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Audio, video or keypad entry - Expert commentary

A secured entrance is the first defence against an active shooter
A secured entrance is the first defence against an active shooter

The statistics are staggering. The death tolls are rising. And those who now fear environments that were once thought to be safe zones like school campuses, factories, commercial businesses and government facilities, find themselves having to add the routine of active-shooter drills into their traditional fire drill protocols. The latest active shooter statistics released by the FBI earlier this year in their annual active-shooter report designated 27 events as active shooter incidents in 2018. The report reveals that 16 of the 27 incidents occurred in areas of commerce, seven incidents occurred in business environments, and five incidents occurred in education environments. Deadly active-shooter events Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years, including Sutherland Springs church, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the San Bernardino regional center, the Walmart in El Paso and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which have all occurred since 2015. Although these incidents occurred in facilities with designated entry points common to churches, schools and businesses, the two most deadly active-shooter events since 2015 were the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and the Pulse nightclub killings in Orlando where 49 perished. As Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in San Antonio, Texas, said during a news conference following the August 31 mass shooting in Odessa, Texas that claimed seven lives: “We are now at almost every two weeks seeing an active shooter in this country." Active shooter incidents Between December 2000 and December 2018, the FBI’s distribution of active shooter incidents by location looks like this: Businesses Open to Pedestrian Traffic (74) Businesses Closed to Pedestrian Traffic (43) K-12 Schools (39) Institutions of Higher Learning (16) Non-Military Government Properties (28) Military Properties—Restricted (5) Healthcare Facilities (11) Houses of Worship (10) Private Properties (12) Malls (6) What the majority of these venues have in common is they all have a front entrance or chokepoint for anyone entering the facilities, which is why any active-shooter plan must include a strategy to secure that entry point. Situational awareness in perimeter and door security Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal" According to Paul Franco, an A&E with more than 28 years of experience as a consultant and systems integrator focusing on schools, healthcare and large public and private facilities, that while active shooter incidents continue to rise, the residual effect has been an increase in situational awareness in perimeter and door security. “Certainly, protecting people and assets is the number one goal of all our clients. There are multiple considerations in facilities like K-12 and Healthcare. Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal. But a critical consideration to emphasise to your client is getting that person out of your facility and not creating a more dangerous situation by locking the person in your facility,” says Franco. High-security turnstiles “Schools today are creating a space for vetting visitors prior to allowing access into the main facility. Using technology properly like high-security turnstiles offer great benefits in existing schools where space constraints and renovation costs can be impractical.” What steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe As a consultant/integrator, when discussions are had with a client that has a facility in a public space like a corporate building, government centre or industrial facility, what steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe and can protect its people and assets? For Frank Pisciotta, President and CEO of Business Protection Specialists, Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, a fundamental element of his security strategy is making appropriate recommendations that are broad-based and proactive. Properly identifying the adversaries “As a consultant, my recommendations must include properly identifying the adversaries who may show up at a client’s door, the likelihood of that event occurring, the consequences of that event occurring, determining if there are tripwires that can be set so an organisation can move their line of defence away from the door, educating employees to report potential threats and creating real-time actionable plans to respond to threats. A more reactionary posture might include such thing as target hardening such as ballistic resistant materials at entry access points to a facility,” Pisciotta says. Veteran consultant David Aggleton of Aggleton & Associates of Mission Viejo, California recommends that clients compartmentalise their higher security areas for limited access by adding multiple credential controls (card + keypad + biometric), along with ‘positive’ access systems that inhibit tailgating/piggybacking such as secure turnstiles, revolving door and mantrap if your entrances and security needs meet the required space and access throughput rates. Integrated solution of electronic access control Defining a single point of entry in some public facilities is becoming the new standard of care according to many A&Es and security consultants, especially in a school environment. This approach allows a concerted effort when it comes to staffing, visitor monitoring and an integrated technology solution. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach A proactive stance to securing a door entryway will use an integrated solution of electronic access control, turnstiles, revolving doors and mantraps that can substantially improve a facility’s security profile. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach, so it’s not a matter of if there will be a next active shooter tragedy, it’s only a matter of where. Enhancing access control assurance “There is no easy answer to this question,” says Pisciotta referring to how a secured entrance can deter an active shooter. “There have been at least two high-profile incidents of adversaries shooting their way into a facility through access control barriers. So, if the threat so dictates, a ballistic resistant might be required.” He concludes: “There is obviously no question that turnstiles, revolving doors and man traps enhance access control assurance. Electronic access control is easy to integrate with these devices and providing that credentials are secure, approval processes are in place, change management is properly managed and the appropriate auditing measures in place, access control objectives can be met.”

Are mobile credentials more secure than smart cards?
Are mobile credentials more secure than smart cards?

For the past several years, there has been a focus by integrators and customers to assure that their card-based access control systems are secure. To give businesses an extra incentive to meet their cybersecurity threats, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to hold the business community responsible for failing to implement good cybersecurity practices and is now filing lawsuits against those that don't. For instance, the FTC filed a lawsuit against D-Link and its U.S. subsidiary, alleging that it used inadequate safeguards on its wireless routers and IP cameras that left them vulnerable to hackers.Many companies perceive that they are safer with a card but, if done correctly, the mobile can be a far more secure option  Now, as companies are learning how to protect card-based systems, such as their access control solutions, along comes mobile access credentials and their readers which use smart phones instead of cards as the vehicle for carrying identification information. Many companies perceive that they are safer with a card but, if done correctly, the mobile can be a far more secure option with many more features to be leveraged. Handsets deliver biometric capture and comparison as well as an array of communication capabilities from cellular and Wi-Fi to Bluetooth LE and NFC. As far as security goes, the soft credential, by definition, is already a multi-factor solution. Types of access control authentication Access control authenticates you by following three things: Recognises something you have (RFID tag/card/key), Recognises something you know (PIN) or Recognises something you are (biometrics). Your smart phone has all three authentication parameters. This soft credential, by definition, is already a multi-factor solution. Your mobile credentials remain protected behind a smart phone's security parameters, such as biometrics and PINs. Organisations want to use smart phones in their upcoming access control implementations Once a biometric, PIN or password is entered to access the phone, the user automatically has set up 2-factor access control verification - what you know and what you have or what you have and a second form of what you have.                 To emphasise, one cannot have access to the credential without having access to the phone. If the phone doesn’t work, the credential doesn’t work. The credential operates just like any other app on the phone. The phone must be “on and unlocked.” These two factors – availability and built-in multi-factor verification – are why organisations want to use smart phones in their upcoming access control implementations. Smart phone access control is secure Plus, once a mobile credential is installed on a smart phone, it cannot be re-installed on another smart phone. You can think of a soft credential as being securely linked to a specific smart phone. Similar to a card, if a smart phone is lost, damaged or stolen, the process should be the same as with a traditional physical access credential. It should be immediately deactivated in the access control management software - with a new credential issued as a replacement. Your mobile credentials remain protected behind a smart phone's security parameters, such as biometrics and PINs Leading readers additionally use AES encryption when transferring data. Since the Certified Common Criteria EAS5+ Computer Interface Standard provides increased hardware cybersecurity, these readers resist skimming, eavesdropping and replay attacks.            When the new mobile system leverages the Security Industry Association's (SIA) Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), it also will interface easily with control panels or other security management systems, fostering interoperability among security devices.All that should be needed to activate newer systems is simply the phone number of the smart phone Likewise, new soft systems do not require the disclosure of any sensitive end-user personal data. All that should be needed to activate newer systems is simply the phone number of the smart phone. Bluetooth and NFC the safer options Bottom line - both Bluetooth and NFC credentials are safer than hard credentials. Read range difference yields a very practical result from a security aspect. First of all, when it comes to cybersecurity, there are advantages to a closer read range. NFC eliminates any chances of having the smart phone unknowingly getting read such as can happen with a longer read range. There are also those applications where multiple access readers are installed very near to one-another due to many doors being close. One reader could open multiple doors simultaneously. The shorter read range or tap of an NFC enabled device would stop such problems. However, with this said in defence of NFC, it must also be understood that Bluetooth-enabled readers can provide various read ranges, including those of no longer than a tap as well. One needs to understand that there are also advantages to a longer reader range capability. Since NFC readers have such a short and limited read range, they must be mounted on the unsecure side of the door and encounter all the problems such exposure can breed. Conversely, Bluetooth readers mount on the secure sides of doors and can be kept protected out of sight. Aging systems could cause problems Research shows that Bluetooth enabled smart phones are continuing to expand in use to the point where those not having them are already the exceptions With that said, be aware. Some older Bluetooth-enabled systems force the user to register themselves and their integrators for every application. Door access – register. Parking access – register again. Data access – register again, etc. Newer solutions provide an easier way to distribute credentials with features that allow the user to register only once and need no other portal accounts or activation features. By removing these additional information disclosures, vendors have eliminated privacy concerns that have been slowing down acceptance of mobile access systems. In addition, you don’t want hackers listening to your Bluetooth transmissions, replaying them and getting into your building, so make very sure that the system is immunised against such replays. That’s simple to do. Your manufacturer will show you which system will be best for each application. Research shows that Bluetooth enabled smart phones are continuing to expand in use to the point where those not having them are already the exceptions. They are unquestionably going to be a major component in physical and logical access control. Gartner suggests that, by 2020, 20 percent of organisations will use mobile credentials for physical access in place of traditional ID cards. Let’s rephrase that last sentence. In less than 18 months, one-fifth of all organisations will use the smart phone as the focal point of their electronic access control systems. Not proximity. Not smart cards. Phones!

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.

Latest Urmet Domus Communication and Security UK Ltd news

Urmet UK announces release of its next-gen line of Alpha video door entry panels for 2Voice systems
Urmet UK announces release of its next-gen line of Alpha video door entry panels for 2Voice systems

Urmet is proud to present Alpha, a new line of modular entry panels for 2Voice systems; quick to install and easy to programme. Alpha modular entry panels The Alpha generation revolutionises the world of entry panels by developing an authentic icon of elegance, blending coated steel with methacrylate front plates to provide visual harmony and high resistance to UVA rays. The Alpha generation revolutionises the world of entry panels by developing an authentic icon of elegance In addition to its sleek contemporary design, Alpha offers maximum resistance to external agents such as water, dust and impact, with protection class IP55 and IK08. Furthermore, thanks to a high-performance wide-angle camera that complies with European standards, Alpha technology stands out for the exceptional quality of its sound and images. Easy configuration, seamless installation Configuration is also made as easy as possible with Alpha entry panels which feature two levels of programming: basic and advanced. Additionally, the entry panels have been designed to offer a simple and fast installation experience. The clever design enables the installer to join modular elements together in a few steps, minimising the use of screwdrivers and consequently reducing the overall installation time. All connections between modules are carried out by flat cables, which are supplied with the units, thereby excluding local wiring. The Alpha generation of modular entry panels for 2Voice systems are truly revolutionary in their design. Once installed, they barely project at all from the wall, which clearly distinguishes them from all of the other modular entry panels currently available on the market, with the exception of only 12 mm for the flush-mounted version and 29 mm for the surface wall-mounted variant. Alpha meets every need in terms of performance, design and space. For this reason, a version featuring buttons on two rows is available, allowing twice as many names to be added to the same overall space, if required.

Award-winning Energy Manager app on Urmet Max Pro touchscreen
Award-winning Energy Manager app on Urmet Max Pro touchscreen

Video entry manufacturer Urmet’s Max Pro touchscreen is now available with the option for a pre-installed energy-monitoring app, thanks to a partnership with NetThings, an Internet of Things developer. The award-winning Energy Manager app can now be viewed on the Max Pro touchscreen, providing residential and small business occupants with energy use and cost information on the same screen as their video door entry system. This is all achieved using the Energy Manager base unit’s built-in web server and WiFi access point, with no requirement for local network access or mobile infrastructure.  Controlling heating and building functions Energy Manager is a leading system for compliance with the ENE3 energy display requirement under the Code for Sustainable Homes. Capable of monitoring all utilities, including electricity and heat, it is worth two ‘code credits’ under the regulations. Urmet’s Max Pro touchscreen enables architects and developers to reduce the number of control devices to one multi-functional touchscreen The NetThings platform’s other features, such as transmission of energy data to billing systems, or nano-BEMS functionality for controlling heating and other building functions, are all potentially available from the base unit. Multi-functional Max Pro touchscreen Urmet’s Max Pro touchscreen enables architects and developers to reduce the number of control devices to one multi-functional touchscreen. The screen is powered by Android, allowing seamless integration of apps from third parties and enabling specifiers to choose their smart home control partners for heating, cooling, lighting, blinds and energy display – without being tied to one brand. “NetThings are pleased to partner with Urmet to introduce our Energy Manager monitoring capability to their Max Pro display which provides a more integrated experience to the occupants,” said Terry Hawksby, Housing Business Director at NetThings. “We are delighted to have teamed up with NetThings’s cutting-edge and intuitive energy management technology, adding to the growing range of automation and monitoring options available with our Max Pro touchscreen,” added Mark Hagger, Sales Director at Urmet UK.

Urmet provides integrated access control system for London parkland development
Urmet provides integrated access control system for London parkland development

Nationwide house-builder, Redrow PLC, has chosen Urmet’s IPervoice IP door entry system for Colindale Gardens, a large mixed-use parkland development of residential units and commercial premises covering 46 acres in north-west London. Urmet has already supplied its open-platform solution to an initial stage of over 300 apartments in what will ultimately be a community of 2,900 new homes to be completed by 2025. Residents will also benefit from Urmet’s access control system, which is an integral part of the installation. IP PoE entry panels Urmet’s Elekta steel and Elekta glass IP PoE entry panels were selected by Redrow and were fitted at entrance points in the initial phases. Visitors will use the panels to communicate with residents and the concierge. The panels feature a 3.5-inch colour display and enable the recording of both audio and video messages if no one is at home. When completed, there will be 24 blocks of apartments and townhouses within the landscaped gardens. The site is set in extensive grounds and the panels provide a valuable feature as the display is able to show the visitor a route map to the selected residence. Urmet’s IPervoice also combines door entry with access control. At Colindale, the Elekta panels feature integrated Wiegand 13.56 MHz RFID proximity readers, which allow entry to residents and staff on presentation of a key fob or card. Switchboard management software Redrow has also specified Urmet’s switchboard software, which allows concierges to manage calls, receive and create alarms, and send messages on a global, group or individual basis. The software simplifies these functions by presenting concierges with a simple-to-use screen menu, giving them awareness of the whole site, which contributes to overall resident safety. As the development progresses, the installers will be able to move the switchboard management software from one building to another, thereby delivering considerable cost savings for the developer. Using an IP-based system such as Urmet's IPervoice enables multiple apartment blocks to operate from a single software platform on a site-wide network. MAX IP Android-powered touchscreens Redrow also specified a requirement that the property management software should be able to administer resident services. The respective features of the door entry system and property management software were compared to see how this would be made possible. By using the Max Pro IP touchscreen monitor, Urmet was able to combine both services on one platform. The Max Pro IP touchscreen is powered by Android and allows Urmet to work with other manufacturers installing third-party apps on the device. "Administrative staff have a seamless solution with one point of management andone front-end software set" Urmet’s MAX IP Android-powered touchscreens have been installed in each apartment. This is a seven-inch tablet-style device that employs the same swipe movements as a smartphone. The MAX IP has a 2-megapixel camera and a 1024x600 pixel 16:9 screen. App-driven integrated unified solutions Mark Hagger, Urmet’s Sales & Marketing Director, said, “Tablets and smartphones with multiple apps are in use every day, which makes the Max Pro Android environment familiar to residents. Redrow understood that app-based technology could help simplify a number of the resident services it wanted to achieve. It’s exciting to work with developers who are leading the demand for resident services such as video entry, alongside parcel and facility management and who are willing to quickly adopt innovative manufacturers such as Urmet, who invest in delivering technology solutions.” He continued, “Having truly integrated door entry and access control, plus the switchboard units at Colindale Gardens, means we can make efficient use of the network. Administrative staff have a seamless solution with one point of management and one front-end software set. By providing residents with a touchscreen device that works like a tablet, we have achieved the aim of providing a product that is intuitive from day one.” Due for completion in 2025, the project will eventually encompass 24 blocks of apartments, townhouses, a health centre, school and neighbourhood centre. Architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios have designed buildings that feature mainly brick elevations, with some of the houses built as three-storey terraced structures. Residents will benefit from walkways, cycle paths, indoor and outdoor gyms, fitness trails, cafés, retail spaces and a four-acre central park.

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