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Audio, video or keypad entry - Expert commentary

Smart access control is essential to the future of smart cities
Smart access control is essential to the future of smart cities

Throughout the UK there are many examples of smart city transformation, with key industries including transport, energy, water and waste becoming increasingly ‘smart’. A smart city is a one that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and resident welfare. Smart access is an important step forward in providing technologically advanced security management and access solutions to support the ambitions of smart cities and their respectively smart industries. Explaining smart access If we used the standard definition of smart, it would be to use technology to monitor, control and manage access, but the technology must be adapted to both the physical and management characteristics of smart cities. Smart access is an important step forward in providing advanced security management and access solutions to support the ambitions of smart cities For example, it would not make sense to install an iris biometric sensor at an isolated water storage tank, which is out in the open and may not even have electrical power. Nor would a permissions management system work, one that does not let you update permissions simply and easily and cannot be customised. With high volumes of people entering and exiting different areas of the city, it is important to be able to trace who has been where, when and for how long. Advanced software suites can provide access to all operations performed by users, including a complete audit trail. This information is often used by business owners or managers for audits, improvements or compliance. When initiating a new access control system it is important that the supplier and customer work together to understand: Who can enter a secure area Where in the building each individual has access to When an individual can enter a secure area How an individual will gain access to a secure area This information can be crucial in the event of a security breach, enabling investigators to find out who was the last known key holder in the building and what their movements were whilst there. Installing an electronic lock does not require electrical power or batteries, much less a connection to send information Modernising locks and keys Installing an electronic lock does not require electrical power or batteries, much less a connection to send information, which means that it can be installed on any door as you would a mechanical lock without maintenance requirements. Permissions are stored within an intelligent key. If you have authorisation for that lock, it will open. If you don’t, you won’t be allowed to enter and all of the activity carried out by the key will be recorded. You can update permissions from a computer or using an app on a mobile phone at the time of access, which will update the key's permissions via Bluetooth. This allows shortened validity periods, constrains movements to be in line with company access policy and removes travel and fixed authoriser costs. This then delivers increased flexibility and higher levels of security. Remote access control utilities Access rights can be set at any time and on any day, and if required can allow access on just one specific occasion Using an app improves access control by updating access rights in real time with the Bluetooth key. It also provides notification of lost keys, joint management of access schedules, protection of isolated workers and much more. Combined with new technological solutions, an app allows contextual information to be sent, such as on-site presence, duration of an operation, authorisations and reporting of anomalies. Access rights can be set at any time and on any day, and if required can allow access on just one specific occasion, for example to repair a failure. Access can be restricted to enable entry only during working hours, for example. Permissions can be granted for the amount of time required, which means that if permission is requested to access a site using a mobile app, the company should be able to access it, for example, in the next five minutes. Once this time has passed, the permission expires and, if a key is lost or it is stolen, they will not be able to access the site. The rules for granting permissions are infinite and easily customisable, and the system is very efficient when they are applied; as a result, the system is flexible and adapted to suit company processes and infrastructures. Using an app improves access control by updating access rights in real time with the Bluetooth key Finding applications to create solutions In many cases, companies themselves find new applications for the solution, such as the need to obtain access using two different keys simultaneously to prevent a lone worker from accessing a dangerous area. The software that manages access makes it smart. It can be used from a web-based access manager or through personalised software that is integrated within a company's existing software solution, to automatically include information, such as the employee's contractual status, occupational risk prevention and the existence of work orders. In some companies, the access management system will help to further improve service levels by integrating it with the customer information system, allowing to link it for instance with alarms managers, intrusion managers or HR processes. With over one million access points currently secured worldwide, this simple and flexible solution will play a strategic role in the future of security.

Why access control systems should accommodate older systems rather than replace them in 2018
Why access control systems should accommodate older systems rather than replace them in 2018

2017 saw an opportunity for the economy to have a strong stock market, which provided companies confidence to invest in and update their infrastructure. This included many replacing older access control systems and moving to more integrated solutions for better connectivity between all security-related systems. We anticipate commercial businesses to invest in infrastructure, which will include security systems and technologies. Each year there is an increase in random violent incidents, which in turn drives more awareness of the need for security. These factors will create opportunity across most, if not all, verticals.  Best-of-breed solutions The ability for access control to integrate with other critical systems will be more widely required. The ability to integrate with best-of-breed solutions will be increasingly important, especially given the fact that the majority of system users have existing technologies (video, intrusion, audio, etc.). Being able to have an access control software that has the flexibility to accommodate these systems without having to replace them is extremely valuable, and cost-saving to businesses and organisations. Open Options has had a very successful 2017, full of company and business growth. The company hired six additional team members to accommodate success in the marketplace and better serve their customers and dealer channel. From a product standpoint, Open Options released version 7 of their flagship DNA Fusion access control platform, and executed numerous technology integrations with industry leaders. In 2018, the company looks forward to continuing to provide cutting-edge access control solutions to their customers across all verticals.

Why scalable intelligent communications will be at the forefront in 2018
Why scalable intelligent communications will be at the forefront in 2018

During 2017, we witnessed as the end-user came to realise that an intercom can be a silo if not properly integrated in with access control, video management, and their existing VoIP-based systems as well as designing intelligibility into every device. We believe the next generation of communication in the Age of Voice has accelerated beyond anyone’s expectations, and we will begin to see more and more attention on highly intelligible, interoperable and scalable intelligent communications solutions protected by robust cyber-defensible shields. Clear and measurable tools Intelligent communications solutions will define a new standard for IP-based systems that are able to interoperate with existing and emerging systems Intelligent communications solutions will define a new standard for IP-based systems that are able to interoperate with existing and emerging systems such as access control, video, VoIP and messaging platforms. The winners in the commercial marketplace will design intelligibility into every device and provide clear and measurable tools for managing the performance of that device on IT’s network. We call these the “ilities”: Cyber Defensibility, High Availability, Maintainability, Reliability and Scalability. Zenitel continues to be seen by leading access control and video management companies as the preferred intelligent communications solutions provider that can interoperate within a 360-degree all-hazards risk and actionable response platform. Educating the end user When the end user or integrator is educated on how to evaluate communications solutions, or experienced the painful lessons around deploying less intelligible solutions, Zenitel becomes their solution of choice. In 2018, we hope to do the same for the VoIP channel, showing them not only how we interoperate with their current telephony solutions, but also how they can augment those solutions in new and compelling ways.

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