As solutions proliferate in the access control market, interoperability has never been a more pressing topic. A recent industry report finds: "91% (of professional respondents to a survey) agree integrating security systems with each other and with other building technology has become noticeably more important in the last five years." Agreed standards are one powerful integration tool. Among the most important lock standards is the OSS Standard Offline (OSS–SO) from the Open Security Standards Association. Each lock manufacturer has its own approach to writing and reading cards, but customers installing offline locks from brands that subscribe to the OSS–SO are guaranteed interoperability. With the OSS–SO, offline locks from different manufacturers read the same access rights from a card and interpret them in the same way. We spoke to a round-table of manufacturers and integrators about the standard’s importance and its future. What are the benefits of open standards for manufacturers and end-users of access control technology? Open platform development dramatically cuts a customer’s dependence on a single supplier Frederik Hamburg: Customers see huge benefits of an open standard like the OSS Standard Offline. Open platform development dramatically cuts a customer’s dependence on a single supplier, leaving them free to choose the best device for the job. Open standards offer more frequent opportunities to tender projects, because you are freed from compatibility concerns. Ultimately, that can be a significant cost advantage. There’s plenty of evidence too, that open standards are generally more secure than proprietary solutions. For manufacturers, membership of the OSS gives them a seat at the table when it comes to designing the standard’s specification. All participating manufacturers are able to optimise development costs and by adhering to pre-agreed standards, time-to-market for new devices is reduced. Why did you choose to get involved in driving the OSS Standard Offline forward? Mattias Weiss: We were formerly using the SOAA standard, but decided together with Nedap, Primion, dorma+Kaba Group, Deister, ACS and others to find the OSS Association and use our combined industry leadership position to drive open standards like the OSS Standard Offline. We are already working with colleagues to take industry open standards beyond offline components, and into more areas of this exciting, fast-growing market. Which ASSA ABLOY solutions are compatible with the new standard? Mattias: The OSS Standard Offline was implemented into the Aperio firmware platform. This way, we ensure all battery-powered Aperio access control products, including cylinders, escutcheons and handles support this functionality across the EMEA region now and in the future. What do you consider the major benefits of the new standard for facility and security managers? Ending reliance on a single proprietary solution makes installed access control more flexible Mattias: Interoperability is critically important for any end-user investing in new or upgraded access control. They need to plan for eventualities they may not even see yet and open standards allow them to do that. Ending reliance on a single proprietary solution makes installed access control more flexible. You can add a new building, for example, and bring its access control into the existing system seamlessly. Customers increasingly understand these advantages. In 'The Wireless Access Control Report 2018', a majority of security professionals polled say it is 'very important' (58%) that access control support open standards like the OSS Standard Offline in order to be flexible and future-proofed. A huge majority (91%) said it was at least 'somewhat important'. The future is open. Which Nedap OSS Standard Offline solutions are currently available? Ruben Brinkman: The AEOS platform adheres to all the latest OSS–SO standards, meaning all current (and future) offline locks and updaters that also adhere to these standards seamlessly communicate with the Nedap system. That’s the beauty of it. Organizations secured by AEOS are therefore very flexible in choosing their offline lock solutions. Thinking about your major new installation at Hospital Maria Middelares, in Belgium, what benefits did choosing OSS–SO devices bring to the project? Nedap’s security platform AEOS allows for seamless integration with other OSS–SO solutions such as Aperio wireless access control Ruben: Within the premises of the new AZ Maria Middelares Hospital, 700 doors were equipped with battery-powered offline Aperio locks and connected to the Nedap access control system. As one of the founders of the OSS Association, Nedap’s security platform AEOS allows for seamless integration with other OSS–SO solutions such as Aperio wireless access control. The joint solution between ASSA ABLOY and Nedap has not only secured Maria Middelares, but the scalability and cost-effectiveness of it have also made the hospital future-proof and ready to grow. From an integration point of view, how does your business and your customers benefit from adopting the OSS Standard Offline? Ray Phillips: As the manufacturer of an access control system that incorporates both software and hardware elements, we find an increasing amount of our development resource is consumed by adding to and updating third-party integrations. The business benefit to us is clear: OSS Standard Offline has meant our dev team can concentrate on enhancing our solution, instead of playing catch-up with third-party APIs that only benefit a small number of customers. The business benefit to our customers is that we can offer increased choice and the protection of a non-proprietary, open standards-based solution. When new compatible locking products become available, there should be little or no work for us to do, save for some validation testing and documentation. What integration plans do you have for devices that meet the new standard? Ray: None! This is the main attraction of open standards. When new compatible locking products become available, there should be little or no work for us to do, save for some validation testing and documentation. One example is the recently launched H100 Aperio wireless door handle from ASSA ABLOY. The entire development lifecycle of this product happened post-OSS but, because the firmware complies with the open standard, our systems support it already.
Pioneering facial recognition specialist, Aurora, has launched FaceSentinel, the world's first biometric access control authentication product powered by Deep Learning. Designed for integration with existing access control systems, the ground-breaking facial recognition system uses AI and infrared light to achieve unparalleled facial recognition speed, accuracy and reliability. FaceSentinel authenticates pass holders FaceSentinel works with existing high-security access control systems to authenticate pass holders: a registered user swipes his or her pass card or key fob and FaceSentinel simply confirms whether the person holding the credential is the same person registered within the organisation's access permissions system. This authentication happens in a second or less, thanks to the core technology behind FaceSentinel: Deep Learning. Deep Learning is a pioneering technique used to create a highly optimised Artificial Intelligence. It works by first creating a blank "brain": an artificial neural network. This brain is then trained to recognise faces by presenting it with millions of face image examples, enabling it to become more experienced, faster and more accurate at the facial recognition task than any human or existing technology could be. Aurora's Deep Learning capacity is the result of work done by its R&D department - a team of six PhD facial recognition experts led by Head of Research, Dr Tom Heseltine. The cutting edge technology behind FaceSentinel also includes the use of infrared cameras to overcome the inherent challenge presented to facial recognition by fluctuations in natural light. Gary James, Aurora's Head of Sales and Customer Relations, says the development of FaceSentinel heralds a new era in biometric security technology. "This is the first time the security industry has seen Deep Learning and Artificial intelligence harnessed to create a fast, powerful and truly reliable access control product," he says. "It's unobtrusive - the user doesn't need to present themselves to a finger or handprint scanner - and safe: only face templates are stored, not images of users. FaceSentinel is Wiegand and RS485 compliant and so can be added seamlessly to 90% of the world's access control systems. For high security sites it provides true authentication and peace of mind." Aurora assist with matching travellers to boarding passes UK-based Aurora has impressive pedigree and experience in the world of airport passenger management, where its facial recognition products assist with matching travellers to boarding passes at Heathrow and Manchester airports. At Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, over 15 million facial recognition events were processed in 2014. At Manchester, over 5 million people have used the system since its introduction in 2013. "The technology is highly efficient and reliable," James says. "Now, with Deep Learning, it is amazingly accurate and consistent - and getting more so all the time." Aurora's first access control partner is Plan Access Control. Managing Director, Ray Phillips, says: "FaceSentinel is truly a huge evolutionary step for access control authentication. It's far and away the fastest, least invasive, biometric verification system we've worked with, and it makes a lot of sense for use in high-end access security applications." Aurora is actively seeking additional new access partners to work alongside FaceSentinel and welcomes enquiries from manufacturers. "We believe FaceSentinel provides a truly compelling case for the use of biometric verification in high security scenarios," James says. "It's the fastest, most accurate authentication available, and we'd love to hear from access control manufacturers who are interested in working with us."
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