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 Pyronix Limited news

Pyronix provides a small hygiene kit with every control panel to ensure installers safety during COVID-19 pandemic
Pyronix provides a small hygiene kit with every control panel to ensure installers safety during COVID-19 pandemic

As part of Pyronix’ ongoing commitment to support their valued customers, they’re now providing a small hygiene kit with every control panel. Introducing hygiene kit This small hygiene kit includes a mask, gloves and an alcohol wipe, to help their installers return to work safely during this uncertain time, while providing them and their customers with added reassurance. “We’ve introduced the hygiene kit as a free of charge item which installers can find in their control panel kits when purchasing through distribution. We want to help our customers get back to work safely and it will hopefully go some way into aiding our installers to adhere to government guidelines when returning to work,” Laurence Kenny, Pyronix Marketing Manager, said. Adhering to government guidelines As people across the country begin to go back to work, Pyronix has taken the step to help its installers do so as safely as possible. The hygiene kit is included as standard with every control panel to ensure installers are taking the necessary precautions to protect not only themselves, but their customers too. “The current situation around COVID-19 presents new challenges to all businesses. Whilst the hygiene kit we supply is not medical grade and shouldn’t replace installers carrying out proper assessments with regards risk within their business, we want to help our customers as much as possible to adhere to government guidelines when returning to work in people’s homes and businesses,” Laurence said.

Pyronix launches GAP initiative to help installation businesses grow
Pyronix launches GAP initiative to help installation businesses grow

Focused on Revenue, Knowledge and Branding, whether its profitable new cloud services, specialist ‘how to’ training or simply making a company stand out from the competition, GAP has what a business needs for success. Pyronix has launched their ‘GAP’ initiative, in an effort to help installers and their businesses grow, by working smarter and building their brand.   Key areas  Providing free tools to make an installer’s business grow faster, GAP focuses on taking a smarter approach to business performance, identifying three key areas:   Revenue - ‘Not all clouds are grey’ With an emphasis on providing superior tools for installers, in order to develop and grow their business, with offerings including PyronixCloud, an evolving product range, and additional value-added services; there’s something that all installers can benefit from with GAP. Built with businesses in mind, Pyronix can help installers grow and excel.   Knowledge - ‘Knowledge is Power’ Pyronix believes knowledge within the industry is key to being a leader, which is why they devised a knowledge-focused branch of GAP. Focusing on installation and product knowledge, and how installers can gain and use this to their advantage. Enabling them to accelerate ahead of the competition and be the best.   Brand - ‘Make Yourself Famous’ GAP guides installers by providing brand focused tools and tricks, to make their brand stand out. Encouraging installers to look at customised products and sales tools, GAP will soon also introduce the new Pyronix Personal Print Portal. Providing a one-stop solution for designing and ordering promotional materials, Pyronix is set to demonstrate the importance of an installer’s brand and presence within the market.   Helping installers grow business  Laurence Kenny, Pyronix Marketing Manager commented, “This new initiative highlights the additional commitment Pyronix wants to make to installers. We want to help them grow their business and thrive within the industry.”  We feel that this is a really positive step towards helping installers of Pyronix intruder systems" “This initiative is flexible and built with several interchangeable drivers, all designed to suit an installer’s business needs, whether they’re an experienced installer or just starting out.”  Brand marketing tools  He continued, “We feel that this is a really positive step towards helping installers of Pyronix intruder systems, guiding them through multiple aspects for business success, including recurring revenue business models, branding and training elements within their business. This initiative will provide practical tools installers need, to help them go that little bit further and realise their potential.”  “We’re very excited to see the uptake in GAP and showcase our revenue, knowledge and brand marketing tools, providing the best platform to both new and existing installer businesses within the industry.”   For any installers who would like to develop their brand and business, GAP has the needed tools. 

Pyronix adds ProControl app to enhance installation value for video verification
Pyronix adds ProControl app to enhance installation value for video verification

Pyronix is delighted to provide even more value and capabilities to installers and users alike, with the addition of video verification to ProControl+. Now, using our Enforcer V10 control panel, Wi-Fi cameras and security and life safety peripherals, the system can be tailored to detect, notify and verify any activity. “We’re really pleased to add this latest feature to our ProControl+ app,” said Pyronix Marketing Manager, Laurence Kenny. "Video verification delivers fantastic upsell opportunities to video monitoring for our installers, while providing greater functions for the user; showing them exactly what activity has triggered an event or alarm.” The addition of video verification enables the linkage of Pyronix Full-HD Wi-Fi cameras to inputs on the system via the PyronixCloud. This simple setup process adds greater scope to security; providing a 25 second video clip directly to the user via ProControl+ when an event or alarm activation occurs. The clip, which can be downloaded and stored as an MP4 file, shows 15 seconds pre-alarm and 10 seconds post-alarm; allowing the user to truly verify the activation, before taking appropriate action. Voice push notification  Whether it’s an existing system or maintainance, service can be offered to provide greater selling options for installers" For example, should an intruder be detected by an XDL12TT-WE outdoor detector, a push or voice push notification will be received by the user through their ProControl+ app, via the Enforcer V10 and PyronixCloud infrastructure. If this detector has been linked to an outdoor Mini Dome camera surveying the area, the user will also be provided with the 25 second video from the linked camera to verify the alarm. “By adding this new feature, we’re giving installers new services to offer their customers; expanding the security offering by providing real tangible benefits across both residential and commercial applications to users,” Laurence commented. "So, whether it’s an existing system, a maintenance visit or a brand-new installation, this added-value service can be offered to provide greater selling options for the installer and greater functions for the user. Simple to setup and deliver via the PyronixCloud, we want to make sure we continue to proactively provide more features, functions and capabilities via ProControl+.” Video verification for applications With video verification already added to ProControl+, more developments are in the pipeline “Now, the system not only alerts the user via voice push notification, but also shows exactly what activity has taken place on the system, so that appropriate action can be taken. Our objective is to continue to extend the potential of every installation and the level of function and value it adds to installers and users alike and we intend to do this as seamlessly and easily as possible.” Linking cameras with inputs can be set up to deliver video verification for various applications across the entire security system, from setting and unsetting, indoor detection, shock sensors and outdoor detectors, to life safety sensors, door and window contacts and even panic, hold-up and medical alerts; providing additional product upsell opportunities. With video, voice push notifications and now video verification already added to ProControl+ and many more developments in the pipeline, now’s the time to make the switch.

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