Safe and efficient buildings

1 April 2020 Integrated Solutions

“It is crucial for residential and office buildings to account for the safety of people and property inside them. With increasing living standards and fierce competition between businesses all over the world, facility managers, security managers, and building owners are incorporating smart technologies in their design and daily operations to improve the safety, comfort and productivity of their building occupants.”

Buildings, especially residential and office buildings, share similar security needs, such as video surveillance for situational awareness and investigations, alarm management and intrusion detection, access control and visitor management, and also smart parking. However, integration of systems from multiple vendors can make things too complicated, more costly and less efficient. Building operators are looking for comprehensive security solutions that would include basic components for safety and efficiency, ranging from the most general security needs to advanced intelligent functions that improve management efficiency and user experience.

Smart and proactive CCTV system

A CCTV system is the foundation of the whole building’s security solution, however, traditional CCTV systems work in a passive way to merely record images, and the security personnel may easily miss anomalies without timely reminding. By the time incidents are noticed, losses may have already occurred.

Here, the security operation needs to make the change from passive response to proactive response. A proactive CCTV system can smartly detect intrusion behaviours and automatically trigger alarms to alert security personnel to carry out real-time video verification. This is very valuable in reducing manual patrol costs and avoiding losses.

A good example is the collaboration between a CCTV system and an emergency door. An emergency door is used for accidents such as fire, and has an access limit that is not set in the same way as other doors. When the door status panel senses that an emergency door has been opened, the proactive CCTV video will automatically pop up for security personnel to check what has happened and decide whether to take further action.

Now that deep learning technology is being increasingly applied in CCTV systems, enabling them to effectively distinguish humans from animals, leaves, wind and other interference elements, this can effectively reduce false alarms.

Access control with face identification

In the case of access control with card and fingerprint identification, it often happens that people are stuck outside doors and awkwardly wait for a ‘rescue’ when they forget or lose cards, or their hands are full, or their fingers are damaged. Lost cards may also lead to safety risks as strangers can use them to enter the building if they find them.

An access control system that can recognise faces is a good option that will free people from the awkward situations mentioned above, allowing them to pass doors or barriers with face identification, and avoid the worries of lost cards. For office buildings, an access control system with facial recognition can be enhanced with a time attendance function, providing precise attendance statistics for the human resources department.

Flexible visitor management

Visitor management is another headache for buildings, as both convenience and safety need to be considered. On one hand, security management needs to collect visitor information and try to limit them to necessary areas, but on the other hand, residents and companies hope their visitors can have a pleasant and convenient experience throughout their visit.

A flexible visitor management system will help balance the two demands. It enables residents or office staff to authorise limited permission to visitors and allow them to only enter certain areas. Visitors can also have a convenient experience with multiple ways to register their visits, including online pre-registering, on-site manual registering or an interactive visitor registration terminal.

And setting elevator permission control is also an effective way to partition visitors’ access, since visitors can only go to floors where they have been authorised. With face and card identification, the elevator control system can work easily and efficiently to take people to their destinations.

Smart parking with ANPR

Every day, vehicles regularly enter and exit parking lots of residential and office buildings. Effectively and precisely identifying these vehicles, allowing registered vehicles in and out, and charging parking fees, is complicated to manage.

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) has been a popular approach for smart parking systems, and it is efficient and convenient. ANPR cameras at entrances and exits can first identify whether the moving target is a car or not, then automatically read its licence plate. The ANPR servers can decide whether to allow the car to enter or exit, and record parking time, location, direction, and the licence plate number of the vehicle.

In the parking lots, parking cameras can be used to automatically monitor the use of the car park along with the availability of spaces. Then a dynamic lighting indicator system directs drivers to a specific space available – reducing customer parking times and creating an experience where drivers always find a parking space quickly.

Through analysis of vehicle entrance and exit data, the smart parking system can help improve the efficiency of operations by providing data such as how many cars come in and go out in one day, when is the busiest time, and how long a car will stay on average.

Building solution with united systems

The last, but the most important thing for an efficient building security solution is the integration of systems. It can be costly and inefficient to use separate management systems for building security operations, and any incompatibilities can also increase the risk of false alarms.

Ideally, a comprehensive building security solution should support the integration of CCTV, alarm handling, access control, elevator control, visitor management, and smart parking systems.

With united systems, management and security operations are centralised, and data can be shared among different systems. A modular design of the solutions will support functional component expansion. Users can easily add new components to the same platform to meet new requirements of security operation teams while keeping costs under control.

With united systems, a building security solution then can work as a whole to create a safe and efficient environment.

For more information contact Hikvision South Africa, +27 87 701 8113,,


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