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The healthcare sector is a crucial part of a functioning society as it provides life-saving care and reassurance to the population. A key part of ensuring the professionals in this industry have the best work environment is the ongoing security of the facilities. Overcoming environmental challenges Hospitals are challenging environments for security integrators. There is little room for mistakes because staff, patients and assets cannot be compromised. Medical centres and their facilities can be vast complexes and security teams must be confident in their ability to identify and nullify threats as soon as possible. Chubb provided Queensland Children’s Hospital's security team with a simple and easy-to-use tool Chubb Fire & Security offers a range of intelligent video and access control systems to solve these challenges. The Queensland Children’s Hospital in Australia, formerly named Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, is the major specialist children’s hospital for families living in Queensland and Northern New South Wales. The facility not only provides care to the local families but also the state’s sickest and most critically injured children who need highly specialised care. This state-of-the-art hospital, coupled with a leading academic and research facility and the high calibre staff, provides a platform to continue to develop as a leader in paediatric health care, education and research. Comprehensive security solution Chubb developed a solution for Queensland Children’s Hospital that included access control, video management, communications and asset tracking. By creating a common infrastructure for all security systems managed through a comprehensive user interface, Chubb provided the hospital’s security team with a simple and easy-to-use tool that enables them to resolve situations as they happen and action events automatically on command. Chubb also developed a 3D model of the building that allows the security team to respond quickly to a wide variety of events. The protection of patients and staff is naturally a hospital's number one priority Also crucial to the implementation of security systems in a hospital is minimal disruption to its everyday operations. Professionals in hospitals are working 24/7 so there is little time when it comes to disabling security systems for maintenance or repairs. Continued maintenance and upgrades are vital elements to Chubb’s work and key to this is a great deal of collaboration with clinical and operational stakeholders. Securing mission-critical environment Hospital facilities are not always state-of-the-art and often face the slow upgrade process that a limited budget imparts. However, through the audit and update of security systems, steps can be taken to ensure continued operations without external disruption. The protection of patients and staff is naturally a hospital's number one priority and Chubb shares the same commitment to making sure the environment is safe and secure. Carrying out a technically demanding project in a large, mission-critical environment like a hospital takes strong teamwork, including expert strategic partners, and collaboration between stakeholders.
There’s no question that the popularity of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) security and home automation products is on the rise. The reasons for the growth in DIY sales are numerous, including increased awareness of home automation products, fast set-up, limited (if any) installation costs, and interoperability with other smart security products. In fact, with the parallel rise of smart home hubs like Alexa and Google Home, many people are opting to attempt the set-up of smart home devices without any professional assistance. According to a 2018 Residential Security Market Report prepared by Parks Associates and Security Sales & Integration magazine, “More than 60% of installing dealers now report that DIY systems are biting into demand for their services.” But the rise in DIY is not entirely bad news for security and home automation installers and dealers. There are a number of ways to view this glass as half-full. Let’s look at a few of them. Increase in revenue for dealers With their lower cost and perceived ease of installation, DIY products have broken down barriers for additional purchaseThere are reasons for dealers and installers to be cheerful about the rise of DIY. For one thing, according to that same Residential Security Market Report from Parks Associates, residential security dealers are doing quite well. The report states, “In 2017, revenues were up an average 7.72% for security dealers.” What about installations? The report goes on to say, “For 2017, the average number of installs per dealer was 22 per month, compared to 17 per month in 2016.” So, revenues are up for security dealers, and at least part of the reason can be attributed to the fact that DIY products can raise overall awareness of and spur interest in other home automation and security products. With their lower cost and perceived ease of installation, DIY products have actually broken down barriers for the additional purchase, and installation, of complete, professionally installed systems. Wireless, connected smart locks For example, the sale of wireless, connected smart locks (viewed by some consumers as DIY) can lead to opportunities for further home automation product sales and professional installations. Connected smart locks can actually act as an extension of a smart hub or controller. They can be used to wirelessly communicate with and control all the devices that make up a home automation system, including lighting, entertainment, thermostats, air, alarms, shades and more. With their lower cost and perceived ease of installation, DIY products have actually broken down barriers for new security installations And they can do all this from a prime, convenient location – the front door, as well as other points of entry like the side or back doors. Plus, smart lock conversion kits like Kwikset Convert let homeowners easily bring home automation capabilities to their door without altering the aesthetics of the entry. Connected smart locks can allow homeowners to set up their home with custom scenarios, right before they step inside. For example, residents can program their lock so that every time they unlock the door, a foyer light goes on, temperatures begin to rise to a set level – even connected coffee makers can begin to make a cup. Portfolio of home automation products One of the best ways to mitigate the ‘threat’ of DIY sales is for dealers and installers to become more versatileSmart locks are just one example of the potential of DIY products to spark a homeowner’s interest in a wide range of other home automation devices, many of which would benefit from professional installation. One of the best ways to mitigate the ‘threat’ of DIY sales is for dealers and installers to become more versatile and offer a complete portfolio of home automation products. The larger the home automation offering, the more devices there are to sell and install, the larger the installation required, the greater the need for professional installation. Many homeowners who feel like they have a certain level of handiness will start by trying to do it themselves with a DIY product. But things don’t always go as planned, especially if they are attempting to set up a robust home automation system. First off, just because a product is DIY doesn’t mean that the old products that are being replaced are going to easily make way for the new. A DIY thermostat or smart lock might require that the old equipment (and possibly wires) get tugged out of the wall. Messy holes might need to be filled. Advantages of professional installation Even after the old system has been removed, homeowners planning on setting up a connected system may soon realise they don’t have the electrical skills or technological know-how to install and connect all devices, get a system programmed correctly, and get everything up and running smoothly. Professional installers have learned from experience; there’s very little that they haven’t seen before. With their years of experience, installers know the best way to automate a home and how to create a custom smart home experience Do-it-yourselfers might be able to solve problems by searching the internet and finding videos. But, then again, they might not. After going the DIY route once, many full-home automation system enthusiasts are beginning to realise that the best way to get things done right the first time is to leave the installation and set-up to a professional. Professional installers can and should bring an extra level of experience and guidance to the process. Their services should go beyond tech installation and also include interface design. With their years of experience, installers know the best way to automate a home – how to create a custom smart home experience that doesn’t make the user feel less than smart. Selling additional home automation products If a problem arises due to installation error, the DIYer does not have any recourse to correct these mistakesResidential security dealers who offer professional installation should be willing to embrace the DIYer who has attempted to do a self-install but has not been able to complete the process successfully. With an open mind to this scenario, they can save the day for the DIYer, as well as create an opportunity to sell additional home automation equipment that the DIYer may not have known to be available. The disparity between DIY and professional installation also brings to light the fact that there are no ‘satisfaction guarantees’ and no ‘installation/labour warranty’ available when a home automation system is installed by a DIYer. If a problem arises with either the equipment connectivity due to installation error, or if a piece of equipment is installed incorrectly, the DIYer does not have any recourse to correct these mistakes. This may not be as critical if a DIYer installs a minor piece of equipment, but with something as critical as securing and protecting their home with a home automation and security system, most people want full peace of mind that everything has been installed correctly. Reduces connection instability According to a 2017 study by the analyst firm, IHS Markit, “The quality of the equipment is usually higher in professionally installed systems, and professional configuration and setup greatly reduces the potential for connection instability…” This is an issue that DIYers may come to realise over time. On the other hand, one issue DIYers may recognise right away, especially if they are attempting to connect multiple devices, is that the connectivity may be inconsistent. Professionally installed devices operating on a wireless protocol might deliver better, consistent, longer-range connectivity IHS Markit explains that, “DIY systems rely on open protocols and Wi-Fi connectivity that can sometimes be unreliable, creating connection issues. Some of the sensors can become unrecognisable to the system, requiring intervention from the user. In contrast, professional wireless systems rely on UL- or EN-certified equipment to operate on the basis of proprietary frequency, enabling them to work with the control panel much more seamlessly.” In other words, professionally installed devices operating on a wireless protocol, even an open-source protocol like Z-Wave, might deliver better, consistent, longer-range connectivity, and fewer headaches. Not everyone is a DIY customer There are customers who want someone to install the devices correctly and help them learn how to use and maintain themThere’s no doubt that there’s a segment of the security and home automation market that loves to spend their free time doing their own home improvement. They are watching videos, reading how-to books and manuals, and enjoying every minute. There’s also a segment of the market whose top goal is to save money up front. For these customers, there’s no getting around the joy of saving money with the lower cost of many DIY products. But there are also a great number of prospective customers out there for whom DIY is of absolutely no interest. These consumers do not want to be their own IT department. They want expert help: they want someone to install the devices correctly and help them learn how to use and maintain them. The IHS Markit study points out what many home automation dealers already know: that the elder and aging-in-place markets are an ideal destination for the security and convenience of home automation products. The study says, “Many senior citizens are not tech savvy enough to install a DIY system by themselves, so they tend to rely on professionally installed systems that are usually maintained by a family member.” Along with the senior citizens market, there are many other market segments out there that still desire worry-free professional installation. Installers should offer a range of products that includes some DIY products, and some leave-it-to-a-pro products Producing complete and custom solutions Perhaps the best way for dealers and installers to stave off that feeling of doom that they might have about DIY is to tackle the problem head on and be creative. Offer a range of products that includes some DIY products, and some leave-it-to-a-pro products – consider the DIY product a great entry point for a more comprehensive system. Play up the peace of mind that comes with professional installations and support that pitch with flexible monitoring contracts and service plans. Share what you do and why; relay your passion for producing complete and custom solutions and communicate how you add value to any and every sale. No one, not even the most tech-savvy consumer, wants to install their own products if the end result is that the product doesn’t work the way it should. That’s where the pros can, should and will always come into play.
The access control industry tends to be more conservative when it comes to the adoption of new technology and services for end users, but that doesn't mean that 2019 won't provide a significant amount of progress through emerging trends taking shape in the industry. In addition to the increased adoption and acceptance of the cloud, mobile credentials and biometrics are becoming more mainstream, and integrations between manufacturers will take centre stage. Here, we take a look at these and other trends helping to shape the coming year. Cloud-based products We're continuing to see a demand by end-user customers for customised responses to certain actions within an access control system For many access control manufacturers, the core of the business is in more traditional products, with a high percentage of installs continuing to be these kinds of projects. However, over the last couple of years, cloud-based products have emerged as a viable option for customers. We've seen more of a willingness for end-user customers to inquire whether this is an option for them, citing ease of use, remote management, cybersecurity and more as part of their foray into this branch of access control. The cloud has established its reputation as being quicker to install, more flexible for customers to access and manage both their access points as well as the video associated with these doors, and placing less pressure on internal (or in some cases, non-existent) IT teams to help set up and manage an access control system. Mobile credentials applications We're continuing to see a demand by end-user customers for customised responses to certain actions within an access control system. For example, if there's an alarm set off during the day along a perimeter, the ability to automatically execute a lockdown and simultaneous email or message to everyone within the building alerting them to the issue is critical. The desire for this kind of flexibility within a system is prompting manufacturers to build new simple to use graphical tools into their systems that allow customised action responses that are proportional to the level of alarm. There's a strong desire by many of today's companies to be able to use mobile phones for access control and as such, manufacturers are either developing their own mobile credentials applications or integrating their systems with these kinds of products. Over the last couple of years, cloud-based products have emerged as a viable option for customers Future of biometrics As companies start to ask about whether their facilities are safe enough, they're often more willing to consider access control that takes security to a new level, such as the implementation of biometric readers. Biometrics is getting more usage in professional security applications and many customers want to move away from using physical cards for access control. Manufacturers that don't currently have biometric hardware in place are starting to integrate with readers designed to offer this functionality in an effort to meet the demands of customers. The dramatic rise in facial recognition biometrics is something that will likely shape the future of biometrics as costs start to decrease. While the access control industry is highly fragmented, we're seeing a trend toward increased partnerships and open-platform technology that helps end users achieve the kind of comprehensive security that they desire. Video management platforms We're seeing a trend toward increased partnerships and open-platform technology that helps end users achieve the kind of comprehensive security that they desire For example, there are a number of access control providers that are providing paths toward full integration with lock manufacturers and vice versa in an effort to meet the needs of clients who may have purchased locks but a high powered access control system to properly manage them. There's also a large shift toward full integration with video management platforms and access control systems to fully integrate the two into a single, user-friendly experience and give end users more control over both. Additionally, manufacturers are looking to provide customers with a single system that meets the needs they have with regards to video, intrusion and access control. Right now, I don't think there's a system that can fully deliver on the promise of being exceptional at all three, so integrations and partnerships remain important to achieve that end goal. Access control world An increasing number of end users are realising the holes in the current Wiegand protocols that have been in place since the 1980s, along with the large number of ‘off the shelf’ equipment that's now available to allow outsiders access through readers that operate under these protocols. As a result, in the last decade or so, OSDP has come onto the scene and is growing in popularity. One of the most important steps for access control manufacturers in 2019 will be to listen to customers who are concerned with this vulnerability and work toward fully supporting OSDP in an effort to protect these access control systems. It's an exciting time to be a part of the access control world, as we finally see results from all of the hype centred around the cloud, biometrics, mobile credentials, hacking protection and strong partnerships come to fruition. As 2019 begins, look for these trends to grow in popularity and for manufacturers to really listen to the end-user customer they serve and respond in kind.
The Norpass access control system from Nortech using its Norpass3 software is providing secure access control at the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) building in central London. Norpass3 software solution Chosen for its ability to provide a secure access control solution, Nortech’s Norpass system was installed on 16 doors around the Soho Square offices to support a range of access levels according to staff responsibilities and include a management system with a user-friendly interface. This allows staff movements to be monitored, ID cards to be issued and access rights to be changed according to ongoing requirements. Nortech’s Norpass system was installed on 16 doors around the Soho Square offices The BBFC is independent and not-for-profit and is in place to help everyone in the UK choose age appropriate films, videos and websites, wherever and however they watch or use them. Founded in 1912, they have been responsible for classifying films released in UK cinemas and on DVD and Blu-ray, and classifying content for Video on Demand services, such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as helping mobile phone operators set parental controls at the right level. Norpass access control modules Bradley Thomas, Facilities Manager at the British Board of Film Certification (BBFC) commented, “We have had the Nortech system in place for many years, we find it reliable and easy to use and their customer service team has always been helpful and informative to any queries.” The flexibility of Norpass access control modules and the user-friendly PC-based Norpass3 software together with Nortech’s elegant card readers made the Norpass access control system the ideal choice for BBFC. Since the installation, the system has provided secure access control throughout the building and, with Nortech’s support, BBFC has been able to keep the system up with changing requirements. Easy-to-use access control system Benefits of using the Norpass system include easy to use software offering a range of access levels Benefits of using the Norpass system include easy to use software offering a range of access levels, security that can be matched to an organisation’s needs, a flexible structure for easy expansion and a system that has been developed in the UK and is supported by a UK based team. Nortech has supplied products and solutions to the security industry for over 25 years as an independent British company. The company uses extensive experience and expertise to create new security products to fit their clients’ needs and designs everything with the customer in mind.
People and vehicle access control specialist Nortech has launched its NanoQuest, a secure, single door self-contained access control system. This proximity card reader/access controller combination is small, powerful and supports up to 500 users. The NanoQuest is a compact standalone proximity card reader and access controller that is easy to install and operate, and houses both the access control electronics and the 125kHz proximity reader. Its slender and elegant compact design suits most architectural and interior design settings, while the robust construction allows it to be used in most working environments. A NanoQuest unit controls access through a single door for up to 500 authorised users and can also be used as a secure method of controlling devices such as intruder alarm panels, lighting and heating. Accessing restricting areas The unit can be armed by an external device and allows door monitoring and alarm output to external alarm devicesThe configuration of its many features and the addition/removal of user cards are made simple with a ‘Master’ card. Special ‘User’ and ‘Auxiliary’ cards can also be added to control auxiliary devices and access restricted areas and free exit input is included. The unit can also output card data in RS232 format when in 'NanoQuest' mode, and in both RS232 and 26-bit Wiegand format when in 'Reader' mode, so that it can be used as a standard card reader as part of a future migration to a larger system. The unit can also be armed by an external device and allows door monitoring and alarm output to external alarm devices. Duplicate administration card option Nortech offers a flexible range of card and fob packs. Cards and fobs can be purchased as necessary, and individually enrolled into the NanoQuest when needed. For installations with many users, card packs are supplied in filing wallets, where each card comes with a duplicate administration/shadow card option. A batch enrolment card is also supplied to enable the enrolment of a whole batch of cards in a single procedure. If a card is lost or stolen, then the corresponding administration card can be used to remove that card from the NanoQuest. Key fobs are also available with a corresponding batch enrolment card and administration cards. Nortech has supplied products and solutions to the security industry for over 25 years as an independent British company. The company uses extensive experience and expertise to create new security products to fit their clients’ needs and designs everything with the customer in mind.
People and vehicle access control specialist Nortech will be exhibiting at Elevate 2019, the meeting place for UK’s growing physical activity sectors at London’s ExCel on the 8-9 May to introduce its innovative products to the market. 2019 is Nortech’s first time at the show and they will be demonstrating the flexibility of the Norpass access control solution, which provides a wide range of features that are ideally suited to the leisure sector. Access control sector With Norpass, access control can be provided at all access points to gyms, fitness studios, health clubs and more to ensure that only authorised members and staff can enter the premises. Nortech recommends the use of its Mifare readers and smartcards that have a dedicated secure access control sector. Norpass3, the licence free software at the heart of the access control system, can run on any standard specification PC The benefits of using smartcards with a dedicated access control sector is greatly improved security plus the ability to issue sequentially numbered cards to members, facilitating easier card management. In addition, the same cards can be used for other Mifare enabled facilities such as vending machines and fitness management systems. Norpass3, the licence free software at the heart of the access control system, can run on any standard specification PC (Windows 7 onwards) and is quick and easy to set up using the built-in setup wizard. Time limited access It includes many features that are ideal for leisure centre membership access control including - Picture Pop-up - This enables staff to monitor people entering through a turnstile to ensure that the person entering is the valid cardholder. When an ID card is presented to the reader, the cardholder’s photo automatically appears on the screen of the operator/administration terminal. Time Limited Access - A feature that automatically enforces time limited access to certain areas (for example where a member is allowed the use of the facility for a fixed number of hours each week). Once a member has used up their weekly allocated time, they will not be allowed access until the start of the next week or until a staff member has granted an extension. Count Groups and Reporting - This feature can be used to ensure that the number of members of a particular category present within a restricted area does not exceed a preassigned limit (e.g.for health and safety reasons), and to make sure that the appropriate level of supervision is available. Whenever the numbers exceed the limit, an alarm will be raised to alert staff to take action. Automatic Digital Video Recorder Activation - Individual ID cards can be registered on the system so their use can be monitored in real time. For example, if a card has been reported as lost or stolen, its record can be set to automatically activate a video recording of the person using that card when it is used to gain access through a certain turnstile. Vehicle access management Nortech will also be demonstrating the Nedap ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) solution for vehicle access management. The ANPR is fully compatible with Norpass so that it can provide a fully integrated vehicle access management system for staff and members. Nortech has supplied products and solutions to the security industry for over 25 years as an independent British company. The company uses extensive experience and expertise to create new security products to fit their clients’ needs and designs everything with the customer in mind. Visit Nortech at Elevate 2019 on 8-9 May at London‘s ExCel to find out more about the many systems available and how they can benefit the future of people and vehicle control solutions.
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