Intruder alarm communicators - Expert commentary

Access control and door entry management: How technology is driving change
Access control and door entry management: How technology is driving change

Access control and door entry is a huge responsibility, and challenge, for local authorities and housing associations UK wide. For councils, they’re accountable for the security and safety of many public facilities such as leisure centres, libraries as well as residential housing developments which are often large scale and home to hundreds of people. Housing associations manage affordable rental housing which also means they’re responsible for the appropriate access control management for each individual house or flat. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage. For example, with modern intercom and access control systems, remote management and communication is something that offers local authorities and housing associations features that enable them to reduce costs and cut their carbon footprints by managing multiple sites from one place. On the other hand, such technological innovation has meant that local authority and housing association specifiers and consultants now have a wide range of systems and products to choose from which can cause issues in ensuring the right system for a specific building or development is chosen. Choosing an appropritate access control system In choosing an appropriate system, local authorities and housing associations need to opt for a cost effective solution that can be easily maintained with excellent support from the manufacturer and guarantees that the system and system parts will remain supported for the duration of its expected life cycle. It is also important that the chosen system is flexible to cater for the varying needs of the tenants and visitors. Of increasing importance is the reduction of anti-social behaviour which new technology can help by providing the use of data loggers which track the use and events of a door entry system, allowing specific evidence to be located by integrating with CCTV. Using technology to our advantage Through advancements in management systems and services, we can gain a much better visual representation of the events and general usage of an intercom entry system and not just its proximity access control. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management. We are now able to modify user rights and access levels on the go from a mobile app which enables a much greater control over service and maintenance engineers, such as making sure they have full access when required via an app, rather than arriving to site with the incorrect keys or access fob. Systems, for example, can now send email alarms or notifications to the administrator or management Dealing with tenant’s lost and stolen keys has never been so easy either. The blocking or deletion of lost fobs and adding a new fob can be carried out in minutes while at the same time removing the cost of sending an engineer to the development to programme new fobs. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of the whole task as fobs can now be sent out via post to a secure location for collection. Technology has also helped local authorities and housing associations to overcome the issue of not being able to have a concierge or building manager available 24/7 at some developments. Now with internet communication, it’s possible for tenants and visitors to get in touch with someone should they need assistance, whether that’s from within the apartment or from an entrance point. For example, lets take the Videx VX2200 with IP concierge integration. This system is exceptionally flexible, enabling calls to be answered on Videx intercoms and also mobile phones if required. With the integration of the IP concierge each block can be either standalone or networked via the internet back to a central control room. Reduced maintenance costs and carbon footprint We work with a wide range of local authorities and housing associations to help them overcome access control and door entry challenges. One organisation we have recently partnered with is The Living Group to help them greatly reduce their maintenance costs and carbon footprint by installing the MiAccess offline proximity system on many of their developments across the North East. Technology developments have enabled better entry systems that are far more secure yet also more convenient and easier to manage By installing an appropriate system, The Living Group has managed to overcome issues caused by the existing system’s limitations and also enabled much more flexibility when it comes to effectively managing the access control system of all their included developments. For those responsible for effective and appropriate access control, the management of the systems are easier, quicker and there’s no delay or on-going costs for needing a specialist programme to modify fobs and access rights as this can now all carried out in-house. Improved security legislation Further advancements in programmes such as Secured by Design (SBD), a police initiative that improves the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live, work and visit, means that there’s more security legislation being implemented that’s making intercoms and access control more secure, without affecting ease and convenience. Videx holds an SBD accreditation and we know, from first-hand experience, how it’s making a difference in keeping tenants safe. When you combine the safety features promoted by an SBD member company like ourselves with the likes of the Videx event logging, image capture and ability to modify access users on the go, for example, we can help to create a very safe and secure environment. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation Technology has completely transformed the way local authorities and housing association are able to choose, install and manage door entry and access control systems for tenants and visitors alike. Personally, I think there needs to be a greater emphasis on the role of security legislation such as Secured by Design to ensure all councils and housing association consultants are up to date with what constitutes a robust and secure system that’s also cost effective too. In my role, I see weaknesses in systems and constant ongoing costs that could easily be avoided. For instance, features such as timed remote entry means local authority and housing association management no longer need to worry about keys being lost, the wrong keys being supplied or locks needing to be changed. With new systems such as the Videx MiAccess and Videx WS4 range, we can help to massively reduce a housing association’s or council’s carbon footprint and engineer costs by allowing them the access to management and control from an offsite location. Crime prevention We can also use live and logged events to help prevent crime in different ways, from antisocial behaviour growing around a tenant being called or visited much more regularly than others, to knowing a tenant is currently still living at a property but isn’t paying rent or answering to any correspondence. Technology enables local authorities and housing associations to receive detailed data and therefore behavioural insights on the people under their management and care. If consultants and specifiers are advised on the most appropriate systems that meet their specific entry needs, they can ensure greater, safer and more convenient access control that meets the requirements of both the end user and the those responsible for its effective management.

How to deter thieves on construction sites
How to deter thieves on construction sites

Construction site theft can cause project delays, property damage and loss of profit for companies in the construction sector. It is imperative to deter thieves from targeting construction sites with the help of construction site security. Here, we look into the various security options and how they can help protect your firm from the threat of a break-in. Construction theft has soared during the COVID-19 Pandemic Construction site theft is an ever-increasing problem in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £800 million per year. Unfortunately, this type of crime has accelerated further throughout lockdown by an estimated 50% due to the abandonment of construction sites across the UK. With many uncertainties around a potential second wave in the UK, it is time for construction firms to enhance their security strategies to help prevent thieves from becoming opportunists on construction sites. Why are construction sites ‘easy’ targets? Construction sites can easily be targeted, as they typically lack adequate security loss prevention practices. The most popular security-related issues that are leading causes of construction site theft are: Poor overall site security Multiple pieces of equipment sharing the same keys Easy access to open cabs Unsecured sites, particularly at night and over weekends Lack of product identification systems If you do not want your site becoming a costly statistic, you might want to try implementing some or all of these preventive measures. Strengthen your perimeter Putting a clear boundary around a construction site will help to prevent youths and members of the public from inadvertently wandering onto the site. To stop opportunist thieves in their tracks, you will need to go one step further by erecting robust fencing and concrete blocks along with signage warning intruders about the consequences of trespassing. Putting a clear boundary around a construction site will help to prevent youths and members of the public from inadvertently wandering onto the siteIf potential trespassers can see that it would be too challenging to attempt a break-in, then they will look elsewhere to find another construction site which is not as well secured. Lock away valuable tools When considering the vulnerabilities in your construction site, it pays to think about this from the perspective of a criminal. What is it exactly that they are looking for? What can a thief steal easily to make money if they were to remove something from your site? Unfortunately, many construction firms do not lock away their tools, materials or vehicles properly, which makes them an easy target. Ensure valuable tools and materials are locked away and are not left unsecured or lying around. Criminals are mostly interested in scaffolding, bowsers and other valuables that are quick to sell on, so it is important to have a strategy in place to keep these locked away, safe and securely. Put tracking devices in your equipment If you are unable to securely lock away valuable tools, then modern technology makes securing equipment easier than ever before. Tracking devices can be installed onto vehicles and equipment; if any thief is unwise enough to steal from the site, site owners will be able to provide the location to the police who will be able to follow this up. Site owners should also engrave company identification numbers on valuable tools, equipment and vehicles so that it can easily be identified and will serve as proof who it rightly belongs to. Invest in CCTV Closed Circuit Television, otherwise known as CCTV, is renowned for being one of the most effective deterrents for thieves, especially when it comes to construction and building sites.The items that criminals steal from sites are notoriously hard to trace The items that criminals steal from sites are notoriously hard to trace, but if you have CCTV, there is a chance that you can capture clear footage to help bring criminals to justice, such as footage of the vehicle used and the car licence plate. CCTV cameras can help to oversee every inch of a construction site, and can even be hidden out of sight where required. Step up with regular site patrols With a wide range of security monitoring methods available, stepping up on regular site patrols can help to keep track and respond to any criminal activity taking place on your site. Traditional site patrols can be carried out on a schedule by professional SIA-approved security agents. With the presence of guards patrolling a construction site, any criminals in the area will be deterred to force entry onto the site. Schedule supply deliveries on an as-needed basis To prevent an excess of supplies ‘sitting around’ on the site, construction site managers should instead order what is needed at the time, so that valuable materials are not left around waiting to be stolen for weeks at a time. Good planning and excellent communication between the team will be required so that projects are not delayed, but planning accordingly will help to reduce the chances of theft on a construction site. Drone surveillance As technology becomes more and more advanced, drone surveillance may soon be a security option that many construction sites could benefit from.Many construction firms in the UK are using drone services to provide aerial images, and are seeing huge cost savings by either purchasing and operating their own drones or by hiring out the work to a company equipped to provide imaging.As technology becomes more and more advanced, drone surveillance may soon be a security option With surveillance drones already handling tasks like mapping and surveying of construction sites, one day they may be able to patrol construction sites at night, equipped with motion sensors and infrared or night vision cameras; They could be automatically deployed from a charging station and fly along a pre-programmed route at regular intervals. One to keep an eye on for the near future! Construction site security to help protect your site If you are ready to tighten security on your own construction site, then your starting point will be to identify your main vulnerabilities and get in touch with a reputable security specialist.

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 RISCO Group news

RISCO to unveil Agility4 wireless system and Installer Cloud solution at The Security Event 2019
RISCO to unveil Agility4 wireless system and Installer Cloud solution at The Security Event 2019

Global security solutions provider, RISCO Group, is taking its team of experts to The Security Event at the NEC Birmingham this April. Agility4 wireless system From the 9th to the 11th of April, RISCO’s team of engineers and product professionals will be showcasing the company’s latest products including the recently updated Agility4 wireless system which includes outdoor intruder detection, a newly designed keypad and a PIR (passive infrared) camera detector. The team will also be introducing new wireless keypads, detectors and communication devices at the show. The event is dedicated to UK security professionals, installers and integrators who will have the chance to experience RISCO’s innovative technology first-hand as well as learning about upcoming releases. Ian Stones, Head of UK sales at the firm, said “We have some really exciting and innovative product releases coming up this year including a potentially game changing device which will be unveiled for the first time at the show. We can’t wait to introduce these new developments to our installers.”  Installer Cloud Visitors to our stand on SE56 will have the opportunity to see the Secured by Design accredited Installer Cloud and the new Agility4 system" He adds, “I’m looking forward to sharing more at The Security Event and RISCO’s team of experienced engineers will also be available for technical demonstrations and to answer any questions. Visitors to our stand on SE56 will have the opportunity to see the Secured by Design accredited Installer Cloud and the new Agility4 system. We love bringing our technology to life and can’t wait to join our industry peers at the event.” Further to speakers and interactive educational content, The Security Event will also host a ‘Designing Out Crime Zone’ in association with Secured by Design, a national police crime prevention initiative. “We are looking forward to revealing updates, launching new products and sharing expert knowledge with visitors to the event,” added Ian.

RISCO Group unveils Agility 4 wireless, modular and multi-layered security system
RISCO Group unveils Agility 4 wireless, modular and multi-layered security system

RISCO Group, globally renowned intruder alarm and security solutions provider has launched a new wireless product designed to deliver an enhanced performance for UK installations. The Agility 4 is a wireless, modular and multi-layered security systemAgility 4 multi-layered security system The Agility 4 is a wireless, modular and multi-layered security system which includes a new range of accessories available immediately with more add-ons expected to follow. With an enhanced choice of communication modules, ranging from IP to 3G, the new solution is designed to provide an adaptable solution for any type of installation and monitoring. Multi-socket communication modules enable parallel reporting to the cloud and monitoring stations with multiple IP addresses using one communication module. Enhanced intrusion detection Detecting intruders outside, before they enter the property was a key challenge as the risk of false alarms has historically been an issue in new security systems. This was a significant design consideration in respect of the design of the new Agility4 system with the inclusion of the new Beyond Wireless DT outdoor detector. Beyond Wireless leverages cutting-edge outdoor detection technologies and algorithms based on four detection channels. It is widely regarded as one of the most secure wireless outdoor detectors in the industry. The multi-layered protection includes cover tamper, active IR Anti-Mask and an accelerometer-based shock sensor. If force is applied to the detector, the shock sensor generates a tamper alert to the panel. Indoor and outdoor camera detectors  RISCO Group has now developed both indoor and outdoor camera detectors for alarm verification with new features RISCO Group has now developed both indoor and outdoor camera detectors for alarm verification with new features including Agility 4’s ability to receive a short clip of the event alongside a series of snapshots through an integrated camera. Upon detection, the camera is triggered automatically with snapshots and video clips available to the end user and the monitoring station simultaneously; all of which can be enabled by an installer using RISCO Cloud, the manufacturer’s remote, cloud-based system. Remote, cloud-based wireless system The complimentary range of new accessories include a contemporary keypad, a compact key fob and award-winning BWare detector now available as wireless. A Beyond Wireless DT detector camera will also be released in the forthcoming months, along with a discreet PIR detector and contemporary indoor sounder. Commenting on the launch, Ian Stones, head of sales for RISCO UK: “For a long time, RISCO has led the way for cloud-based wireless intruder system technology. Agility 4 moves this on a step further with significantly enhanced technology and improved aesthetics demanded by today’s end user customer.”

NSI Summit 2018 to focus on community security and fire safety innovations
NSI Summit 2018 to focus on community security and fire safety innovations

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) is pleased to announce the gold sponsors for this year’s NSI Summit 2018 taking place in March at the Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham are confirmed as BT Redcare, CSL, RISCO Group and summit partner, IFSEC International, all of whom are preparing to share updates, industry insights and product demonstrations. Exclusively open to all NSI approved companies spanning security, guarding services and fire safety, and industry stakeholders including the Police and Insurer Community, the summit, now in its fifth year, is growing from strength to strength. Alongside the gold sponsors and summit partner, NSI approved companies will have access to the UK’s leading equipment, technology and business support providers, with over 60 exhibitors across two halls.  Delegates will benefit from: a Plenary session featuring the latest industry updates; an educational seminar programme led by high calibre specialists incorporating master-classes, panel discussion and case study presentations; one-to-one sessions with NSI industry experts; and not-to-be-missed special offers.The NSI Summit has always delivered in terms of staying abreast of current developments Building security partnerships John Ware, General Manager, BT Redcare comments “BT Redcare is again delighted to be sponsoring the NSI Summit which will bring into focus the latest initiatives, standards and developments in the industry. Redcare plays a key part in all these areas and we’re looking forward to meeting with delegates – we have lots to share.”  Speaking on behalf of CSL, Group Managing Director Simon Banks states “CSL are delighted to be a headline sponsor of the NSI Summit, for the 5th year in a row. It’s a must attend event in the Fire & Security calendar. Visit us on the day to find out more about our latest innovations and make the most of our live product demonstrations, whilst catching up with the team.” Greg Smith, Field Marketing Manager, RISCO Group adds “This is a fantastic event which has always delivered in terms of staying abreast of current developments and providing an opportunity for NSI approved companies to meet with the leading players within the industry. We’re delighted to support this key event.”This year’s summit theme of ‘Strengthening Partnerships’ explores the relationship between the private and public sectors Community security Gerry Dunphy, Brand Director IFSEC & FIREX International, said, “IFSEC is delighted once again to be a key partner of the NSI Summit in 2018. All NSI approved companies are essential to IFSEC and we always welcome an opportunity to meet with them to relay the key developments for the show in 2018. Our major offering for the installer community this year is the ‘Show Me How’ programme which will emphasise a wide range of learning opportunities and exhibitor demonstrations which will help our installer customers better understand the capabilities and potential of the technologies on offer at IFSEC 2018.” This year’s summit theme of ‘Strengthening Partnerships’ explores the relationship between the private and public sectors, shining a spotlight on working closer together to safeguard people, property and the wider community.  Maintaining industry standards NSI Chief Executive, Richard Jenkins comments, “We would like to thank BT Redcare, CSL, RISCO Group and IFSEC International for their continued collaboration on the NSI Summit. This essential one-day event is specially designed for NSI Approved Companies, the UK’s elite within the security and fire safety companies, to keep them abreast of industry developments and provide an important opportunity to share best practice, conduct business and meet face-to-face with our sponsors and exhibitors who provide an array of expertise within the security and fire safety sectors. It centres on maintaining the highest standards within our industry.”

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