Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

Wireless technology is transforming motion detection
Wireless technology is transforming motion detection

Motion detection is a key feature of security systems in residential and commercial environments. Until recently, systems have relied heavily on closed circuit television (CCTV) and passive infrared (PIR) sensors, which both require significant investment and infrastructure to install and monitor. Developments in wireless technology are increasing home security possibilities. Few years ago, these developments led Cognitive Systems to discover that the wireless signals surrounding oneself can be used to detect motion. Known in the wireless industry as WiFi sensing, this technology brings many benefits that other motion detection solutions have not been able to provide. The working of WiFi sensing At Cognitive Systems, the company has used WiFi sensing technology to develop a motion detection solution called WiFi Motion™, which measures and interprets disruptions in RF signals transmitted between WiFi devices. When movement occurs in a space, ripples in the wireless signals are created. WiFi Motion interprets these ripples and determines if an action, such as sending a notification, is needed. Enabling this functionality in a space is incredibly simple. With a software upgrade to only one’s WiFi access point (or mesh router), motion sensing capabilities are layered into one’s WiFi network. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors without detracting from their original functions or slowing down the network. Using artificial intelligence (AI), WiFi Motion establishes a benchmark of the motionless environment and learns movement patterns over time, which could be used to predict trends. This allows unusual movement patterns to be detected with greater accuracy while decreasing the potential for costly false alerts. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation WiFi sensing and other home monitoring solutions All of these capabilities are made possible by WiFi sensing and together create a motion detection system that provides unparalleled accuracy, coverage, privacy and affordability compared to other solutions on the market. PIR integration is far more complex and imposes electronic and physical design restrictions compared to WiFi sensing. In terms of placement, PIR systems are difficult to install, requiring line-of-sight and a device in every room for localisation. WiFi Motion requires no line-of-sight or installation and is also a scalable solution compared to PIR. Much like cameras, PIRs can only cover so much space, but WiFi Motion can cover the entire home and even detect motion in the dark and through walls, without adding additional devices to the home. WiFi Motion detects less distinguishing context than cameras and microphones, but more context than regular PIR sensors for the perfect balance of privacy and highly accurate motion detection. Privacy solution While cameras have been the security solution for years, WiFi Motion offers a more affordable solution that can rival the privacy and coverage capabilities of even the most high-end cameras. With such a wide coverage area, one might think that WiFi sensing infringes on privacy, but actually, the opposite is true. With WiFi Motion, the contextual information collected cannot be used to identify a specific individual, unlike cameras which can clearly identify a person’s face or microphones, which can identify a person’s voice. It is different from other smart home security options that use cameras and microphones because it only senses motion using WiFi signals - it doesn’t “see” or “listen” like a camera or microphone would. This provides opportunities for added security in spaces where privacy might be a concern and installing a camera may not be a comfortable solution, such as bathrooms and bedrooms. The data collected is also anonymised and highly encrypted according to stringent industry privacy standards. Existing connected WiFi devices then become motion detectors Additional WiFi sensing applications Since WiFi sensing technology requires no additional hardware or subscription fees, it is much more affordable than other motion detection solutions. It can be used as a standalone solution, or it can be easily layered into more complex systems. This ease of integration, scalability and relatively low cost brings a lot of potential for various applications. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off In eldercare, for example, WiFi sensing can be used to help seniors live comfortably in their homes for as long as possible. With the increasing aging population and high costs associated with care homes, the market for this application is considerable. Caregivers can use an app to monitor movement in their loved one’s home and be alerted about unusual movement patterns that could indicate a concern. For smart homes and other environments that have a network of smart devices, the artificial intelligence (AI) component of the technology allows for improvements to automated features. Motion detection can trigger other smart devices in the network to turn lights on or off or make adjustments to the temperature in a room. Security for the commercial sector For office buildings and other commercial properties, it is easy to see how all of these features could be scaled up to offer a highly accurate and cost-effective motion sensing and smart device automation solution. Cognitive Systems is closely involved with the development of WiFi sensing technology, working with various industry groups to establish standards and help it reach its full potential. WiFi Motion is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of motion sensing possibilities, but its applications in the world of security are undeniably compelling. It is an exciting time for the wireless industry, as one works with stakeholders in the security space to explore everything this technology can do.

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.  

Latest Eaton news

CSL adds another variant for Eaton to its CSL connected range
CSL adds another variant for Eaton to its CSL connected range

CSL is delighted to announce that they have added another variant for Eaton to their award-winning CSL Connected range. The CSL Connected range has been extended to include a GSM variant for Eaton. Their GSM variant is now available to order from your chosen ARC. In partnership with the Panel Manufacturers, CSL Connected combines their Critical Connectivity with the chosen alarm panel and the added option of an end-user App. This offers Installers professionally monitored signalling designed to discourage self-monitored systems that bypass ARCs. Providing customers with latest solutions CSL would also like to remind its user of all the options they currently have available across the 4 product variants and 6 manufacturers. CSL’s Sales Director, Rob Evans, commented: “CSL Connected has been really well received by Installers since its launch and to now add another variant for Eaton is great news for the industry. It is part of our ongoing commitment to provide our customers with the latest solutions to support their businesses.”

Stay ahead of 2020's trends with this cyber security guidance
Stay ahead of 2020's trends with this cyber security guidance

It seems that only a few days pass between cyber security stories of concern to the public such as personal data leaks and DIY home camera hacks. With this in mind and the need for increased connectivity, the industry is in need for guidance in cyber security. 2020 is set to be a year of change for the physical security industry. Here are the top four predictions to stay head of market trends in the year ahead. 1. There will be more clarity for installers about industry-standard for cyber security The professional security industry will next year see the launch of a new set of cybersecurity guidelines Through the work being conducted by the BSIA Cyber Security Product Assurance Group (CySPAG), the professional security industry will next year see the launch of a new set of cybersecurity guidelines. This will provide the industry with the guidance and clarity that is currently missing. A key area of clarification is the chain of responsibility. It is not just the responsibility of the manufacturer to keep everything secure from a cyber-perspective. The whole supply chain is responsible - once a product leaves the lab where they’re manufactured, conditions change. Those who maintain, install and operate the product have a shared responsibility to ensure that a product or system remains cyber secure. As the sector develops and more cyber-enabled products become available to the market, this cyber security approach will become more important, and a key differentiator to the DIY market, which can only be a good thing. 2. Cloud and 4G connectivity are giving end-customers better physical security The percentage of panels connected to cloud services is now increasing every year Manufactures have been producing cloud-ready products for several years. Initially, not all installers had been taking advantage of benefits of cloud-connected panels, however the percentage of panels connected to cloud services is now increasing every year. Trust and education have improved, meaning that installers and end-users have realised that connectivity is positive, enabling consumers to check on their properties remotely and allow installer to remotely support their customers. However, one area of constraint has been the dependency on customers networks which may, or may not, offer the level of performance that a robust and resilient security system demands. With the introduction of mobile data connectivity to connected products over the past few years, and as connectivity becomes more widespread across physical security products there will also be a greater shift toward mobile technologies such as 4G, either as a back up to a router connection or for complete network independence. 3. Connectivity is changing the way installers work Installers are a vital part of the chain of when a new alarm system is fitted into a property Installers are a vital part of the chain of when a new alarm system is fitted into a property, providing both installation and maintenance services. Traditionally maintenance activities have always been delivered on-site. With the increased ease of connectivity for security systems and the advancements in how these systems are used, installers are provided further opportunity to enhance customer service around the delivery of maintenance. It is no longer a requirement to have a customer wait until an engineer can attend a property to remedy a fault, as many can now be addressed within minutes from any location in the world. This ability allows installation businesses to focus their engineers on more critical tasks while delivering an overall higher level of customer service. Indeed, some installation businesses are moving to a model of having dedicated remote support engineers in addition to the road-based team. 4. Manufacturers are ready for IP-only alarms, ahead of the 2025 analogue switch off The PSTN switch off being conducted by BT and other service providers is due to be completed in 2025 The PSTN switch off being conducted by BT and other service providers is due to be completed in 2025 as part of the move to Next Generation Networks, ending the use of analogue phone lines and moves communications technology into an all IP-only space. Although some service providers have indicated that there may be some type of initial PSTN simulation, those providers that are doing this are also making it clear that this is only a temporary solution. The switch off will be a huge change for the security industry. Where heritage, analogue alarm systems are in use, installers will need to plan to reconfigure existing systems to use the temporary PSTN simulation functions (where available) or upgrade systems to an all IP solution. Although 2025 feels a long way off, installers and end-users need to start planning now and taking the necessary action. In our sector, manufacturers are ready for IP-only alarms through the provision of cloud-based solutions and the use of techniques such as SIA IP for ARC monitoring.

Eaton releases Scantronic grade 2 and 3 panels for residential and commercial buildings
Eaton releases Scantronic grade 2 and 3 panels for residential and commercial buildings

Eaton announces the availability of its new Scantronic grade 2 and 3 panels, both compatible with SecureConnect™ - an innovative smart security management system for residential and commercial buildings. The expandable, remotely configurable panels are ideal for medium and large premises, as they allow users to connect and manage up to 50 or 200 zones. SecureConnect™ panel benefits include a lower cost per zone thanks to an innovative, 10-zone expander design, rather than the traditional eight. This enables a simple decimal numbering system that’s far easier to understand. Cloud-connected capabilities Powerful Flexibus™ technology is also designed with installer convenience in mind On-device buzzers triggered from any keypad then save hours looking for hidden expanders in challenging locations – especially helpful when it comes to large complex sites. Powerful Flexibus™ technology is also designed with installer convenience in mind. Unlike with conventional panels, this offers the flexibility to install up to 50 devices in any of the following ways to optimise cable runs: allocating devices equally across all buses, installing all devices on a single bus, or using any combination in between. Not only is this a real saver in terms of cabling time, it cuts cabling costs significantly. Thanks to cloud-connected capabilities, users can set and unset their alarm system via the Secure Connect™ app from anywhere in the world, plus customisable push notifications and easy third-party product integration via LAN or cloud. Minimising training requirements Eaton Product Manager, Dave Ward, said: “Eaton first launched its SecureConnect™-enabled grade 2 radio and hybrid panels in 2016. These have been very well received by our customers since, thanks to their dependability, as well as their class-leading security capabilities." The i-on SecureConnect™ range now offers a solution for almost any installation" "These two new panels now provide the same features for metal housing expandable systems and those with Grade 3 capabilities. The i-on SecureConnect™ range now offers a solution for almost any installation.” A common programming method across all i-on control panels minimises training requirements and further reduces installation time. Semi Auto Addressing of the expander – instead of relying on the installer’s memory – prevents the confusion of two devices being accidentally given the same address. Smart security management system Like all Scantronic products, the new panel range comes with extensive technical service, training and support through the TouchPoint hub. SecureConnect™ is a smart security management system for residential and commercial buildings that enables remote monitoring of the latest IP intruder alarm devices via a user-friendly interface. The system delivers smart security control and convenience reinforced by protection against digital threats. It ensures both installers and system users remain securely connected to what matters most.

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