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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 Europlex Technologies Limited news

Vanderbilt collaborates with ComNet to enhance toll booth and plaza security
Vanderbilt collaborates with ComNet to enhance toll booth and plaza security

Vanderbilt’s SPC was recently deployed to act as part of a security and communication solution between a toll booth and plaza located on the M1 between Dublin and Belfast. At night time, the toll system is automated and therefore an intruder alarm system was needed for protection. The distance between the toll booth and plaza is 6.2 kilometres and the security systems – SPC and video cameras – had to be able to connect and operate over that distance so operators could get an overview of activity at each site. SPC replaced an existing Europlex legacy product that had the IFS fibre drivers connected and working on multimode fibre over the 6.2 kilometre distance. Due to this distance, the fibre driver was bespoke. Multimode is usually only specified for approximately two kilometres. However, when the 3GS legacy system was replaced for a new SPC panel, the communication over the fibre link stopped working. Deploying fibre cables, transmitters and receiversComNet came straight out of the box and was easy to use and to install" The installation company, Precision Security, previously had to deploy a pair of fibre cables – two transmitters and two receivers – to transmit the signal back and forth successfully. However, in updating the site, they found that a single pair of ComNet fibre units, straight from the box, could successfully execute the task, despite only being specified for 4.5 kilometers. The ComNet FDX60 multimode fibre units allowed the SPC X-Bus transmission to be converted from RS485 protocols to optical and back to RS485. This enabled the data between the SPC expanders to travel further distances. Broad-range compatibility The ComNet FDX60 (M,S)[-M] data transceivers provide point-to-point transmission of simplex or duplex EIA RS232/RS422/RS485 (2W/4W) data signals over one or two optical fibres. The transceivers are transparent to data encoding, allowing for broad-range compatibility. Models within this series are available for use with multimode or single-mode optical fibre. “ComNet came straight out of the box and was easy to use and to install. Its threshold is only around four kilometres, but it is working well beyond that. When I saw the name ComNet, I was pretty confident that it would work, to be honest. We previously worked with ComNet fibre managed switches, and we found that they always work as a sweet as a nut,” stated Victor Fields of Precision Security, who installed the fibre solution on site.

New name for Bewator brings big benefits
New name for Bewator brings big benefits

Bewator, one of the UK's leading developers and suppliers of security products, has changed its name to Siemens Building Technologies Security Products Limited.The adoption of the Siemens identity is a natural progression following the Siemens acquisition of Bewator in November 2005.  However, Bewator has been careful to ensure that the timing is right not only for the company, but also for its customers.  It is confident that the change will bring big benefits to all those who buy, sell and use the company's equipment.Despite the change in the company title, the renowned Bewator name is not disappearing.  The Bewator brand will continue to be recognised within the Siemens Building Technologies Security Products portfolio - along with the Siemens and Europlex brands - and as such the name will continue to feature on a large number of familiar products.One of the most significant developments signalled by the name change is that the company now has access to the full technical and financial resources of the Siemens organisation.  This will drive future product and systems development, ensuring that customers continue to enjoy the very best in leading-edge security technology and the additional quality assurance that a global brand like Siemens brings.Being part of the Siemens organisation also allows customers of the new Security Products business to access one of the widest ranges of equipment available from a single source.  Current products will continue to be available and are rapidly being complemented by exciting new additions to the range.  Interoperability between product ranges from the brands of Siemens Building Technologies Security Products will be further enhanced."Bewator has always been a successful and market-leading operation," said Managing Director, Bob Cotterill, "but there's no doubt that membership of the Siemens organisation has given the business additional impetus and allows us to move forward more rapidly and in ways that would not previously have been possible."When we asked our customers how they felt about changing the company name to reflect these developments, there was a strong feeling that the Siemens name means innovation, quality and product interoperability.  In short, Siemens Building Technologies Security Products Ltd may be simply a new name to front our business - but it's a name with an incredible amount behind it!"

Top London University goes digital with latest Tracer Lite DVR from Europlex Technologies
Top London University goes digital with latest Tracer Lite DVR from Europlex Technologies

National systems integrator Bell Security has been using Europlex's Tracer Lite DVR to help a number of major clients bring their CCTV surveillance up to date. In the most recent project, an international university complex in the heart of London's West End has benefited from an upgrade to full digital recording.Using the Tracer Lite, the imposing 27,000 square foot listed building on the North-West corner of Trafalgar Square has been equipped with a fully networkable and scalable CCTV system based on all its existing cameras.  Anderson Slocombe, the project manager for Bell Security recommended the Tracer Lite in this case because of its higher image quality."We've found that the resolution of the images on the Tracer Lite is excellent, and allowed us to deliver a real improvement on what the client had previously," he said.The 1.2 Terabytes of digital storage allows the university to dispense with the cost and inconvenience of VHS tapes and keep all the required images stored for more than 30 days.  It also provides for much easier access to stored images, with inbuilt search methods.University managers can now easily duplicate recordings directly onto CD/DVD, which can be viewed on any other PC without additional software being installed. "The university required a seamless, full digital recording upgrade and this was achieved by removing the existing multiplexers and installing a 16-way Tracer Lite," adds Anderson Slocombe.Safety and security of all activities at the site is now greatly improved and end-users the reassurance of unlimited, step-by-step scalability.  Starting with just one Tracer Lite model, system designers can add and integrate further recorders whenever they want - for example linking branches, regional offices, or even sites in different locations around the world. Remote management software provides secure access, viewing and archiving functions using a range of communication methods.With a neat, compact design Tracer Lite offers up to 1.2 Terabyte hard disk storage, DVD backup and event retrieval, plus continuous-, motion-, sensor- and audio-activated recording functions.

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