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How schools can make outdoor learning safe and secure
How schools can make outdoor learning safe and secure

Schools were never designed and built with social distancing in mind. So it’s perhaps not surprising that as children returned to schools for the autumn term this year, the prospect of outdoor classes and assemblies was mooted in the media and by the Government. Many in the education sector are making the case that, should there be further COVID-19 outbreaks, in the coming months, it would be better to utilise outside space, rather than resort to closing schools. In the COVID-19 era, head teachers are considering taking learning and large gatherings, such as assemblies outdoors, when possible. Managing ‘class bubbles’, hygiene and ventilation While Dr. Yvonne Doyle, the Medical Director of Public Health England (PHE) has publicly reassured parents that schools are not the ‘drivers’ or ‘hubs’ of COVID-19-19 infection in communities, there is a lot of pressure on school leaders to manage ‘class bubbles’, extra cleaning and hygiene, ventilation, and COVID-19 testing, to protect families and staff. It’s a logical step to switch, in certain circumstances, to outdoor activities where fresh air is on tap, and social distancing is far easier to manage. Specially built outdoor classrooms Across the school and nursery sector, there’s ongoing investment in specially built outdoor classrooms Across the school and nursery sector, there’s ongoing investment in specially built outdoor classrooms, which had been growing in popularity, even before the pandemic. These facilities offer numerous benefits as an extension of existing learning spaces and provide children the opportunity for hands-on learning, beyond a stuffy classroom. However, if outdoor spaces are routinely called upon as part of COVID-19 contingency planning, how can schools ensure that their outdoor classrooms and wider areas are secure, robust, and fit for purpose? When specifying outdoor classrooms and learning spaces, it’s essential to take into account the well-being of the students and staff, who will use them, noise pollution and acoustics. Most importantly, education managers need to ensure the surrounding area is secured and adequately protected from threats, including terrorism. Perimeter security measures for schools How can schools and nurseries secure their perimeters, so that outdoor learning is totally safe for all? A starting point is to seek out architects and suppliers, who have a good understanding of security standards. Worryingly, Jacksons Fencing’s research recently found that only one-third of architects are seeing both LPS 1175 and the UK police initiative, Secured by Design (SBD) physical security standards, specified for schools. This highlights a lost opportunity for architects to propose solutions that are appropriate to the level of risk and needs of the school, without turning the site into an unwelcoming fortress. Helping schools identify specific security needs Head teachers would be wise to work with architects, who not only know the latest security standards inside and out, but are also are willing to play a more advisory role, helping the school identify exactly what is needed. Head teachers should prioritise solutions appropriate to their site’s specific risks It’s also vital that architects don’t simply replace existing fencing and gates, with the same security systems that have been in place for years. Instead, they will need to meet changing needs and risks. Our research finds that teachers often report issues, with the school perimeter and gates, from being climbed over (28%) and causing injury, to gates not locking properly (10%). Head teachers should prioritise solutions appropriate to their site’s specific risks, which sometimes require altering of existing measures. School fencing is an important aspect of any education site. As well as defining its boundary and making a visual distinction between public and private property, the fencing and gates that surround and secure a school, will typically meet a wide variety of other important criteria, including preventing unauthorised entry to the grounds, protecting pupils, staff, and visitors from accidents and injury, deterring theft and anti-social behaviour, and reducing the risk of malicious damage, and acts of terrorism. Welded mesh panels for perimeter fencing Popular options for schools include welded mesh panels for perimeter fencing or sports areas, and railing systems to act as demarcation, in order to control foot and car traffic. Within the outlying boundary, barriers, bollards and parking posts will keep pedestrians, and vehicles safe from each other, while timber fencing and gates can be designed to control the flow of people, around the grounds and reduce the areas, where students can be hidden from view. Automated gates and access control Perimeter fencing must be complemented with safe entrances and exits for vehicles and pedestrians. Every school has unique entry-control requirements, determined by factors, such as size, location and the local environment. These needs influence the decisions you make, when preparing technical specifications for school security gates. Do you require gates to be steel or timber, manual or automated, single or double leaf? Specialist suppliers will be in the best position to offer inputs on school gates, which typically need to offer solid security and durability, with a welcoming aesthetic. Specifying access control system When specifying a school access system, it’s important to consider the areas of the school When specifying a school access system, it’s important to consider the areas of the school, such as sports fields, car parks, and children’s play and learning areas, and whether it requires playground segregation. Selected gates should meet the design of the fencing, to create a secure perimeter with no weak points, with automated gates conforming to all current safety regulations. . Noise pollution can be a problem as well, including noise coming in or leaving the school in residential areas. If more teaching is to be carried out outside, it’s worth considering acoustic barriers to reduce noise in and around the school. Timber acoustic barriers for security and privacy Timber acoustic barriers offer security and privacy, and can reduce noise levels, by as much as 32 decibels (in laboratory conditions), so are ideal for city centre schools or those located close to busy highways. There are many ways to build an outdoor classroom. Timber products can help to create a welcoming environment, such as wooden shelters, pergolas, fencing, and decking. Always check that high quality timber, ideally guaranteed for 25 years against rot and insect attack, is being used to provide an attractive, cost-effective, safe and sustainable solution, for all weather conditions. DBS approved installers And of course, installers must be DBS approved, so that they can install outdoor classrooms, during school holidays, or within term time, with minimal disruption. The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on schools and learning. While nobody wants to think of fresh outbreaks of the infection, or any other virus, installing an outdoor classroom made from high-quality, long-lasting materials is a great way to future-proof school learning and ensure safety, and preparedness. Putting extra thought and care into the security angle will provide schools with decades of protection against a host of unforeseen events.

What about electronic door locks with remote control?
What about electronic door locks with remote control?

Most consumers are enjoying the convenience brought by electronic locks. With the existence of electronic locks, people no longer need to be restricted by keys. There are a variety of unlocking methods and more convenient remote control unlocking options. Suppose, you are going on vacation, and with the presence of an electronic lock, you can easily enter your house with your babysitter, without a spare key. Of course, not only smart homes, but also some infrastructure and commercial buildings are enjoying the convenience, brought by electronic locks. Passive electronic lock access control system This article will introduce a smart electronic lock used in the infrastructure industry, named passive electronic lock access control system. In traditional manufacturing, mechanical locks are commonly used in all walks of life, to protect the safety of property and facilities. However, the mechanical lock has caused many practical problems in the long-term application. For example, the keys are duplicated randomly, the unlocking authority cannot be controlled, the user's operation records cannot be known, and the remote control is not possible. Imagine that if you are in a remote telecom base station, it happens that you have the wrong key in your hand and cannot open the front door. In such a situation, this lock, maybe the worst scenario. In some industries, with a wide scope and large working area, more attention must be paid to access control systems Therefore, in some industries, with a wide scope and large working area, more attention must be paid to access control systems. In some outdoor scenarios, such as base stations and electric power cabinets, the requirements for access control systems are quite strict. Due to the particularity of its environment, ordinary power-based access control systems will no longer be applicable. Therefore, the emergence of passive access control systems has solved these problems. Electronic locks offer intelligent management function Based on years of in-depth field research, Vanma has developed the Vanma passive electronic lock access control system, based on the current situation of the industry. This system is different from other electronic lock systems, as it integrates the advantages of both mechanical locks and electronic locks. It not only has the simplicity of mechanical locks, but also has the intelligent management function of electronic locks. The term ‘passive’ of passive electronic locks means that no power is needed. Passive electronic locks have the same appearance as ordinary mechanical locks, so they can be installed anywhere, just like common mechanical locks. They also have a variety of practical functions of electronic locks. Authorised remote access control The Vanma management software allows security managers to assign access rights to specific areas, for different technical personnel. In order to facilitate real-time access control, the electronic key can be used in conjunction with the mobile phone app, in order to send information about its access rights to the technicians, in real time. Vanma management software can provide access to all operations performed by technicians Vanma management software can provide access to all operations performed by technicians, including complete audit reports. Access attempts outside the specified time range or outside the specified area can be obtained through the report, so as to analyse any abnormal situations. Access control in extreme weather conditions In the access control system, the lock (lock cylinder) maintains an extremely high standard and its protection level is IP67, to ensure the greatest degree of protection. Infrared induction technology is used in the electronic key, even if the surface of the lock is wet, the electronic key can also transfer the access authority to the lock cylinder. Ensure stable exchange of information between the key and the lock cylinder. In other words, a poor connection cannot prevent the transmission of information between the key and the lock. At present, this kind of passive electronic lock is widely used in many fields, such as telecom, electric power, water utilities, public utilities, medical emergency and so on in Europe.

Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics
Access the right areas - Making a smart home genius with biometrics

Household adoption of smart home systems currently sits at 12.1% and is set to grow to 21.4% by 2025, expanding the market from US$ 78.3 billion to US$ 135 billion, in the same period. Although closely linked to the growth of connectivity technologies, including 5G, tech-savvy consumers are also recognising the benefits of next-generation security systems, to protect and secure their domestic lives. Biometric technologies are already commonplace in our smartphones, PCs and payment cards, enhancing security without compromising convenience. Consequently, manufacturers and developers are taking note of biometric solutions, as a way of levelling-up their smart home solutions. Biometrics offer enhanced security As with any home, security starts at the front door and the first opportunity for biometrics to make a smart home genius lies within the smart lock. Why? Relying on inconvenient unsecure PINs and codes takes the ‘smart’ out of smart locks. As the number of connected systems in our homes increase, we cannot expect consumers to create, remember and use an ever-expanding list of unique passwords and PINs. Indeed, 60% of consumers feel they have too many to remember and the number can be as high as 85 for all personal and private accounts. Biometric solutions strengthen home access control Biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control Doing this risks consumers becoming apathetic with security, as 41% of consumers admit to re-using the same password or introducing simple minor variations, increasing the risk of hacks and breaches from weak or stolen passwords. Furthermore, continually updating and refreshing passwords, and PINs is unappealing and inconvenient. Consequently, biometric solutions have a real opportunity to strengthen the security and convenience of home access control. Positives of on-device biometric storage Biometric authentication, such as fingerprint recognition uses personally identifiable information, which is stored securely on-device. By using on-device biometric storage, manufacturers are supporting the 38% of consumers, who are worried about privacy and biometrics, and potentially winning over the 17% of people, who don’t use smart home devices for this very reason. Compared to conventional security, such as passwords, PINs or even keys, which can be spoofed, stolen, forgotten or lost, biometrics is difficult to hack and near impossible to spoof. Consequently, homes secured with biometric smart locks are made safer in a significantly more seamless and convenient way for the user. Biometric smart locks Physical access in our domestic lives doesn’t end at the front door with smart locks. Biometrics has endless opportunities to ease our daily lives, replacing passwords and PINs in all devices. Biometric smart locks provide personalised access control to sensitive and hazardous areas, such as medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, safes, kitchen appliances and bike locks. They offer effective security with a touch or glance. Multi-tenanted sites, such as apartment blocks and student halls, can also become smarter and more secure. With hundreds of people occupying the same building, maintaining high levels of security is the responsibility for every individual occupant. Biometric smart locks limit entry to authorised tenants and eliminate the impact of lost or stolen keys, and passcodes. Furthermore, there’s no need for costly lock replacements and when people leave the building permanently, their data is easily removed from the device. Authorised building access Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door Like biometric smart locks in general, the benefits extend beyond the front door, but also throughout the entire building, such as washing rooms, mail rooms, bike rooms and community spaces, such as gyms. Different people might have different levels of access to these areas, depending on their contracts, creating an access control headache. But, by having biometric smart locks, security teams can ensure that only authorised people have access to the right combination of rooms and areas. Convenience of biometric access cards Additionally, if building owners have options. The biometric sensors can be integrated into the doors themselves, thereby allowing users to touch the sensor, to unlock the door and enter. Furthermore, the latest technology allows biometric access cards to be used. This embeds the sensor into a contactless keycard, allowing the user to place their thumb on the sensor and tap the card to unlock the door. This may be preferable in circumstances where contactless keycards are already in use and can be upgraded. Smarter and seamless security In tandem with the growth of the smart home ecosystem, biometrics has real potential to enhance our daily lives, by delivering smarter, seamless and more convenient security. Significant innovation has made biometrics access control faster, more accurate and secure. Furthermore, today’s sensors are durable and energy efficient. With the capacity for over 10 million touches and ultra-low power consumption, smart home system developers no longer have to worry about added power demands. As consumers continue to invest in their homes and explore new ways to secure and access them, biometrics offers a golden opportunity for market players, to differentiate and make smart homes even smarter.

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National Security Inspectorate raised awareness on the importance of independent certification at IFSEC and FIREX 2019
National Security Inspectorate raised awareness on the importance of independent certification at IFSEC and FIREX 2019

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI), the UK’s independent certification body specialising in the security and fire safety sectors, shared in the success of this year’s IFSEC and FIREX exhibitions as the integrated events proved important forums for approved companies and applicants, as well as key industry stakeholders, to engage face-to-face with NSI experts.  The three-day events provided a vital opportunity to raise awareness of the valuable role of independent certification in enhancing the performance and operational effectiveness across the sectors. NSI’s continued support for the Show Me How feature was evident with a series of sessions on the NSI stand. The topics included updates on PD 6662 for the installation of alarm systems, the new Kitchen Fire Protection Systems scheme (SP206), NSI’s CCTV Code of Practice NCP104 and the latest modifications to the SIA Approved Contractor Scheme workbook.  Importance of using trained risk assessors NSI Chief Executive Richard Jenkins presented the heat winners’ prizes at the end of the final day in the Keynote ArenaNSI’s Head of Field Operations (Systems), John Davidson spoke at FIREX to a packed theatre on the importance of using competent, trained risk assessors to complete life safety fire risk assessments. Once again, NSI auditors judged the work of teams competing in the Engineers of Tomorrow Competition, a key attraction within IFSEC International. This year the competition not only showcased the skills and talent of apprentices, but laid the foundations for becoming a part of the highly respected World Skills competition. NSI Chief Executive Richard Jenkins presented the heat winners’ prizes at the end of the final day in the Keynote Arena. The heat winners on day three were Matt Eminson and Ryan Harker from Chubb (Intruder Alarm competition) and Callum Tootle and Chris Lomax from EFT Systems (Fire competition). Coming together to enhance public security Independent certification is recognised as an important framework for continual improvement for businesses" Richard Jenkins NSI Chief Executive commented: “Once again IFSEC and FIREX exemplified the benefits of industry coming together to enhance public security. Our stand welcomed a considerable number of enquiries from companies interested in engaging with NSI’s highly trained team of experts. “Independent certification is recognised as an important framework for continual improvement for businesses; one we are pleased to spearhead within the security and fire safety sectors. We employ the most highly trained professionals who help to drive up the performance of businesses of all sizes as part of the assessment for approval. “It was inspiring to see so many NSI approved companies attend this year’s event and we were proud to play our part in helping to shine a spotlight on new talent within the sector. It was also a pleasure to welcome so many invited guests to our VIP drinks reception celebrating our collective commitment to raising standards.”

AMG Systems and Juniper Networks partner on IP-based CCTV traffic monitoring system for Belfast’s main motorway
AMG Systems and Juniper Networks partner on IP-based CCTV traffic monitoring system for Belfast’s main motorway

AMG Systems has been commissioned to help digitise the traffic monitoring system for newly-extended hard shoulder bus lanes on Belfast’s main motorways, to make it more efficient, secure and reliable. A new IP-based CCTV system was being installed as part of the extension project, so the underlying fibre network needed to be upgraded in order to handle the high-grade images being transmitted back to the city’s Traffic Information and Control Centre (TICC). The upgrade helps to enhance passenger journeys by improving the quality of real-time information sent to traffic management teams. AMG – Juniper Networks partnership AMG, working with Juniper Networks, a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, brought the IP-driven CCTV project together across numerous government agencies and private construction contractors to create a cost-efficient, robust solution for Belfast’s M1 and M2 motorways. The Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure (DfI) awarded a tender to Graham Construction to work on the extension of hard shoulder bus lanes along the M1 and M2 motorways, intended to improve journey times and service reliability for bus passengers without affecting general traffic flows. The scheme was designed by DfI consultants Aecom, who also carried out site supervision and project manager roles during construction. The work included the provision of new and upgraded Pan Tilt Zoom IP-based CCTV cameras for traffic monitoring purposes by the Traffic Information and Control Centre (TICC) in Belfast. Hikvision PTZ IP video camerasGraham used Hikvision PTZ IP video cameras – installed by Chubb – for traffic monitoring Graham used Hikvision PTZ IP video cameras – installed by Chubb – for traffic monitoring. But connecting them to the Pelco system in use at TICC was not as straightforward as it at first seemed, which is where AMG Systems and Juniper Networks came in. “On each of the two motorways, the existing fibre network had only two spare fibres, so all the images had to be combined onto the two, allowing for a resilient ring,” consultant Jo Hopkins of Highways Consulting says, “meaning that if one fibre broke, the other would be able to transmit all the images. The existing cameras on the network were analogue, but we took the opportunity to install digital cameras. This reduces the number of times the images are sampled and converted from analogue to digital and back again, which improves the quality of the image.” Connecting IP cameras to fibre network Hopkins worked with Graham on the project, and said AMG was asked to provide a reliable, cost-effective means of connecting new cameras onto the existing fibre network, bringing the images back to the Traffic Control Centre in Belfast. “The task itself was straightforward, but the integration into an existing live system made the project more complex,” she said. Hopkins and AMG Systems Business Development Director Sara Fisher worked to address the network challenge, which included upgrading from analogue to IP cameras for the first time on the Belfast motorways. AMG switches The network design utilises nine AMG switches on the M1 fibres and 15 switches for the M2 The network design utilises nine AMG switches on the M1 fibres and 15 switches for the M2. At the TICC control room, there are a further four AMG switches which allow the IP cameras to connect to the existing Pelco monitoring equipment. Fisher explains that the control room network connection was further complicated as the TICC’s existing system called for the use of multi-casting and VLANs, and an existing firewall also had to be factored in. “The most appropriate interface in this case was Layer 3 POE switches from our partner Juniper Networks,” she said. IP video surveillance A DfI TICC representative said: “The joint network design by AMG and Juniper Networks has met the challenge presented to them in upgrading our hard shoulder bus lane cameras from purely analogue to IP and has provided a resilient network, intended specifically for the task. AMG’s post-sales service and advice has also proved extremely helpful.”

Has consolidation shifted to the security integrator/installer market?
Has consolidation shifted to the security integrator/installer market?

Consolidation – a decrease in the number of companies in a market achieved through mergers and acquisitions (M&A) – has been an important trend among manufacturers in the physical security market for many years. More recently, the trend has also appeared to extend to the integrator market. Larger integrators have been buying up other large integrators; in some cases, they have also been buying up smaller, regional integrators to expand their geographic coverage area. We wondered if this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable has noticed the trend. We asked: Has consolidation among security companies shifted to the integrator/installer market? What is the impact?

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