The access control solution has to feature network capabilities with the option to expand
MEP selected an HID access control system because of the high quality and functionality of its products and solutions
In March 2008, a new fulfilment centre was built to house the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP)—the hub for international communication and collaboration on environmental protection issues in China (PRC). The main mission of the MEP is to prevent and control environmental pollution, protect nature and ecology, supervise nuclear safety, safeguard public health and environmental safety, and promote the harmony between man and nature. The hub, officially known as the Environmental Protection International Treaty Fulfillment Center, aims at using financial aid from countries around the world to strengthen the PRC’s ability to meet the requirements of the international environmental protection treaty.
 
Reliable modern access control
 
The Center houses foreign negotiations, attracts foreign investments, unifies external data and information, as well as internally organises and coordinates the development and management of all treaty fulfilment projects, policy suggestions and treaty trainings. The Center requires a modernised access control system and passage management solution that not only is able to manage employees, but complies with worldwide environmental standards outlined within the treaty.

To support the MEP’s mission, the building incorporates 21st-century construction concepts of natural resource conservation, environmental protection and green building standards with sophisticated technologies. The business facilities serve as a prime example of the successful integration of modern and green construction utilizing optimal advanced technology. When considering a new access control and passage management solution, the Center’s executives knew the system needed to meet the buildings standards of environmental safety and bar-none innovation.
 
Rigorous standards
 
In addition, the access control solution had to pass the MEP’s rigorous set of standards including: 
  • Solution must be stable, reliable and a known brand product. If the solution is imported, it must be manufactured in the country of origin.
  • Solution must have proven success in other applications/customers in China
  • Solution must have a representative organisation in China, providing complete after-sale customer service
  • Solution must feature network capabilities with the option to expand, providing the necessary conditions for centralised management and continued construction of the project 
Also, due to the frequent visits by foreign guests to the Center, the solution needed to provide a relaxed and comfortable external passageway management process while, at the same time incorporating a strict internal access control system, to protect the foreign affairs and data. For this reason, “relaxed outside, strict inside” was the construction goal for this building, posing an even higher requirement for the quality and functionality of the access control system.
 
HID access control and passage management
 
MEP selected an HID access control system because of the high quality and functionality of its products and solutions. The HID solution provided a perfect access control and passage management solution supporting the goals of the fulfillment center. In order to simplify the centralised management and control system, the building uses HID’s contactless smart cards as media, together with HID’s card reader, EDGE™ E400 and V2000 controllers, access software, and the “One Card Solution” developed in cooperation with a third party. This comprehensive package of solutions forms a perfect passage management system that controls both physical and logical access within the Center. Functions such as identity recognition, time and attendance, medical expenses, internal banking, shopping and amusement are all centralised into a “One Card Solution.”
 
Currently, MEP uses 3,000 HID iCLASS® smart cards as an employee management system (500 for full-time employees and 2,500 for other subordinate departments) to increase security performance. The card holder is authorised via the entrance and exit management system located in the security centre. The system tracks and monitors access according to the grade, area and time for every card. Issued from a central control system, the HID iCLASS smart cards are each equipped with a unique card number that limits the activity scope of the card by password and level assigned: operator, management or system engineer levels.
 
One card access control solution
 
Card holders with operator level status can browse inspection and control data in real-time to carry out specific service operations. Those with management level credentials can carry out specific service operations, as well as executive functions such as card management and query management. At the system engineer level, in addition to the above abilities, card holders can carry out alterations over the entire system to the passwords of the two previous levels and installation of system hardware parameters.
 
The smart cards used by the MEP have a variety of other functions that make the card versatile and robust, including a prepayment system that can be used to carry out prepayment service for the consumption value on the card. With one HID smart card, the card holder can enter and exit all authorised activity area, make purchases from the cafeteria, park in the parking lot, and register attendance at meetings.
 
Scalable security system
 
Since the E400 HID product of the EDGE series shows new access control concepts with the basis of their TCP/IP network, it is equipped and ready for the possibility of expansions and upgrades of the system. The upgradability and expandability of the solution allow it to meet this key requirement for the MEP solution.
 
Mr Chen, MEP member, expressed, “As an original hardware manufacturer of access control equipment, HID has cooperated with a Chinese software company to provide the complete ‘One Card Solution,’ a solution that is reliable and is in accordance with the requirements of Chinese users. This is a wise investment in the Chinese market. The HID card solution, with the emphasis on ‘management,’ provides a system that complies with the users’ needs and in addition, provides more practical management functions for the users, making the smart card a reliable, practical, secure and functional tool.
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Smart home access control growth and the future of door security
Smart home access control growth and the future of door security

There’s growing noise around smart homes and smarter security. You’ve probably heard it. But there is a place where access control and more have been smart for decades: the workplace. Home automation and IoT are still playing catch-up with the commercial sector. A new insights report from ASSA ABLOY and IFSEC Global — “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018” — measures just how fast consumer smart technology is running. According to a survey conducted for the report, 61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system. Energy monitors, home CCTV cameras, intruder alarms and smart door locks are the most popular, according to the report. All these functions, of course, have been available to businesses for years.61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system Educating the smart home consumer Paradoxically, report data also questions how much consumers really know about their smarter home. A surprising 42% of those surveyed, for example, were unaware they could control a smart door lock from their phone. In fact, many leading smart door lock models offer this feature, delivered by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and an app. Despite a wealth of features offered by the latest smart door locks — remote and location-based locking/unlocking; voice activation; timed access; emailed entry alerts; and integration with smart camera and lighting systems — most people still have limited knowledge of their capabilities.  Smart technology is increasingly becoming the new norm in terms of home security  Only 14% of survey respondents described themselves as “very familiar” with what a smart lock can do. Even though most of them probably use smart access control solutions at their workplace. Secure homes through smart technology Monitoring and security are not the only drivers for smart home adoption. We humans also love convenience, and modern living presents us with problems that smart home technology can solve. Ironically, given the report’s findings, it takes a smartphone to really unlock the convenient possibilities of smarter living. The device that’s “always to hand” is central to the newest generation of smart door locks.A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out If homeowners wish to remotely manage property access for friends and family, many smart door locks oblige. You let in guests remotely, send them a virtual digital key, or provide a temporary or single-use PIN to unlock the door. It is just as easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore. This is a significant improvement over sharing physical keys — or hiding one under the doormat. We cannot be totally sure where a metal key ends up and have no way to track or cancel it once it’s “out in the wild”. Commercial access control offers such functionality as standard, of course.  In addition, smart door locks offer more than just stand-alone operation and clever functions. In a domestic setting, magic happens when locks work in harmony with a home automation system, connected by protocols like Z-Wave, ZigBee or Wi-Fi. "Smart" security on the move  The smartphone is becoming a remote control for managing a connected life beyond just home (and even workplace) security. According to Accenture, the parcel delivery services market will grow by $343 billion by 2020. Just like home security, convenience is a major driver of change. Homeowners can send guests a virtual digital key to their phones, or provide a temporary or single-use PIN to unlock the door A recent PostNord pilot in Sweden aimed to remove the inconvenience of waiting home for a postal delivery. Selected customers of some major Scandinavian e-retailers could choose to have parcels delivered inside their front door, if it was equipped with a Yale smart door lock.  Home delivery is among potential smart services covered in “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018 ”. When asked whether the ability to receive parcels securely in a porch or lobby would make them more likely to invest in a smart door lock, 79% said it would.It is easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore Holiday rentals and smart home tech ASSA ABLOY research published in 2017 forecasts continued growth in the European holiday rentals sector (at 5.8% CAGR). Smart door locks are also making an impact here, at both ends of the market: for service providers — agents and homeowners — and for travellers. A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out, without creating extra work or staff costs. Both Intersoft, in Croatia, and Hoomvip in Spain have built holiday rentals management systems around an app and the ENTR® smart door lock. Agents issue, revoke, track and manage virtual keys for all their guests, saving everyone time and hassle. Travellers use their phones and an app to unlock their apartment. For these visitors the smartphone is already an essential travel accessory. It is a boarding pass, a credit card, a travel guide, and a postcard home... why not a door key, too? And if this key is backed by a trusted home security brand — and a company with vast experience in the mature market for commercial “smart” security — better still.

Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry
Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry

Security and Safety Things GmbH (SAST) is a new company that has announced its vision for an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for the next generation of security cameras. The Bosch startup plans to build a global ecosystem for the development of innovative security camera applications. Based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), SAST provides libraries, an API framework, and codecs for developers to work with. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications. We presented some questions to Nikolas Mangold-Takao, VP Product Management and Marketing, about the new venture, and here are his responses: Q: Why a new company now? What technology innovations have made this a good time to launch this company? The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform"Mangold-Takao: From a technical perspective we see two main drivers: increasing computing power at the edge and increasing internet connectivity, which will enable devices to directly communicate with each other and bring new technologies such as artificial intelligence also to the security and safety industry. At the same time, we see that this industry and its users are hungry for more innovative solutions – addressing new security needs while at the same leveraging the possibility to improve business operations for specific verticals, e.g. retail and transportation. The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform for this industry. Q: Why does SAST need to be a separate entity from Bosch? Mangold-Takao: SAST is setup as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group. We wanted to make sure that SAST is able to underline its role as an industry standard platform across multiple players. SAST is open to get additional investors and is being setup as a startup in its own offices in Munich to foster the environment where speed and innovation can more easily take place. Having said that, several entities of the Bosch Group are very interesting partners for SAST. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications Q: Please explain your "value proposition" to the industry. Mangold-Takao: We will bring new innovations and possibilities to the security and safety industry by providing an open, secure and standardised Operating System for video security cameras, to also address pressing issues such as cyber security and data privacy concerns. Devices that run then with the SAST operating system will work with an application marketplace provided and operated by SAST. Integrators and users can then use these apps from this marketplace to deploy additional functionality on these devices. With our platform we will be able to build up a community of app developers, including the ones not yet developing for this industry who have expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence. Q: It seems what you are doing has parallels with the Apple and Android "app" stores. How is your approach the same (and how is it different) than those approaches? We are setting up SAST as a user-centric company and involve selected users very early on in the process"Mangold-Takao: The approach is similar in the way that we plan to generate revenue by operating the application marketplace and thus participate in the app revenue. 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We will also run selected pilots with end-users throughout 2019 to ensure we have all partners involved early on. SAST sees the industry is hungry for more innovative solutions – with the retail vertical market a target for these solutions Q: What timeline do you foresee in terms of implementing these initiatives? Mangold-Takao: While we start with first app development programs and plan our first pilots already for this year, we are planning our commercial launch for end of 2019. Q: How does your new company relate to the new Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA)? Mangold-Takao: The Open Security and Safety Alliance has been working very closely with SAST over the past year, defining some important concepts and elements required. One of the most important elements is an open and standardised Operating System, specific to this industry, which will then bring forward new innovative technologies and solutions. SAST is actively working on this Operating System, based on Android Open Source Project (ASOP), but is evolved and hardened with industry-specific features. Q: What's the biggest thing you want the security industry to understand about SAST? What is your "message" to the industry? Mangold-Takao: Our message is simple: let’s build better security and safety systems – together! But for real, innovating an industry is a joint effort, we can only bring new innovation to this industry with partners who share our vision and are excited about new technology. At the same time, we strongly believe that our platform allows every partner to bring forward what they do best but also invite new partners to our industry.

What is the value of remotely monitoring a system's health and operation?
What is the value of remotely monitoring a system's health and operation?

When is it too late to learn that a video camera isn’t working properly? As any security professional will tell you, it’s too late when you find that the system has failed to capture critical video. And yet, for many years, system administrators “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” And when they found out, it was too late, and the system failed to perform as intended. Fortunately, in today’s technology-driven networked environment, monitoring a system’s health is much easier, and a variety of systems can be deployed to ensure the integrity of a system’s operation. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can remote monitoring of a security system’s health and operation impact integrators and end users?