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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the need for employees and visitors to physically touch a surface when using an access control system — upgrading the outdated technologies can be cumbersome and expensive, especially for organizations that had not planned for an interruption like the pandemic.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.

Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control
Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for post and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing whilst obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc whilst sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for manoeuvre. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.

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Digital Monitoring Products, Inc. (DMP) unveils cloud-based, stand-alone access control solution, X1 Series
Digital Monitoring Products, Inc. (DMP) unveils cloud-based, stand-alone access control solution, X1 Series

For access-only applications, security companies can now get exactly the features and functionality they need without wasting money on a more complicated system. DMP’s (Digital Monitoring Products, Inc.) new cloud-based X1 Series delivers a solution that’s simple to program, fast to install, easy to use and most importantly, it’s very reasonably priced. Cloud-based X1 Series “If you’re using Brivo, Prodatakey, OpenPath, Feenics or any other access control product, you owe it to your business to give the X1 a closer look,” said Jon Adams, Executive Director of Business Development at Digital Monitoring Products, Inc. (DMP), adding “The X1 is uniquely designed with combined features you can’t find anywhere else.” Network and cellular-based connectivity The cloud-based X1 Series is a stand-alone system that offers network and cellular-based connectivity The cloud-based X1 Series is a stand-alone system that offers network and cellular-based connectivity so that customers’ access control functions are never vulnerable to normal network outages. And, unlike other access offering, the X1’s optional cellular module can be used as the primary or backup for an entire system, so as to ensure constant communication with the Cloud. DMP’s cloud-based X1 Series also provides: Easy scaling from single- to multi-site applications: The X1 Series can support up to 1,000 doors on a system in the Cloud. To add more doors locally without adding multiple X1s, the X1-8 is a cost-effective solution. Even if a system has multiple buildings that are managed from one location, all of the controllers are tied to one cloud-based administrative portal. Secure access control system Even if a system’s X1s are not physically connected, system managers can add users to groups for access permissions that work across an entire system. They can also create and manage any number of custom rules to send notifications or trigger outputs on certain events. A rule can be created to trigger a lockdown across an entire system, for instance, if one access control door is forced open. Add-on module for PoE: A small and inexpensive item for technicians to carry in their trucks and have ready depending on what they encounter in the field. This allows them to easily deploy powered devices in locations without electrical circuitry. Support for OSDP and Wiegand reader protocol: A few other access control products have the OSDP option, but only DMP offers OSDP for any and all readers when your customer needs enhanced security. Cloud-based administrative portal and Virtual Keypad Programming the X1 is only a few simple steps, all through DMP’s cloud-based administrative portal making installations quick and easy. And for customers’ convenience, Virtual Keypad streamlines their ability to remotely monitor and manage their DMP systems based on their security profile. Even if customers have a DMP intrusion system for home security and an X1 Series for their businesses, rather than using two or three separate apps, they can manage their access control and intrusion and even video systems, all with the powerful and intuitive Virtual Keypad app or desktop solution.

Brivo partners with Reliance High-Tech to accelerate growth of cloud-based access control to enterprises across UK and Europe
Brivo partners with Reliance High-Tech to accelerate growth of cloud-based access control to enterprises across UK and Europe

Brivo announces a partnership with Reliance High-Tech, a renowned independent security systems integrator serving the UK and Europe. As cloud-based access control adoption continues to grow across Europe, Reliance High-Tech will add Brivo to their service offering, delivering on their commitment to bring key technology innovation and excellence in customer support to the market. Both companies share a passion for innovation, forward-thinking technology and a record of high standards in customer service and support. With 20 years of experience delivering cloud-based security, Brivo replaces on-premises solutions for single-site, multi-site and enterprise businesses across multiple industries. Cloud-based security There are three key benefits of upgrading to a cloud-based system including the ability to access one’s sites at all times from anywhere, save their security professionals time and money by giving them more efficient tools, and using data to make better informed decisions about security requirements. Adding Brivo to our portfolio allows us to bring best-in-class cloud-based access control options to customers" “The global pandemic has elevated the demand for cloud-based security that is accessible from anywhere, mobile enabled, increases efficiency and is affordable,” says Steve Van Till, CEO at Brivo. “Partners like Reliance High-Tech are helping to drive the adoption of cloud solutions to provide all commercial properties and multifamily residences better solutions to protect people and property.” Cloud-based access control “We’re really excited to partner with Brivo,” said Tom Clarke, Sales & Marketing Director for Reliance High-Tech. “Across our various markets, we’ve seen an opportunity to deliver more agile and robust security solutions also noting that cloud-based access control demand has been accelerated by the pandemic. Adding Brivo to our portfolio allows us to bring best-in-class cloud-based access control options to customers.” “Reliance High-Tech is an important partner to Brivo,” said Jon Polon, Senior Director of Business Development for Brivo. “As the market for cloud-based access control continues to grow internationally, partners like Reliance High-Tech can engage with enterprise businesses to help them realise the benefits of cloud computing.”

Eagle Eye Networks raises series E funding from venture capital firm Accel to expand business around the world
Eagle Eye Networks raises series E funding from venture capital firm Accel to expand business around the world

Eagle Eye Networks, the pioneer in cloud video surveillance, has raised $40 million of Series E funding from venture capital firm Accel to continue its growth and expand its technology leadership. Eagle Eye is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) on its true cloud platform to dramatically reshape video surveillance and improve safety, security, operations, and customer service for businesses around the world. Video surveillance systems have multiple security features, such as motion detection and standard analytics. However, these systems require either monotonous monitoring or a meticulous manual review after each triggered event to extract useful information. Cloud video surveillance Similarly, business operations analytics are still in early development. “There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage AI and alter the very nature of video surveillance,” said Dean Drako, Founder and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks. “Eagle Eye Networks now has the means and the technology to enable cloud video surveillance to transform how companies manage security and business operations, in the same way self-driving/electric cars are transforming transportation.” Smart cloud video surveillance with privacy and cybersecurity protections will make the world much safer" “Ultimately, smart cloud video surveillance with appropriate privacy and cybersecurity protections will make the world much safer, for example: detecting dangers such as weapons, erratic driving, active robberies, and traffic accidents. Furthermore,” continued Drako, “It will help businesses provide better service by reducing wait lines, ensuring displays are organised and stores clean, and assuring product quality.” Deploying new analytics Sameer Gandhi, Partner at Accel added, “Eagle Eye Networks pioneered the video surveillance industry’s move to the cloud, and AI applications will drive the industry’s next transformation. Eagle Eye is in the pole position to make this happen. Its true cloud technology puts Eagle Eye in a unique position to instantly deploy new analytics breakthroughs. Dean Drako’s track record, proven with Eagle Eye and previously as founder of Barracuda Networks, speaks for itself.” The Eagle Eye Cloud Video Management System (VMS) is a simply smarter cloud video surveillance solution, purpose-built to help businesses improve safety, security, operations, and customer service. Tens of thousands of companies in more than 90 countries around the globe have moved their video surveillance to the cloud with Eagle Eye VMS. Comprehensive central management Customers choose Eagle Eye Cloud VMS for its comprehensive central management, cloud reliability and redundancy Customers, including multi-family residences, smart cities, schools, hospitals, hotels, logistics, restaurants, and retail shops trust Eagle Eye for actionable business intelligence and proactive security. Customers choose Eagle Eye Cloud VMS for its comprehensive central management, cloud reliability and redundancy, cost savings, and its open API video platform that provides a vast number of third-party integrations. Customers appreciate Eagle Eye’s inherent cyber secure design and extensive video encryption to protect their data and privacy. The Eagle Eye Cloud VMS works with thousands of industry cameras and does not require customers to ‘rip and replace’ their existing infrastructure. Eagle Eye Networks, together with its partner Brivo, provide a seamless solution for cloud video surveillance and facility access control. Brivo is a pioneer in cloud facility access control. Cloud video security The Eagle Eye API allows for seamless integration with partners like Brivo and others making Eagle Eye Cloud VMS the only platform robust enough to power the future of video surveillance. Eagle Eye Networks has grown rapidly in EMEA both organically and through the 2017 acquisition of Camera Manager whose founders, Rishi Lodhia and Tijmen Vos launched the first true cloud video security offering in 2004 and continue to drive the company's European growth and innovative product development. The Eagle Eye Networks European headquarters in Amsterdam, provides an attractive mix of elements crucial for success, including innovative technology founders who share Drako’s bold vision, drive and demonstrated leadership. “We were the first to introduce cloud video surveillance to the market and this step is fast tracking our growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” said Rishi Lodhia, Eagle Eye Networks Managing Director for EMEA. Video surveillance industry The adoption of true cloud video surveillance and powerful AI is driving an acceleration of the business globally" “The adoption of true cloud video surveillance and powerful AI is driving an acceleration of the business globally, but especially in EMEA. It gives us the ability to help give businesses the intelligence they need and protect people’s privacy without compromising safety and security.” The company expects to add roles across Europe to support the growth and customer success with the adoption of the cloud and AI powered video surveillance. “In more than two decades in the video surveillance industry, I have heard people talk about revolutionising the market and taking it to the next level, but only Eagle Eye Networks has truly delivered on that promise,” added John E. Mack III, Executive Vice President, Co-Head of Investment Banking at Imperial Capital. “While Eagle Eye Networks’ vision as the first cloud native solution was compelling previously, the changes 2020 brought about through business disruption related to COVID-19 make Eagle Eye’s products and services even more desirable. Eagle Eye’s focus on the customer and commitment to innovation create a foundation that makes its cloud and AI enhanced offerings for video surveillance a focus for security specific executives and the C-suite alike.”

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