Access control controllers - Expert commentary

The automated future of retail and how to secure it
The automated future of retail and how to secure it

While the foundation of autonomous retail has been built up over the past few years, it is only now that retailers are beginning to fully experiment with the technology. There were an estimated 350 stores globally in 2018 offering a fully autonomous checkout process, yet this number is forecast to increase dramatically with 10,000 stores anticipated by 2024. This acceleration in the growth of unmanned retail stores has, in part, been boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a demand for a more contactless, socially distanced shopping experience. Physical security technologies Innovative physical security technologies can play a significant role in protecting a site while supporting its operation Many retailers are now exploring such solutions as a way to streamline their services and simplify store operations while reducing overheads. Of course, the security of unmanned sites is a concern, with many eager to embrace such a design, but wary about the prospect of leaving a store unguarded. This is where innovative physical security technologies can play a significant role in protecting a site while supporting its operation and also helping to improve customer experience. Comprehensive integrated solution To make the autonomous retail vision a reality, a comprehensive solution is needed that integrates network cameras, IP audio speakers, and access control devices. The cameras can be employed to monitor entrance points and sales areas, including checkout terminals, and can be monitored and operated remotely from a central control room. This offers management full visibility of operations, regardless of the number of stores. Recorded video material can be processed, packaged, and passed to authorities, when necessary, by applicable laws. Optimising operations As autonomous stores do not require staff to be present and run largely independently, managers can be notified automatically via mobile device if an event occurs that requires their attention. This could range from a simple need to restock popular items or clean the premises after a spillage, to a criminal break-in or attack. Again, network video surveillance cameras installed inside and outside of the premises provide high-quality video of any incident as it occurs, enabling immediate action to be taken. Improving customer experience Access control mechanisms at the entrance and exit points enable smooth, touch-free access to customers Access control mechanisms at the entrance and exit points enable smooth, touch-free access to customers, while IP audio speakers allow ambient music to be played, creating a relaxed in-store atmosphere and also offering the ability to play alerts or voice messages as required. Due to the automated nature of such audio broadcasting, consistency of brand can be created across multiple locations where playlists and pre-recorded voice messages are matched in terms of style and tone from store to store. Boosting profits The accessibility of premises 24/7 can ultimately lead to an increase in sales by simply allowing customers to enter the store and make a purchase at any time, rather than being restricted by designated retail hours. This also serves to improve customer loyalty through retail convenience. Utilising data from the access control system, managers can configure lights to turn on/off and ambient music to power down when the last person leaves the shop, to be reactivated the next time someone enters the premises. This approach can also conserve energy, leading to cost savings. Designing a future proof solution The threat of vandalism is greatly limited if everyone entering the shop can be identified, which is something that is already happening in Scandinavia using QR codes linked to an electronic identification system called BankID. This process involves a user being identified by their bank details, and their credentials checked upon entering the store. This not only streamlines the transaction process but vastly improves security because only those who want to legitimately use the services will go through the identification process, helping to deter antisocial or criminal behaviour. Physical security technology should be reliable and of high quality, without compromising the service to customers VMS-based network solution Both inside and outside of the premises, physical security technology should be reliable and of high quality, without compromising the service to customers, or hampering their experience. Door controls, network cameras, and loudspeakers, together with a comprehensive video management system (VMS), enable retailers to control every element of their store and remove any uncertainty around its management or security. Such a system, network-enabled and fully scalable to meet ongoing business requirements, can be offered using open APIs; this allows configuration and customisation while ensuring that the retailer is not limited by the technology or tied into any particular set-up or vendor as their requirements evolve. Additional security benefits As more businesses launch their unmanned stores, the benefits of such technology to streamline and improve every aspect of their operations become ever clearer. A comprehensive solution from a trusted security provider can bring complete peace of mind while offering additional benefits to support the retail business as it seeks a secure future.

‘We want to become better known for access control’ - Q&A with Bosch Building Technologies’ Gregor Schlechtriem
‘We want to become better known for access control’ - Q&A with Bosch Building Technologies’ Gregor Schlechtriem

Gregor Schlechtriem has worked in the access control market for over 20 years and is now responsible for the Access & Intrusion Business Unit at Bosch Building Technologies. In this interview, the expert talks about key industry trends, the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, technical innovations and his company’s strategy. Mr. Schlechtriem, you have many years of experience in the security technology market. What is your background and what are your responsibilities as Senior Vice President at Bosch Building Technologies? Gregor Schlechtriem: I am a trained engineer and electrical technician, and have been involved with access control in the broadest sense, since I started my career in the late 1980s. I started in the field of parking garage technology and then switched to security technology in 2001, as Managing Director of micos GmbH, which specialised in traditional access control. micos GmbH was known for its highly available and highly secure access control systems, for critical infrastructure and government applications. Many systems from that time are still in use today and continue to be supported and upgraded. Bosch is continuing micos’ business here? Gregor Schlechtriem: Exactly, micos was taken over in 2004 by Bosch Security Systems, now known as Bosch Building Technologies. Since then, we have continuously been developing the access control business. Being part of the Bosch Building Technologies division, we benefit a lot from international cooperation with colleagues Being part of the Bosch Building Technologies division, we benefit a lot from international cooperation with colleagues and from overlap with other product lines, such as intrusion detection technology and video security. This gives us the opportunity to implement outstanding project solutions for demanding customers in an international environment. In developing this business, I rely on my experience from other interesting roles at Bosch that I took on, after micos was bought in 2004. For a time, I worked in the European System Integrator Business, which I also had the privilege of managing for several years, as well as being directly responsible for business units. In Fairport, USA, I had the overall responsibility for intrusion detection technology for many years, as I later did in Eindhoven for video systems. Since 2018, the global access control and intrusion detection business has once again been my direct responsibility. At Bosch Building Technologies, we have in the meantime assigned sales to the respective business units, so that we can develop our product and solution portfolio, in close cooperation with sales and our regular customers. Our main task now is to make our access control portfolio accessible to a broader market. We want to make Bosch much better known, as an access control provider, in the international market. After all, with our own access product portfolio, the power of the Bosch Group and over 40 years of experience in this sector, we have a lot to offer. As an expert in access control, how do you see the industry developing? In which direction is it currently evolving? Gregor Schlechtriem: First of all, I see that security requirements are constantly increasing. Whereas there are currently still simple ‘key replacement systems’ that merely record card numbers, such an approach, to a large extent, no longer meets today’s security and user experience requirements.The core task of access control has not changed over the years In the beginning, access control was more or less a kind of key replacement. Later, there was the possibility of increasing security via a pin code, i.e., via verification through simple data inputs. The next step in this direction was biometrics, which is another key step up, because it allows verification by means of unmistakable characteristics. However, the core task of access control has not changed over all the years and has basically always remained the same: access control means determining who has an access request and checking whether this request can be fulfilled. What’s next on this path to greater security? Gregor Schlechtriem: Biometrics-based access control is becoming increasingly powerful and user-friendly through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Here, data protection plays a major role, as wherever identities are established and movement data is recorded, it is necessary to reconcile the evolving technology with data protection.Biometrics-based access control is becoming increasingly powerful and user-friendly through the use of artificial intelligence The question of data protection is becoming even more significant, as systems increasingly migrate to the Cloud. Bosch puts particular emphasis on ensuring that, even in the cloud, the data generated in access control is always in line with data protection rules, regardless of where it is located. In my opinion, this trend towards the Cloud will continue, because companies are increasingly looking for complete service offerings, so that they can focus on their core business. Also, a system in the Cloud is easier to maintain and always up-to-date with the latest software, which makes cloud solutions even more attractive for providers and users. How can higher security be reconciled with a good user experience? Gregor Schlechtriem: Today, the card still plays a central role in the user experience, as the essential credential. Another current trend is ‘one card for everything’: with the increasing availability of secure multi-function smart cards, the possibility arises to use cards beyond the pure access function, for example, for payment in the canteen, at the catering and coffee machines, and in the parking garage, as well as simple access to other properties and so on.The security of cards has evolved significantly and kept pace with requirements The security of the cards, the reading and encryption processes, has evolved significantly and kept pace with requirements, although we are also facing an installed base that no longer meets these requirements, due to outdated systems. Today, it is standard for communications between reader and card to be encrypted. In some cases, the keys are also only held centrally to further increase security. The security systems industry was also affected by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. How do you think the industry has changed? What technical solutions have emerged during this time? Gregor Schlechtriem: First of all, there is a certain need for retrofitting in the industry due to changes in how buildings are used. For example, American retailers used to be open around the clock and always had staff on site. Now, due to COVID-19, stores are also closed, and this results in a whole new need for intrusion detection and access control systems to protect the buildings. For access control, an obvious task has arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely to track contacts, as far as this is compatible with data protection. We actually expected more to happen here, but in our observation, many companies did quite little, despite clear and simple steps that could have been implemented relatively quickly. The installed access control systems clearly lag behind the technical possibilities. Another topic that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus is hygiene Another topic that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus is hygiene. Companies should actually have invested in contactless systems here and retrofitted speed gates or motorised doors. But in many cases this was not put into practice. The door opener is still often used, which has to be operated manually and therefore, is touched multiple times. But, if everyone presses the same button, that doesn't help hygiene. Surprisingly, this is different in North America. Here, ‘request-to-exit’ proximity detectors are used almost everywhere, which avoids this problem completely and releases the door, when an authorised person approaches it. Mobile access and smartphone-based access control are also growing markets. What kind of developments do you see in these areas? Gregor Schlechtriem: I already mentioned that users increasingly want to be able to use one card for several applications. But, what we are seeing here is that even with the most modern cards, which have a lot of applications loaded on them, we are reaching performance limits and the user experience suffers. If you compare the card with the smartphone as a credential, you have a much more attractive integration platform there, which is significantly faster and delivers much better performance. For us, the mobile credential or the smartphone is the future, because it simply offers more possibilities that the card will not be able to provide in the long term. What is the specific direction Bosch is taking here? Gregor Schlechtriem: We are currently working on a broad implementation. A whole team is working on the user experience around the smartphone, because it’s understood that smartphone-based access has to work just as easily, as it currently does with a card.A whole team is working on the user experience around the smartphone In theory it does, but if you look at some of the actual implementations, this topic is still relatively complex. In terms of user experience and automation, we still have quite a way to go, and we are working hard on that at the moment. The user experience is one side of the coin, the other side concerns establishing security in the smartphone as a whole. In other words: How do I make the smartphone secure enough as a mobile credential, to meet my access control requirements? We are also working intensively on this. That's actually an IT task. Do you do this yourself at Bosch or do you work with external experts here? Gregor Schlechtriem: We have our own powerful Bosch IT, which also manages our company smartphones. If our company smartphones are lost, the data on them is automatically deleted. The devices use biometrics to identify users, before they can access the data. It is a sound security concept that a card cannot offer. Moreover, we are working with other partners in the IDunion project, to create the additional infrastructure around mobile credentials as well. What exactly is the IDunion and what role does Bosch play? Gregor Schlechtriem: Digital identities must be openly accessible, widely usable, interoperable, and secure. This applies not only to access control, but to the digitised economy in general. The IDunion project has set itself the task of creating the infrastructure for this, in the form of an independent wallet, i.e., secure identity storage on smart devices. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI), because digitisation is also a critical social issue. We are intensively involved in the ‘Physical access to the building’ work package in this consortium. Through this involvement, we want to ensure that our access control systems benefit from this infrastructure and are open to future digital business models. Does ‘digital identity management’, which includes biometrics and mobile access, also play a role for Bosch? Yes, it plays an important role for us, and I wouldn’t consider these topics separate Gregor Schlechtriem: Yes, it plays an important role for us, and I wouldn’t consider these topics separate. For me, a mobile device has the advantage that it has already ensured and verified my identity from the moment of interaction. That’s the fascinating thing about it. If I only allow the device to communicate with the access control system, if I have identified myself first, I have implemented biometrics and access control together in a widely accepted process. From my point of view, this is a very interesting perspective, in terms of security and user experience, because the biometrics procedures in smartphones are, I think, the best currently available. In my view, the smartphone has the potential to take over central functions in access control in the future. What are your goals for the access control business of Bosch Building Technologies in the near future? Gregor Schlechtriem: We will continue to focus on specific solutions for large customers. That is the continuation of our current strategy. In these projects, we will introduce new topics as I have just described, i.e., primarily new technology elements. I believe that, precisely because of the longevity of access control, a long-term migration capability is also of particular importance. We want to reach out to the broader market and make more widely available, what we have developed in terms of technology and innovation. We are currently in the process of setting up and optimising our sales organisation, so that it becomes much more widely known that we at Bosch have our own powerful access control portfolio, which can be used for all kinds of applications. In addition, we want to differentiate ourselves in the market with our systems, in line with the motto of our founder, Robert Bosch: ‘Technology for life’. The user experience with Mobile Access should be simple, straightforward, and secure: You hold your smartphone in front of the reader and the door opens.

Get the most from investments in building security
Get the most from investments in building security

From analogue to digital, from stand-alone to interlinked, building systems are in a state of transition. Moreover, the rate of change shows no sign of slowing, which can make it difficult to keep up to date with all the latest developments. If asked to pinpoint the single biggest driver of this revolution, one could point out the growing clamour for platform convergence. A security guard in a building doesn’t want to use different systems to check video cameras, fire alarms or if someone has entered a restricted area: – it simply isn’t efficient. For similar reasons, a building manager wants a single interface to control heating and lighting to match fluctuating occupancy levels, particularly in a hybrid working model. Applying the digital glue The demand from end-users for system convergence is growing, but to achieve full interoperability you still need to apply some ‘digital glue’ and that requires expertise. Yet bringing together disparate systems from different manufacturers can be problematic. Just as you get things to work, someone upgrades their solution and your carefully implemented convergence can start to come unstuck. Managing an implementation can quickly become more complicated, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s headache This is one of the principal issues with all types of new technology; not everyone will choose the same path to reach the desired goal – it’s the old VHS/Betamax argument updated for building management and security systems. Managing and maintaining an implementation can quickly become more complicated than it first appears and without proper oversight, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s technical headache. Effective support for a hybrid workforce Today’s hybrid workforce is a response to the pandemic that looks set to become an established part of working life for many companies across the world. Security systems have a massive role to play in facilitating this transformation that goes beyond simple intrusion detection, access control, and video monitoring. They can identify the most densely populated areas in a building to comply with social distancing guidelines and provide efficient use of space. The insights gathered from a security system can also be used to identify patterns of behaviour, which can then be used for planning and directing the use of building space to help create the best possible working environment while also minimising heating, lighting, and air conditioning expenditures. Identity credentials can help manage compliance with industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas Similarly, identity credentials – either biometric or mobile-based – can help manage compliance to industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas only to approved employees. Creating and maintaining the appropriate level of functionality requires a combination of innovative solutions and industry experience. The complete security package It’s not just physical security that’s important – cybersecurity is a major focus, too. Bringing together both the physical security and cybersecurity realms is increasingly becoming a ‘must have’ capability. What is evident is that the pace of technological change is faster than ever. Today’s functionality simply wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago, while today’s leading-edge developments may seem commonplace in five years.

Latest Linear LLC news

Nortek Control unveils Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers to enhance security and offer intelligent access control
Nortek Control unveils Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers to enhance security and offer intelligent access control

Offering enhanced security and personalised access control, Nortek Control has launched its new Linear BT135-W Access Control Reader and Linear BT125-W Access Control Reader. The new readers integrate Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technologies, providing users intelligent, contactless and secure access control in a slim design, which fits seamlessly into any office or building environment. Furthermore, the new Linear readers provide dealers and end-users several options to customise access control in a secured way. Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers Users are able to pair the Linear BT135-W Reader with the new Linear 13.56 MHz smart cards Users are able to pair the Linear BT135-W Reader with the new Linear 13.56 Megahertz (MHz) smart cards and key fobs for premium security. With 13.56 MHz information extremely difficult to clone, these new readers provide a strong security solution for additional user peace of mind. Plus, the Linear BT125-W Access Control Reader offers backward compatibility with current Linear 125 kilohertz (kHz) Prox cards and key fobs. By combining these solutions with the new Linear Access Control Mobile App, users get the added convenience of touchless entry, and the flexibility to have both physical and mobile credentials. Enhanced security wit Linear Access Control Mobile App Security is further heightened with the mobile app, which securely stores and delivers mobile credentials to personal devices. Along with providing the ability to customise options to specific end user needs, the app can also store multiple credentials with a colour-coded labelling system to distinguish between the credentials. “We’ve up-levelled the security in our new readers, leveraging all the capabilities of BLE technology. Users get secure access to mobile credentials, and their phone’s built-in biometric sensors increase security and expand credentials protection by utilising a user’s integrated personal biometric data on their mobile devices, such as fingerprint scanners or face unlock,” said Mark Prowten, Director of Product Management for Nortek Control’s Linear brand. Easy installation and deployment Mark Prowten adds, “We also designed our new readers with dealers and integrators in mind. They will appreciate how simple we’ve made installation and deployment for them. There is no portal login or on-boarding process necessary, allowing them to ensure a user’s information stays secure and private. In addition, the app only requires a one-time registration of a user’s cell phone number.” All Linear Bluetooth access control readers include a digital BLE range-setting card For the dealer, having the flexibility to determine read range at different levels uniquely solves perimeter access needs. All Linear Bluetooth access control readers include a digital BLE range-setting card. This card gives installers the ability to toggle the reader’s Bluetooth read-range between five different modes: Tap-and-Go, Short (up to 2 inches), Medium (up to 10 inches), Long (up to 15 feet), and Max (up to 30 feet). Contactless smart card technologies “These new Linear readers combine the latest, advanced BLE and contactless smart card technologies that allow our access control manufacturer and integrator customers to offer a total solution, one that supports mobile and physical credentials,” said Richard Pugnier, Vice President of Marketing at Nortek Control. Richard Pugnier adds, “As part of our total solution with expanded feature options, the latest Linear access control readers offer an easy upgrade path for existing customers, while also making them very attractive for new site installs that can lead to additional revenue opportunities for our dealers.” Available now, the new Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers, along with the new mobile and physical credentials, are the most recent introduction in the successful and growing Linear reader series. The new Linear mobile app is live on both the iTunes App Store, and Google Play Store.

Linear upgrades its e3 Series firmware to deliver enhanced security in its commercial access control systems
Linear upgrades its e3 Series firmware to deliver enhanced security in its commercial access control systems

Significant upgrades to the e3 Series firmware were announced in the Linear Essential, Essential Plus, Elite and ProControl commercial access control systems. The new firmware updates employ the latest code technology to provide improved security and web services protection against the rise in cyber threats for businesses of all sizes. Giving end-customers and users the features most in demand, the upgrades to the Linear e3 Series also include improved encryption, smart reporting and card types access control functionality. Access control security “Commercial businesses of all sizes are acutely aware of need for increased access control security due to the growing sophistication of electronic intrusion capabilities,” said Richard Pugnier, Vice President of Marketing at NSC. “The new e3 Series firmware updates and feature enhancements allow our dealers to offer heightened security confidence to deter intruders while keeping employees and facilities safe using the latest technological advancements.” “After listening to our dealer partners, this firmware upgrade is the first of several planned that will help address ongoing commercial security and access control needs for organisations large and small,” said Mark Prowten, Director of Product Management for NSC’s Linear brand. Commercial access control systems The Linear e3 Series firmware upgrades we’ve engineered open new customer opportunities for our dealers" “With tens of thousands of systems installed, customers depend upon the proven managed access and convenience of our systems, and we remain committed to constantly improving our security technologies to guard against the growing list of internal as well as external threats. Plus, the Linear e3 Series firmware upgrades we’ve engineered open new customer opportunities for our dealers to offer market-leading capabilities along with added security peace-of-mind.” The scalable design of Linear e3 Series is specifically engineered to minimise future costs and help lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as organisational needs evolve and more functionality is needed. Based on a single hardware design, a single software code base and sophisticated integrated features, the Linear e3 Series can easily scale up to 128 doors. All Linear Essential, Essential Plus, Elite and ProControl commercial access control systems include the upgraded e3 Series firmware. Licence expansion capability Each is out-of-the-box ready to install, designed to match customer-specific needs and are readily upgradeable with a licence key. The top-of-the-line Linear Elite is a feature-rich system designed for four to 128 multi-door, multi-site facilities. The advanced capabilities of the Linear Elite system can accommodate more users, doors, readers, online transactions and overall capacity. The Linear Essential and Essential Plus access control systems give smaller and mid-size businesses access control that can grow with them. These systems provide entry-level value for one to four doors with immediate licence expansion capability to Elite system with no additional hardware needed.

SIA invites nominations for George R.Lippert Memorial Award
SIA invites nominations for George R.Lippert Memorial Award

The award is presented annually to honour a distinguished individual from a SIA Member company The Security Industry Association (SIA) recently issued a call for nominations for the George R. Lippert Memorial Award. The Lippert Award, as it’s known in the security industry, is presented annually to honour a distinguished individual from a SIA Member company for long-term, selfless service to the security industry and to SIA. In memory of George R. Lippert The award is named in honour of Mr. Lippert, who dedicated more than 20 years of his life to the security industry and SIA. In 1967, Mr. Lippert purchased a company called Cameras for Industry. He served in leadership positions with Morse Security Group, Aritech and Linear Corp. Mr. Lippert was elected to the SIA Board of Directors in 1971, and served on the board for 17 years. His insights and efforts had a lasting impacting on SIA’s standards program and many other initiatives that benefited the industry. Recipients of the George R. Lippert Memorial Award are individuals who exhibit the same characteristics as Mr. Lippert, providing exceptional service to the security industry and SIA. To qualify, a nominee for the award must be: Employed in the security industry for more than 10 years with a manufacturer, integrator, distributor or service provider; Affiliated with a company that is a SIA Member in good standing; Respected as a leader in SIA and the industry; Viewed as a goodwill ambassador for SIA and the industry, as demonstrated by activities with various industry segments, such as regulatory agencies, industry associations, etc.; and Recognised as honest, responsible, courteous and kind. When evaluating candidates nominated for the award, the SIA Lippert Award Committee will consider their long-term service to SIA and the security industry, the impact of their efforts on behalf of SIA and the industry, and their integrity, leadership and diplomacy as demonstrated in industry dealings. Deadline for the submission of nominees is Monday, August 10. SIA will announce the winner of the Lippert Award during SIA Honours Night: Celebrating Performance, Partnerships and People in the Security Industry in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

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