cabinet with standalone ‘plug & play’ system

Traka Touch is the newest addition to our range of integrated Key Management solutions, and it’s probably the most exciting development we’ve made in years - incorporating a 7" touch sensitive screen and using the latest embedded-processing technology available in the market today. Put simply, when it comes to key management Traka Touch makes your life easier. It gives you an intelligent ‘out of the box’ Key Management solution which operates entirely independently of your IT systems. Everything is managed via the touch screen on the front panel, from the initial administrative set up of users and keys, right through to the day to day user access.  What is Traka Touch? Traka Touch is a sophisticated Key Management system which has the intelligence built in. And because it’s a standalone solution, there’s no need for a connection to your IT network and no server requirement to manage the database. Everything you need is embedded in the unit, so all you have to do is plug it in. Full audit capability of all key transactions is retained within the system using internal solid state memory and memory card. Customer comment: “With Traka Touch we have been able to quickly and easily improve our Key Management at store level. We are planning to install a system at every one of our stores throughout the UK. It’s a brilliantly simple but effective solution which makes efficient key management incredibly straightforward for both staff and managers. What’s more, because it’s stand alone, it is easy to deploy locally without having to involve staff from the corporate IT team or head office” Traka Touch at a glance Traka Touch makes keys readily available, but to authorised users only. Gives you control over who can use your keys, with access levels designated for each particular user. Each user must identify themselves at the cabinet using either a PIN code or a magnetic swipe card, or by using biometric fingerprint recognition. To remove any ambiguity, LEDs indicate which keys a user can and can’t take when they access the cabinet. Searching for an ‘out of system’ key is easy and Traka will also indicate who took it and when. Reporting functions enable transaction reports to be displayed on the screen – for example so that you can quickly see who took a key and when it was returned. Great if you need to know who accessed the store room out of hours last Friday, or who was driving the white Transit two weeks ago! For printed reports, simply plug a USB memory stick into the unit and reports can be automatically exported ready for use on a PC. With its touch screen technology and embedded processing, Traka Touch gives you all the Key Management capability that you require, but without the need for any complex integration with your IT systems. Traka Touch is the newest addition to its range of integrated Key Management solutions, and it’s probably the most exciting development Traka made in years - incorporating a 7" touch sensitive screen and using the latest embedded-processing technology available in the market today.

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Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

Q&A: Bosch Video Systems & Solutions' Michael Seiter and Magnus Ekerot on smart technology, "AIot", and plans for 2021
Q&A: Bosch Video Systems & Solutions' Michael Seiter and Magnus Ekerot on smart technology, "AIot", and plans for 2021

Q: Mr. Seiter, Mr. Ekerot, you both joined Bosch Building Technologies’ business unit Video Systems & Solutions as Senior Vice Presidents in March 2020, when the Coronavirus pandemic was just beginning. How did your business unit get through 2020? Magnus Ekerot: The crisis was also felt at Bosch. At the same time, demand has risen for solutions that keep businesses open and protect people's health. We offer corresponding video solutions that can make a significant contribution to containing the pandemic.  Michael Seiter: Overall, we managed the past year well despite the challenges and have been growing again since the third quarter compared to 2019. We see good opportunities for further growth in 2021. Q: Has the Corona crisis again accelerated the development of smart technologies in the security technology market, and does the security market in contrast to most industries benefit from the crisis more than it suffers? Michael Seiter: The Corona crisis has definitely demonstrated that the future lies in data-driven solutions. Thanks to our product development strategy already being based on this, we at Bosch were very quickly able to develop new products for the ‘New Normal’ and to expand existing products accordingly. To give one or two examples: in cooperation with Philips, we very quickly developed a people counting solution for retail operations – smart Philips displays in conjunction with smart cameras from Bosch that provide protection for staff and customers. The In-Store Analytics software solution was also implemented with additional features. Shop owners can now make decisions based on customer movement data such as “Where do we position products to avoid queues or crowds?” HTD involves a touch-free monitoring system to accurately and speedily identify people with heightened skin temperature  The latest highlight is the Bosch Human Skin Temperature Detection solution, in short HTD. This involves a touch-free monitoring system to accurately and speedily identify people with heightened skin temperature at control points in offices, factory floors, or airports. The benefits of previously existing solutions on the market are sometimes called into question. Competitors are often unable to deliver what they promise because, for example, the measured temperature of the skin does not correspond to the core temperature of the person, or fluctuates, due to environmental influences. Therefore, we developed a software-based solution that, in compliance with GDPR, first allows people with potentially elevated body temperatures to be filtered out, and in a second step, allows medical personnel to perform a more targeted fever measurement. Q: You see a lot of potential for the video security industry in new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. What specific opportunities do you mean, and how are you leveraging these technologies at Bosch Building Technologies? Michael Seiter: Bosch has committed itself fully to an “AIoT” – AI meets IoT – strategy. The development of AI algorithms and software, in general, is at Bosch significantly driven in the security space.  By AIoT, we specifically mean the networking of physical products and the deployment of artificial intelligence. With AI we aim to enable clients to understand events at an ever-deeper level and predict them in the future – the keyword being predictive – so that they can act proactively. This is particularly important for health and safety. An example is the Intelligent Insights solution where the user can anticipate potentially dangerous situations, for instance in maintaining social distance and a maximum number of people numbers in any one area. Q: From your point of view do you have an advantage over other suppliers when it comes to AI-based products in the video arena? Michael Seiter: The analysis and utilisation of video data have long been front and centre with us. Since 2016 we’ve been following the strategy of offering AI applications in the form of integrated intelligent video analytics as a standard in our network cameras. Data such as colour, object size, object speed, and direction are all measured. Simply put, you can say this is seeing and understanding – which is the principle behind smart security cameras. Today it’s much more a question of intelligent, data-based solutions than collecting high-quality pictures and storing them for the record. Bosch has been investing heavily in AI for years, from which we can benefit greatly in our area. In the first quarter, for example, we will launch a vehicle detector based on deep learning that is already running on our cameras. This will create significant added value for our customers in the area of intelligent traffic control. Q: Mr. Ekerot, what advantages do customers have in AI-based video security from Bosch? Magnus Ekerot: A key advantage is strong customer focus with tailored solutions that are at the same time modular and scalable through new AI algorithms A key advantage is our strong customer focus with tailored solutions that are at the same time modular and scalable through new AI algorithms. Take the example of Camera Trainer, a machine learning software that can be directly uploaded to Bosch network cameras. The camera is thus trained up on recognising objects and situations – tailored to the specific needs of our customers. If the camera detects the defined scenario, it performs a predefined action in real-time – for example, a count or an alarm. The latest example is our new camera platform Inteox. As a completely open camera platform, Inteox combines Bosch's intelligent video analytics with an open operating system. This allows programmers to develop specific software applications - or apps - for various application purposes. These can then be loaded onto cameras – the same principle as an app store for smartphones. To sum up, Bosch AI applications support customer-specific needs related to data analysis while enabling totally new applications within and beyond the video security market. Q: Can you name a specific current project where Bosch has deployed an AI-based solution? Magnus Ekerot: A current ground-breaking project using our smart cameras is being implemented as a pilot in the USA. Smart Ohio enables users to configure more intelligent traffic flows and thus ensure mobility, safety, and the efficient use of roads today and tomorrow. The new vehicle detector mentioned by Mr. Seiter also plays a central role here. Our overall goal is to provide connected smart sensor solutions for public and private transportation agencies to enable them to operate their roads safely and efficiently. The Intelligent Insights can anticipate potentially dangerous situations, for instance in maintaining social distance and a maximum number of people numbers in any one area Q: Mr. Seiter, you have been involved with the topic of mobility for some time. What experience from your previous job in the automotive business of Bosch might help you when it comes to further develop the video portfolio of Bosch Building Technologies? Michael Seiter: There's a lot to tell. First of all, the development of core algorithms for video-based solutions, whether for autonomous driving, for vehicle interior monitoring, or for our Bosch Building Technologies video systems, all come together at Bosch's Hildesheim location. This gives us considerable synergies and allows us to bring R&D results to market faster and more flexibly. Essentially, assisted driving systems use AI algorithms that process ever-increasing volumes of video data. Attempts are being made to imitate the human being and enable the vehicle to understand better the surrounding environment with its ‘eyes’. This predictive capability is especially critical with autonomous driving. For example, key questions include: “How should the car respond and what could potentially happen next?” “What kind of environment does it find itself in?” etc. There are many activities in this area at Bosch that in my new role in security we can also strongly benefit from. I am now bringing a lot of this experience and existing R&D achievements to Bosch Video Systems & Solutions, which also results in further synergies with our mobility division: At Stuttgart Airport, autonomous driving is already being implemented together with Mercedes-Benz and the parking garage operator Apcoa as part of the "Automated Valet Parking" project, or AVP for short, in which intelligent video systems from Bosch Building Technologies are making a significant contribution. Mr. Ekerot, you have a lot of experience in the video security area. Where do you position Bosch Building Technologies now in this market and what specific goals are you pursuing? Magnus Ekerot: Our clients are looking for reliable partners and products. We are a strong brand; you can rely on Bosch products. Bosch is a thought leader in video and a pioneer in AI applications in this field since 2016. Data security is everything to us: Our products conform to the EU’s GDPR regulations. Beyond that, we have an extensive camera portfolio that complies with the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for video security devices. This enables our portfolio to be deployed for example within US government buildings. We are planning to conclude more software maintenance agreements with our clients in 2021. These deliver investment and future security for our customers and include for example a ‘patch guarantee’ along with regular updates with new functionalities. This is the first step in a comprehensive plan to access new revenue channels for us and our partners delivering the best technology and excellent service to the end-user! Overall, many new products will be launched this year and this trend will intensify. Our goal is to establish new product families that follow a simple principle: “The development and delivery of disruptive, predictive video solutions that every user can trust because of the underlying sustainable forward-thinking mindset.” It’s been much discussed of late that Bosch is one of the very first companies globally that operates on a CO2-neutral basis. How does sustainability impact your business? Magnus Ekerot: IoT solutions are actually sustainable and contribute to environmental protection Our IoT solutions are actually sustainable and contribute to environmental protection. For example, our cameras are sustainable in that they remain up-to-date through software updates and needn’t be constantly exchanged for new ones. Our systems demonstrate sustainability also operationally as they can be managed remotely. System integrators don’t need to be physically present, thus avoiding unnecessary travel with its accompanying emissions. All in all, Bosch Building Technologies develops ways to accompany and support our clients in reaching their climate goals via new technologies. This can be done, for example, through improved energy efficiency, the total cost of ownership models, organising and simplifying the supply chain, and helping our customers meet their social responsibilities. The Power of Bosch helps us here to leverage company-wide research to be two steps ahead, a shade faster, when it comes to new technologies and initiatives that our and future generations will benefit from. I should also say that I am personally very proud to work for a company that set an ambitious climate goal for itself and achieved it! Can you already share a preview of your technology innovations in 2021? Michael Seiter: We see great market potential for our cameras that use artificial intelligence and can be updated flexibly throughout their lifecycles. I have already mentioned the deep learning-based vehicle detector in our cameras. More such solutions – also for other applications where object and person recognition are important – will follow in the course of the year. And the best part is: with AI, the more data we collect and the more intelligently we use it, the better the solutions become and the more added value they bring to the customer. This will revolutionise our industry! Another example is our cloud-based solutions, for example for alarm monitoring. Here, we can now also integrate third-party cameras and, building on this, offer and jointly develop our intelligent software-based solutions. This gives our customers more opportunities to take advantage of the opportunities created by AI. The trend towards integration of the various security technologies seems to be driven mostly by the rapid progress in software development. Does this affect full-range suppliers such as Bosch and what specific plans for fully integrated security solutions do you have for the future? Michael Seiter: Naturally, this suits us as a full-scope supplier. Bosch solutions are deployed in many cross-domain client projects. We have experts for the different domains under one roof and a strong brand with the same quality promise for all areas. Nevertheless, it is always also about specific domain excellence. Only when you master all different areas and have profound and proven expertise in each of them you can succeed in integrated cross-domain projects. The respective business units craft their future strategies and innovation roadmaps with this in mind – as we do in the field of Video Systems & Solutions. Our business unit offers fully integrated Bosch video solutions that can be extended and operated on open systems. This is why we drive open platforms such as Inteox, to offer customers from a wide range of industries the right solutions. Our Bosch Integration Partner Program that we launched in 2012 is also heading in this direction – every product can be integrated into multiple other systems and VMS solutions. In summary: At Bosch, we are both a one-stop-shop, but also an open-system, meaning we offer customers maximum flexibility in their choice of products and services.

We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection
We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection

Enclosures containing electronics, communications or cabling infrastructure offer a simple attack point for cyber breaches and an opportunity for a physical attack on the hardware. Yet, many of these assets are housed within enclosures that provide minimal security features to offer a deterrent to any would-be attacker. This has always just been a pet hate. Walking down the high street of a town anywhere in the United Kingdom, you can often see open street communication cabinets. You can actually look directly inside at the equipment. And if I was a bad guy, I could quite easily just put my foot into their enclosure and quite quickly take out their infrastructure. Charged service for enclosures This seems crazy when a US$ 2 magnetic contact on a door can quickly tell you whether your enclosure is open or shut, and can be vital in keeping your network alive. Moreover, the operators of these systems, whether it is telecoms or internet providers, are providing a charged service to their customers, so they should really be protecting their enclosures. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? More sobering, if you contrast this security approach to the approach taken in the data centre world, an environment that already has multiple stringent security protocols in place, you get a very different picture. For instance, security devices can capture snapshots of anyone who opens a cabinet door in a data room, so it is recorded who has opened that door. While that is just one simple example, it begs the question. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? In my mind, a lot of it boils down simply to education. Network connection, easy point of cyber attacks Our preconceived idea about cyber security is some big corporation being knocked out or held to ransom by, again in our mind, someone sitting at a laptop, probably with their hood up over their head, typing away in the darkness, attacking us through the internet. But how the would-be criminal is going to come at us is just like in sport. They attack at the weakest point. Networks can be deployed in the outside world in many ways, such as cameras monitoring the highways. That means those locations will have a network connection. And that can be a point of attack in a non-secure outside world. Enclosures can be broken into by attackers Many people think, ‘That is okay because I’m going to take that ethernet device that my cameras are connected to and I’m going to put it inside an enclosure.’ However, what people do not realize is that the only thing that the enclosure is doing is protecting the ethernet device from Mother Nature. Because, without proper security, those enclosures can be broken into pretty easily. Many of them are just a single key that is not in any way coded to the device. Twofold cyber security People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking Therein lays the problem. People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking into the weakest physical point. And so, a simple boot through the open door of an enclosure can vandalise the devices inside and take down a small or large part of a network. And by definition, this meets the criteria for a cyber-attack. So, how do we go about tackling this problem? Well, security is a reaction marketplace. And for enclosures, there’s not, at present, a plethora of solutions out there for to counter these types of attacks. It can be challenging to find what you’re looking for through a quick Google search compared to searching for more traditional security protection measures. Deploying smart sensors and detectors But, under Vanderbilt and ComNet, we are currently taking our knowledge and experience from system installation and compiling it together. We’re bringing different products from different parts of our business to make a true solution. For instance, we have sensors for enclosures that detect anything from gas or smoke to open doors, detectors that will tell you if someone is trying to smash open your enclosure with a sledgehammer, or that someone is trying to lift your enclosure off of its mount. More importantly, as is not really a one-size-fits-all solution, we have developed a menu structure available that allows customers to pick and choose the ones that will best fit their own requirements.

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.  

Latest Traka news

Traka Americas announces KEYper property management is now Traka property management
Traka Americas announces KEYper property management is now Traka property management

Traka Americas, part of ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, announced that KEYper Property Management is now Traka Property Management. Former KEYper product solutions that secure, manage and audit critical property management assets will transition to Traka’s product line: HC Series Key Cabinet in Large, Standard and Mini. These high-capacity key cabinets offer a controlled and automated solution for storing and managing essential keys in a small footprint along with an intuitive web-based administrative and reporting software for a total solution specifically designed and focused around the property management industry. Customers property management “Transitioning KEYper HC products to Traka Property Management better positions our companies to meet the long-term needs of our property management customers,” said Danny Garrido, President, Traka Americas. “Through this change, we can better leverage the existing robust infrastructure and the focus on investment in innovation that comes from being part of Traka and our parent company, ASSA ABLOY. Both global industry leaders, this will allow us to really focus on our customers property management needs and continue to improve on the great solution and customer service KEYper has built a reputation on over the past few years.” Customers will continue to receive the same high-quality support service they’ve come to expect as they join the Traka family.

RS2 Technologies launches an upgrade that brings video functionality and mobile credentials to Access It! Universal
RS2 Technologies launches an upgrade that brings video functionality and mobile credentials to Access It! Universal

RS2 Technologies, a renowned provider of access control systems, announced additional functionality and enhanced integrations for video and key management with its latest software update for Access It! Universal. Version 8 brings a range of new features, including licensing updates and more options for mobile credential functionality, which allows touchless access and streamlined integration that limit human interaction in deployment.  Access It! Universal is aimed at providing businesses of all sizes with an access management solution to fit their needs - whether it’s simple access control for a few employees in a single building or multiple locations for thousands of employees in a multi-region, multi-server system. Updates to the software build on the RS2 goal to provide customers with the ability to envision a truly customisable design that allows them to select the features they need to build a scalable, cost-effective system. Intelligent key management  The new update also allows for seamless integration with Traka by ASSA ABLOY The new update also allows for seamless integration with Traka by ASSA ABLOY, which offers intelligent key and equipment management through the Access It! Universal dashboard. Users can grant and restrict access to Traka cabinets and lockers, allowing for the seamless transmission of equipment, such as keys or tablets, to employees without having to assign managers to issue them. Intelligence-driven event monitoring and records enable customers to audit in accordance with company policies.  The Version 8 update also includes:  Licensing that can now be managed instantly, anytime from within the Access It! Universal application with the click of a button Simplified API licence management Mobile credential integration with HID Global and Farpointe, as well as ACT ID, RS2’s free credential option powered by WaveLynx Technologies Enhanced DVR integrations that allow users to view third-party video directly in the Access It! Universal software instead of launching a new programme in a new window, enabling a more integrated viewing of playback and live video Access management experience “RS2 Technologies is constantly looking for ways to enhance the access management experience for our customers, listening to their needs and ensuring they’re able to get the most from their investment in our Access It! Universal software,” said David Barnard, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, RS2 Technologies. “With this new updated version of the software, the user experience is truly enhanced, bringing additional value to our customers and providing even more ways that the software can be used to manage not only access, but provide more functionality for improving business operations and streamlining all aspects of the security system.” 

The retail industry: securing life after lockdown
The retail industry: securing life after lockdown

For bricks and mortar retailers, there’s no going back to how it was anytime soon.  Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, they had been fighting a fierce battle against online shopping and significant e-commerce players.  The high street has done a pretty good job of evolving over the years. From its humble beginnings in the late 19th century to its boom in the late 20th, it’s constantly adapted to meet changing consumer needs. The risk to retail But, it’s now reported to be at risk. Sales and footfall started to dwindle decades ago. The dawn of internet shopping in the mid- 2000s saw numbers drop even more dramatically. Indeed, we have heard and seen reports repeatedly on ‘the death of the high street.’ Footfall went down to virtually zero, thanks to this year’s nationwide lockdown Making matters worse, footfall went down to virtually zero, thanks to this year’s nationwide lockdown.   Even Primark, the international ‘hero of the high street,’ saw their average £650m in weekly sales nosedive to nothing without an online presence. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Primark for one came back fighting, and is now expected to hit £2bn by the end of the year.  "After a period of store closure, we are encouraged by the strength of our sales," it’s owner AB Foods said in its latest trading update. And continued: "In the latest four-week UK market data for sales in all channels, Primark achieved our highest-ever value and volume shares for this time of year." The threat of new restrictions As we come to a ‘pivotal point’ in the fight against COVID, with threats of new restrictions, it’s time to think about what the next generation of our high streets will look like. The current crisis gives us some clues: it’s local, it’s data-driven and it’s tech-enabled.  Crucially, it’s proven to work. The digital high street One of the biggest changes the high street has had to adjust to is the digital revolution. New technologies have massively disrupted the way we spend. 82% of consumers now shop online, compared with just 53% ten years ago, with more than half of people aged 65 and over saying they shop online. Age is no longer a barrier. That’s meant that not only have in-store sales dropped, but shopping patterns have become erratic and harder to predict. From opening times to managing stock and staff – everything has had to adapt. We had to pivot quickly to create an online model The issue was exacerbated over lockdown, as consumers had little choice but to shop online. Digital retailers struggled with resources to fulfil orders, case in point was the endless wait times for supermarket delivery slots. But together, we managed to evolve. As nimble businesses, we had to pivot quickly to create an online model that could operate in conjunction with traditional stores, either via click and collect or similar operatives. And now, we are reaping the rewards. Countless high street pubs and restaurants are now allowing customers to order online and finding ways with new openings to take orders online and deliver a table service. It’s undoubtedly an adjustment, and one that will be easier for some to make than others – but those that can establish an omnichannel presence now will be in a strong position for the future. Online versus the high street Historically, in-store has come second to online for a lot of retailers: even those with omnichannel strategies tend to treat the in-store experience like something of a second-class citizen. Now’s the time to change that. The new online stores that have popped up are unlikely to go anywhere, even once lockdown ends. Their success is proof that getting online and in-store more aligned is an opportunity for, not a threat to, the high street. There needs to be the removal of the ‘physical versus online experience’ for brands, and instead blend the two together, which is made possible through mobile technology. Digital transformation grants a huge opportunity for traditional retail. And no better an example than Amazon, the poster child of online retail. Amazon had previously acknowledged the value of a physical retail channel and had opened physical locations for its books and fresh produce business streams. In August 2020, post COVID-19 lockdown, it has continued with its plan to open thirty physical stores in the UK. High street trends Alongside digital, many trends that were perhaps bubbling under the surface of the retail high street have now made their way to the forefront of securing the new landscape.  Sustainable shopping has been accelerated by the crisis. In the last couple of years, retailers’ attention has shifted to focus on making their supply chain and working practices eco-friendlier and socially responsible. Lockdown and our post-retail experience has seen a call for shopping and supporting our local businesses Lockdown and our post-retail experience has seen a call for shopping and supporting our local businesses. Shoppers are more engaged with their local high street now and visiting it more than ever before. Motivated by the instinct to protect their local community. Data has also been key to the new high street. This works both ways, as shoppers are now more informed and in control than ever before. The power of smartphones and increased data coverage has lead to simple but powerful capabilities, like being able to run a price comparison quickly and conveniently. Since a majority of consumers now operate with the ‘mobile mindset’, gone are the days when they will settle for what’s available. Surviving in this new world To survive in this new world, data can support creations of compelling omnichannel experiences.  It can help to build loyalty based on customer values, wants and needs.  And, it allows ways for retailers to understand how customers are moving around the high street to better predict their requirements. Data proves a holistic view of how, where and when customers spend.  Knowing where consumers spend time in store and in which department, demonstrates an understanding of their interests and purchasing choices.  Knowing these preferences, creates the foundation for any great customer experience. The technology-led high street In theory, with so many different opportunities for the high street, it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. To deliver in practice, retailers need to lay the foundations for more efficient operations, to meet consumer demands quickly, efficiently, and cost (and time) effectively. Technology arguably holds the key to the challenges of raising standards.  And it’s in small ways that it can make a difference.  For example, instead of keeping customers waiting while members of staff hunt for a charged-up tablet device to look for stock levels or product information, an automated retail asset management solution means this essential knowledge is right at hand. Even seemingly simple processes can be automated to deliver service and improved business efficiency. For example, on average, it takes staff members six minutes to find a key or working device. That is equal to 42 minutes in productivity time every week for each employee, which can cause losses of up to £40,000 a year. This is where an effective key management system minimises downtime and cuts unnecessary costs. Traka is supporting businesses, including Primark and leading department stores, to implement new strategies for the critical control of access to key and equipment, enabling more effective use, and in turn quicker customer response times. Asset management solutions With a fully automated asset management solution in place, valuables such as keys, cash trays, stock and equipment (e.g. handheld scanners) can be monitored and maintained. A full audit trail with real-time reporting means retailers can see exactly who has removed which device, when it was taken and when it has been returned. This results in staff becoming more accountable and equipment being utilised more efficiently, eliminating the need for arduous and costly manual administration. Reshape the bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and breathe new life into the high street By streamlining processes and effectively protecting business assets, Traka supports in-store retail in their ambition to becomes a ripe opportunity to “innovate, delight and create stronger ties with customers.” And become an integral touchpoint in the future of commerce, helping retailers to adapt to the new retail landscape. In summary, there’s the opportunity to reshape the bricks-and-mortar infrastructure and breathe new life into the high street. The industry needs future-focused visionaries who can provide a fresh perspective and reinvigorate bricks-and-mortar retail in the years to come, utilising tools available to them to enhance their proposition to the new post-lockdown consumer.

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