Articles by Steve Connor
Leap years occur every four years as a way to help synchronise the calendar year with the solar year, or how long it takes the Earth to orbit the sun. While this is necessary, leap years require our security systems to account for an extra day, apart from its normal schedule. As a result, leap years create problems with computing and can cause major issues to access control system functionality if a provider is not leap year compatible. There are a few things to keep in mind as we near February 29 to ensure you and your system are prepared for this uncommon occurrence. Why doesn't my access control system work on a leap year day? A leap year doesn’t occur that often, but if your system is newer than four years old, then this may be the first time you are being hit with this issue. It may be something as simple as the fact that the manufacturer of the system failed to account for leap day in their QA/testing procedures when designing the product. Regardless of the reasoning, it is important to recognise the issues that could arise so you can be prepared. An access control system malfunctioning never leads to a good outcome. What are some of the issues I could run into if my system isn’t leap year compatible? If you have your doors on a schedule, it could lead to doors being open on a Saturday or Sunday — which is the case this leap year — when they should not be open. This could naturally lead to unauthorised individuals gaining access to sensitive areas, putting company assets at risk. This could also lead to problems with credentials that were set to start or expire on a certain date, which could cause problems for new employees needing access, or could extend access privileges to contract workers whose employment terms have ended. In addition to credentialing, other scheduled events will also be off in the system. For example, some access control systems automatically lock or unlock doors on a set schedule based on business hours. With no defined schedules in place for a day that only occurs once every four years, this could lead to issues with scheduling for both authorised and unauthorised individuals. What can I do to ensure my system is ready for Feb. 29? Anything? If your manufacturer hasn’t alerted you that your system is leap-year compatible, it is best to set up your system in a test lab and simulate the leap-year date. This allows you to verify that all of your scheduling type events work correctly. If it works in a simulation, it will work on the actual day. However, beware waiting until the last moment to test your system, in case you do run into challenges that need to be addressed. Are there solutions available that account for this already? This is an important question to ask if you are evaluating a new system. While there are some systems that do not account for a leap day, many systems, like Hirsch Velocity, already do. In fact, Hirsch products have been leap-year compatible for many years now, allowing end-users to ignore the inconvenient day altogether. What if my system doesn’t? If you know for a fact that your system is not leap-year compatible, ask your provider before that date to test and ensure that your system will work properly. If you do this and encounter scheduling issues, you can opt to push off all of your scheduled events until March 1 and validate scheduled doors being opened on February 29 to plan accordingly. While leap day is inconvenient, it is addressable. It is just important to do so early to catch any issues before they arise. Failure to acknowledge the challenges associated with leap years will inevitably lead to difficulties when the day comes.
Versatile security system leverages 2GIG wireless sensor line and works harmoniously with gate and access control systems Nortek Security & Control announces the new 2GIG Vario Hybrid Security System. The complete Vario system consists of a security control panel with on-board hardwire inputs and outputs, which can add wireless capabilities to take advantage of 2GIG’s existing wireless solutions. Vario has multiple keypad styles, a variety of zone and output expanders, two options for power supply expansion, two-way voice compatibility, two distinct receiver options, and a wide variety of tamper-protected enclosures. Each device within the Vario line can be combined to create a personalised security system that provides the ideal coverage, size, and price for any project. Scalable to any size installation or job, the Vario system supports the entire 2GIG wireless sensor line. Access to the established line of sensors enhances the Vario system’s flexibility by enabling a la cart additions of solutions such as the 2GIG Glass Break sensor or 2GIG Flood and Temperature sensor that monitor for potentially damaging events such as flooding or windows shattering. 2GIG Wireless Door/Window sensors can be added to monitor entry points where hardwired solutions are impossible or cost prohibited. Enhanced compatibility Designed to operate within the confines of existing systems, 2GIG Vario is fully compatible with a number of current automation and access control systems including the Linear e3 platform. The panel’s extensive zone typing enables cross-system actions and commands and makes the entire system more robust. Through Vario’s programmable outputs, systems that traditionally worked together as separate structures, such as security and access control, can be bonded together. This unification enables events taking place in separate systems, such as an access control or gating, to trigger the Vario system to perform additional actions for a more holistic experience. "Through Vario, we’ve created a single source for all the equipment dealers need to build a better security system for their customers that is price competitive" “To meet the growing need for a more flexible security system in the residential, commercial, and builder markets, we engineered Vario to provide our customers with the access they need to integrate with existing systems and freedom to add-on the sensors and accessories needed to get the job done and create the best system,” said Steve Connor, Product Marketing Director for Nortek Security & Control. “Through Vario, we’ve created a single source for all the equipment dealers need to build a better security system for their customers that is price competitive.” Vario Digital Voice Module The Vario panel comes equipped with 8 hardwired zones and 4 programmable outputs and supports additional expansion boards that can be added to double the number of hardwired zones or increase the number of programmable outputs by 4 or 8. The base system supports up to 4 wired smoke detectors with auto reset, features internal and external tamper switches and uses barrel/terminal connections for power. Depending on the needs of the installation, additional expansion boards may be added to enable two-way voice communication via a Vario Digital Voice Module and Microphone/Speaker Module to verify alarms and reduce false alarms, or provide additional power to auxiliary devices. To cut down on the amount of wire required to deploy a system, all modules within the Vario system are supported by an easy to install four-wire bus. With one wiring system that supports the power and data transmission of every hardwired device within the Vario system, critical components or accessories such as additional keypads, microphone/speaker modules, or wireless transmission modules can be incorporated into the system in the locations where they are required. Whether the system is being deployed within an existing structure, or in a new building under construction, the Vario system requires less wiring be run, resulting in time and resource savings in the field and a more reliable security system. Similar to the other security panels within the 2GIG line, end users can access their security system and all of their connected devices from anywhere in the world at any time right from their smartphone via the Alarm.com app. 2GIG Vario will be on display at CES 2017 in the Nortek Security & Control smart home booth in the Sands (booth #41317) and widely available by February 2017.