Access control controllers - Expert commentary

Video intercoms for a smarter, safer workspace
Video intercoms for a smarter, safer workspace

Though many office workers across the globe have found themselves working remotely for the past year, we are seeing a bit of a silver lining, as vaccine rollouts hint at a return to some pre-pandemic sense of normalcy. However, while some of us might opt for a fully-remote work life, others are anticipating a hybrid solution. Even before the pandemic, offices were taking a new, more open layout approach—moving past the days of cubicles and small office configurations. Going forward, offices and other workspaces will be tasked with supporting a hybrid work solution, as well as increasing hygiene measures. Video intercom solution This is where an IP video intercom solution can assist. Below are four ways they can help usher in a smarter, safer work environment: Video intercoms assist in creating a more hygienic work environment - The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised awareness of germs and just how easily a virus can be transmitted by face-to-face contact. Germ barriers are popping up in many aspects of our daily lives, where we were not likely to see them before Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach As such, we’re becoming accustomed to seeing plexiglass barriers at restaurants, grocery stores, and even coffee shops. However, many don’t realise that one of the best germ barriers is a simple door. Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach. All it takes is a knock or a doorbell ring to make us open our germ barrier and be face-to-face with whomever is on the other side. Increasing hygiene safety A simple step to increase hygiene safety and visitor security in commercial buildings and workspaces is an IP video intercom. Installing a video intercom will allow staff to see and speak with visitors without breaching that all-important germ barrier. A video intercom system provides a first line of defence, enabling the user to visually confirm the identity of the person on the other side of the door first before granting access. It can also be used to make sure proper procedures are being followed before a person is allowed to enter, such as using hand sanitiser, wearing a mask, and following social distancing guidelines. Basic security needs A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities Video intercoms for occupancy management and basic security - A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities—ranging from grocery stores and retail shops to restaurants and commercial buildings. Workspaces and offices are no exception. A video intercom provides a quick and convenient method of seeing who, or what, is on the unsecure side of the door before opening. For basic security needs, if a business has a door opening into an alley, a video intercom would be used to ensure no one is waiting outside to force their way in when the door is opened. Personal protection equipment Such solutions can also be used to ensure a person is carrying proper credentials, or wearing proper personal protection equipment (PPE), before entering a sensitive area. For example, if a lab has a room which can only be accessed by two persons at a time wearing specific protective gear, a video intercom could ensure each person is properly equipped, before allowing access that particular room. Additionally, for office or workspaces that have shared common areas, such as a cafeteria, gym or even conference rooms, managing access to these spaces will remain a priority, especially with post-pandemic restrictions in place. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace Deliveries of packages, work-related materials, or even food are common in any office or workspace. Video intercoms can assist in facilitating safe deliveries by visually and audibly confirming the identity of the individual. The visitor could be your next big client, your lunch delivery, a fellow employee with a faulty access card, or your mail. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace. Visitor management systems Video intercoms provide a cost-effective solution in small to mid-sized office facilities - One significant advantage of video intercom systems is the variety of applications available. Systems range from simple one-to-one video intercoms, to buzz-in systems, to full-fledged visitor management systems in mixed-use buildings. While they might lack the resources and manpower many enterprises have, small-to medium-sized offices can also take steps to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Like any business, controlling who comes into the building is a primary way of maintaining safety. Video intercoms work in conjunction with access control systems to provide an identifying view of visitors or employees with lost or missing credentials. They allow staff to both see and hear those on the unsecured side of the door to determine intent before granting access. Most quality video intercoms will provide a clear enough image to allow an identification card to be read by holding it close to the lens, adding another opportunity to verify identity. Touchless intercom activation One major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation Video intercoms provide a touchless option - Even prior to COVID-19, one major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation or touchless intercom activation of a video intercom for those without proper credentials. Though touchless isn’t a new solution to the access control market, the pandemic introduced a renewed focus on these types of solutions to provide hygienic access to visitors. For offices and other workspaces looking to make investments into post-pandemic solutions to assist in reopening, touchless can support these efforts. When it comes to smart, secure workspaces, many people think instantly of cameras or monitors, access control, and alarm systems. Proper access credentials However, video intercoms are often the missing piece of a building’s security puzzle. A video intercom provides an identifying view that is not always available from a camera covering a large area. They allow those without proper access credentials a method of requesting entry, and just like cameras, they can be activated by alarms to allow staff to clearly see and communicate. If a workspace or office is important enough to be secure, it’s important enough to be sure of who is there before the door is opened. In 2021, it’s not enough to ensure the physical security of your staff and visitors, but also to ensure they are accessing a hygienic environment. Video intercoms provide that security and peace of mind.

Physical security in 2021: Post-pandemic solutions
Physical security in 2021: Post-pandemic solutions

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 management: How technology is driving change
Access control and door entry management: How technology is driving change

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.

Latest Honeywell news

C2MI deploys Honeywell’s AI-powered thermal screening and risk self-assessment solutions for safe building access
C2MI deploys Honeywell’s AI-powered thermal screening and risk self-assessment solutions for safe building access

The MiQro Innovation Collaborative Centre (C2MI), the largest electronics systems research and development centre in Canada, has announced that they recently selected Honeywell for its new thermal screening and risk self-assessment process, at its Bromont, Quebec location, to better sustain operations and to help improve the well-being of building occupants and visitors. Thermal cameras installed C2MI is an internationally known micro-electronics research centre that requires 24/7 laboratory access for its team and collaborators. The COVID-19 pandemic challenged its standard operations and ability to provide laboratory access, while limiting potential virus exposure. Honeywell worked with C2MI to install a thermal camera solution to screen elevated skin temperatures and risk self-assessment, in order to streamline building access control, without the need for human interaction. Healthy Building Kiosk thermal sensors Using AI, the Healthy Building Kiosk thermal sensor monitors for trends and leverages variables Using artificial intelligence (AI), the Healthy Building Kiosk thermal sensor monitors for trends and leverages variables, such as the outdoor temperature to provide more accurate readings. If an elevated skin temperature is detected, the staffer or visitor is referred for testing, before being authorised access to the centre. The solution allows C2MI security staff to focus on other critical tasks and gives building users shared accountability. C2MI and Honeywell collaboration C2MI and Honeywell are continuously working to refine the technology, in order to create a more efficient and safer access control. C2MI will see a return on investment in less than one year, when calculating the cost of a security personnel dedicated to managing staff access control. “We’ve worked with C2MI to create a custom solution to improve the efficiency of building access and support a return to more normal operations,” said Laura Laltrello, Vice President and General Manager of North America services for Honeywell Building Technologies. 24/7 operations simplified Laura Laltrello adds, “With the implementation of the new Healthy Building Kiosk at the entrance, C2MI’s 24/7 operations are simplified, while allowing the security staff to focus on other critical tasks. We’ve also deployed a continuous improvement process with C2MI to refine the solution to best suit its needs and manage issues such as queuing.” “As a centre of collaboration and innovation, C2MI faced two challenges in the past year: the ability to sustain operations, while also taking steps to help make our staff and researchers safer,” said Marie-Josée Turgeon, General Manager for C2MI. Streamlining building access control Our collaboration with Honeywell has allowed us to streamline building entry" Marie-Josée Turgeon adds, “Our collaboration with Honeywell has allowed us to streamline building entry and remove the semi-manual process of individuals’ skin temperature reading, to help provide a safer environment for our teams.” C2MI also implemented health protocols aligned with local guidelines and recommendations, such as a work-from-home (WFH) policy, limiting the number of people in the cafeteria and conference rooms, encouraging social distancing, optimising disinfecting and cleaning, as well as mandatory procedural mask wearing. Honeywell Healthy Buildings solutions Honeywell’s Healthy Building solutions are part of a comprehensive effort to quickly develop innovative solutions that will help critical sectors of the global economy to recover, without the need to replace existing infrastructure at high costs. Honeywell’s Healthy Building solutions also provide a holistic view of a building’s health, based on the key factors, such as indoor air quality (IAQ), occupant flow, personal protective equipment (PPE) analytics, thermal screening, skin temperature monitoring, social distancing and sanitation efficacy.

Honeywell expands its MAXPRO Cloud portfolio with addition of MPA1 and MPA2 access control panels
Honeywell expands its MAXPRO Cloud portfolio with addition of MPA1 and MPA2 access control panels

Honeywell announced the expansion of capabilities of its MAXPRO Cloud portfolio with the launch of MPA1 and MPA2 access control panels that offer cloud, web-based or on-premise hosting options. “Our technologies can be integrated into existing systems, helping our customers create and maintain flexible, bespoke solutions that are best suited to their needs, which is especially important for SMBs,” said Rick Koscinski, North America General Manager, Honeywell Commercial Security. Rick adds, “Our new MPA1 and MPA2 control panels strengthens our MAXPRO Cloud offering by giving users cost-effective access control functionality and real-time security information from anywhere.” MAXPRO Cloud security solution MAXPRO Cloud is a cloud-based security solution designed for multi-site small and medium-sized businesses, which provides effective and efficient security and safety, while minimising IT costs and future-proofing investments. The MAXPRO Cloud solution integrates access control and video into an integrated and easy to use platform The MAXPRO Cloud solution integrates access control and video into an integrated and easy-to-use platform, and is used to protect multi-site infrastructure, such as retail, franchises, multi-tenant commercial and residential properties, schools and churches. With features such as global credential management, automated reporting and remote management of doors and schedules, the cloud-based security system is not only a great security solution, but also a powerful business tool. MPA1 single door POE-powered controller MPA1, a single door POE-powered controller is easy to install, operate and maintain, thanks to its unique edge installation design and its dedicated Device Utility App for fast and easy commissioning. It can either be mounted in a U.S. single gang junction box or in a specially designed compact enclosure with Status LED diagnostics. In addition, the embedded web interface allows the MPA1 to operate in stand-alone mode in single and multi-panel solutions. Honeywell MPA1 control panels feature: Flexible capability: With its small design and sleek enclosure, it can be leveraged for diverse deployment across a variety of jobs. In standalone mode, MPA1 can control a single door or manage multiple networked controllers. Faster installation: Single door Power over Ethernet (PoE) powered edge controller is fast and easy to commission via the Device Utility App on an Android or iOS mobile phone. At-the-door mounting decreases cable runs and with the small edge design, the MPA1 fits in U.S. single gang junction box. Only Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) support: The latest communication technology for card readers provides strong encryption, bi-directional communication and improved cyber security resilience. It gives users the option of forming a platform that can be expanded in the future. It also features SSL certificate security, safeguarding connections to the panel. MPA1 has been developed with a small installer-friendly design that easily adapts to existing IT infrastructure and methods, reducing installation and support costs and supports OSDP reader connections, ensuring end-to-end secure communication from smart card to the host. So, as a system grows, MPA1 grows as well. MPA2 cloud-based access control panel MPA2 is a cloud and standalone access control panel for two door access control. The MPA2 panel features enhanced security due to a 128-bit AES encrypted bi-directional Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) communication with access control readers. This combination of features, bolstered by an intuitive, browser-based user interface, gives customers an easy-to-use and secure site-access system. Users can manage MPA2 securely using Ethernet or Internet connections.  Honeywell MPA2 control panels feature: Flexible 3-in-1 capability: Embedded, cloud- or software-hosted capability from one panel. This means that MPA2 can be deployed for a large variety of jobs, from basic access control for a single site to multi-site, enterprise-level security with fully integrated access, video and Faster installation: User-friendly, screwdriver-less installation is facilitated by push-in connectors and RJ45 cabling, halving the time previously required in fitting similar panels and offering benefits to installers, in terms of reduced operation and maintenance costs. IP-based hardware with Power over Ethernet (PoE) PLUS capability eliminates additional network module wiring and simplifies powering the panel. At-the-door mounting also decreases cable runs. MPA2 is built to use the Structure Cabling System in new buildings, where network/RJ45 cabling is already in place, reducing installation cost by up to 50%. Wiegand and OSDP Support: Next to legacy Wiegand communication, which makes it easy to connect to the most common Wiegand connected readers, MPA2 provides the latest communication technology for card readers for strong encryption, bi-directional communication and improved cyber security resilience. It gives users the option of forming a platform that can be expanded in the future. It also features SSL certificate security, safeguarding connections to the panel. MPA2 offers a simplified approach to security management, improving business and employee productivity, by reducing both training and operating time. The new panel is available as a standalone product and can be fitted into existing security set-ups with ease.

Honeywell and IDEMIA announce a strategic alliance to develop an intelligent and seamless building ecosystem
Honeywell and IDEMIA announce a strategic alliance to develop an intelligent and seamless building ecosystem

Honeywell, a global provider of connected buildings, and IDEMIA, a global provider of Augmented Identity, announced a strategic alliance to create and cultivate an intelligent building ecosystem that provides a more seamless and enhanced experience for operators and occupants alike. The alliance will integrate Honeywell’s security and building management systems with IDEMIA’s biometric-based access control systems to create frictionless, safer and more efficient buildings. The Honeywell and IDEMIA alliance is intended to design solutions that will allow occupants to easily and securely have contactless engagement with a building - from vehicle recognition at the car park and automatic elevator calls to biometric-based access and personalised conference room settings. With a focus on security and data privacy, these next-generation solutions will provide occupants with a safer, more efficient and more enjoyable experience that will help building owners attract tenants. Complex security requirements “We recognise that our customers need to deliver business outcomes like managing complex security requirements and providing healthier, more productive environments,” said Manish Sharma, Vice President, Chief Technology and Chief Product Officer for Honeywell Building Technologies. We will create an intelligent building ecosystem that better addresses our customers’ key challenges" “By working with IDEMIA, we will create an intelligent building ecosystem that better addresses our customers’ key challenges and drives their desired outcomes. Whether it’s a commercial office building, a hospital or an airport, we have the ability to change the way people experience and interact with buildings for the better.” Safety and security systems “We look forward to expanding our long-standing relationship with Honeywell to bring greater value to our customers with more integrated solutions that make for a more seamless building experience,” said Matt Cole, CEO, Secure Enterprise Transactions Division, IDEMIA. “The ability for our technology to easily integrate with Honeywell safety and security systems will provide building owners and operators more insight and control into creating more efficient buildings, while putting the occupant experience first.” Facial recognition terminal IDEMIA’s field-proven AI-based products and solutions - like MorphoWaveTM, a contactless fingerprint device that scans four fingerprints in less than one second; VisionPass, the most advanced facial recognition terminal; or Augmented Vision, a biometric video analytics platform - integrate with Honeywell security and building management systems. Honeywell’s systems include Pro-Watch Integrated Security Suite, MAXPRO Cloud and Enterprise Buildings Integrator. Honeywell and IDEMIA will work together to deliver powerful integrations through aligned product creation Honeywell and IDEMIA will work together to deliver more powerful integrations through aligned product creation and joint product roadmaps. The integrated offerings will allow building operators to respond rapidly and effectively to alarms or incidents by providing an incident workflow package that allows Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be configured, reducing compliance exceptions, security risks and response times. Personal protection equipment IDEMIA products also support Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings solutions that help building owners improve building environments, operate more cleanly and safely and encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations and a company's risk management policies. Honeywell's Healthy Buildings solutions provide a holistic view of a building's health based on key factors such as indoor air quality, occupant flow, personal protection equipment (PPE) analytics, contactless access, thermal screening, social distancing and sanitation efficacy.

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