Integrated security for smart building management

Issue 1 2022 Editor's Choice

In South Africa, we’re increasingly seeing new buildings integrating fire monitoring systems, lifts, wireless panic alarms, visitor and contractor management and more into their security solutions. The benefit of this kind of integration is the ability to manage numerous services out of one central platform – improving the operator experience and offering an holistic view of activities across a site.

For example, several sites we work with are utilising Gallagher’s bespoke features for monitoring their water and reservoir tanks and self-sustained diesel generators through Gallagher Command Centre. This enables operators to view information, such as when the generators are switching on/off or receive notifications about water levels alongside other important site information. The BACnet interface allows third-party building automation devices to communicate directly into Command Centre, mapped to specific locations, to ensure critical alerts – like an alarm for low water tank levels – are responded to quickly.

Brett Black.

Smart systems help save operational costs by ensuring building facilities are only in use when needed. Lighting and HVAC systems can be integrated with access control and configured to switch on or off as people enter or exit an area, or the systems can be pre-set to power up and down on pre-defined schedules. Integrated resource booking systems will register when a conference room or meeting space is not in use and will automatically turn off lights and heating/air-conditioning and lock the door. This automation saves staff time by removing the need for someone to manually carry out these tasks.

In the new norm of Covid-19, third-party system integrations, such as facial recognition systems incorporating temperature and fever screening, offer additional measures for protecting people on site, alongside other contactless biometric access control solutions and CCTV smart facial applications.

Printer access control

Smart integrations can improve the experience for both the operator and the user. A corporate office in Midrand has incorporated a number of integrations to Command Centre that simplify processes for operators and create a seamless experience for people on site. Utilising the Papercut integration for their printers, the site has minimised paper wastage while ensuring the security of documents sent to print. The integration queues print jobs and requires authentication from a staff member (i.e., an access card or mobile credential presented at the device) to release the print job.

This site has also integrated access credentials with their canteen, allowing staff to make purchases simply by scanning their credential. The integration reports back to the payroll system, which automatically deducts the purchase from that employee’s pay.

Smart building solutions are not limited only to commercial properties; we’re also seeing these solutions deployed across village developments that incorporate hotels and permanent upmarket residences, shopping and secure parking facilities. For multi-tenant properties, a smart building solution streamlines operational processes while ensuring the safety of tenants.

Gallagher’s Car Park Management solution is ideal for multi-tenant situations. The solution allows tracking and reporting on tenant parking use, which assists with the monthly billing of parking allocations. Furthermore, utilising Bluetooth-enabled readers at the car park entrance increases convenience for users, with configurable read-ranges to allow quick and easy access to secure parking – increasing safety while removing the hassle of stopping the vehicle and opening windows.

An intelligent security solution can offer much more than access control or perimeter protection alone. When considering a security solution, people should ask what the system can do over and above its core function with minimal extra input. Some solutions may appear affordable on the surface, but if they’re not integration-friendly, extra fees and installer time can quickly eat up any cost savings an integrated building management system may offer.


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