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In a world forever changed by the coronavirus pandemic, companies worldwide are now expanding their concept of physical security to best safeguard their facilities and employees. Few incidents have had as much of an impact on businesses globally as the COVID-19 pandemic; much of the world is still struggling to contain COVID-19, navigating the lasting effects and exploring what the “new normal” looks like. While some organisations are still engaged primarily in “anywhere operations”, i.e. remote work, many organisations are implementing strategic physical security solutions that better protect everyone through the use of video surveillance technology and advanced intelligence capabilities. As this new normal takes hold within the business environment, security strategies will largely be centered around several key initiatives like access control, people counting, occupancy controls, temperature screening, contact tracing, and reducing office touch points. With the use of a video management system (VMS) in the shadow of COVID-19, occupancy data from a VMS can trigger a lockdown and not permit new entrants until the occupancy drops below a certain threshold; this is significantly useful for organisations that have returned to in-person work. But there’s a caveat: though many legacy security systems are being re-evaluated to allow for touchless or frictionless access control — a move designed to eliminate the need for employees and visitors to physically touch a surface when using an access control system — upgrading the outdated technologies can be cumbersome and expensive, especially for organizations that had not planned for an interruption like the pandemic. Security contractors will be vital So, what is the solution? Security contractors will play a vital role in helping end-users across a range of vertical markets — large and small — to achieve their goals in the new paradigm. For some, this may mean leveraging existing access control and video surveillance systems with upgrades where needed. For others, an entire overhaul is made possible with budget friendly solutions for businesses to migrate to integrated access control through end-to-end security solutions that tie into existing infrastructures without major disruptions (meaning the organisation will never be left vulnerable). Cybersecurity is becoming even more intertwined with physical security There is massive transformation occurring in the security industry, most notably the movement to digitise physical access and integrate it with video management systems and surveillance. This shift means that cybersecurity is becoming even more intertwined with physical security, allowing organisations the ability to correlate the metadata of people’s behaviors and activities — a plus point for those looking to remain vigilant against future pandemic-esque business interruptions. Access, video, and audio are converging into consolidated platforms. Due to lower costs and pairings with IP-based, wireless infrastructure, there are infinite solution configurations. IT security requirements are beginning to apply to physical security because of this integrated infrastructure. Multi-factor authentication The security industry is also beginning to see a trend of multi-factor authentication, which is going to dominate in the days to come as it makes solutions more reliable. Most people carry smartphones these days, which have green check communication capabilities that allow easy multi-factor authentication. Costs are going down, and algorithms are getting better, making more people willing to try it. Some new solutions have both the fingerprint reader and a camera for facial biometrics Some new solutions have both the fingerprint reader and a camera for facial biometrics. Cameras and CCD modules cost almost nothing, and they do not have to be super high-end anymore, especially if organisations are doing one-to-one verification. It’s not just about security now; it is security, health, and safety. Access control with video, intelligent readers, and credentials is a perfect platform for next generation solutions.
Access control and door entry is a huge responsibility, and challenge, for local authorities and housing associations UK wide. For councils, they’re accountable for the security and safety of many public facilities such as leisure centres, libraries as well as residential housing developments which are often large scale and home to hundreds of people. Housing associations manage affordable rental housing which also means they’re responsible for the appropriate access control management for each individual house or flat. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage. For example, with modern intercom and access control systems, remote management and communication is something that offers local authorities and housing associations features that enable them to reduce costs and cut their carbon footprints by managing multiple sites from one place. On the other hand, such technological innovation has meant that local authority and housing association specifiers and consultants now have a wide range of systems and products to choose from which can cause issues in ensuring the right system for a specific building or development is chosen. Choosing an appropritate access control system In choosing an appropriate system, local authorities and housing associations need to opt for a cost effective solution that can be easily maintained with excellent support from the manufacturer and guarantees that the system and system parts will remain supported for the duration of its expected life cycle. It is also important that the chosen system is flexible to cater for the varying needs of the tenants and visitors. Of increasing importance is the reduction of anti-social behaviour which new technology can help by providing the use of data loggers which track the use and events of a door entry system, allowing specific evidence to be located by integrating with CCTV. Using technology to our advantage Through advancements in management systems and services, we can gain a much better visual representation of the events and general usage of an intercom entry system and not just its proximity access control. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management. We are now able to modify user rights and access levels on the go from a mobile app which enables a much greater control over service and maintenance engineers, such as making sure they have full access when required via an app, rather than arriving to site with the incorrect keys or access fob. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management Dealing with tenant’s lost and stolen keys has never been so easy either. The blocking or deletion of lost fobs and adding a new fob can be carried out in minutes while at the same time removing the cost of sending an engineer to the development to programme new fobs. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the whole task as fobs can now be sent out via post to a secure location for collection. Technology has also helped local authorities and housing associations to overcome the issue of not being able to have a concierge or building manager available 24/7 at some developments. Now with internet communication, it’s possible for tenants and visitors to get in touch with someone should they need assistance, whether that’s from within the apartment or from an entrance point. For example, lets take the Videx VX2200 with IP concierge integration. This system is exceptionally flexible, enabling calls to be answered on Videx intercoms and also mobile phones if required. With the integration of the IP concierge each block can be either standalone or networked via the internet back to a central control room. Reduced maintenance costs and carbon footprint We work with a wide range of local authorities and housing associations to help them overcome access control and door entry challenges. One organisation we have recently partnered with is The Living Group to help them greatly reduce their maintenance costs and carbon footprint by installing the MiAccess offline proximity system on many of their developments across the North East. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage By installing an appropriate system, The Living Group has managed to overcome issues caused by the existing system’s limitations and also enabled much more flexibility when it comes to effectively managing the access control system of all their included developments. For those responsible for effective and appropriate access control, the management of the systems are easier, quicker and there’s no delay or on-going costs for needing a specialist programme to modify fobs and access rights as this can now all carried out in-house. Improved security legislation Further advancements in programmes such as Secured by Design (SBD), a police initiative that improves the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work and visit, means that there’s more security legislation being implemented that’s making intercoms and access control more secure, without affecting ease and convenience. Videx holds an SBD accreditation and we know, from first-hand experience, how it’s making a difference in keeping tenants safe. When you combine the safety features promoted by an SBD member company like ourselves with the likes of the Videx event logging, image capture and ability to modify access users on the go, for example, we can help to create a very safe and secure environment. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation Technology has completely transformed the way local authorities and housing association are able to choose, install and manage door entry and access control systems for tenants and visitors alike. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation such as Secured by Design to ensure all councils and housing association consultants are up to date with what constitutes a robust and secure system that’s also cost effective too. In my role, I see weaknesses in systems and constant ongoing costs that could easily be avoided. For instance, features such as timed remote entry means local authority and housing association management no longer need to worry about keys being lost, the wrong keys being supplied or locks needing to be changed. With new systems such as the Videx MiAccess and Videx WS4 range, we can help to massively reduce a housing association’s or council’s carbon footprint and engineer costs by allowing them the access to management and control from an offsite location. Crime prevention We can also use live and logged events to help prevent crime in different ways, from antisocial behaviour growing around a tenant being called or visited much more regularly than others, to knowing a tenant is currently still living at a property but isn’t paying rent or answering to any correspondence. Technology enables local authorities and housing associations to receive detailed data and therefore behavioural insights on the people under their management and care. If consultants and specifiers are advised on the most appropriate systems that meet their specific entry needs, they can ensure greater, safer and more convenient access control that meets the requirements of both the end user and the those responsible for its effective management.
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.
Johnson Controls, a global provider of smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, announced it has joined The Climate Pledge, a commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism. Signatories of the Pledge commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, ten years ahead of the goal set out in the United Nations’ Paris Climate Agreement. Johnson Controls is one of 53 organisations that have now signed the Pledge, and the move comes hot on the heels of the company’s announcement of new environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, science-based targets, and its own net-zero carbon pledge. The pact will see Johnson Controls partner with other industry leaders to uncover new pathways to meet common environmental and sustainability goals. Paris Agreement’s goal Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything we do as a company" “Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything we do as a company,” said George Oliver, Johnson Controls chairman and CEO. “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the planet today. Our recent announcement to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 through innovations and technologies such as our OpenBlue platform, further demonstrates our commitment to protect and preserve the environment." "We are looking forward to further enhancing the role we can play by working with Amazon, Global Optimism, and other signatories to reach net-zero carbon a decade before the important Paris Agreement’s goal.” Critical climate challenges The Climate Pledge allows signatories to share access to technologies, best practices, and innovations in supply chain enhancements, and create joint action to address the most critical climate challenges. Specifically, signatories pledge to accelerate the path to net zero by agreeing to regular reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon elimination, and credible offsets. Johnson Controls has a long-standing business relationship with Amazon and has been working with the company since 2008. “As the U.S. takes an important step forward in the fight against climate change by officially rejoining the Paris Agreement this week, I am excited to welcome 20 new companies to The Climate Pledge who want to go even faster,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. Streamline building operations The company is focused on empowering customers streamline building operations “Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019 to encourage companies to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early, and we’re seeing incredible momentum behind the pledge with 53 companies from 18 industries across 12 countries already joining. Together, we can use our collective scale to help decarbonise the economy and preserve Earth for future generations.” Johnson Controls’ participation in Th e Climate Pledge reinforces its mission to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places, and the planet. As a leader in the buildings space for 135 years, and a pioneer in sustainability, the company is focused on empowering customers and communities to streamline building operations and deliver energy efficiencies that will help them meet their environmental goals. Clean energy solutions Johnson Controls is driving sustainability across its entire value chain by focusing on clean energy solutions, people, partnerships, performance, and governance. It is ranked in the top 12 percent of climate leadership companies globally by CDP and was named one of Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies.
Alcatraz, the developer of secure frictionless access control products, has added Three Factor Authentication (3FA) to the Rock facial authentication platform to deliver the ultimate in protection for high security areas and zero trust environments. “Three Factor Authentication using a biometric like facial authentication in the Alcatraz Rock platform is really one of the most secure ways to control access,” said Alcatraz Chief Revenue Officer Tina D’Agostin. “At Alcatraz, we have worked to leverage the Rock to work as that third authentication factor so that data centers, government entities, nuclear plants, the military, and similar organisations can provide the secure protection they are required to deliver.” Authenticates authorised users The Rock can be used for one, two or three factor authentication. In one-factor authentication, the Rock is the primary access control device and facially authenticates authorised users. In two-factor authentication, the Rock is used in combination with a badge reader to grant access. In three-factor authentication, the Rock is used along with two additional access control devices, like a badge reader and a PIN reader to verify employees' identities. Alcatraz Rock offers a touchless physical access control solution that works with an access control system In this scenario, the user needs to enter personal data, like a PIN or password, utilise a physical pass, like an ID badge, and provide biometric identification, like the facial authentication conducted by the Alcatraz Rock. It is the combination of these three distinct criteria that delivers 3FA, which is the ultimate in access control. The Alcatraz Rock offers a touchless and secure physical access control solution that works with any access control system. Autonomous access control It replaces or augments badging as a credential with facial recognition, 3D sensing, and artificial intelligence to enable highly secure and frictionless entry into physical locations. The Rock uses machine learning for increased security and accurate tailgating detection, while intelligently enrolling employees as they are badging in, which eliminates the headaches associated with traditional onboarding. “The addition of 3FA is an exciting enrichment to the Alcatraz Rock platform as it is our goal to deliver autonomous access control that offers security that is unrivaled and is more affordable than security guards or turnstiles,” said D’Agostin. Renowned system integrators A number of renowned system integrators and security organisations - including Johnson Controls, PSA Security Network, SAGE Integration, and TRL Systems - have incorporated the Alcatraz Rock into their solutions portfolio. To learn more about how Alcatraz Rock can provide multi-factor authentication for an organisation, one can sign up for a demo on the company’s official website.
Johnson Controls, the front-runner for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, announced new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments, science-based targets as well as a net zero carbon pledge to support a healthy, more sustainable planet over the next two decades. The company’s and customers’ emissions reduction will be driven by Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue technologies and innovations which leverage big data and artificial intelligence to optimise buildings sustainability. “Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything that we do as a company,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “Today’s announcement reinforces our continued commitment to developing best in class climate solutions, and OpenBlue will empower our customers to streamline building operations and uncover energy efficiencies that will help meet their environmental goals. We continue to make sustainability a top priority for the company, our customers and our suppliers, and have set ambitious goals that will drive significant improvements in carbon emissions.” New ESG commitments New commitments will enable Johnson Controls to deliver quantifiable efforts to reduce carbon emissions The launch of the new commitments will enable Johnson Controls to deliver quantifiable efforts to reduce carbon emissions, drive climate-focused innovation and work closely with customers and suppliers to meet sustainability goals as well as measurable impact against its three key OpenBlue healthy building pillars: healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet. These commitments are: Environmental Sustainability Commitments: Set science-based targets consistent with the most ambitious 1.5°C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenario Reduce Johnson Controls’ operational emissions by 55 percent and reduce customers’ emissions by 16 percent before 2030 Achieve net zero carbon emissions before 2040, in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Race to Zero and Business Ambition for 1.5°C criteria Invest 75 percent of new product development R&D in climate-related innovation to develop sustainable products and services Achieve 100 percent renewable electricity usage globally by 2040 Customer and Supply Chain Commitments: Double annual avoided emissions by 2030 through customer use of Johnson Controls OpenBlue digitally enabled products and services Create a supplier sustainability council with cohorts of suppliers, and their tier-one suppliers, and provide suppliers with training on sustainability best practices and OpenBlue digital tools in order to meet ambitious, public sustainability goals Weight sustainability equal to other key metrics in supplier performance evaluations and provide a preference for suppliers with excellent sustainability ratings Social and Governance Sustainability Commitments: Intends to double the representation of women leaders globally and minority leaders in the United States within five years Launch an initiative to educate the next generation of diverse sustainable building industry leaders, in partnership with HBCUs Include sustainability and diversity goals in senior leaders’ performance assessments, which are linked to executive compensation to drive accountability Launch an initiative focused on underserved markets and increase Johnson Controls’ spend with women and minority-owned businesses Positive changes “Our commitments reinforce the urgency to make positive changes that will improve the health of our planet, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help customers and suppliers achieve their sustainability goals, in addition to our own,” said Katie McGinty, Vice President & Chief Sustainability, Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer at Johnson Controls. “We are excited to step up the role we play and will continue to innovate and uncover new pathways to meet our goals which will contribute to healthier people, healthier places and a healthier planet.” OpenBlue support Promotes real-time monitoring, benchmarking and analysis of energy consumption and demand powered by AI and machine learning Johnson Controls is committed to supporting its customers’ sustainability and carbon reduction efforts through its OpenBlue platform. The OpenBlue Enterprise Manager can deliver up to 30% energy savings in buildings and a corresponding drop in CO2 emissions. Notably, the platform was recently used to identify over $100,000 in savings after just 30 days for a large customer portfolio. Powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, the platform facilitates real-time monitoring, benchmarking and analysis of energy consumption and demand. It also enables customers to produce indoor environmental quality reports to help achieve healthy building and wellness certifications. Education initiative The way in which buildings are designed, managed and maintained has a significant environmental and social impact on building occupants. As such, Johnson Controls, in partnership with HBCUs, will launch an initiative to develop and implement an educational program that will support the training and education of more than one thousand sustainability champions from HBCUs and selected universities around the world in environmental sustainability, energy equity, healthy building practices and building decarbonisation solutions. The company’s nine global OpenBlue Innovation Centers will also provide the students with support in the application of digital tools to improve new and existing buildings. Improving environmental impact As a front-runner in the building's space for 135 years, Johnson Controls has been a pioneer in sustainability and is ranked in the top 12 percent of climate leadership companies globally by CDP and was named one of Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies. Recently George Oliver has been named Chairman of the Business Roundtable Energy and Environment Committee where he is driving policies that preserve the environment and maximise sustainable energy options. Johnson Controls is taking significant steps to drastically improve its environmental impact while empowering customers and future generations to consume less energy, conserve resources, and identify pathways to achieving healthy, net zero carbon communities.
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