Audio, video or keypad entry - Expert commentary

Building security: How audio tells the whole story
Building security: How audio tells the whole story

Every building starts with the entrance. A solid enterprise risk mitigation and security strategy include protecting that entrance. Often, risk mitigation strategies protecting the entrance have included high-resolution video surveillance cameras, video management systems, and access control solutions. But that strategy and set of security solutions only tells part of the story. Imagine a security guard who is protecting a facility after hours, when an individual approaches the entrance and seeks to gain access. The security guard can pull up the video surveillance feed and see the individual and his movements, which appear to be suspicious. But he also needs to hear him in order to decide the next decisions and actions. Does he escalate the situation, calling for backup and for first responders’ response, or does he allow the individual access to the building because he works there and is authorised to enter?   Meet high-definition voice What the security guard needs is to be able to hear and to communicate with that individual. All enterprise security systems need three primary components in order to successfully protect the entrance and to mitigate risk – access control, video surveillance, and the ability to hear and communicate. Each component plays an integral role in supporting a unified security system, and without all three, the security system is not complete. Access control can be thought of as the brains of a security system by holding data and permissions. It serves as the arms and hands of the system; it can either keep someone out or What a security guard needs is to be able to hear and to communicate with an individualinvite them in. IP video allows a security team to remotely position a set of eyes anywhere an IP camera can be placed on a network. With a video management system, security teams can see what is happening and decide how to respond. However, with remote viewing, the event may be over by the time security physically responds.  Audio adds interactivity That three-component enterprise security system – comprising IP video, access control, and high-definition voice working together mitigates risks and provides value. It also means that security is interactive. Security teams talk and listen to the person that’s seen on a video surveillance system, no matter where the location or how remote. If the person is lost or simply needs assistance, security personnel can talk to them and provide direction and reassurance. Even more, in an emergency, an interactive solution becomes a critical life-saving tool, as it provides data that can be shared between security, police, emergency services, and more. Audio can also detect voices, noises, breaking glass, or other sounds that are not within direct view of a video camera. An interactive security system creates an informed response, by providing real-time situation awareness management. Post-event, it supports forensics and investigations to mitigate future security incidents.  Audio and COVID-19 We are living in extraordinary times. As businesses begin to reopen and stay open, they are looking for any tools that can help them overcome the enormous That three-component enterprise security system – comprising IP video, access control, and high-definition voice working together mitigates risks and provides valuechallenges they face. In buildings and facilities, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new security perimeter, one that demands contactless access with entry and exit, and that has also created a new duty of care for security professionals. Now more than ever is the need to interact and communicate with individuals moving in and out of doors and spaces without physical intervention. Intelligent communications, integrated with contactless access control, can help a business to comply with pandemic safety guidelines and ultimately, reopen for business and stay open.  COVID-19 has also increased the need for clean-room isolation and quarantine spaces, sometimes in areas not originally intended for that use, where risk of infection is high, and equipment must be easily disinfected between patients. Here, purpose-built cleanroom intercoms, providing clear touchless communications despite the noisy environment, have emerged as critical tools for enabling patient care while reducing the need to enter the contaminated space. For example, voice communication can enable hospital staff to verify identity and to communicate with patients without entering the isolated and infectious environment, which can save on personal protective equipment (PPE) and reduce the amount of exposure to the virus. In non-emergency healthcare facilities, such as medical centers, voice can effectively relay information to building occupants and visitors for screening purposes. Visitors can be seen and heard. For example, a patient who seeks access to a medical center for an appointment can hear important instructions from a nurse via the intercom solution. Seeing the person that you talk to is one thing but hearing them conveys a much better sense of closeness, making it possible to maintain a high level of security and customer service.  The whole story Today’s security systems should no longer simply involve video surveillance cameras generating feedback and images to a security guard. Instead, a new ecosystem for enterprise security and risk mitigation has emerged, and it’s one that involves video surveillance, access control, and high-definition voice. That ecosystem can ensure well-rounded and responsive information management and security platform, all communicating with each other and offering actionable insight into risks and potential physical breaches. Audio is the new value hub of the connected and intelligent school, campus, building, correctional facility, and more. Simply put, a silent security system cannot be an effective security system. In every situation, it is crucial for all security professionals to mitigate risk, no matter what they are protecting. This emphasizes the need to hear, be heard, and be understood in virtually any environment.  

Thermal screening: The technology that will lead us out of lockdown
Thermal screening: The technology that will lead us out of lockdown

Across the world, the impact of the current pandemic has majorly disrupted how we function in our everyday lives, as a society, and the ways in which we do our jobs. Throughout, our personal safety and wellbeing, as well as that of our families, neighbours and colleagues, has been paramount - and adapting our day-to-day lives to meet social distancing measures has been a learning curve for us all. As we start to reassemble normal life, precautionary measures will continue to be put in place to achieve the universal aim of mitigating the spread of the virus as much as possible. As different countries reach new stages of this process, some parts of the world continue to live and work in lockdown, whilst some are beginning to open up. This means governments, as well as businesses and organisations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection as more people begin to return to the outside world. Tracing the spread of COVID-19 Of course, this will need to be driven by higher-level support from leaders in government, healthcare and technology to develop innovative ways of tracking and tracing the spread of COVID-19. From contact tracing solutions, to self-reporting apps and thermal screening cameras – governments and businesses across Europe have a new responsibility to seek and reinforce the most effective ways to ensure people’s safety. These measures are particularly pertinent to those reopening their doors as lockdown eases, and those returning to a daily routine of commuting to and serviced office spaces. As more and more people begin to move through public and commercial areas, we will rely more on technology to run in the background to ensure safety and wellbeing is monitored - much like that of the everyday CCTV camera. Thermal temperature screening cameras One piece of technology that we can expect to see as more commonplace is the thermal temperature screening cameras and monitoring system. An example of this kind of device, is D-Link’s recently launched all-in-one, intelligent fever screening kit – which includes a dual-lens thermographic camera, blackbody calibrator, as well as integrated management software. Governments, as well as businesses and organisations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection The premise of temperature screening cameras like this one, is to harness thermal imaging technology coupling it with AI to identify if a person is experiencing elevated temperatures, and raise the alarm automatically when someone at risk of spreading is detected. To monitor the progression or depletion of COVID-19, technologies such as AI facial recognition will play an important role in mitigating the risks of the virus spreading. Thermal cameras that use AI can easily capture and manage employee’s temperature and stop their entrance if a fever is detected. For this reason, such devices are normally installed in a doorway or entrance to a building to quickly detect and identify those displaying symptoms before entering a building. This type of surveillance will be detrimental to the management of COVID-19 in the world of a ‘new normal’ – as companies feel their way out and learn as they go along with people’s health and wellbeing continuing to be centre of the mind. Just as lockdown has had an impact on physical as well as mental health, so too will the adjustment to living life post-pandemic. Not only in getting used to and dealing with the emotional and mental pressures of life on the ‘outside’ as they leave lockdown, but they also face the very real risk of contracting the virus and the worries they may have of spreading it. Appropriate installation of temperature screening Companies and organisations have a responsibility in these times to play a supportive role towards employees, such as allowing them to continue working from home until they feel comfortable to work in an office setting. Equally, as restrictions ease, employers have a duty to make the workplace a safe place that is able to uphold the wellbeing of staff, which is where, as we wait for a vaccine, we must make use of the available technology. However, in the case of the thermal camera, in order for it to deliver effective results, it must be installed appropriately. To support this, we have outlined some key points to consider when deploying a temperature screening camera here: Choose a solution that features a blackbody calibrator – a vital part for any temperature screening device. A blackbody calibrator is the basis for accurate calibration of infrared thermography devices and allows the device to accurately detect a fever. Check for facing windows or doorways and heat sources such as radiators as these increase the risk of stray heat or cold sources throwing off readings according to the ISO standard associated with this type of equipment Be wary of weather and changes in climate as the device will need time to acclimatise – in order for readings to be clear individuals coming in from outside must wait five minutes before being screened When mounted, the camera must face individuals head-on and in parallel with their face to capture the inner eye area which is crucial for temperature reading Consider an option using AI which will automatically recognise individuals based on photos in the system Check applicability and legality of temperature screening cameras before deploying There’s a long way to go before life will fully return to normal. In the meantime, and to help everyone along the way, it’s essential that the right measures are in place to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of those we are responsible for. For anyone who is exploring options, know that there is help out there to provide guidance and expertise on the solutions that will be right for you and your business - now, as we go through the remainder of lockdown, and as we slowly move back into everyday lives.

The digital transformation of access control solutions
The digital transformation of access control solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorisation and the appropriate credentials. But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customised and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms power continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

Latest Paxton Access Limited news

Paxton Access Limited enables instant access to essential tools through their Paxton Installer app
Paxton Access Limited enables instant access to essential tools through their Paxton Installer app

Paxton’s Installer app has officially gone live. The tool has been designed as a centralised platform giving installers and system administrators instant access to key information they need to install and manage Paxton products and solutions on the go. 2020 has been a productive year for the people of Paxton, despite the on-going consequences of the global pandemic. Regulatory guidelines and social distancing measures have led to essential and innovative updates for Paxton’s long-standing access control system Net2. Provides digital access Paxton’s Chief Executive Adam Stroud explains: “There are certain things, such as this pandemic, that happen outside of our direct control and where possible, I think it’s important to try to see the opportunity to do something fresh and different.” Along with rolling out these important feature updates, Paxton added their new Paxton Installer app to their 2020 agenda. The simple-to-use pocket tool provides digital access to Paxton’s Knowledge Base. Installers how have convenient access to up-to-date product specifications, technical documents, video installer instructions as well as answers to many FAQs right on their mobile device. Expert technical support team Paxton has designed the app’s search functionality with a seamless experience in mind Adam said: “At Paxton we are always looking for opportunities to improve the service and information we provide to our valued installers and their customers. Saving them time and making their working lives more convenient is why we have invested in developing the new Paxton Installer app”. To make life simple on site for their installers, Paxton has designed the app’s search functionality with a seamless experience in mind. Individual product information can be accessed within seconds via the app’s built in bar code scanner. Installers will also be able to direct dial Paxton’s expert technical support team and find a list of their local distributors to make sourcing products and getting installation advice quick and easy. Products and solutions Adam continues: “We have an ever-growing library of content about our products and solutions. Finding the right information when you need it can often be a challenge. Making this easier for our installers has been one of the key objectives of the new app. You will be able to simply scan or search for your product, and all the information is right there for you. In addition, the app gives you immediate access to our vast knowledge base that is used by our own customer support team.” Another benefit of the app for installers is the ability to favorite link documents for quick access and share information with co-workers or end users via email, text, Airdrop, or WhatsApp. All documents and videos are also available offline as they are downloadable within the app. This makes it possible to access information when internet access is a problem. Efficient for installers Adam concludes, “I am very pleased we have invested in the development of this app to make things simpler and efficient for installers. Watch this space as we have much more planned for it in the future!”. The app is available to download now on iOS and Android smart-devices. One can also check out the Paxton Installer app video that explains how installers can use the app’s functionally and how they can get the most out of the innovation.

Paxton introduces Net2 Checkpoint Control to mitigate virus transmission and safeguard employees and visitors
Paxton introduces Net2 Checkpoint Control to mitigate virus transmission and safeguard employees and visitors

Paxton’s longstanding access control system, Net2, receives its latest software update. The highly anticipated new feature, Checkpoint Control, supports COVID-secure sites. This additional functionality helps Net2 users protect employees and visitors by monitoring and approving people as they enter buildings. Throughout the first half of 2020 the creation of Checkpoint Control was underway, along with the unforeseen global spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. During this time lockdown and social distancing restrictions in many countries heightened the need for the update to be rolled out globally, in a timely fashion. Since then Paxton’s Development team has worked tirelessly preparing the release alongside other vital COVID-secure Net2 updates. Thermal scanning hardware Paxton’s U.S. Senior Product Manager Jeremy Allison said: “At Paxton, people are at the heart of everything we do and this year our focus is bringing people back to work safely. Following on from the successful introduction of Occupancy Management, we are introducing Checkpoint Control. Designed to help businesses ensure their COVID-secure guidelines are being followed before staff enter a site.” Designed to help businesses ensure their COVID-secure guidelines are being followed before staff enter a site" The Checkpoint Control functionality follows on from Paxton’s successful introduction of Net2 Occupancy Management and integration with thermal scanning hardware. Both were released for Net2 in July 2020. These features work simply and seamlessly together to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 around populated buildings. Temporary access levels Jeremy Allison further explains “Net2 Checkpoint Control allows a site to assign temporary access levels to one or more users that will remain in place until they have either been manually validated or badged through a specific door. This allows Net2 system administrators to ensure all staff and visitors pass through a designated checkpoint at a frequency that can be configured to suit the business requirements." "It also offers the flexibility to split staff between multiple checkpoints to help maintain social distancing and not overrun an area”. Access permissions feature Checkpoint Control works in just two simple steps: Step 1: System Setup Specific doors or areas of a building are designated as checkpoints, such as the main entrance or reception. End users are then given access to that checkpoint using their normal access token, with the limited access point managed via the access permissions feature within the Net2 software. Step 2: A manual or automated verification takes place to validate further site access Access can be verified manually in person or by using technology to support automated validation. The automated process works by identifying a person via their access credentials, which can then be followed by a thermal scan to further increase protection against the spread of Coronavirus. Once identity, and where relevant, an individual’s health and well-being has been approved, the checkpoint will validate and grant further building access. Virtual traffic lights Paxton has produced an on-demand webinar called the definitive guide to COVID-secure buildings Net2 v6.05 also includes new functionality to further enhance the Net2 Occupancy Management feature. New virtual traffic lights can be used on screens to indicate occupancy levels with no need for integrated traffic light hardware. This will further support social distancing by informing the end user of whether the current occupancy of the area they are about to enter is safe for them to do so, working alongside Checkpoint Control to reduce bottlenecks and overcrowding. Occupancy Management override is also included in this new update. Should there be an emergency, this functionality allows selected people to enter an area that is at capacity, such as a first aider or senior manager. Checkpoint Control and the new additions to Occupancy Management functionality are available exclusively with Net2 Pro software. In conjunction with the updates, Paxton has produced an on-demand webinar called the definitive guide to COVID-secure buildings. This is an ideal starting point for installers looking to understand more about social distancing and COVID-secure guidelines.

Paxton provides free COVID-secure live webinars to be viewed anytime, anywhere
Paxton provides free COVID-secure live webinars to be viewed anytime, anywhere

Paxton is pleased to announce that their free COVID-secure live webinars are now available on demand - they can be watched anywhere, anytime at one’s convenience. In June, Paxton took the initiative to create a no-nonsense webinar based on CDC and OSHA guidelines. Paxton’s mission is to continually provide their installers with educational videos that help them reduce the risk of infection, work safely, and prepare them with the right tools to make their end user buildings more COVID-secure. On-demand webinar In addition to the on-demand webinar, Paxton has developed a dedicated COVID-secure resource page on their website to further support their installers. This page provides a centralised and easy to use platform where installers can build their knowledge and understanding through new literature, training tutorial videos, application notes and details of product integrations. Gareth O’Hara, Paxton’s Chief Sales Officer explains: “Like many installers right now, we recognise we have an important role to play in helping companies across the country update their buildings and reopen their businesses safely and securely to support the economy.” Planning future projects The online guide gives installers viewing flexibility and the potential to re-watch when needed Many installers are now retuning to site and planning future projects. This has led Paxton to create convenient and informative content on demand. The online guide gives installers viewing flexibility and the potential to re-watch when needed. The Paxton team believes this is beneficial and will consistently publish updates as changes occur to support their valued installers by helping them move forward and plan for the time ahead. Paxton’s Divisional Director of Communications Katie Millis-Ward said: “Our aim is to make life easier for our installers and customers as the situation changes. Making the tutorials on demand and opening up a dedicated area of our website gives them the tools they need when they need them. We are dedicated to developing products and content that really help make buildings and people safer during this time.” Touch-based devices Subjects covered in the free 30-minute tutorial include: Contactless access control – hygienic access for entry and exit, move away from touch-based devices Flexible access permissions – meet social distancing guidelines, limit high traffic and apply a one-way flow of movement NEW in Net2: Occupancy management – group visitors and staff to designated areas as well as monitor people numbers with alerts to support social distancing Thermal scanning – protect staff by using thermal cameras and facial recognition to ensure health & wellbeing, by identifying people that could be at risk, quickly and efficiently Since launching the webinar, Paxton has seen over 1,300 installers participate and the numbers continue to rise. Colin Todd the owner of MMV Contracting Ltd said: “Already Paxton’s Net2 could do so much to help with on-site controls, and now with the new occupancy feature, Paxton’s Net2 can do so much more.”

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