Electronic locking devices - Expert commentary

How to choose the right wireless access control locks
How to choose the right wireless access control locks

The basic principles of access control are well established: only authorised people should have access to secure areas, only at times that can be defined in advance, and only within a system that can identify exactly who went where, and when. Traditional mechanical lock-and-key systems cannot accomplish this — at least, not without loading a huge admin burden onto security staff. But modern, electronic wireless access control has the flexibility to achieve it. What criteria determine the right sort of access control for your organisation? It makes sense to assess what is desirable against what is affordable or available in the electronic access control market today. Asking yourself these 5 questions will lead to a wise investment in the right technology: Wireless locks like Aperio work seamlessly with existing systems from over 100 different access control providersDo you want to extend your existing system, or begin from scratch? You are not stuck with locks chosen by a previous management team. Security needs change. Wireless locks like Aperio, for example, work seamlessly with existing systems from over 100 different access control providers, integrated online or offline. You will save time and money extending your current system with a technology like Aperio and users can continue with their existing credentials. Going forward, it makes sense to choose locks built using open architecture, for added flexibility and to future-proof your next investment. Who are the site users and what kind of credentials suit their needs? In many industries, access to premises is required by permanent staff and short-term contractors: your access system needs to be flexible. Different systems offer credentials stored on cards and fobs, or on programmable, battery-powered keys. For example, the new Openow app for SMARTair wireless locking converts a user’s smartphone into a virtual key. You issue and revoke user keys using the intuitive software, an efficient, flexible mobile management solution. What is the structure of the site (or sites) you protect? You will need different locks for high-traffic and low-traffic doors, indoor and outdoor use. Almost everywhere, wireless locks are much easier to install and to maintain than traditional wired magnetic locks — and more cost-effective to run. Certified wireless security locks provide extra protection for sensitive areas needing stringent standards. If you have a mobile workforce or manage dispersed sites, consider the credential management practicalities. For example, programmable keys that are easy to update with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app — like ASSA ABLOY’s CLIQ Connect solution — will save your staff time and money. For outdoor access points, you will need gate locks or padlocks certified for operation in extreme conditions Do you want to secure more than just doors? Some wireless systems have locks for cabinets, machines, windows and even server racks (handy if you want an extra layer of control over co-located servers). There will be workflow advantages in monitoring these ‘non-doors’ — medicine stores, for example, or car parks or lifts — from the same admin interface as your doors. Site users will appreciate the convenience of carrying one credential for every access need. For outdoor access points, you will need gate locks or padlocks certified for operation in extreme conditions. For example, CLIQ mechatronic padlocks are currently deployed outdoors at utility sites in Scandinavia and supermarkets in East Africa. Do you need real-time capabilities? Choose an Online system and you can manage and amend access control doors at any time and from anywhere, using the admin software. You can monitor sensitive areas like medicine stores remotely and in real time, and can revoke access rights if a user credential gets lost. In an emergency, remote locking or unlocking of an entrance could be critical. Aperio wireless locks, for example, are integrated with online electronic access and real-time monitoring systems in hospitals, manufacturing plants and student halls of residence. With some systems, including SMARTair, you can combine ‘Update on Card’ and Online updating for different doors within the same installation. The CLIQ Connect app and programmable keys make real-time control over remote sites or teams possible. Wireless access control offers a compelling mix of audit compliance, easy installation, cost efficiency, and seamless integration. It makes life easier for security managers, and is deployed in premises as diverse as power plants and co-working spaces; museums and care homes; banks, schools and skyscrapers.

Video surveillance technologies evolve to meet data and cybersecurity challenges
Video surveillance technologies evolve to meet data and cybersecurity challenges

The Internet of Things (IoT) is having a significant and ever-changing impact on the way we view video security. Today, cameras are expected to be so much more than devices with which to simply capture images; they need to be far smarter than that. These future-facing cameras are becoming an integral part of the vast digital connectivity infrastructure, delivering a parallel performance as intelligent sensors with the ability to extract the kind of invaluable data that helps businesses make improvements in the area of video security, and beyond. However, as the list of possibilities grows, so too does the risk of unauthorised access by cybercriminals. We should all be aware that a single weak link in a communications infrastructure can give hackers access to sensitive data. That’s the bad news. Safeguarding data and utilising deep learning The good news is cybercrime can be avoided by employing a data security system that’s completely effective from end-to-end. One technological advancement that the trend-spotters are predicting will become part of the video security vocabulary is ‘deep learning’ Once this level of safeguarding is in place you can begin to confidently explore the technologies and trends happening now, and those on the horizon. So, what will be having an influence on surveillance in 2018? Well, according to IHS Markit, one technological advancement that the trend-spotters are predicting will become part of the video security vocabulary is ‘deep learning’, which uses algorithms to produce multiple layers of information from the same piece of data, therefore emulating the way the human brain absorbs innumerable details every second. In Europe, GDPR compliance will also be a big talking point as new principles for video surveillance data collection, use limitation, security safeguards, individual participation and accountability are introduced. And, as the popularity – and misuse – of drones continues to rise, the recent developments in drone detection technology will be particularly welcomed by those whose primary concern relates to large areas, such as airport perimeter security. The future of 'smart' video analytics An important feature of today’s intelligent cameras is the ability to provide smart video analytics. The Bosch ‘i’ series, for example, offers a choice of formats – Essential Video Analytics and Intelligent Video Analytics. Essential Video Analytics is geared toward regular applications such as small and medium businesses looking to support business intelligence (e.g. inter-network data transfer), large retail stores and commercial buildings for advanced intrusion detection, enforcing health and safety regulations (no-parking zones or detecting blocked emergency exits) and analysing consumer behaviour. The camera-based, real-time processing can also be used to detect discarded objects, issue loitering alarms and detect people or objects entering a pre-defined field. Intelligent Video Analytics provides additional capabilities. It is designed for demanding environments and mission-critical applications, such as the perimeter protection of airports, critical infrastructures and government buildings, border patrol, ship-tracking and traffic-monitoring (e.g. wrong-way detection, traffic-counts and monitoring roadsides for parked cars: all vital video security solutions). An important feature of today’s intelligent cameras is the ability to provide smart video analytics Intelligent Video Analytics can also differentiate between genuine security events and known false triggers, such as challenging environments created by snow, wind (moving trees), rain, hail, and water reflections. For more expansive areas, like an airport perimeter fence, the system has the range and capability to provide analysis over large distances. And, if a moving camera is employed, it is also possible to capture data on objects in transit when used in conjunction with the Intelligent Tracking feature. For roadside use, Intelligent Video Analytics systems, such as the Bosch MIC IP range, are resistant to vibrations and can still operate in extreme weather conditions, continuing to detect objects in heavy rain or snow.  Evolving cameras past surveillance It’s becoming ever clearer that the IoT is transforming the security camera from a device that simply captures images, into an intelligent sensor that plays an integral role in gathering the kind of vital business data that can be used to improve commercial operations in areas beyond security. For example, cities are transitioning into smart cities. The capabilities of an intelligent camera extend to the interaction and sharing of information with other devices (only those you have appointed) With intelligent video security cameras at the core of an urban infrastructure smart data can be collected to optimise energy consumption via smart city lighting that responds to crowd detection and movement. Cameras can also be used to improve public transport by monitoring punctuality and traffic flow based on queue lengths, with the ability to control traffic lights an option should a situation require it. As the urban sprawl continues and this infrastructure grows, the need for more knowledge of its use becomes more essential, necessitating the monitoring technology developed for use by human operators to evolve into smart sensing technology, that no longer just provides video feeds, but also uses intelligent analytics and sophisticated support systems. These systems filter out irrelevant sensor data and present only meaningful events, complete with all relevant contextual data to operators to aid their decision-making. Expanding the video security camera network Today, video analytics technology has tangible benefits for human operator surveillance, and delivers KPIs that are highly relevant to transport operators, planners and city authorities. As an existing infrastructure, a video security camera network can be improved and expanded by installing additional applications rather than replaced. From a business perspective, that means greater value from a limited investment. Thereafter, the capabilities of an intelligent camera extend to the interaction and sharing of information with other devices (only those you have appointed), image and data interpretation, and the ability to perform a variety of tasks independently to optimise both your safety and business requirements. The fact is, cameras see more than sensors. Sounds obvious, but a conventional sensor will only trigger an alarm when movement is detected, whereas a camera can also provide the associated image and information like object direction, size, colour, speed or type, and use time stamps to provide historical information regarding a specific location or event. Based on this evidence, the video security camera of today is more than ready for the challenges of tomorrow.

How smart access control will improve rental and landlord security
How smart access control will improve rental and landlord security

Until recently, the convenience and security of “smart” electronic locks have been exclusively enjoyed by owners of homes, with renters largely being left out in the cold. Locked out by the temporary nature of their living arrangement, and not allowed to make structural changes to their temporary abodes, these renters have been unable to enjoy the many benefits of these connected devices. But today, smart lock capabilities are becoming available to renters and rental property owners, thanks in large part to new smart lock conversion products that let renters add smart capabilities without having to remove or alter their original lock hardware.Altering the functionality and aesthetics of your home exterior and interior is entirely your call as a homeowner, but it's more difficult for renters Rising influence of smart locks  According to a Nov. 2017 Research and Markets report, “The smart lock market is expected to reach USD 2.67 Billion by 2023 from USD 1.28 Billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 13.11% between 2017 and 2023. Rising adoption of smartphones and other connected devices acts as a driver for the growth of the smart lock market. Moreover, growing security and safety concerns and enhanced features compared with traditional lock systems also drive the growth of this market.” Until recently, the growth in this market has been created by homeowner purchases, and for obvious reasons. When you’re a homeowner you can update your home however you want. Want to swap out your locks, lighting, thermostats, or add an entire home automation suite of devices?  Go for it. Altering the functionality and aesthetics of your home exterior and interior is entirely your call. But when you’re renting a property that someone else owns, an entirely different set of rules applies. When apartment dwellers make any physical alterations to their unit, they may be in danger of violating their lease agreement, upsetting their landlord, and ultimately losing their security deposit. Utilising smart lock conversion kits There are flexible and affordable DIY products that let you add smart technology to your rented home while still playing within the rental rules Fortunately, today there are flexible and affordable DIY products that let you add smart technology to your rented home while still playing within the rental rules. Smart lock conversion kits can replace the interior half of an existing lock without changing the exterior. In so doing, they quickly transform these mechanical locks into smart locks. And, just as with all smart locks, they can do it without requiring any screwing into walls or wiring. Other products can maintain the style of the existing front door hardware and allow the renter to preserve the exterior and match to an existing handle set. This is certain to please landlords and renters who want to maintain a consistent look. According to a “Smart Lock Audience Segmentation Study” produced by Kwikset, “The ability to work with an existing deadbolt ranks with renters as the number one attribute desired for the smart lock” (tied with auto-locking at 61%). These conversion kits address this desire while providing apartment dwellers and other renters with all the benefits of smart locks previously enjoyed solely by homeowners. Renters can control their electronic locks by using a web-enabled device, meaning they can use their smartphone to lock and unlock their home Remote access for lock administrators Renters can now access the greater access control of smart locks. With a partner home automation hub, renters can control their electronic locks by using a web-enabled device, meaning they can use their smartphone to lock and unlock their home from any location, inside the home or from miles away. According to that same study, locking and unlocking the smart lock while away from home was important to 43% of renter respondents. The smart lock can become the most convenient place for users to control their entire home automation system In combination with any one of dozens of home automation hubs, converted smart locks can also become a connected part of a complete home automation system, including lighting, heating, A/V, and more. They can even bring control of an apartment’s home automation system directly to the front door. And when a home control or security device is located at the front door, it can very easily become part of a renter’s routine. The smart lock can become the most convenient place for users to control their entire home automation system. Modernising physical key security  Another huge plus that renters can enjoy with smart locks is that they can put away their apartment key. Not only can they now use their smart phone to enter their home, but they can also remotely unlock the door for any vendor or anyone else that they want to allow access to their home. Information is power, and apartment dwellers can become much more powerful with smart locks. Renters can now have access to an information audit trail of whether a door has been locked and unlocked, and when this took place.Information is power, and apartment dwellers can become much more powerful with smart locks They can receive notification via text message of when their teen arrived home safely, or when the plumbers came and when they left.With these new smart lock conversion kits, bringing smart lock technology along to a new dwelling. Of course, renters don’t necessarily stay in their apartment forever. But that doesn’t mean they have to give up the benefits of their smart security system. Who said you can’t take it with you? With these new smart lock conversion kits, bringing smart lock technology along to a new dwelling may be the easiest, most stress-free thing about the move. Smart lock benefits for landlords The benefits of smart locks and smart lock conversion kits are not limited to renters. People who own rental properties can also reap the benefits of the newest connected lock products. First, rental property owners can discover the joy of maintaining complete access control without managing dozens of keys. Fear of losing keys and having to constantly swap out hardware can become a thing of the past. Not only can renters now use their smart phone to enter their home, but they can also remotely unlock the door for anyone else that they want to allow access to their home With remote locking and unlocking controlled through a smartphone, tablet or internet-connected device, property owners no longer have to take the time to come to the property to physically hand off a key. Nor do they have to put a key in a storage locker, hide a key in a shrub (or use one of those fake key-hiding rocks). Frequent resident turnover?Rental property owners can still enter their property by using their own smart phone, or via the old fashioned way with a master key even with smart locks Owners don’t have to constantly be making new keys. Need to facilitate a repair?  Neither the owner nor the resident need to be at home to let the repair person inside. Tradition meets modernisation with smart locks Of course, having complete access control does not mean foregoing access to their property. Rental property owners can still enter their property by using their own smart phone, or via the old fashioned way with a master key. Perhaps even more important than the convenience is the peace of mind enjoyed by rental property owners, which comes from always knowing who is coming and going to and from their property, and when. Airbnb co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk, agrees. He told Lifehacker.com, “Whether it’s my Airbnb guest, house cleaner, or someone else, electronic locks make it easy to manage access to my house while I’m away at the office or traveling.” The information provided by the smart lock to their phones and tablets lets them monitor lock usage and lock status. No matter how far from their property they may be, owners will have an information trail of all the activity that revolves around their door lock. Protecting holiday homes These home automation devices can even allow rental property owners to charge a bit more for rent The vacation rental market can be highly competitive, especially in the most desirable vacation destinations. Smart locks, and other connected devices, can also give rental property owners a competitive advantage over other properties in the area. Offering potential guests the security and convenience of smart locks, smart thermostats, doorbell cameras, and connected lighting can be the difference maker in closing that rental deal. These home automation devices can even allow rental property owners to charge a bit more for rent. Whether you’re managing a vacation rental from afar, or actually using or living in a rental, the benefits of smart locks have never been easier to access. And with new smart lock conversion kits, this technology has never been easier and faster to install. What this means to smart lock dealers and integrators is that there’s a whole new market for home automation and connected security products, and a market of renters and rental property owners ready to make their rental units and their lives significantly “smarter.”