Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control
Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for post and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing whilst obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc whilst sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for manoeuvre. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.

4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19
4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19

The unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 has taken its toll on all of us, but as cases of the virus thankfully recede, employers are now forced to confront how they can enable a safe return to work for employees. For many employers, this means they will have to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, redesign workspaces to maintain social distances, carry out more frequent cleaning, manage the transmission risk and find alternatives to touch-based security devices. Protecting workplace occupants in any emergency requires preparation and clear communication. This is especially critical in a health crisis involving an infectious disease. These are some of the essential best practices that could help organisations reduce the impact on their employees and operations during this pandemic. 1. Use a visitor management system With a visitor management system, organisations have a single source of real-time and historical insights into who is, or was recently, in the workplace. This is especially important because of the need to perform contact tracing should anyone in the organisation show symptoms of COVID-19, meaning everyone they have been in contact with needs to be contacted and asked to isolate. Yet still, first impressions are made at the front desk or lobby, where the visitor experience needs to be a positive one. At the same time, though, any emergency event requires that there be strict control over who is entering the workplace. This policy also needs to be clearly communicated to visitors. Doing this minimises risk to visitors as well as the workforce. In addition to delivering a high-quality visitor experience, the ideal visitor management system must: Enable organisations to meet regulatory compliance mandates and facilitate check-in at a self-service kiosk to minimise wait times. Customise the visitor experience to support specific security needs, such as accelerating and simplifying check-in or requiring additional security pre-checks. Automate compliance as it relates to visitor access rules with historical visit reports. 2. Pre-check questions at visitor registration kiosks Organisations can strengthen security at the registration kiosk using a flexible, enterprise-grade visitor management system to add visitor sign-in steps. This has proven successful in the past when used to control the spread of infectious disease during an outbreak. An example of this is a U.S. children's hospital which managed to reduce facility infection rates by 25 percent over a two-year period using a commercial, off-the-shelf physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution from HID Global. The solution provides two particularly important capabilities that can be used by organisations to protect their workplace from the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease: Enhance visitor registration policy with additional mandatory questions to help identify any visitors who may need other screenings. Extend the visitor registration kiosk with a mandatory pop-up asking further questions during visitor check-in. 3. Understand who has visited your workplace Successful controlling the spread of infection throughout a facility requires the ability to automatically maintain an auditable trail of activity. This can be done using an enterprise-grade visitor management system that makes it easy to retrieve historical visit reports. This provides a timeline of who was in the workplace, and when they were there. Key features include: A single dashboard providing useful visitor insights at your fingertips. Historical reports that provide visitor details including location and contact information, all in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regulations. 4. Clearly communicate how infection risks can be reduced Global organisations must actively communicate with visitors and employees on the outbreak of infectious diseases and follow best practices outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are several things organisations can do in this area to help maintain a safe and healthy workplace: Re-enforce and communicate WHO best practices with guideline posters in the front lobby and throughout the workplace. Add posters that also encourage regular and thorough washing of hands. Encourage everyone to cough or sneese into their shirt sleeve in their flexed elbow or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Encourage everyone to keep a relatively safe distance from each other and use alternatives to handshakes when saying hello. Organisations must contend with a variety of workplace challenges during the outbreak of an infectious disease. These challenges can be solved with best practices that include a comprehensive visitor management system that automates critical check-in policies and maintains an auditable trail of visitor activity.  

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

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

Latest Videx Security Ltd news

Videx launches touch free entry range to help businesses return to normal post COVID-19 pandemic
Videx launches touch free entry range to help businesses return to normal post COVID-19 pandemic

For more than 35 years, Videx have manufactured door entry and access control solutions and have now launched their latest range of touch free entry panels and exit buttons as businesses return to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The range offers both exit buttons and entrance panels in a touch free format using infrared sensor technology, providing a no touch solution for companies as they focus on creating a COVID secure environment for their employees, partners and customers. Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx, said: “As businesses return to normal, health and safety is the key priority. With our touch free entry panels, it means visitors can alert someone of their arrival without needing to press a button. The panels can also include proximity access control, allowing authorised personnel to enter the building touch free. Both surface and flush exit buttons are also available to allow users to exit without the need to press buttons.” Adjustable activation range The panels and buttons are compatible with a number of Videx systems including our IP system, two wire video kits and GSM kit. The panels and exit buttons, which are for internal use unless appropriately protected externally, boast several key features including adjustable activation range (3cm-15cm) and activation time (from 0.5 seconds to 20 seconds). All panels are IP55 rated and require a power input of 12Vdc. They can operate in a temperature change from -20 degrees to 75 degrees. Neil added: “The new touch free range can offer better protection against COVID-19 transmission and other viruses too that can spread from touching common use surfaces and devices. We can also provide fully customised options, offering bespoke entry panels and exit buttons that are in keeping with the surroundings of the building.”

Videx identifies increased demand for IP-based access control systems during COVID-19 pandemic
Videx identifies increased demand for IP-based access control systems during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all industries in different ways. For healthcare and medical organisations, operational management approaches have changed right across the sector and not just on the clinical front. Videx, a manufacturer and supplier of access control and door entry systems, has seen a sharp rise in demand for IP based intercom systems. The contagiousness of the coronavirus coupled with the high volume of patients admitted to hospital with the disease has increased the need to secure specific wards and departments. Popular access control solutions At the same time, GP practices, pharmacies and other healthcare organisations have also had to look at their entry provision to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx UK, said: “IP based intercoms are hugely popular access control solutions generally due to the flexibility and ease of installation IP provides.” The Videx IP kit for example comes as an expandable system with multiple entrance and call points" “The Videx IP kit for example comes as an expandable system with multiple entrance and call points that can be customised to suit the needs of any building whether that’s an A and E department, an outpatient unit or medical centre that’s home to several GP practices.” Dedicated wiring infrastructure “The huge benefit of IP technology is that it doesn’t require dedicated wiring infrastructure and can be used on existing networks. These networks can be shared with other technologies such as CCTV, building management and many others.” “We’ve seen a rise in enquiries and orders placed for our IP intercoms because of the urgent need to secure sensitive and specific areas in buildings such as hospitals, pharmacies and GP surgeries. For instance, in hospitals where there are dedicated COVID-19 wards access to such wards require maximum security but, at the same time, authorised entry convenience and ease and this is exactly what our IP system provides.” Flush mounting options An event call log can be viewed on the videophone with a video capture feature to see missed callers There is also a heightened need for controlling access to the general public. As a result, demand in the Videx IP range has grown, especially for one-way, single button entry units where a member of staff can grant access from their desk via videophone. The Videx IP kit includes a wall mount 6200 series videophone and the entrance panel which is available in standard or vandal resistant form with surface or flush mounting options. The videophone includes a touch screen 3.5” colour display enabling the end user to customise a range of settings as well as initiate calls to entrance points, neighbouring buildings and internally to other extensions with the facility to have up to 16 videophones in each building. The videophones can also intercommunicate and cascade calls to other locations if they are not answered. What’s more, an event call log can be viewed on the videophone with a video capture feature to see missed callers.

Videx Security announces release of new installer app for Videx GSM intercom systems
Videx Security announces release of new installer app for Videx GSM intercom systems

Videx Security has strengthened its flagship GSM intercom range by adding a new app designed specifically for installers and engineers who fit and maintain Videx GSM systems. The new app which complements the existing GSM app includes a new host of features that’s compatible with all GSM models and enables an engineer to programme an unlimited number of sites and intercoms that they’re responsible for to help manage them all more effectively and conveniently. Programming access codes and proximity fobs James Gray, project manager at Videx, said “The new app provides a wide range of convenient, user friendly features that help make an engineer’s job easier. Within the app, installers can store useful information about the site such as the address and site contact details and they’re able to programme all apartments and buttons, access codes, proximity fobs, dial to opens, time bands and general settings too”. Events for each intercom and site can be viewed from within the app, which are also stored on a cloud server" James added, “Events for each intercom and site can be viewed from within the app, which are also stored on a cloud server and sent directly from the intercom to the cloud allowing them to be viewed on multiple devices. Additionally, there is an advanced settings page and a diagnostics tools section to assist the engineer should they need to diagnose a problem. Installation manuals and a useful help section can also be easily accessed within the app too.” Videx GSM systems app The app is available for both Android and iOS and allows the intercoms to be programmed via SMS. All the intercom settings are stored on a cloud server which offers the advantage to allow multiple engineers to share the data on their devices and also offers peace of mind as the data is backed up automatically. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store free of charge. Once downloaded, installers will need to register via the app. Registration can take up to three working days while the user is verified as an installer or engineer. The app can be used with all current and older model GSM intercoms.

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