Articles by James Gray
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.
Videx Security appoints James Rose, an experienced professional in the access control and door entry market, to National Projects Manager. In the newly created role, James is responsible for Videx’s large-scale access control and entry projects, predominately in the social and private residential sector. A key element of his role involves onsite leadership for the project team, taking ownership of the full project life cycle from initiation to completion. Developing strong relationships James is an integral part of the Videx team and has been working at the company for over 10 years. He has a strong technical and sales background with extensive knowledge and expertise of the Videx range of access control and entry systems. John Rickard, Managing Director of Videx, said: “James not only has an in-depth understanding of the business, our products, and the industry generally, but he also has developed strong relationships with key partners - installers, distributors and integrators - through his technical and sales roles at Videx over the years. Together with his passion for innovation, James will be able to create new business opportunities with large scale, expansive projects in his new role.” Prioritising technology innovations Both James and James will work closely together in securing larger contracts for Videx “At Videx, we pride ourselves on providing a bespoke security solution and understanding a customer’s specific requirements which sets us apart from other entry manufacturers. Building on this USP, James will help us to secure more projects where the specification required is highly bespoke and tailored to specific customer needs.” The news follows the appointment of James Gray to National Sales Manager. Both James and James will work closely together in securing larger contracts for Videx, focusing on those sectors that provide the most growth potential to the business. Of particular focus this year are local authority and housing sectors as well as the healthcare industry which is calling for increased door entry and access control measures as they focus on bringing the current pandemic under control by reducing the spread of COVID-19. James added: “I am looking forward to taking on a challenging, but exciting, role as we push forward with our growth plans, prioritising technology innovations and best-in-class customer service.”
Globally renowned access control systems manufacturer and supplier, Videx has announced the launch of two new apps for its web server access control system, the WS4 and has also released a new firmware with additional features. WS4 web server access control The WS4 can manage up to 20 entrances locally or remotely from anywhere via a mobile phone, tablet or PC using a web browser to connect to the system and it’s very easy to install. It can also hold approximately 2,500 proximity and coded access users, each with up to two proximity fobs and store up to 50,000 events which can also be viewed online or via the app. The two new apps are now available, making the access control system even more convenient to manage The two new apps are now available, making the access control system even more convenient to manage. The admin app allows system managers to simply add, edit or remove users on the go, and additionally, gives them a real time event log and status updates on the system’s health, by indicating power issues or alarm trip events. The system administrator is also able to open any of the entrances via the admin app. Secure access control system The user app provides a great alternative or addition to the user carrying a proximity fob or when remembering an access code. Users of the app are setup via the web portal and can be given access through selected entrances on any of the developments or buildings that the WS4 access control system manages. They can also be restricted to certain days and times, and the ability to set an expiry date, which is considered a highly useful feature for short term users, such as visitors or temporary staff. James Gray, Project Manager at Videx, said “The WS4 is one of the most secure and convenient access control systems on the market. It’s easy to install, standalone and the entire system can be accessed and managed from anywhere in the world via a web portal - you only need an internet connection.” Admin app for enhanced system administrator control The user app enables specific user profiles to be created, to let administrators control authorised entry" James adds, “The new apps create even more benefits to those managing the system with the admin app giving greater control to the system’s administrator to ensure the system is running smoothly and providing an easier way for it to be modified as and when it needs to, which can all be done remotely.” He further stated, “The user app enables specific user profiles to be created, meaning administrators can drill down into the specifics of authorised entry, whether that’s via selected entrances or only allowing some users access to certain buildings or sections of a building or property on certain days and times.” Intuitive access management capabilities The WS4’s web portal provides highly intuitive access management capabilities enabling multiple developments and buildings to be managed from one convenient web page. 1, 2 & 4 door control cabinets are also available with options for connecting to the network via an Ethernet connection or via the optional 4G router for those applications where an Ethernet connection is not available. All controllers can be combined up to 20 doors if required (using a maximum of 10 cabinets). Security alarm integration Additional features of the WS4 include security alarm integration, where a user can set or unset the alarm system from an access control reader, a lift interface option using an additional relay card, coloured proximity fobs for easy management of users and email alerts for both managers and engineers.
Videx Security has strengthened its flagship GSM intercom range by adding a new app designed specifically for installers and engineers who fit and maintain Videx GSM systems. The new app which complements the existing GSM app includes a new host of features that’s compatible with all GSM models and enables an engineer to programme an unlimited number of sites and intercoms that they’re responsible for to help manage them all more effectively and conveniently. Programming access codes and proximity fobs James Gray, project manager at Videx, said “The new app provides a wide range of convenient, user friendly features that help make an engineer’s job easier. Within the app, installers can store useful information about the site such as the address and site contact details and they’re able to programme all apartments and buttons, access codes, proximity fobs, dial to opens, time bands and general settings too”. Events for each intercom and site can be viewed from within the app, which are also stored on a cloud server" James added, “Events for each intercom and site can be viewed from within the app, which are also stored on a cloud server and sent directly from the intercom to the cloud allowing them to be viewed on multiple devices. Additionally, there is an advanced settings page and a diagnostics tools section to assist the engineer should they need to diagnose a problem. Installation manuals and a useful help section can also be easily accessed within the app too.” Videx GSM systems app The app is available for both Android and iOS and allows the intercoms to be programmed via SMS. All the intercom settings are stored on a cloud server which offers the advantage to allow multiple engineers to share the data on their devices and also offers peace of mind as the data is backed up automatically. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store free of charge. Once downloaded, installers will need to register via the app. Registration can take up to three working days while the user is verified as an installer or engineer. The app can be used with all current and older model GSM intercoms.
Videx, a manufacturer and supplier in access control and door entry kits, has added a new app to its flagship GSM intercom range, the popular entry systems that provide greater security and freedom to users. The new app simplifies programming and usability for both end users and installers. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app allows you to program the GSM intercom system by automatically creating the SMS messages. Activating door/gate for programmed time Features include the ability to activate the door or gate either for the programmed time or to latch and unlatch it"James Gray, project manager at Videx said: “The app is a great addition to the Videx GSM product range, enhancing the features while also providing a convenient way to manage and operate the system. “Features include the ability to activate the door or gate either for the programmed time or to latch and unlatch it. This can be done via text message or dialling using the dial to open feature. You can also add and modify numbers called, the dial to open numbers, access codes including temporary access codes for one-time visitors, as well as proximity tags that are used to open the gate or door.” Up to 10 GSM intercoms can be stored in the app. Settings such as master code, telephone number, call button telephone numbers and free access settings are all stored to save the user time while using the app. An advanced version of the app will also be available soon with even more features for the installer or managing agent of the system. Setting up free access time periods Users can also set up free access time periods where the gate or door can be held open for visitors"The app is not restricted to the GSMPRO version of the Videx GSM intercom systems and can also be used with the Digital GSM, vandal resistant GSM’s, multiple entrance 2270 interface and the GSM lite. James added: “Users can also set up free access time periods where the gate or door can be held open for visitors. The ability to decode received messages from the intercom panel is also included and some of these messages can also be imported and saved in the app for future use. For example, if the intercom call button has already been programmed, it’s possible to receive the telephone numbers for the call button and import them into the app.” Users will be able to download the app directly from Google’s ‘Play store’ and Apple’s ‘App store’ free of charge. The app can be used with all current and older model GSM intercoms.