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Top 3 myths of physical access control technology

Top 3 myths of physical access control technology

Editor / Provider: Ola Jonsson, Business Development Manager, Axis Communications | Updated: 7/21/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

It is no exaggeration to say that network video has revolutionized the video surveillance market. Now the access control industry is on the verge of a similar development. Once again, it is the transition from analog to IP-based systems and with it the adoption of open standards which provides new opportunities and stimulates market growth.

Since the introduction of the first network camera in 1996, the market share of IP-based video surveillance systems has increased year by year. Today, network video solutions offer a host of benefits and advanced functionalities that cannot be provided by analog video surveillance technology.

There are a number of common misconceptions as the physical access control industry undergoes a similar transition from analog to IP-based technology. In the following, I will address the top 3 of these myths.

Myth #1 - It's not worth upgrading existing analog systems to IP-based technology
A typical analog access control system is dependent on having each device – card reader, handle, door lock, door position switch, etc. – hard wired with RS-485 cable into one central unit or central server. Besides being proprietary systems, which confines the end user to one single provider of hardware and software, these solutions often tend to be very complex and require expert personnel to handle installation and configuration.

Furthermore, when expanding analog systems the process is complicated by the need to consider that a typical central controller is built to accommodate a certain maximum number of doors, normally 4, 8, 16 or 32. Not only does this limitation make the system inflexible but also makes it difficult for the end user to match his requirements with products available, e. g. if there is a need for access control at for example 9 or 17 doors. This lack of flexibility also brings high marginal costs, which can make the addition of one extra door unjustifiably expensive.

Upgrading an analog access control system to IP-based technology therefore allows for more flexibility while lowering costs as the system needs to be expanded to include additional doors. IP networks can be used for more than one application. This way different security systems can use the same infrastructure and can be integrated with each other. Often remote monitoring and management of security systems is a key requirement. This can be easily implemented with IP-based solutions which feature web-based console access.

Myth #2 - Access control systems are only for large installations
Analog access control products and systems are normally designed and optimized for large installations with a lot of doors and maybe thousands of credentials (cardholders). The actual market looks very different. According to the Security Sales & Integrator Gold Book 2013, the average installation consists of 7 doors with less than 130 credentials. Only about 20% of the installations have more than 10 doors.

Without the need for hard wiring to a central control unit or central server, IP-based access control systems enable installations that are very flexible and scalable. This means not only a more versatile solution, but also a more cost efficient one. Freed from the constraints of enlarging the system in certain multiples, a network-based solution can – should it be necessary – be enlarged by one door, and one reader, at a time.

Additionally, IP-based technology enables “edge” solutions. An edge solution has one controller for each door, which is then connected to the existing local Ethernet through a regular network switch without the need for a central server for management. Since IP networks now are ubiquitous in offices, stores, factory plants and similar facilities the cost of adding an IP-based door controller would be minimal, as opposed to multiple serial connections wired back to a central server. Cabling work can be even further facilitated. By employing a PoE (Power over Ethernet) supported controller at each door the need for a separate power cable is eliminated, thereby reducing the total installation cost and time compared to that of an analog access control solution.

Myth #3 - Access control systems are proprietary solutions that can't be integrated with other security systems
Very much like in the video surveillance market the shift from analog to IP-based technology in the access control industry will cause a transition from proprietary systems to open solutions. And these solutions will most likely be based on international industry standards.

Open solutions and standardized interfaces are a prerequisite in any industry that wants to establish its own equivalent of "plug-and-play". There are many gains from such a development also in access control. It will allow end users to freely pick and choose between components – reader, door controller and software – that best satisfy their needs and preferences. This freedom of choice makes the system future-proof and means the end user no longer has to rely on a single brand or supplier. Equally important, it can also enable integration with other security related systems and third party applications, without the need for costly hardware boxes to provide the “bridge” between the different systems. For example, a very common request is to integrate physical access control with video. People entering a building will automatically trigger a camera; the live images can then be used for investigation of incidents or identity control.

In the network security systems market there is already a clear trend to develop open or standardized application platform interfaces (APIs), which can be used by all competing market participants on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Naturally, this will increase supply and promote competition and bring a new level of innovation to the industry, while simultaneously making it even easier for end users, system integrators, consultants and others to take advantage of the different possibilities offered by IP-based solutions.

For example, the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF), which is a global and open industry standards body with the goal to facilitate the development and use of IP-based security products, announced in 2010 an extension of the organization's scope of standardization to cover physical access control. Ideally, access control devices from manufacturers that comply with the ONVIF standards will in the near future interoperate effortlessly and seamlessly with each other, as well as with other video surveillance products and systems conformant with the standard.

Future outlook
According to a market forecast by analyst firm ARC Advisory Group, IP-based access control systems will comprise more than 35% of the market in terms of shipments by 2016. A key factor will be that new buildings are increasingly being equipped with IP-based building control systems. This provides the basis for integration of previously often separate systems such as access control, intrusion detection, fire alarms or video surveillance.

Open standards and the ability to base different security systems on the same IP network architecture allows installers to build solutions based on products from various manufacturers. This way they can better meet customer demand, price projects more competitively and offer custom solutions to particular installation challenges and requirements. End users benefit from a future-proof and adaptable technology that can easily scale to their growing needs without being locked into any one manufacturer.

TOP10 most popular security products for June 2014

TOP10 most popular security products for June 2014

Editor / Provider: Erica Lin | Updated: 7/15/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

asmag.com here presents the TOP10 products with the most click-through rate in June 2014.

First have a quick look: the TOP10 rank in June is taken by 7 manufacturers—Axis, D-Link, EL.MO. S.p.A., Exacq Technologies, Hikvision, VIVOTEK, and Theia. Among them, two are Taiwan manufacturers, D-Link and VIVOTEK, unsurprisingly. Of the 10 products, it is worth noticing that six cameras enter the June TOP10, with two of them fisheye cameras while panoramic camera has been  increasingly popular on market. And still two out of the six cameras are for the application of  smart home, one from Hikvision and the other from D-Link. Hikvision's 1.3M IR cube camera has successfully achieved the first place for six months in a raw, while D-Link's baby cam makes its first time on rank.

Over all, each of the top 3 winnersHikvision, VIVOTEK, and EL.MO. S.p.A..has received higher total click-through rates than those in May!

1. Hikvision DS-2CD2412F-I (W) 1.3M IR Cube Network Camera

As expected , Hikvision's 1.3M IR cube network camera again becomes the number one on the rank! Receiving a total of 553 clicks this month, it has also got more clicks from last month. Of them, more than half came from America. For six months in a row, the DS-2CD takes the first place on the rank. Though, the other IR cube network camera, Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-I (W), falls out of the rank this time.

2. VIVOTEK FE8174v 5MP 360 degree Fisheye Fixed Dome Camera

The FE8174v is the latest fisheye fixed dome network camera dedicated by VIVOTEK. It jumped from No.7 last month to No.2 in June with a total of 402 clicks. The FE8174v features a detailed 5-Megapixel resolution sensor and is able to provide surveillance coverage in wide, open areas, such as airports, shopping malls, parking lots, retail stores, offices and more. Its high-performing ePTZ function enables smooth shifts of zoom in and focus on a region of interest (ROI). Just in July, asmag.com has released a video to introduce this sleek and durable panoramic cam. Check here: Spot the fishy incidents — 11 perspectives from the industry

Go for more up-to-date panoramic cameras at here.

3. ELMO ANIMA touchscreen control keypad


The No.3 is taken by ELMO ANIMA, control/management keypad with a total of 354 clicks. ELMO ANIMA sees the most of its total viewers from America(42%). Presented by the Italy company, EL.MO. S.p.A., provider of wireless intrusion detection control unit, ELMO ANIMA owns sleek design as well featuring LCD touchscreen and backlighted foldaway buttons. 

4. VIVOTEK MD8531H 1.2 MP WDR Mobile Dome Network Camera


Among the first five seats, two (No2 and No.4) are taken by VIVOTEK cameras. The No.4 goes to VIVOTEK MD8531H, 1.2MP WDR camera, which is also a new comer on the rank with a total of 286 clicks. Nearly 80% of tis viewers came from America and Europe(46%, 33%). The MD8531H is designed ideally for transportation applications such as buses, trains, and other vehicles.

5. D-Link DCS-820L Wi-Fi Baby Camera


The No.5 is taken by another new comer, D-Link DCS-820L Wi-Fi Baby Camera, which was just released in May. With a total of 267 clicks, this baby cam had more than half of the viewers from America(55%), which is a growing market for the manufacturers. The Wi-Fi Baby Camera includes advanced features like motion and sound detection, instant push alerts, integrated lullabies, night vision technology, two-way audio and temperature measuring.

6. exacqVision VMS version 6.0


The six place goes to exacqVision VMS version 6.0, with a total of 256 clicks. ExacqTechnologies, part of the Security Products business unit of Tyco, has just in March released the latest version of the Video Management System(VMS), Version 6.0 since the prevision version 5.2 was launched in 2013. Among the views, over half of them came from America(52%). The new release comes with new features such as radically-faster search through new SpeedSearch, advanced camera configuration, faster more responsive PTZ control, and over 80 new IP camera integrations.

In May, exacqVision is integrated with Connect ONE, a web-based physical security information manager(PSIM). Live video from exacqVision video management system(VMS) software is linked to events within the Connect ONE interface.The integration of exacqVision with the Connect ONE interface allows users to view live video associated with events from one or more locations, generate customized reports, set up alarm or event alerts for instant notification of security concerns, manage users and access privileges and more.

7. Hikvision DS-2CD6362F-I (V)(S) 6MP Fisheye Network Camera


The No.7 goes to the second fisheye camera on this rank — Hikvision DS-2CD6362F-I (V)(S). It is the latest fisheye camera from Hikvision. This 6MP fisheye network camera supports up to 3072 x 2048 real-time streaming, with multiple viewing modes available. As expected, fisheye cameras have become increasingly popular across various verticals. Go find out more about 360-degree cameras on asmag.com June feature: Spot the fishy incidents — 11 perspectives from the industry.

8. AXIS Q16 Series-- Q1615/Q1615-E HDTV Network Camera

The No.6 goes to Axis Q16 Series HDTV Network Camera. This HDTV network camera series, just released in June, receives a total of 246 clicks. This new camera is Axis' first fixed cameras to provide 50/60 frames per seconds in HDTV 1080p resolution. With twice the normal frame rate, the cameras can even better record smooth video when people or vehicles are moving fast.

9. VIVOTEK ND8321 8CH Standalone NVR


No.9 is taken again by VIVOTEK. The ND8321 8CH Standalone NVR enters the rank with a total of 238 clicks. It is also the only NVR ranked on June Top10. ND8321 and IP8355EH are VIVOTEK's key products included in smart and simple solutions for smart city. Interestingly, IP8355EH, outdoor bullet network camera, was the No.2 in April Top10. To improve staff's security, efficiency, and productivity, and to ensure a safer shopping environment for customers, VIVOTEK has developed a user-friendly “Convenient Retail Solution,” comprising the ND8321, a plug-and-play network video recorder, elegantly designed ultra-mini bullet network cameras, and ultra-mini dome network cameras.

10. Theia SL183 Ultra Wide 5MP DN Lens


The last seat on the rank is taken by Theia SL183 Ultra Wide 5MP DN Lens with a total of 235 clicks. Over this period, SL183 has most of its viewers from Europe(47%), the highest on the rank. Theia SL183 features unique, distortion-corrected megapixel lenses, with 1.8 - 3mm varifocal range and Theia's patented Linear Optical Technology.

* Please note that the above statistics are not based on the sum of clicks but the accumulation of IP addresses.
For last month's TOP10 products, click here.

Market demand spurs versatile commercial building solutions

Market demand spurs versatile commercial building solutions

Editor / Provider: a&s Editorial Department | Updated: 7/14/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

In Asia, the commercial building market has relatively strong potential compared with other parts of the world as private funds, such as those in the U.S., have been showing great interest in the region in recent years. Some US private funds are either buying commercial properties in countries like Singapore or taking on new construction projects. Due to a great number of new constructions in Asia, the demand for integrated building automation (BA) systems are also on the rise.

INTEGRATED BA SOLUTIONS WITH SECURITY
In some developed economies like Singapore and Hong Kong, office buildings and financial buildings are common types of commercial structures. Office buildings can range from state-of-the-art skyscrapers housing regional headquarters of multinational corporations (MNCs) to mid-end buildings accommodating small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Financial buildings are those whose tenants are banks and financial institutions.

Office buildings used as regional head offices and financial buildings are the types that would resort to an integrated solution that bundles security and BA systems at the same time. As to the commercial building market in Asia, where building codes are not as clear as those in Europe or North America, what devices and functions should be included in an integrated system and how they should be done are largely dependent on the whims of building owners. But in general, the integrated BA solutions which highlight the improved energy efficiency and identity management is getting popular in these countries.

Identity Management in High Demand
The type of commercial buildings whose occupants are MNCs are required to protect physical and non-physical intellectual property, since the wealth of intellectual property, be it product prototypes, business letters, or customer information, can fall prey to break-ins and database infiltration. Moreover, the flow of of the outsourcing trend among some MNCs has caused a need for stringent security control. On the other hand, financial buildings that have safety deposit boxes, ATM machines, counters, and employee offices all within one construction also demand rigorous control as cash and client profiles require extra protection.

Therefore, a highly-integrated security solution focusing on identity management has become an answer to the protection of intellectual property, cash, and crucial client information. Identity management is an integrated solution that coordinates BA systems, security hardware, and oftentimes, biometric identification. Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing at Ademco (Far East) put it this way: “The management of identity using several ID technologies is important as not a single piece of information can properly authenticate an identity.”

What makes identity management so special in a highly-automated building is that as BA leaves the control of a building's access and other security matters to a computeroperated system, identity management, oftentimes with the help of biometrics, exerts a more humanized influence to the system.

Besides, identity management also works with a BA system to provide a customized environment for an individual. Lim took a CEO's office as an example. When a CEO steps into a building, the executive lift is already there waiting for him/ her and their office has been tuned to his/her preference upon arrival (e.g. the blinds are opened to allow in more sunshine).

Energy Efficiency Becomes Unique Selling Point
Both headquarters and financial buildings have added energy saving to in their integrated solutions. Ricky Law, Account Manager at Ensec Solutions, said lighting controls can go with access controls to achieve light saving functions, such as switching lights on and off with an access control card. Lighting controls can also be bundled with a building's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for more energy savings.

New building projects in Asia's developed countries are also increasing demand for a highly automated security and energy saving systems. “Developers and engineering consultant firms [are] looking for energy saving and a more cost effective solution for building projects,” Law said, noting that the incorporation of more energy saving functions into an integrated automated security solution can be a selling point to new construction projects. In new constructions, energy saving functions like how lights and air conditioning systems should be controlled and preconfigured in the BA system have been considered in advance when buildings are under construction.

However, for SMEs, instead of occupying the whole or part of a commercial building, they are often only tenants of a floor or sometimes just a room. Energy saving “can be too rigid and creates inconvenience to tenants,” said Lim, referring to the complexity of integrating too many functions into existing building.

The re-modeling and re-deployment of pipes and wires in buildings can be a painstaking process, not to mention all SMEs in the building have to sit down, make negotiations, and reach agreements to get an integrated system done.

In addition, money is also an issue, Lim said. “The high cost of some of these systems can prevent smaller buildings and cost-sensitive organizations from adopting energy saving solutions,” he explained.

SECURITY PLATFORM SECURES MULTIFUNCTIONAL BUILDINGS
Developing countries are investing heavily in their shopping centers and retail stores as it is the most efficient way to bring cash in. Building fancy malls and enticing tourists to buy have become a fast lane towards economic growth for countries like Thailand, which is a self-proclaimed “shopping paradise.” The shopping industry in Thailand is so strong that one of the country's mall developers, Central Pattana Pcl (CPN), is actually expanding its business to other parts of Southeast Asia and building shopping malls in Malaysia in 2016, followed by more shopping centers in Indonesia and Vietnam, according to Reuters.

The vibrant shopping industry in Thailand has brought in the demand for multifunctional buildings, where shopping centers occupy the first few floors while companies and other type of offices take up the upper layers of the building. The massive flow of shoppers downstairs and office workers upstairs have created a special demand for security.

The latest security solutions in multifunctional buildings in Thailand are adopting a security platform, close to the concept of physical security information management (PSIM), integrating all security data obtained from surveillance monitoring devices at all entrances and elevator doors, according to Nuttawaj Chieobangyang, CEO at Coretech Corporation, a security solution distributor in Thailand. This allows for “easy control and checking of all events inside the building.”

The security platform can grant different levels of control according to different layers of activities in the building. It can set a tighter control for company offices upstairs and less control to shopping centers downstairs. Aloysius Loy, MD at ACTAtek, a service provider of web-based security solutions, stressed that a security platform is able to provide a more comprehensive picture of a building's security conditions as the solution organizes all security equipment in the building, such as video surveillance systems, glass breaker detection, fire alarms and smoke detection, and temperature control systems, putting all information into a single platform and displaying it on a touch screen monitor.

FIRE PREVENTION MAIN CONCERN IN VIETNAM
As one of Asia's rising economies, Vietnam launched its economic reform in 1986 and has since enjoyed economic growth second to China. The Vietnam government's GDP growth rate surpassed 7 percent during the 1990s and was even able to register an over 5 percent growth between 2009 and 2012 when world economy slumped into recession, according to the World Bank. Also since the 1990s, more than 30,000 private businesses have been created.

The revitalized economic conditions of Vietnam have reflected on the construction of new buildings, including those for commercial purposes. The Vietnam Country Report 2012 showed that construction demand for office buildings surged to 493,000 square meters in 2010 from 245,000 square meters in 2008.

Mid-end office buildings are the major commercial building type in Vietnam. Unlike commercial buildings in other parts of Asia that place emphasis on intellectual property or unauthorized trespassing, buildings in Vietnam stress fire prevention, according to Thomas Tran, MD at Citek, manufacturer of surveillance equipment.

Fire prevention is also the main theme of the building's integrated security solutions. Centered on fire alarms, a buildings' security system can combine with video surveillance, access control, and intrusion alerts, said Tran. Fire alarms can also be bundled with public address (PA) systems for evacuation purposes. “In addition to fire, unauthorized entries and malfunctions on supervisory control and acquisition data (SCADA) systems are also security concerns,” said Tran.

Integrated Solutions Vary Based on Demand
Different types of commercial buildings have been presented in Asia based on business activities. Regional headquarters, financial buildings, and smaller office buildings housing tenants like SMEs have been particularly noticable in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Thailand's tourist-driven industry has led to the construction of multifunctional buildings that combine shopping centers and offices. Vietnam has initiated massive construction projects, including office buildings for the country's growing number of enterprises. Each type has different demands as to how its security can be done. Types of commercial buildings may vary, but further integration of all systems in a building is a foreseeable trend in the future in most parts of Asia.

FLIR FC-series thermal imaging cameras deliver cost-effective site protection

FLIR FC-series thermal imaging cameras deliver cost-effective site protection

Editor / Provider: FLIR | Updated: 7/9/2014 | Article type: Government & Public Services

Thermal imaging cameras are an ideal way to protect premises against intruders at night. Not only is thermal imaging very effective in detecting all kinds of anomalies in all weather conditions, it is also a cost-effective solution. In a recent project where an important swimming pool in Orsay, France, needed to be protected against intruders, security installation specialist EVITECH proves that you can secure an area of more than 1,000 square meters with one single thermal imaging camera.

The public swimming pool in the municipality of Orsay, France, receives several hundred visitors every day. Schools, sport clubs and recreational swimmers all find their way to the Olympic size (50 metre) swimming pool for all kinds of swimming, diving or water-polo activities. As crowded as it might be during the day, at night during closing hours, the pool is not staffed and a ladder is all that is needed to climb the fence and access the pool.

In order to monitor the pool deck at night for irresponsible behaviour and to prevent possible deaths by drowning, the municipality of Orsay decided to invest in an efficient security solution. At the same time, it was important to limit heavy construction work and guarantee anonymity for all swimming pool guests.

EVITECH (Electronic Vision Technologies) who are based in Antony, France, installed an intruder detection system with thermal imaging technology from FLIR Systems, in cooperation with security technology installer – the TIFALI Group.

EVITECH video surveillance specialist Founded in 2005, EVITECH is a European leader in video analytics for security applications. EVITECH's solutions help to monitor and protect sensitive sites, public spaces and transport systems, and oil & gas installations. The company can boast some very prestigious clients, including government premises, big defence security system providers, sensitive energy sites and big construction companies.

EVITECH's most notable security solutions are Jaguar, a video analytics software package for intrusion detection, and Lynx, a software tool that helps to manage movements of crowds of people through intelligent video analytics.

Single-camera installation
For the monitoring and detection of the pool deck at Orsay around the 25x50m swimming pool, EVITECH opted for the FLIR FC-690 camera, installed on the corner of an adjacent pool building, coupled with Jaguar video analytics software. As a very cost-effective intruder detection solution, the FLIR FC-690 camera can capture all movements in its field of view, based on the temperature information the human body gives off.

The FLIR FC-690 is an affordable, network ready fixed mount camera with 640 x 480 pixel resolution. The camera uses a 7.5 mm lens, which offers a field of view of 90°. Thanks to this lens, only one camera is needed to ensure the surveillance of the whole site. The camera has been installed on the roof of the adjacent building without the use of a mast. In this way, the entire pool including the surrounding walkways and deckchair area can be monitored.

The Jaguar video analytics software is a perfect match for the FLIR thermal imaging cameras. The software continuously detects all kinds of movements around and in the water, efficiently filtering out the movements of the water.
Only activated during closing hours, the detection and monitoring system generates alarms when intruders are detected and automatically reports them to the city police.

Thermal trumps other technologies
Before selecting thermal imaging with Jaguar analytics, the municipality investigated other technologies. A common solution for detecting intruders is the use of infrared barriers. These detectors however require a lot of cable and therefore a lot of costly installation works that require the ground to be opened up. Another frequently used solution is visual video technology (CCTV). However, the area around the Orsay swimming pool is not lit at night, which makes detection difficult. Had lighting been installed, the light that plays on the moving or rippling water would generate a lot of false alarms. That's why thermal imaging proved to be the most sensible solution.

Thermal imaging cameras do not need any lights to operate at night and with only one camera covering the entire swimming pool, the installation works would be minimal.

Anonymity guaranteed
Although the detection and monitoring system is switched off during opening hours, the swimming pool customers might still be under the impression that they are being watched. Specifically in France, this would mean invasion of privacy, which could lead to legal action. With thermal imaging cameras, that is not a problem. Unlike visual based CCTV cameras, a thermal imaging camera does not actually identify the person in question when he or she is detected. This way, the municipality is able to protect the swimming pool site against intruders at night or while it is closed, and at the same time respect the anonymity of the bathers while the pool area is open.

Access control management empowers verticals

Access control management empowers verticals

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 7/3/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Regardless of the vertical, end users can benefit from access control management software, which not only helps keep companies/organizations safe but also contributes to more efficient operations and workflow. Determining what end users' primary focuses of management are and what they look for in their access control solutions is the first step towards successful deployment.

 

 

Education
Education, whether at a primary, secondary, or higher level, is often cited as one of the vertical markets that needs cutting-edge access control solutions the most, especially after campus violence has become more rampant in the U.S. A NAPCO Security Technologies white paper on school security points out that since 1980, there have been 137 fatal school shootings that killed 297 victims in America. However, safety aside, schools are also looking for ways to extract the potential of their students' ID credentials by integrating them with more functions. This is especially the case in colleges, where students are faced with the need to enter or exit school buildings or dorms as well as borrow books, make cashless payments, and reserve equipment. “They want to integrate all the above mentioned features together into their campus card,” said Tom Su, Sales Manager at Hundure Technology.

To achieve those objectives, schools are looking to integrate a variety of subsystems into their access control management software. “For higher education institutes, integrated subsystems include meal plans, vending, video, distress systems, and mass notification. For K-12, cost-effective lock-down capabilities and visitor management are also required,” said Richard White, VP and GM of Electronics at Allegion.

Integrating these systems into a seamless whole can result in many benefits, said Harm Radstaak, MD of Identity & Access Management for EMEA, HID Global. “They significantly improve safety and security for students, staff, faculty, and visitors. They also deliver cost savings and an easy migration path to future capabilities when needed,” said Radstaak, whose company was responsible for helping the Academy of Art University in San Francisco transition from a lock-and-key environment to an integrated access control system, which enables students to use their ID cards to not only open doors but also make secure purchases and gain access to Urban Knights athletic events.

“The university has realized a number of important benefits from its new access control system, including documented reductions in theft even as enrollment has increased, and an improved campus experience,” Radstaak said.

Healthcare

Another vertical that highly demands cutting-edge access control management software is healthcare, which is also faced with the need to secure a diverse group of people including patients, doctors/nurses, administrators, and volunteers, against a variety of emergency situations such as fires, earthquakes, or fights that break out from time to time at hospitals. Other focuses of management include granting emergency personnel expedited access to patients' wards or intensive care units, and protecting patients' data from theft or leakage to other parties.

Subsystems integrated into access control management software vary based on end users' specific needs and requirements. For example, access control integrated with visitor management makes sure that those without access rights stay away from critical areas such as radiology, pharmacy, and pediatric wards. Elevator controls, meanwhile, are valuable in allowing medical staff to reach certain floors in the quickest manner.

“Saving lives has absolute priority and requires unhindered access, and the access control management system must therefore be prepared for this eventuality,” said Nancy Wanders, Sales Manager of Global Clients at Nedap Security Management, adding with her company's solution, “the ER team has its own special cards. Held in front of any card reader they initiate elevator priority control. The elevator that is especially reserved for the emergency team is ordered to the appropriate floor. Only when this card is used, the elevator will go to the selected floor with priority.”

“The ER team often has its own special cards. Held in front of any card reader they initiate elevator priority control. The elevator that is especially reserved for the emergency team is ordered to the appropriate floor. Only when this card is used, the elevator will go to the selected floor with priority,” she said.

At the same time, the access control management system must converge with logical access control to make sure there is no theft or leakage of patients' data, which has become mostly digitized in an increasingly digital world. “With the right infrastructure in place, healthcare institutions can meet today's security and compliance needs while continually improving security and convenience, protecting patient privacy, and increasing the ongoing value of their investment,” Radstaak said.

 

Government

For government agencies, the focus of access control management is high-assurance and multi-factor authentication. “This would include technologies such as biometrics and encryption,” said Jason Ouellette, Product Line Director for Access Control at Tyco Security Products. “The need is to be highly secure and highly protected by nature of what is physically being protected.”

Among subsystems typically integrated with government access control management software are HR, visitor management, video, alarms, and encryption devices for communications that need to comply with FIPS standards. According to Ouellette, government users look for software that can handle high-assurance government credentials such as PIV, CAC, and TWIC, along with intrusion zone support. “The ability to handle high-assurance credentials allows highly important facilities, such as government buildings and embassies, to put into place an extra layer of security to keep the wrong people out while allowing the proper people access,” he said.

Users also want their management software to be able to change authentication levels based on the imminence of danger faced by government personnel. “Buildings such as government and municipalities require a high-assurance badge, but when the threat level is moved up, there is opportunity to increase the level of authentication as required to include a second factor such as a PIN or a biometric. Access control authentication changes as the need/threat changes,” Ouellette said.

All this contributes to a safer and more secure environment for government personnel, said Daniel McVeagh, Senior Product Manager for Access at Gallagher. “The benefit is ensuring government facility security cannot be easily compromised. We support a wide range of security and interoperability standards, ensuring government sites are well protected and can leverage their security system investment with integrations into others,” he said.

 

Corporate
In today's corporate world, companies are increasingly setting up offices and branches in multiple regions or even countries around the world. The need for multi-site management therefore arises. “They are looking for the ability to have local access control but with a global view. Typically they are set up so a central security station can see what is happening anywhere in the world,” said Tyco's Ouellette.

According to him, this type of installation gives users the flexibility to either own the security operation or outsource the monitoring through a managed access control offering. “Customers can determine what works best for them and determine what level of capital investment vs. operational cost is appropriate for them. Some customers may want to spend the money upfront, while others may find more flexibility with spending the money over a period of time,” he said.

A critical element for success in the corporate arena is the ability to tie access control management software with multiple subsystems including elevators, video management, RFID, key management and more, he added.

“With so many disparate offerings in the field today, the more options that can be supported, the better value the access control platform can provide to the end user,” Ouellette said. “A unified customer experience by offering a unified security platform from which to manage all of the security applications is quickly becoming a requirement for many customers looking for an easy way to manage their holistic security infrastructure. Toggling between multiple applications like video, access control, and visitor management is quickly becoming a thing of the past.”

 

Industry
Access control is vital in ensuring staff safety in an industrial setting, for example a factory or plant. “Securing critical areas is not just a security issue but also a life safety issue,” said Jeremy Krinitt, GM of Frontier Security.

For critical infrastructure such as power generation plants that may be the target of terrorist attacks, integrated access control and video systems are key. Other technologies that may be integrated with the access control management software include time and attendance, public address systems, perimeter protection systems, payroll systems, visitor management systems, wireless locking systems, and parking controls.

In an industrial setting, users often look for technologies and solutions that can withstand harsh environments, Krinitt said. Another user demand is access control management software with viable anti-passback technology to prevent misusage that is prevalent in this sector.

“They want a solution that does not allow any buddy clocking,” said Hundure's Su. “Our finger vein device has a high security feature that makes ID theft and buddy clocking impossible. After all, no one can copy finger vein patterns.” Users are also looking for software that can help enforce health and safety compliance, record employees' time of entry of exit, track their locations, and gather them in the event of emergency.

“If a machine explodes during maintenance work, our solution enables you to instantly activate the predefined settings and procedures you've defined for this type of situation,” Nedap's Wanders said. “You can easily control who's allowed access to the incident area. And you can get a quick overview of where your health and safety officers are and direct them to where they're needed. The solution also immediately blocks any zones that people shouldn't enter so everyone's led to the right assembly area, and you can quickly identify if anyone's missing and take appropriate action.”

 

New solar plant in Italy adopts Axis thermal cameras for perimeter protection

New solar plant in Italy adopts Axis thermal cameras for perimeter protection

Editor / Provider: Axis | Updated: 7/3/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Mission
The new photovoltaic solar park at Castello d'Argile (Bologna), with an overall power output of two megawatts, produces electricity that is then fed into the national electricity grid. Located in the open countryside and with practically no lighting, the solar park needed an intrusion detection system that ensured precise and effective control of the entire perimeter, both day and night.

Solution
The Austrian company that owns the solar park engaged Cubi e Perina to build and commission the plant. In turn, this Venice-based company called on ItalSicurezza for the design and installation of an intrusion detection system. The chosen solution was not a traditional intrusion detection system with typical detectors, but a system composed of eleven AXIS Q1931-E Thermal Network Cameras arranged for monitoring along the perimeter of the site, all equipped with VTrack intrusion video analysis software from Technoaware, installed on board the cameras.

Result
This solution met with immediate appreciation from the client, who recognized the innovation of this intrusion detection system over traditional systems. The decision to use Axis thermal cameras enables accurate and efficient monitoring in all lighting conditions, even at night, easily detecting any intrusions in the solar park and immediately setting off the alarm.

Day and night intruder prevention
A new state-of-the-art solar park has been installed at Castello D'Argile, in the open countryside of the Provinceof Bologna, to produce electricity that is then soldto Enel, Italy's largest power company. The requirement of the Austrian company that owns the plant was to prevent intruders entering the plant, even at night, which means they needed the best solution in terms of security, cost and speed of installation.

To meet these needs, Cubi e Perina, a Verona-based company in charge of building and commissioning the plant, turned to ItalSicurezza, leader in the implementation, management and maintenance of integrated security systems and an Axis partner. After thorough analysis of the possible options, ItalSicurezza decided to abandon the traditional route, based on the installation of traditional detectors (microwave barriers, infrared barriers etc.), choosing an innovative intrusion detection system with a number of merits. The chosen system consists of eleven AXIS Q1931-E Thermal Network Cameras, arranged for tracking along the entire perimeter of the site. These cameras take thermal images, enabling the detection of people, animals and objects with the utmost precision, both in lit conditions and in complete darkness, limiting so-called “false positives” to a minimum, even at long distances.

Quick situation overview
Compared with traditional intrusion detection systems, a system based on video analysis with Axis thermal cameras has the considerable advantage of, in addition to raising the alarm, also showing the precise photo that triggered it. This enables the security guard to quickly get an overview of the situation and react accordingly, or to immediately realize if it is a false alarm. This is possible by exploiting Technoaware's VTrack Intrusion plugin, installed on board the cameras via the Axis open application platform, ACAP, which allows third parties to develop applications that can be downloaded and installed on the cameras.

The possibility of installing this technology on board the camera is a distinctive strength of the Axis system compared to other systems on the market. In this way, the “passage” of information to an external server is avoided, as Technoaware's algorithm is loaded directly on the ACAP platform on board the camera. As soon as an intrusion event is detected through the video analysis carried out by the individual camera, a string is immediately sent via “http” to two AXIS P8221 I/O modules (Input/Output and Audio Server). Upon receiving the string, the Audio Server closes a contact that interfaces with an input module of an alarm center, activating the alarm signal for the relevant zone. In the event of an intrusion along the monitored perimeter, the alarm is therefore raised immediately, while the intrusion zone and movements of the intruder are accurately indicated via the Lifecube Security application, which shows the position of the intruder graphically on a map that can be accessed via tablet and smartphone.

Lighting problems eliminated
This innovative solution turned out to be the most functional for meeting the client's requirements for several reasons. First of all, a system of cameras is more efficient, precise and immediate than a classical perimeter barrier around the entire enclosure. Secondly, compared to a traditional perimeter system, the solution using AXIS Q1931-E Thermal Network Cameras is much less invasive, less complicated to install, and has an unbeatable price-efficiency ratio.
“This is the first time we have tackled this type of intrusion detection installation and I must say that, after an initial period of physiological adjustment, we are extremely pleased with this solution. The fact of having chosen day/night cameras really gives us a great sense of security, even at night, and eliminates the problems concerning park lighting”, stated Marco Pizzato, Technical Manager and partner of Cubi e Perina.

 

OPTEX free plug-in for Axis IP ACAP cameras and encoders

OPTEX free plug-in for Axis IP ACAP cameras and encoders

Editor / Provider: OPTEX | Updated: 7/1/2014 | Article type: Security 50

OPTEX has recently released free plug-in software that integrates REDWALL IP sensors with the Axis Camera Application Protocol (ACAP) found in the latest Axis cameras.

This integration enables the sensors to talk directly to the AXIS IP cameras and instruct them to go to pre-set positions to follow the targets and send an alarm event to management system. Using the Axis Cloud solution, pre and post alarm images can be sent via email or text messages making it an easy and affordable intrusion detection system for both residential and commercial applications. The plug-in also works with the AXIS encoders with ACAP, enabling analogue systems to migrate to IP and use the benefits of using REDWALL IP motion detection sensors with the functionalities of the AXIS encoders.

Axis Camera Application Platform (ACAP)
AXIS Camera Application Platform is an open application platform that enables development of third party applications that can be downloaded and installed on Axis network cameras.

How does the OPTEX plug-in work?
The OPTEX Axis plug-in software should be downloaded and installed on to the camera which then allows Redwall Event Code to instruct the camera to go to preset or send an alarm email.

Tyco: Do you need more from your security investment?

Tyco: Do you need more from your security investment?

Editor / Provider: Tyco Security Products | Updated: 6/26/2014 | Article type: Security 50

There's an old saying, “Half a loaf is better than none.” While that might be true for bread, it's not really true when it comes to security, is it? Rarely are we satisfied with just a little bit of information about a situation. Rather, as inquisitive human beings, we want to take in as much information as possible, especially when there's a critical decision tied to it.

When dealing with a security incident, we want to be presented with as much detail as is available so we can take the proper action. If an alarm sounds, but we have no information on why it sounded, what choices can we make? Do we dispatch someone, only to find out later that it is a false alarm? Or do we wait until we have confirming data, and risk that something untoward happens — a theft, an attack or some other event? If, on the other hand, there is an alarm and we have video that immediately pops up to show us the scene that goes with it, it's that much easier to react appropriately.

The industry has a name for this operational benefit: situation awareness. Situation awareness involves providing operators with a complete picture of what is happening in the incident location so they can better understand threats, evaluate risks, and make better decisions. The advent of integrated systems has helped us improve situation awareness and brought us that other half of the information we are missing. Whether it's a business looking at providing security for its employees and premises, or a consumer interested in a home security program, integration of alarms, access control, and video gives a more complete picture.

Integration not only allows us to react based on better information, but it speeds up the entire process. No longer are we waiting around for more data to come in; instead it is presented to us all at once. When an alarm sounds, we aren't going to a secondary source to find the appropriate video that matches the time and location of the alarm — it's all tied in together and presented in real time.

Having access to integrated information can be a cost saver as well. False alarms are a distraction and there can be costs with having an outside source, such as the police, respond to them. Or even if it's only the internal security staff that has to check out each alarm, the cost of that response quickly adds up in the time wasted and resources squandered.

Today, more and more applications are being integrated to the benefit of security system users. Beyond the traditional video, access control, and intrusion alarm systems, we're seeing the addition of video analytics, perimeter detection, tracking, and mass notification systems. Even systems that aren't typically thought of as security related, such as building controls, are being tied in because of the important information that can be provided. For example, just think how timely it would be to be able to know and confirm that there was a water main break and a building was flooding.

While it seems great to know that all these systems can be integrated, there may be some concern about the cost and complexity. Wouldn't hooking up all these systems and maintaining integrations be cost prohibitive? And won't people become overwhelmed by all this data coming from multiple systems? The good news is that technology, in the form of physical security information management systems (PSIM), has allowed for these different systems to be integrated onto a single platform. With PSIM solutions as few or as many systems can be brought together as needed. This means someone could start out by just tying together alarms and video, but then easily progress to the next levels of adding in video analytics or perimeter monitoring without having to undergo a lot of additional training.

With today's integrated systems it is becoming easier to gather information and make the most informed decisions yet. And get the complete answer.

How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 1)

How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 1)

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 6/24/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Big data is a buzz word. Many industries have tried to reply by analyzing big data to make good predictions on everything ranging from weather forecasts to decision making in different forms and subjects. However, why has the security industry also become so fascinated by “big data?” The reason could be traced back to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing investigation. The United States successfully crowdsourced information from social media, like Twitter and Facebook, and multiple video surveillance cameras to quickly identify and locate the criminals. This lesson opened the eyes of the whole world to learn the power of using mass data provided by the public, and more importantly, the different resources from security systems.

However, many experts also pointed out current security systems do not provide much information before an event even though they are connected to an IP network. Therefore, the industry has been trying to figure out how to make security equipment get involved in pre-event management and also play an active role in preventing crimes or disasters, instead of merely acting as a tool for post-event investigation. Of course, first of all, networkability is definitely a must in security devices, then, each device must be connected, like multiple sensors, to provide data. Then, there is intelligent video (or VCA), which is getting more important since it helps to make security information meaningful. By using intelligent video, security systems can produce loss prevention data or heat maps for retailers. Whenever the video security systems are connected with “external” WiFi-enabled tracking devices, the shop can better prevent perspective shoplifters and plan their marketing campaigns. Secondarily, it needs a proactive situational awareness tool, something like physical security information management software (PSIM), to seamlessly integrate different security and non-security equipment and further provide an immediate response to events.

In addition, through cloud computing, all the data is processed in the cloud; therefore, people are starting to wonder who is able to access this data and how to protect the integrity of the data. In the physical security world, we may also care about who is in my space and where these visitors are going and what they are doing. Therefore, identity management may play a vital role in the trend of big data.

To sum up, when the world starts to look into “big data” and how IoT can benefit everyone, the trend forces the security industry to gradually switch their attention to data and content beyond product specifications to better fit the needs of a connected world. Major technologies providers have started to add more value to security information/ content with their unique approaches.

Ultra-high 4K Resolution and Wide-angle Cameras Provide More Details
Although the improvement to 4K resolution seems very natural in consumer electronics and security technologies, 4K-resolution, ultra-high HD security cameras still captured the limelight at major security shows this year. Whenever 4K starts to become the mainstream in the industry, security cameras can be expected to provide more detailed and clearer video images of the environment, events, and subjects than the past. More importantly, 4K resolution cameras can largely reduce the total cost of ownership of a project by doing more with less, compared to low resolution cameras. Companies such as Axis Communications, Arecont Vision, Bosch Security Systems, Hikvison Digital Technology, IQinVision, and Sony Electronics all pre-announced 4K cameras last month. Performing at 30 frames per second makes 4K cameras stand out. “Arecont Vision 4K camera produces high-quality image at 30 frames per second and delivers about 8.3 megapixels. Arecont Vision‘s10- megapixel camera delivers 7 frames per second. When it was released in 2010, it was the first dual mode 10-megapixel and 1080p camera in the industry,” said Scott Schafer, Executive VP of Sales, Marketing, and Service at Arecont Vision. It can be predicted that all these companies should have their 4K cameras ready for the market later this year. However, some experts still warn that 4K camera users need to pay extra attention to selecting compatible 4K NVRs and monitors. Without using a 4K monitor, the video quality might be compromised.

Pelco is focusing on a different approach to provide more details to situational awareness video with their latest 360-degree camera, which is a joint venture combining OnCamGrandeye's technology and Pelco's video managment applications. Coupled with Pelco's customer support and service, this adds an important tool to the market, said Craig Dahlman, Director-Analog Video Products of Video Line of Business at Pelco by Schneider Electric. Similar products can also be seen at other major network video surveillance vendors, like Panasonic System Communications. Panasonic‘s 360-degree cameras enable several different viewing options. For example, diverse image distribution modes, including four independent video streams for maximum flexibility.

Intelligent Vi deo Helps Deliver Meaningful Messages
It is not enough to have a high-resolution video only for generating data. In order to acquire meaningful information, rather than just raw data, and even provide timely diagnosis/response to an event, intelligent video is the best candidate, when talking about big data. What it influences in the security field now is how to use the accumulated data from intelligent video for different purposes. “The focuses of video surveillance innovations have evolved from video functionality, to video integration, and now to video enabling. By enabling processes with video, the open platform fosters many innovations to optimize business operations in different verticals,” according to Karl Erik Traberg, Head of Corporate Communications and Business Development at Milestone Systems.

For example, “A retail store uses multiple cameras enabling real-time analytics such as traffic counting, queue management, heat maps and demographics. The system accumulates all the information by date and time, and if associated with the POS information, can deliver key information, such as average sale and conversion metrics. Ultimately, and depending on the information, retailers can leverage these insights to adjust their marketing strategies and even staffing for different time periods,” said Masa Karahashi, Senior VP, Engineering at 3VR.

Hank Monaco, VP of Marketing at Tyco Integrated Security also further explained in a big picture, “For many retailers, we are also seeing a big move now toward leveraging multiple technologies working together to help drive higher store performance. For instance, retailers are finding that leveraging video services to gain visibility into POS activity helps to drive improved customer experiences and manage more accurately what is on the shelf which also can lead to higher sales. We see technologies working together, such as EAS used byond loss protection, and tied into POS register, RFID for inventory tracking, and also analytic video to understand customers‘ behaviors, such as dwell time — how much time a customer stands in front of the stock display without making a purchase or how fast a customer picks up a product(s) from a shelf and then makes a purchase. Essentially, retailers are seeing that technology that does more can also help them make decisions in the store on a more predictive basis and allows them to see farther ahead. This drives the store performance which helps them gain competitive advantage and improved bottom line results.”

We can imagine that, if the information is also shared with or connected to other non-security, external systems, it could be something really valuable even to city surveillance or other researches. However, how to reduce false alarms in intelligent video is always the focus for security. The latest motion sensor detection sensors by Mobotix are able to filter the objects according to directions of movement. Therefore, it only records video or triggers an alarm if an important event actually occurs. Interference caused, for instance, by trees moving in the wind, shadows, passing clouds, or snowfall is consistently ignored.

Thermal Comes to Intelligent Video for 24/7 Detection
In some particular scenarios, intelligent video might meet certain limitations and challenges. “The main drawback of standard CCTV systems arises from their reliance on reflected light — inability to operate at night, adverse effects due to shadows and lighting changes,” according to the research paper titled “Thermo-Visual Feature Fusion for Object Tracking Using Multiple Spatiogram Trackers,” by Ciaran O Conaire et al. For a critical environment, the combination of thermal cameras and intelligent video is a good match for 24/7 detection. After the partnership of FLIR Systems and VideoIQ in 2010, FLIR also recently partnered with PureTech Systems for wide area surveillance solution.

Another piece of good news for the industry is that the falling price in thermal technology will allow more security cameras to enjoy the benefits of thermal. FLIR announced the release of three new lines of its thermal security cameras starting at economical prices, which further demonstrates how the combination of thermal cameras and intrusion video analytics can actually be an affordable and also effective solution, said Andy Teich, President and CEO of FLIR Systems. At the same time, DVTel also announced its thermal cameras at an affordable price, also featuring intelligent video analytics.

FLIR also launched its cloud-based platform for users to remotely access their security cameras. In the future, thermal with intelligent video cameras will also start to provide more meaningful data to make our environment safer.

 

* Take a look into How big data and IoT revolutionize the security industry (Part 2)

 

 

Beyond opening doors: Access control management rules

Beyond opening doors: Access control management rules

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 6/27/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Access control remains a major segment of the physical security market and is set to enjoy continued growth. In a recently study, HIS Technology predicted that the global market size for electronic access control will top US$3.5 billion this year, driven by returning growth in the Americas, the Middle East, and Africa. High demand for access control has created opportunities for new products and technologies. One of them is access control management software, which can be useful to users from different verticals. “These may include education, healthcare, retail, transportation, manufacturing and Industrial, sports and leisure, museums, data centers, corporate, airport authorities, and ports,” said Steve Barton, CTO of Software & Controls at Pacom. With strong demand and business from different vertical markets, access control management software's popularity and growth are set to endure.

Integration Drives Efficiency
Access control management software has evolved over the years from being a simple software application with basic functions to being a cutting-edge technology that allows users to access and retrieve information about an access-related event more easily and quickly. On top of that, the increase in integration and interoperability has continued to grow. Today's access control management software can integrate not only with other security systems, such as video and intrusion detection, but also with non-security systems such as HR, room booking, cashless payments, elevator controls, and visitor management.

The resulting optimization in efficiency can help the end-user organization in many ways. “If an employee gets a new role, the authorizations on his access card will change automatically as soon as his new position is activated in his HR system,” said Nancy Wanders, Sales Manager of Global Clients at Nedap Security Management. “This level of automation means a big reduction in administrative tasks for security managers, so they can focus on other tasks and stay in control.” While the initial cost of investing in an access control system may be high, increased efficiency can ultimately cut cost down the road. “Efficiency and cost reduction can be provided in a variety of ways through access control solutions. Some of these include: elimination of cost of re-keying doors when a key is lost, and the ability to pre-register visitors, which is a more efficient process for visitor management,” said Jeremy Krinitt, GM of Frontier Security. “An access control system can streamline the processes and enable operators to wrap up investigations quickly. It can save operating costs for years to come through the efficiency it provides. Access control does that.”

Integration with Videoa Must
Pairing access control management software with video surveillance has become a must for running security operations at end-user organizations. With video and access control both becoming more IP-based, integrating the two has become easier. Players from across the supplier chain — vendors, distributors, and systems integrators — are closely watching how video-access control integration may further play out. Together, access control and video form a comprehensive and efficient security solution for users who can make the right decision in the event of an emergency. During an access control event, the security personnel can quickly pull the video from an integrated system instead of running to a separate video system to figure out who is trying to enter. A faster and more efficient way to investigate an event means quicker response and better situational awareness, which cannot be achieved by just video alone.

“By using only video management, a security operator is only able to gain evidence of a breach, without being able to automatically act upon it,” said Mike Sussman, Engineering and Operations Director at TDSi. “Using an integrated access control system means that the security team can put in place measures or act directly to counter any threats, so there is also a preventative element dealing with any potentially unauthorized intrusions.”

In short, access control management software prevents intrusion by denying access to those who are unauthorized to enter a certain area. Videos, meanwhile, provide visibility and evidence to an event. When combined, access control management software and video management software (VMS) offer a more comprehensive and all-around way to run security.

Multi-site Management
Access control management software plays a critical role in multi-site management, which has become essential as a rising number of companies now have operations in different parts of the world. Effective management software should offer a global view of what's going on at each branch office, while giving the local branches authority to make changes or adjustments as needed.

“In many companies, you have multiple locations, but there is a corporate human resources department that's responsible for the initial enrollment,” said Jerry Cordasco, CTO at AMAG. “So what they would want to do is to enroll a new employee in the system with basic access rights to the employee entrance of the facility, and then push that record down to a localized database.”

Access control management software and VMS are both important technologies for managing multiple sites. Choosing which one as the primary component, again, relies on the user's specific needs. “Both have their place as the primary engine, and the choice is dependent upon the business and risk,” said Sussman. “Video can only report on something that has occurred or is happening, whereas access control can prevent an event from taking place, backed up with evidential information.”

“Access control and video management each provide benefits, but access control provides many of the necessary pieces of managing a multi-site environment,” said Krinitt. “These key elements include audit of employee location, alarm monitoring, alarm response and processing, guard tour, visitor management and many more.”

Visitor Management:Efficiency and Safety
In today's security management, more end users are tying access control with visitor management, which is an effective way to grant, deny, and control access by visitors and contractors who are not regular employees of a company. In a non-integrated system, visitors are given a badge or temporary ID card after they write on a paper log their names and other information, which can be illegible at best and at worse, fake. Some visitors are also known to walk away with their ID cards, which can then be reused to enter buildings, creating security concerns. Combining visitor management with access control management software, on the other hand, can help improve security and efficiency by registering, badging, and checking out visitors all at the same time, and their ID cards expire at a certain time after which entry will be denied.

An integrated system can even have more advanced features. “It can be used to screen each visitor on states' registered sex offender databases and other watch lists, and flag those visitors at the time of check in,” said Harm Radstaak, MD of Identity & Access Management for EMEA, HID Global. “And it can be used to identify guests who haven't checked out by the end of visiting hours, and flag visitors who, for instance, may have repeatedly violated check-in procedures or stayed too long, and issue alerts upon their arrival.” Integrating access control management software with visitor management systems offers an ideal solution for end-user organizations, especially those that deal with large amounts of visitors such as corporates and hospitals. They can enjoy stepped up security and efficiency made possible by the integration.

Integration: Ne w Hopes for Verticals
When the access control management software is bundled with other subsystems, it can help optimize efficiency and create extra business opportunities for users in different vertical markets. Primary and secondary schools, for example, may bundle lockdown systems and video surveillance with their access control software to better ensure the safety of students and faculty. Colleges and universities, on the other hand, may integrate their access control management software with non-security systems such as meal vending and room booking to maximize the value of students' ID cards. Healthcare facilities may combine access control with elevators, granting access privileges to emergency personnel who can reach critical areas in the quickest time. In other words, if access control management software is deployed at the right time at the right place, it truly works wonders to end users in different verticals.

Choosing the Right Solution
When deciding what type of access control management software to purchase, the user should consider many factors — the size of deployment, the overall objectives that need to be achieved, and whether the software is suitable for the vertical it is to be deployed in.

“Any solution needs to be fit for the purpose and will demonstrate increased security levels along with improved efficiency and savings to the bottom line. For example, it may seem favorable to replace a whole security system with all the latest components. However if the security needs are low and the budget is tight, it may not make sense to do so,” Sussman said. “Conversely, if a number of security systems are aging and ready for renewal, buying fully integral systems could make very sound business sense, both in the short term and also for long term investment.”

Meanwhile, the user also needs to consider the level of ownership that it wants. “When buying an access control system, you need to start by determining whether you want to own and maintain the system or opt for a managed/ hosted platform where everything is outsourced,” said Jason Ouellette, Product Line Director for Access Control at Tyco Security Products. “Do you want to handle the maintenance or pay a service to do it? Once you determine the level of ownership, then you can look at the options that allow you to balance capital expense vs. operational expense.”

It All Boils Down to Efficiency
With its highly integrative capability, today's access control management software can combine with different technologies to help end users take care of security and non-security tasks with greater efficiency. An integrated access control management system makes life easier for users when they investigate events, manage multiple sites, and control access for visitors, not to mention the convenience of performing different tasks with just one ID card. The benefits of integrated access control management software are felt across different vertical markets, and systems integrators should maintain good and open relations with customers to deliver solutions that they truly need.

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