Access control controllers - Expert commentary

Wire-free, mobile first and data rich? The future of access control is within almost anyone’s reach
Wire-free, mobile first and data rich? The future of access control is within almost anyone’s reach

The 2020s will be a wireless decade in access control, says Russell Wagstaff from ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEA. He examines the trends data, and looks beyond mobile keys to brand new security roles for the smartphone. The benefits of wire-free electronic access control are well rehearsed. They are also more relevant than ever. A wireless solution gives facility managers deeper, more flexible control over who should have access, where and when, because installing, operating and integrating them is easier and less expensive than wiring more doors. Battery powered locks Many procurement teams are now aware of these cost advantages, but perhaps not their scale. Research for an ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions (AAOS) benchmarking exercise found installation stage to be the largest contributor to cost reduction. Comparing a typical installation of battery-powered Aperio locks versus wired locks at the same scale, the research projected an 80% saving in installers’ labour costs for customers who go cable-free. Battery powered locks all consume much less energy than traditional wired locks Operating costs are also lower for wireless: Battery powered locks all consume much less energy than traditional wired locks, which normally work via magnets connected permanently to electricity. Wireless locks only ‘wake up’ when presented with a credential for which they must make an access decision. AAOS estimated a 70% saving in energy use over a comparable lock’s lifetime. Find out more about wireless access control at ASSA ABLOY's upcoming 29th June webinar Deploying wireless locks In short, every time a business chooses a wireless lock rather than a wired door, they benefit from both installation and operating cost savings. A recent report from IFSEC Global, AAOS and Omdia reveals the extent to which the advantages of wireless are cutting through. Responses to a large survey of security professionals — end-users, installers, integrators and consultants serving large corporations and small- to medium-sized organisations in education, healthcare, industrial, commercial, infrastructure, retail, banking and other sectors — suggest almost four locations in ten (38%) have now deployed wireless locks as a part or the whole of their access solution. The corresponding data point from AAOS’s 2014 Report was 23%. Electronic access control Electronic access control is less dependent than ever on cabling Without doubt, electronic access control is less dependent than ever on cabling: Even after a year when many investments have been deferred or curtailed, the data reveals fast-growing adoption of wireless locks, technologies and systems. Is mobile access control — based on digital credentials or ‘virtual keys’ stored on a smartphone — an ideal security technology for this wire-free future? In fact, the same report finds mobile access is growing fast right now. Among those surveyed, 26% of end-users already offer mobile compatibility; 39% plan to roll out mobile access within two years. Before the mid-2020s, around two-thirds of access systems will employ the smartphone in some way. The smartphone is also convenient for gathering system insights Driving rapid adoption What is driving such rapid adoption? The convenience benefits for everyday users are obvious — witness the mobile boom in banking and payments, travel or event ticketing, transport, food delivery and countless more areas of modern life. Access control is a natural fit. If you have your phone, you are already carrying your keys: What could be easier? IBM forecasts that 1.87 billion people globally will be mobile workers by 2022 Less often discussed are the ways mobile management makes life easier for facility and security managers, too. Among those polled for the new Wireless Access Control Report, almost half (47%) agreed that ‘Mobile was more flexible than physical credentials, and 36% believe that mobile credentials make it easier to upgrade employee access rights at any time.’ IBM forecasts that 1.87 billion people globally will be mobile workers by 2022. Workers in every impacted sector require solutions which can get the job done from anywhere: Access management via smartphone offers this. Site management device The smartphone is also convenient for gathering system insights. For example, one new reporting and analytics tool for CLIQ key-based access control systems uses an app to collect, visualise and evaluate access data. Security system data could contribute to business success. The app’s clear, visual layout helps managers to instantly spot relevant trends, anomalies or patterns. It’s simple to export, to share insights across the business. Reinvented for learning — not just as a ‘key’ or site management device — the phone will help businesses make smarter, data-informed decisions. The smartphone will also play a major role in security — and everything else — for an exciting new generation of smart buildings. These buildings will derive their intelligence from interoperability. Over 90% of the report’s survey respondents highlighted the importance of integration across building functions including access control, CCTV, alarm and visitor management systems. Genuinely seamless integration They offer greater peace of mind than proprietary solutions which ‘lock you in’ for the long term Yet in practice, stumbling blocks remain on the road to deeper, genuinely seamless integration. More than a quarter of those polled felt held back by a lack of solutions developed to open standards. ‘Open standards are key for the momentum behind the shift towards system integration,’ notes the Report. As well as being more flexible, open solutions are better futureproofed. Shared standards ensure investments can be made today with confidence that hardware and firmware may be built on seamlessly in the future. They offer greater peace of mind than proprietary solutions which ‘lock you in’ for the long term. Open solutions and mobile management are critical to achieving the goals which end-users in every vertical are chasing: scalability, flexibility, sustainability, cost-efficiency and convenience.

Secure access control is helping to shape the post-pandemic world
Secure access control is helping to shape the post-pandemic world

With the continued rolling back of COVID restrictions in the UK, there is a palpable sense of relief. A mixture of mass vaccinations, widespread testing, and track and tracing of the infection is helping to enable a healthy bounce back for businesses – with secure access control taking an important role in facilitating this. However, rather than just being a reaction to the wake of the pandemic, there is every sign that the economy, and consequently the security sector as well, are both rebuilding and reshaping for the long-term new normal. Prioritising Safety Already deemed an essential service even during the first wave of the pandemic, the security industry has of course taken a vital role in protecting people and property throughout the crisis. Now that venues in the UK are starting to reopen again, our services are key to occupancy management and ensuring that disease transmission is limited as far as possible. Access control is also key in reassuring people that their safety is a priority. Making the upgrade It’s all been about choosing the most suitable components and technology that already existed with a few “tweaks”  Businesses and organisations have a duty of care to their employees and the safety of visitors – so controlling access, employing lateral flow testing, and deploying suitable Track & Trace mechanisms are all key components. I think those outside our industry are surprised to learn that most of the technology being deployed and used hasn’t just magically developed since COVID appeared – it’s all been about choosing the most suitable components and technology that already existed albeit with a few development “tweaks” or adjustments for the situation at hand. This includes using or installing facial recognition readers rather than using fingerprint or contact tokens, it is swapping to automatic request to exit sensors instead of buttons; it is using powered secure doors rather than having people all grab the same handle. Using mobile credentials is also a key technology choice – why not use the highly secure, easy to manage, cost-effective, and of course contact-free benefits of this approach? Touchless solutions We have seen a clear shift in organisations looking to protect their staff and visitors. For instance, we have a big utility customer in Southeast Asia that has just replaced close to 200 sites using fingerprint readers with an additional facial recognition capability. We have also seen a big rise in demand for touchless request to exit sensors and Bluetooth Low Energy Readers for use with smartphone authentication. Working together Integration of security systems is of course nothing new, but in the post-pandemic or endemic age, it has perhaps never been more important. Installations need to be simple, straightforward, and rapid to help maintain safe distancing but also to ensure systems can be deployed as soon as they are needed. The world is changing and developing rapidly and there is simply no place for systems that don’t work with others or cause the end-user considerable cost and inconvenience to upgrade. This flexible delivery of security solutions perfectly matches the evolving and increasing demands of the market. It’s clear that end-users want systems that work well and can easily integrate with their existing systems – not only security but all the other business components which work in unison with each other over a shared network. Great opportunities ahead The recent work-from-home trend is also clearly changing the way organisations and businesses interact with the built environment. Lots of companies are downsizing, offices are being split up, there is lots of revitalisation and reuse of existing office space – all of which creates considerable opportunities for security providers. UK inflation more than doubled in April 2021 with unemployment figures dropping and the Pound rising in value There are also, in the UK at least, clear signs that the construction industry is rapidly growing again -with a forecast of 8% rebound and growth this year. UK inflation more than doubled in April 2021 with unemployment figures dropping and the Pound rising in value – all positive signs for UK-based security providers. Undoubtedly the highly successful UK vaccination rollout has helped considerably, but there are signs that the Eurozone looks set to improve considerably over the next few months as well. Using integrated access control Undoubtedly the pandemic has made security markets around the world more aware of the benefits of integrated access control in managing the needs of the new normal COVID endemic environment. For example, as a business, we have always had keen interest from the UK healthcare sector, but over the last 12 months, we have seen a big growth in previously modest international markets including Morocco, Kuwait, Bahrain, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand – all of which are very keen to adopt improved access control solutions. Learning the lessons Nobody would deny the last year or so has been unprecedentedly tough on everyone, as a society we have had to make huge changes and sacrifices. Governments, organisations, and businesses all need to be better prepared in the future, to understand the things that went wrong and those that were successful. However, there is a world beyond the immediate pandemic and its effects. Flexible working practices and the changes these will have to the way we live and work will undoubtedly present great opportunities for the security sector in helping the world evolve. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for many organisations with regards to their duty of care to employees – particularly when it comes to mental health and providing a sensible work/life balance. Where we work and the safety of these facilities has received far more scrutiny than before. Flexible security systems Integrated security solutions have a vital role to play in not only protecting the safety of people during the post-lockdown return to work but also in the evolution of the built environment and move towards smart cities - which inevitably will now need to consider greater flexibility in securing home working spaces rather than just traditional places of work. Importantly, powerful access control and integrated security systems need to be flexible to the uncertainties ahead. The COVID pandemic has shown that nothing can be considered certain, except the need for greater flexibility and resilience in the way we operate our professional and personal interactions.

Antibacterial coatings open the door to a safe return to work
Antibacterial coatings open the door to a safe return to work

As the vaccine roll-out proceeds, people across the UK are counting the days until we can get back to some kind of ‘new normal’. Just as we’ve seen in education and healthcare, the return to the workplace and other public spaces will be accompanied by enhanced sanitisation and social distancing measures. To make the return as swift and safe as possible, those of us involved with managing, building and constructing buildings should consider how we can help facilitate and support those measures. Regardless of how rigorously we impose social distancing measures, there will always be some areas where we can’t help coming into contact with each other. Sanitising door handles Doors, for example – and door locks and handles in particular – are shared by nearly everyone in a building. Even in large, open spaces, we all need to pass through a single entrance. We all use the same door handles and locks – and they provide ideal surfaces for bacteria to breed and transfer. Another solution is for staff to regularly sanitise door handles and locks One solution to this problem is to provide hand-sanitiser dispensers at each door and insist on their use. But this can be difficult to manage in larger buildings where there may be multiple doors and entrances used by both staff and visitors. People could ignore the sanitisation rules too. Another solution is for staff to regularly sanitise door handles and locks – but this is a resource intensive option and, again, is dependent on everyone maintaining good practice. Potentially harmful chemicals A longer-lasting way to deal with the risk of locks and door handles spreading disease is to treat them with an anti-viral coating. These coatings come in various forms. Some, for example, slowly release anti-bacterial chemicals, while others have antiviral properties actually built into the material or the coating. Those coatings with built-in antiviral properties tend to be longer-lasting and more effective, and also avoid the issue of releasing potentially harmful chemicals into the environment. A number of different solutions with built-in protection are currently in development, and some already available. Northumbria University, for example (as reported in last Month’s PSB Magazine), is working on a ‘super-hydrophobic’ coating for use on high-contact areas such as handrails and trolleys. Optional antiviral coating Codelocks is working on a coating that attaches biocides to nanoparticles Another British company, Smart Separations, is working on a coating that attaches biocides to nanoparticles, and can be applied to a wide variety of surfaces. While these anti-viral coatings are either still in development or only available to large corporate clients, others are already readily available. Access control solutions provider Codelocks, for example is currently offering an optional antiviral coating with all of its products. Clean by Codelocks is clear coating that uses nanotechnology that can kill bacteria in a matter of minutes. Clean by Codelocks utilises a process called photocatalytic oxidation. The surface of the coating reacts with light and converts harmful bacteria and germs into a non-toxic compound, resulting in a clean and hygienic surface. Chemical cleaning products The coating has been proven to eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19) from surfaces within minutes and is resistant to chemical cleaning products, humidity, and UV exposure – all issues that can cause problems for traditional slow-release type coatings. It’s been said that COVID-19 has been a great technology accelerator. This has been proven true, not only in the areas of vaccine research and development, or in cloud and digital technology but even in everyday objects that we take for granted such as locks and door handles. By building anti-bacterial protection into access control solutions, we can make schools, surgeries, workplaces, leisure centres and other public spaces safer for all.

Latest Hirsch / IDENTIVE news

Identiv’s COVID-19 response solutions support enterprises and government customers in reopening of global offices
Identiv’s COVID-19 response solutions support enterprises and government customers in reopening of global offices

Identiv, Inc. has announced its cohesive collection of COVID-19 response solutions in order to support enterprises and government customers in worldwide offices that are now reopening. Identiv’s frictionless, touchless solutions create healthier and more hygienic offices. The hands-free technology also streamlines transactions and access, temperature tracking, and contact tracing to help employees and visitors feel safe and secure. Frictionless, hands-free technology “With the threat of COVID-19 still around us, frictionless, hands-free solutions are a key part of any organisation’s efforts to make a healthier, safer environment,” said Steven Humphreys, Identiv Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Identiv’s highly secure access and identity solutions address multiple business needs to re-open and grow" Steven adds, “Identiv’s highly secure access and identity solutions address multiple needs for businesses to re-open and grow again in the new pandemic-era normal.” Quick, affordable temperature tracking “As large public venues begin to reopen, quick, affordable temperature tracking will be the first line of defense to assure visitors and employees that operators have their safety at top of mind,” added Dr. Manfred Mueller, Identiv Chief Operations Officer (COO) and General Manager, Identity. Dr. Mueller adds, “For those not yet comfortable returning to work, secure network log-in options facilitate a bridge between on-site and telecommuting teams.” Identiv’s complete portfolio of COVID-19 response solutions include: Smart, frictionless access control MobilisID uses the latest in Bluetooth and capacitive technologies to allow complete frictionless access, no touching required. The MobilisID App (available via Apple iOS and Android) acts as a physical credential — the user can keep their mobile device in their pocket, wave their hand near the MobilisID Reader and the door automatically unlocks. MobilisID can also integrate with ADA-compliant automatic door hardware to form a complete touchless solution. With the Freedom access control system, no reader is even required at the door. Freedom’s software-defined architecture uses the location of a user’s mobile device to determine their proximity to a door for hands-free ingress and egress. The system can also be used in parallel with conventional reader doors. Frictionless, battery-less uTrust UHF Credentials work with identification applications that require long-distance reading (i.e., more than 18 - 21 feet). Ultra high-frequency (UHF) technology is ideal for parking lot access and gate control, door entry in hospitals or gated communities, logistics, object and people tracking in emergency situations, real-time locationing, cafeteria access, and any hands-free environment, including medical or care facilities, club and resort membership, sport facilities, and universities. The credentials can be read through badge holders, handbags, pockets, and  No-touch time and attendance uTrust 3721 F multi-technology smart card reader features multiple frequency options and a keyboard emulation. Perfect for employers who use a mixture of technologies for logical access, uTrust 3721 F leverages existing 125 kHz low-frequency (LF) or 13.56 MHz high-frequency (HF) cards. Out-of-the-box, uTrust 3721 F can work with most time and attendance systems, letting employees simply tap a card to the reader to clock in.  Nearly hands-free transactions and access With Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, it’s easy to get near an access point without ever actually touching it. Identiv’s NFC-enabled solutions feature a catalogue of transponders compatible with NFC Forum created for secure contactless transactions and connecting electronic devices with a simple tap-and-go model. Designed for comfort and wearability, the uTrust Proximity Wristband keeps wearers from reaching for their phone or card every time they need to gain access to a parking garage, building, room, or elevator. A passive radio frequency identification (RFID) device, the no-battery credential is robust, resistant to cracking, and impervious to moisture.  Temperature tracking and contact tracing Identiv’s Body Temperature Measurement Patch is a wearable NFC-enabled transponder that supports the reopening of public spaces worldwide, including theme parks and stadiums, and helps operators keep attendees and employees comfortable, confident, and safe. The patch also supports global governments and healthcare workers that need to periodically monitor quarantined patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The new solution combines the simplicity of using NFC and the smart technology potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), making body temperature monitoring easier than ever. Identiv has partnered with Telaeris to deliver a rapidly deployable, industry-renowned, mobile access control hardware and software solution that provides security in a variety of mission-critical situations where traditional systems cannot be supported. By leveraging Telaeris’ mobile credential verification hardware, Hirsch Velocity Software-based access control systems can go beyond protecting the perimeter and empower security staff to authenticate and authorise users with photos from anywhere, at any time, with real-time server synchronisation. Telaeris handheld units with HealthCheck functionality can prompt staff to ask a series of health questions and input the taken temperature of a validated user to create a ‘health/access check’ profile upon entering which can then be repeated upon exiting. If a person enters a building and is later found to be symptomatic, Hirsch Velocity Software with Contact Tracing can pull a report of everyone who entered the same door who can then be notified to either get tested or self-quarantine. While this is useful during the days of COVID-19, it can also be used for other applications, such as the seasonal influenza. This means every office can be proactive in responding to potential outbreaks, while simultaneously providing employees with the peace of mind that there are measures in place to keep them safe.  Working from Home For some organisations, even as worldwide economies are restarting, employees continue to or are more comfortable working from home. Identiv’s smart card reader portfolio keeps work flowing while ensuring everyone’s data and health stays safe and secure. Top selections for secure network log-in while telecommuting include, uTrust Token Pro Mini Type A (smallest form factor, strong PKI, and Java Card technology, uTrust Token Pro Mini Type C (USB C and can feature user branding and applets), uTrust 2700R Contact (supports all PC operating systems and cards ICs), 0 USB (ultra-compact, CAC and PIV-approved, and available in USB C, uTrust 4701 F Dual Interface (combines contact, contactless, and NFC tech), and uTrust SmartFold SCR3500 A (USB A, ultra-compact, and CAC and PIV-approved). As the economy begins to open up and people around the world return to work, it’s critical to have solutions in place that keep employees and visitors feeling safe, comfortable, and confident.

Identiv’s Hirsch Velocity access control platform now enables contact tracing for Hirsch customers
Identiv’s Hirsch Velocity access control platform now enables contact tracing for Hirsch customers

Identiv, Inc. announced the availability of Hirsch Velocity Software with Contact Tracing. Available via download for Hirsch customers, the free feature has been launched to support worldwide office re-openings with improved health and safety management tools. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ (CDC) recommendations, contract tracing is a key strategy for preventing further spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  Hirsch Velocity Software with Contact Tracing is a means of proactively and reactively protecting visitors. If a person enters a building and is later found to be symptomatic of an illness, Velocity can pull a report of everyone who entered the same door who can then be notified to either get tested or self-quarantine. The feature is free, easy to download, and simple to implement into existing Velocity physical access control system (PACS) platforms.  Manage access control While this is useful during the days of COVID-19, it can also be used for other applications, such as seasonal influenza" “While this is useful during the days of COVID-19, it can also be used for other applications, such as seasonal influenza,” said Mark Allen, Identiv GM, Premises. “This means your office can be proactive in responding to potential outbreaks, while simultaneously providing your employees with the peace of mind that there are measures in place to keep them safe.” Hirsch Velocity Software provides the security and functionality expected from high-end systems with the ease-of-use found in entry-level packages. Velocity is an integrated platform that manages access control and security operations in thousands of different facilities, from single high secure rooms to multi-building, multi-location campuses with the most stringent security compliance. Prevent unwanted access With Velocity, users can control doors, gates, turnstiles, elevators, and other equipment, monitor employees and visitor behaviour, prevent unwanted access, maintain compliance, and provide a robust audit trail. The latest version of the software platform is designed to deliver the highest level of security, interoperability, and backwards compatibility, and it accommodates the evolution of security technology.

Identiv's Hirsch Velocity physical access control solution approved by the UK Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Identiv's Hirsch Velocity physical access control solution approved by the UK Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure

Identiv, Inc. has announced that after extensive testing of its Hirsch Physical Access Control System (PACS) CPNI solution, the platform is now approved by the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), the UK government authority for protective security advice to the country’s national infrastructure. CPNI-approved physical access control platform The CPNI works with partners in government, police, industry, and academia to protect the nation from threats and terrorism, only recommending physical security equipment that meets its stringent certification requirements.  “UK sites classified as critical infrastructure, where deep encryption standards are paramount, can confidently deploy the Hirsch CPNI-approved physical access control platform,” said Mark Allen, Identiv General Manager, Premises Security Solutions. Hirsch Velocity Software Hirsch products, like our innovative Scramblepad readers, protect critical government and infrastructure facilities" Mark adds, “Hirsch products, like our innovative Scramblepad readers, protect critical government and infrastructure facilities across the UK, the U.S., and other governments around the world. Our CPNI-approved Hirsch Velocity Software security management system provides a highly scalable, end-to-end physical access control solution from the door to the server cluster, ideal for mission-critical environments. He further stated, “We are proud to continue to work with the UK government’s risk-critical sites to provide the most robust, reliable, highly secure yet cost-effective access control solution.” Hirsch PACS CPNI solution The Hirsch PACS CPNI solution encompasses Identiv’s highly secure product portfolio, including Hirsch Velocity Software, Hirsch Mx-8 Controllers, and Secure Network Interface Board 3 (SNIB3). Identiv’s suite of advanced access control solutions is approved for use in some of the world’s most security-sensitive organisations, including many UK government agencies. Hirsch Velocity Software’s security management system is an integrated platform that manages access control and security operations across thousands of disparate facilities, from single highly secure rooms to multi-building, multi-location campuses, with the most stringent security compliance. Hirsch Mx-8 Controllers Users can control doors, gates, turnstiles, elevators, and other equipment, monitor employees and visitors as they move around a facility, prevent unwanted access, maintain compliance, and provide a robust audit trail. Hirsch Mx-8 Controllers provide scalable, networked communication and are also available in two or four supervised door models. The modular design and scalable architecture enable an installation to start small and grow large, from a single controller system to a larger, multi-site enterprise. The Mx Controller is fully firmware, function, and communication protocol compatible with Hirsch systems so that existing credentials, readers, and databases can be retained. SNIB3 communication device SNIB3 is a renowned communication device that provides IPv6, Gigabit Ethernet, and AES 256 bit encryption SNIB3 is a renowned communication device that provides IPv6, Gigabit Ethernet, and AES 256 bit encryption. These features are already foundational for the critical U.S. FICAM security standard. For deployments already equipped with a Hirsch solution, SNIB3 is a drop-in replacement for Identiv’s SNIB2 and SNIB communications boards. Identiv Global Services Identiv Global Services (IGS) provides a comprehensive cybersecurity-hardening service to ensure the solution is deployed to the rigorous CPNI standard. This covers securing the operating system, database, and services, including all Identiv-supplied server components and networking equipment, as well as the Velocity client workstation. To protect against the rapidly evolving threat landscape, IGS through service-level agreement (SLA) supports the customer and the solution, updating security patches and applying the latest information assurance guidelines following UK standards and best practices.

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