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 Controlsoft Limited news

Controlsoft announces total integration of its Identity Access platform with Aperio wireless locking technology
Controlsoft announces total integration of its Identity Access platform with Aperio wireless locking technology

Controlsoft, global developer, manufacturer and distributor of access control solutions, has fully integrated its latest Identity Access platform with the Aperio wireless locking technology from the ASSA ABLOY Door Hardware & Access Control Group. Identity Access platform upgraded By updating and upgrading its Identity Access platform to fully integrate with the Aperio AH30 1-to-8 communication hub, Controlsoft’s customers can easily add mechanical doors to their existing access control system. Aperio ensures users require minimal additional hardware to upgrade their premises to wireless access control. A communications hub providing a wireless connection with up to eight doors, the Aperio AH30 operates within a 25-metre transmission range, and has been designed for prompt, cost-effective installation and integration. Suitable for interior doors, the hub is particularly practical for hallways with a number of adjacent corridors. Identity Access security management software Easy to use and intuitive, Controlsoft’s Identity Access is a complete security management software Easy to use and intuitive, Controlsoft’s Identity Access is a complete security management software. The individual access rights of employees, visitors and contractors can be assigned according to their responsibilities. Individual time restrictions can also be applied for each access control point, and the system offers full auditing and reporting capabilities. The software also includes advanced features such as a lockdown function, which prohibits authorised users from accessing doors, as well as a further function that can allow for multiple levels of lockdown, depending on the scenario. Identity Access can even be integrated with a fire alarm system, so that selected doors automatically open when a fire alarm is activated. Controlsoft access control solutions Jonathan Summers, Managing Director at Controlsoft, said: “We are committed to providing a comprehensive range of access control solutions that are competitively priced, easy to install and highly secure. It is with this commitment in mind that we have fully integrated our Controlsoft access control solution with the Aperio AH30 1-to-8 communications hub from the Door Hardware & Access Control Group.” He further said, “The AH30 has an excellent reputation as a reliable, functional and high-performance access control solution, and this integration will help us provide customers with faster, more effective installations.” Battery-operated Aperio innovations David Hodgkiss, Director of Access Control at the Door Hardware & Access Control Group, added: “As one of our original Aperio partners, we are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with Controlsoft and integrate our award-winning technology with its latest access control platform, Identity Access. Battery-operated Aperio innovations are highly reliable, available in a stylish, contemporary design, and offer a quick and easy installation.”

ASSA ABLOY Access Control to unveil Aperio H100 Handle at IFSEC 2017
ASSA ABLOY Access Control to unveil Aperio H100 Handle at IFSEC 2017

ASSA ABLOY Access Control, a UK division of ASSA ABLOY, a provider of door opening solutions, will unveil the new Aperio® H100 handle at IFSEC International 2017. Aperio® H100 door handle The contemporary designed Aperio® H100 door handle will be presented at IFSEC 2017, which takes place between June 20-22 at ExCeL London. Integrations with the following OEMs will be shown at the event: Nedap, Maxxess, Controlsoft, RBH, Pacom, Genetec, and HID. The Aperio® H100 is available both online and offline and can be easily retrofitted without drilling. It is suitable for almost any door, whether a wooden, steel or tubular frame between 30-80mm thickness. In addition, the handle can be specified by selecting either left or right-hand models, with the option for a U-handle.  The Aperio® H100 is battery-operated and supports iCLASS, iCLASS SEOS, iCLASS SE, ISO14443B UID, Mifare, Mifare Plus, Desfire SE and Desfire EV1 smart card technology.

HID Mobile Access Solution provides access control system for CafeX offices globally
HID Mobile Access Solution provides access control system for CafeX offices globally

HID Global mobile access app holds employee and visitors’ digital credential allowing passes to be issued within minutes CafeX Communications, headquartered in New York City, was founded in 2013 and employs approximately 150 staff. The company develops software that helps enterprises transform real-time digital engagement via the Web and mobile applications. Many top global banks, insurers and other industry leaders use CafeX’s technology to help employees collaborate with customers, partners and colleagues more easily and effectively. The company has offices in the UK and United States. CafeX was seeking to modernise its existing card-based access control system across multiple sites and offices. Key selection criteria included Centralised mobile access control solution enabled on smartphones and wearables for its international office locations. Scalable and easy to install. Speedy issuance of employee and visitor digital IDs. Mobile access control solution capable of allowing for multiple applications in the future. HID Global was selected based on these stringent criteria and its best-in-class advanced mobile access control solutions. HID Mobile Accessenabled employeesto easily and securelyopen doors usingtheir smartphonesor wearable devices HID Mobile Access In 2016, CafeX implemented HID Mobile Access that has enabled employees to easily and securely open doors using their smartphones or wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch, in their office in the UK in Cardiff and their US offices in New York and Boston. Employees use HID Global’s patented ‘twist and go’ feature or simply tap their smartphone on the HID Global readers that were already installed, to access the building or other sensitive entrances within the offices. HID Global collaborated with regional experts, Controlsoft, a HID Global platinum partner in the UK and US, to meet CafeX’s requirements. “HID Global’s mobile access control solution was easy to deploy and to integrate into CafeX’s credentials management platform. The readers are simple to configure, which made it possible for us to provide CafeX with an identity and access management solution very speedily,” said Jonathan Summers, Managing Director with Controlsoft. Centralised digital ID credential issuance The installation on the UK site in Cardiff was very quick and took less than a day to complete, with minimal disruption to the day-to-day functions of the CafeX teams. This was followed by installation for their offices in New York and Boston that was also very easy and simple. With the mobile access control solution centralised in Cardiff, the CafeX IT team can easily issue digital ID credentials to staff in offices both in the UK and US. By downloading the HID Global mobile access app, which holds the digital credential, employee and visitors passes can be issued within minutes. Convenient mobile access control solution CafeX is now able to offer its employees and visitors a secure and convenient mobile access control solution that integrates into their everyday lifestyles in the workplace. Today, everyone in the workforce has a smartphone or a smart device. The ability to use this solution instead of card technology has resulted in positive experiences and feedback on how satisfied employees and visitors are with this new innovative, hassle-free access control solution. It has resulted in employees citing the ‘cool factor’ for access control. Being able to use wearables such as the Apple Watch to enter the CafeX offices has bolstered this further. It has boosted CafeX ’s credibility with its financial customers who visit the offices frequently by issuing visitor passes in a sleek and professional manner with advanced technological capabilities. Furthermore, it has helped CafeX meet compliance requirements of its financial services customers and other Global 2000 companies, which typically require tight security around any sensitive data. HID Global’s secure access control solutions are regarded as the best and most well respected in the industry" Reduced administration costs Kevin Glass, Chief Innovation Officer with CafeX said, “Thanks to HID Global, we have been able to offer the very latest mobile access control technology to our employees and visitors. It has resulted in our employees and customers having an enriched customer experience that they are finding very convenient and innovative.” It has allowed the company to adhere to access control policies globally and streamline its business processes, thereby reducing administration costs and saving money. This is because it is very simple to issue, manage and revoke Mobile IDs to smartphones and wearables. “HID Global’s secure access control solutions are regarded as the best and most well respected in the industry. Our financial customers are very happy to know we have implemented HID Global’s access control solutions. We have already recommended HID Global to a number of our clients given our high level of satisfaction,” said Kevin Glass, Chief Innovation Officer with CafeX.

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