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Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control
Automatic gates: Making the right investment for access control

The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more conscious of who is coming and going from our property. Whether it is a family home, business premises or public building, property owners want full control over access for protection and peace of mind. As a provider of access control technologies, we are seeing a growing demand for automated gates with a variety of access control systems. There are a number of considerations that buyers need to make when investing. And as an installer, there is advice that you can offer to help your clients make the right choice for their property. Here are some of the key considerations you’ll need to make and discuss with your client. Whomever you buy from, you should be offered more than a simple instruction manual. Electronic locks, magnetic locks and code security In the first instance, you’ll need to advise on the type of lock and access control available. Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open. Locks are required for all non-locking (also known as reversible) operators and are recommended for any gate on a multi-user site or any gate over 2.5m. Apply the same logic to an automated gate as you would to a domestic door – for example, you wouldn’t fit your front door with a lock on the same side as the hinges or a drop bolt at the hinge end of a manual gate so why dispense with this logic when the gate is automated? Electronic locks release on the operation of the automation system to allow the gates to open There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks. These are all designed for external use. While the gate itself will provide physical security, the customer will want to feel in control of who enters their property, when and for what purpose. Consider access for post and deliveries, waste disposal and visitors arriving on foot etc. There is a range of options available. Intercom systems will allow the user to vet visitors, keypad entry can allow remote access for visitors with a specific code, remote controls allow an oncoming driver to open the gates without getting out of the vehicle, and a timer control can be used to open or close the gates at certain times of the day. Vehicle detection loops can be installed discreetly under the tarmac allowing the presence of vehicles to exit the gates and prevent closing whilst obstructed. Sliding gates versus swinging gates There are a number of locks on the market including magnetic locks, drop locks that “shoot” a bolt into the ground and side latching locks Gates can be automated to either swing or to slide open and in the case of swinging gates, the opener may be concealed underground or gate mounted. The most suitable opener for your installation will depend on the space available and the type of gate selected. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates. However, where gates are fully infilled (typical of many timber designs), gate mounted openers are concealed from the front of the gate by the gate leaf and present a cost-effective option. The choice between slide and swing is largely down to space - swing gates require a clear space for their opening arc whilst sliding gates require space to one or both sides of the gate. Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited, as they use the least space when opening. Voltage Most swing gate and sliding systems are available in 24v or 230v. The 24v systems still need 230v mains power – there is a transformer built into the 24v control panels. Deciding which voltage to use can include a combination of factors such as the material of the gates, the location of the system and the safety features you want. Concealed underground automation is ideal for highly ornate gates With wrought iron gates, the wind can pass through them whereas with fully boarded wooden gates (popular because they give full privacy) the wind has nowhere to go, so they act like sails. For commercial or industrial applications with larger entrances and a heavy gate, you may need 3 Phase 400v power (sliding gates only). Installing gate motors in confined spaces The environment in which you are fitting may well influence which gate and motor you recommend. Will it be in an exposed area which is subject to the elements? Will it be positioned on a slope? Sliding gates are perhaps the best choice where the drive slopes or when drive space is limited Installers have always faced the challenge of installing gate motors in confined spaces. When fitting a pedestrian gate, there is often limited space in which to work – potentially making an installation time consuming and technically demanding. If this is the case for you, consider a gate operator which is designed specifically for installations with limited space for manoeuvre. An example of this is the E5 compact gate operator. The operator is not only small but has an optional slide lever attachment designed for installations where there is extremely limited space, meaning that just 8cm of the pillar is needed for installation. What’s more, improved fixing points and a simple ‘hook and fasten’ process means assembly is safe, quick and straight forward. Ultimately, you’ll be looking for a good quality, reliable product with good service. Work with a supplier that offers more than just a manual. If they are happy to offer training, their time and advice when you buy, the chances are you’ll get their support long term.

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.

Integrated security systems for medium and large-sized offices
Integrated security systems for medium and large-sized offices

If you’re responsible for a medium or large-sized office, it’s more important than ever that you have access to a means of ensuring people’s safety, managing risks and fraud, and protecting property. Any security system that you employ must therefore meet the most demanding commercial requirements of today’s offices, and tomorrow’s. This means thinking beyond a basic intrusion system and specifying a comprehensive solution that integrates smart features like access control, video management and intelligent video analytics. Because only then will you have security you can trust, and detection you can depend on. Reliable entry management Access control systems have been developed that guarantee reliable entry management for indoors and outdoors Access control is becoming increasingly important for ensuring the security of office buildings, but as the modern workplace evolves you’re unlikely to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Today, it’s commonplace to control entry to individual rooms or restricted areas and cater to more flexible working hours that extend beyond 9 to 5, so a modern and reliable access control system that exceeds the limitations of standard mechanical locks is indispensable. Access control systems have been developed that guarantee reliable entry management for indoors and outdoors. They use state-of-the-art readers and controllers to restrict access to certain areas, ensuring only authorised individuals can get in. With video cameras located within close proximity you can then monitor and record any unauthorised access attempts. The system can also undertake a people-count to ensure only one person has entered using a single pass. Scalable hardware components As previously mentioned, there is no one-size-fits-all system, but thanks to the scalability of the hardware components, systems can adapt to changing security requirements. For example, you can install Bosch’s Access Professional Edition (APE) software for small to medium-sized offices, then switch to the more comprehensive Access Engine (ACE) of the Building Integration System (BIS) when your security requirements grow. And, because the hardware stays the same, any adaptations are simple. APE’s ‘permanent open’ functionality allows employees and guests to enter designated areas easily and conveniently The APE software administers up to 512 readers, 10,000 cardholders and 128 cameras, making it suitable for small to medium-sized buildings. With functions like badge enrollment, entrance control monitoring and alarm management with video verification it provides a high level of security and ensures only authorised employees and visitors are able to enter certain rooms and areas. Of course, there will always be situations when, for convenience, you need certain doors to be permanently open, such as events and open days. APE’s ‘permanent open’ functionality allows employees and guests to enter designated areas easily and conveniently. Growing security needs You switch to the Bosch Building Integration System (BIS), without having to switch hardware (it stays the same, remember?). This is a software solution that manages subsystems like access control, video surveillance, fire alarm, public address or intrusion systems, all on a single platform. It is designed for offices with multiple sites and for large companies with a global presence. Bosch Building Integration System (BIS) manages subsystems like access control, video surveillance, fire alarm, public address or intrusion systems, all on a single platform The BIS Access Engine (ACE) administers up to 10,000 readers and 80 concurrent workplace clients per server, and 200,000 cardholders per AMC. An additional benefit to security officers is the ability to oversee cardholders and authorisations through the central cardholder management functionality and monitor all access events and alarms from every connected site. For consistency, multi-site cardholder information and access authorisations can be created on a central server and replicated across all connected site servers, which means the cardholder information is always up to date and available in every location. Intrusion alarm systems Bosch B Series and G Series intrusion control panels can also send personal notifications via text or email Securing all perimeter doors is vital when protecting employees, visitors and intellectual property. Doors are opened and closed countless times during business hours, and when intentionally left open, your office is vulnerable to theft, and the safety of your employees is compromised. For this reason, intrusion control panels have been developed with advanced features to ensure all perimeter doors are properly closed, even when the system is not armed. If a door remains open for a period of time (you can specify anything from one second to 60 minutes), the system can be programmed to automatically take action. For example, it can activate an audible alert at the keypad to give employees time to close the door. Then, if it is still not closed, it will send a report to a monitoring center or a text directly to the office manager, and when integrated with video it can even send an image of the incident to a mobile device. Customised intrusion systems What about people who need to access your building outside of working hours, like cleaning crews? Your intruder system allows you to customise the way it operates with a press of a button or swipe of a card. This level of control enables you to disarm specific areas, bypass points and unlock doors for cleaning crews or after-hours staff, whilst keeping server rooms, stock rooms and executive offices safe and secure. Bosch B Series and G Series intrusion control panels can also send personal notifications via text or email. You can program the panel to send you opening, closing, and other event alerts, which means you don’t have to be on-site to keep track of movements in and around your facility. Video management system A video management system will add a next level of security to your access control system Every office building has different video security requirements depending on the location, size and nature of the business. Some offices may only need basic functions such as recording and playback, whereas others may need full alarm functionalities and access to different sites. A video management system will add a next level of security to your access control system. For example, the video system can provide seamless management of digital video, audio and data across IP networks for small to large office buildings. It is fully integrated and can be scaled according to your specific requirements. The entry-level BVMS Viewer is suitable for small offices that need to access live and archived video from their recording solutions. With forensic search it enables you to access a huge recording database and scan quickly for a specific security event. For larger offices, embellished security functions for the BVMS Professional version can manage up to 2,000 cameras and offers full alarm and event management Full alarm and event management For larger offices, embellished security functions for the BVMS Professional version can manage up to 2,000 cameras and offers full alarm and event management. It’s also resilient enough to remain operative should both Management and Recording Servers fail. Large multi-national companies often need access to video surveillance systems at numerous sites, which is why BVMS Professional allows you to access live and archived video from over 10,000 sites across multiple time zones from a single BVMS server. When integrated with the BVMS Enterprise version multiple BVMS Professional systems can be connected so every office in the network can be viewed from one security center, which provides the opportunity to monitor up to 200,000 cameras, regardless of their location. Essential Video Analytics Video analytics acts as the brain of your security system, using metadata to add sense and structure to any video footage you capture If your strategy is to significantly improve levels of security, video analytics is an essential part of the plan. It acts as the brain of your security system, using metadata to add sense and structure to any video footage you capture. In effect, each video camera in your network becomes smart to the degree that it can understand and interpret what it is seeing. You simply set certain alarm rules, such as when someone approaches a perimeter fence, and video analytics alerts security personnel the moment a rule is breached. Smart analytics have been developed in two formats. Essential Video Analytics is ideal for small and medium-sized commercial buildings and can be used for advanced intrusion detection, such as loitering alarms, and identifying a person or object entering a pre-defined field. It also enables you to instantly retrieve the right footage from hours of stored video, so you can deal with potential threats the moment they happen. Essential Video Analytics also goes beyond security to help you enforce health and safety regulations such as enforcing no parking zones, detecting blocked emergency exits or ensuring no one enters or leaves a building via an emergency exit; all measures that can increase the safety of employees and visitors inside the building. Intelligent Video Analytics Intelligent Video Analytics have the unique capability of analysing video content over large distances Intelligent Video Analytics have the unique capability of analysing video content over large distances, which makes it ideally suited to more expansive office grounds or securing a perimeter fence. It can also differentiate between genuine security events and known false triggers such as snow, rain, hail and moving tree branches that can make video data far more difficult to interpret. The final piece in your security jigsaw is an intelligent camera. The latest range of Bosch ’i’ cameras have the image quality, data security measures, and bitrate reduction of <80%. And, video analytics is standard. Be prepared for what can’t be predicted. Although no-one can fully predict what kind of security-related event is around the corner, experience and expertise will help make sure you’re always fully prepared.

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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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