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Visitor management evolves
April 2015, Access Control & Identity Management

When broken down into its most basic form (or utility), the most complex innovations' mere existence can even be said to be solely based on its ability to cater for and/or satisfy developments in the way people live their lives and get things done - for both organisations as well as individuals.

The security industry is no different in its desire to meet such changes and improve the methods in which necessary processes are conducted.

Visitor management is a major field of security that is heavily ingrained into the day-to-day usage of commercial and residential life. When looking at the many advancements over time in this particular area it is somewhat difficult to believe that a crumpled hand written visitors book was once seen as the most effective means for monitoring the entry/exit (and more) of visitors at a particular point in time.

The above notion of clearly evident advancements in visitor management is something that would not be disputed by most, however what exactly are some of the advancements and how do these services and solutions create value towards the changing needs of the modern day consumer?

Many types of industry/private environments, products, utilities, solutions and technologies can provide insight towards such advancements and their corresponding benefits from a variety of standpoints. If all such aspects were to be taken into account, the results would be infinite and impossible to portray on just a few pages.

Therefore, in attempts to simplify and demonstrate linkages towards the evolution within these technologies, corresponding to developments in modern consumer needs, we begin by devising a brief list comprising the wants, needs, trends and lifestyle desires found to be common amongst the general modern day consumer.

The following attributes, amongst others, have been commonly stated as important to the general modern day consumer when considering the purchase and utilisation of such products:

* Simplicity

* Interaction

* Display ability

* Personalisation

* Portability

* Automation

* Productivity

Even though it would be impossible to include the total sum of attributes perceived as being important by all types of customers, it does allow for a practical starting point. Furthermore, if we consider these types of generalised value drivers, which are found to be universally frequent, it becomes easier to establish market-based links (i.e. what makes them worth having in line with modern day lifestyle promotion) that maintain relevance and a low degree of subjectivity across the board.

Having established these commonly found base attributes, the following paragraphs can better demonstrate various linkages between the evolution of visitor management products and solutions that respond to developments in modern day life.

Simplicity

In this day and age, simplicity really is seen as the ultimate sophistication on many fronts. This saying might seem familiar due to its inclusion in early Mac advertising campaigns and/or its widespread adoption amongst companies all around the world - which most definitely doesn't make it any less true.

Gone are the days whereby (if there ever really were) customers possessed the time, energy or willingness to entertain complex to use systems and solutions - we all want fast and effective solutions to suit our needs so that our time can be better allocated towards other things; and simplicity allows for just that. Avoiding confusion and limiting the possibility for errors, in fact, is sought after by all stakeholders throughout the value chain.

It goes without saying that simplicity towards actual usability and interface are important but, to a large extent, these attributes have become the norm. The real question is rather what other innovations have evolved to cater for a higher degree of simplicity.

Often it can be seen how certain visitor management systems entailing a large amount of necessary wiring, installation requirements and complicated instructions result in problematic situations. These issues are often the by-product of incorrect wiring or even fittings which can even transpire some years later - leaving the customer in a detrimental position with further cost implications. Therefore, simplicity requirements are not limited to the daily usage of technologies but also have much importance for the individuals responsible for the initial setup of these systems.

Therefore, as an example in response to this issue, Fermax has created an offering known as Way Kits. The product consists of a new video door system that incorporates a simplified installation by means of only two conducting wires, that allow the simultaneous conversation of audio and video of at least two sets of devices of the system, without requiring signal distribution infrastructure elements.

This particular solution creates a higher degree of simplicity, and resolves prior limitations, in the form of offering a video door system that allows for avoiding complex and costly infrastructure elements, may be adapted to any type of cable and topology, and allows having simultaneous conversations in this environment and at a reasonable cost for the applicable video door system sector.

Through this technology (two wires, non-polarised) it is now possible for an installer to purchase a kit solution, which is even easier due to the kit containing all necessary materials for setting up within it as a bundle, and be rid of the complexities associated with many wires and installation.

Having the option of a simplified solution does not mean that this benefit comes at the expense of any other attribute either. Quite the contrary as the new Way Kit allows a user to choose among 20 different ringtones, video recording, capturing images of the visits received, establish intercommunication at home (including the ability to call another apartment) and call records which is all managed from a 7-inch color monitor with capacitive touch screen and attractive design.

It is therefore clear how developments may indeed take place with the intention to cater for a modern day need. Should it still be unclear to any extent how simplicity is the key focus, it is also noteworthy that the monitor and door entry panel come already programmed and ready for installation.

Interaction

At this stage it is surely evident that the constant evolutions in modern day lifestyle needs run parallel with evolutions in technology. Visitor management has thus grown to encompass so much more than just the visitors arriving at the gate.

Many technological developments that fall outside of the security industry demonstrate a substantial amount of indication towards escalating trends, whereby customers are becoming accustomed to higher levels of interaction with their respective devices/appliances.

Even though it is less observable in presenting itself when compared with the likes of tablets, smartphones, social media and software developments (to name but a few product types) there are indeed similar evolutions in visitor management occurring in response to this desire for interactivity.

The Vivo monitor takes the interaction between man and machine to an intuitive and harmonious level. Vivo is not only an excellent tool to manage communication, security and comfort in the residence; it does so in a manner that is simple and pleasant to the user and links in seamlessly to the LYNX by Fermax system. Vivo combines intercom, access control social networking, CCTV, automation e.g. CBUS and much more, all on one touch monitor.

In fact, the One57 building (one of the world’s most prestigious skyscrapers in New York City) chose Vivo (along with the Lynx system) as its communication management system. With more than 190 monitors stationed in the tower, Vivo, through its glass surface and 7-inch touch screen, offers a wide range of functions with intuitive handling, similar to the smartphones and tablets used by all the residents, thanks to its IP technology and Android operating system.

Thus, a customer can enjoy high levels of interaction in line with their lifestyle and feel the most complete user experience with the functions they want, whenever they want them.

Display ability

There is an ever present human element comprised within the purchase and/or sale of a product. People do not wish to merely hear about the benefits they could be provided with or read it in a brochure; they want to see and touch something tangible and informative from which they can base their decisions.

People are now able to see for themselves how various products would look in the actual environment (home or workplace) from which the solution is sought. This unique selling tool also contains comprehensive information as all products are presented in 3D along with their commercial and technical information. If at any point further information is required, all that needs to be done is to find the code AR in the catalogue pages.

360-degree viewing and real interaction with the products facilitates the ability to display items as if they were actually installed. Additional features include the abilities to take a picture of the final result to attach to your quotation, save it and even share it.

This tool is available free of charge for all major smartphones and devices.

Personalisation

It goes without saying that the security and safety of visitor management is no joke. However, in order to take security seriously and provide optimal solutions should indeed not mean that the customers desire to have something in their space that they like and find aesthetically pleasing should be overlooked.

The desire for personalisation has led to the development of an advanced management monitor, with hands-free communication, high-performance features and user friendly functionality known as the Smile. Compact and essential design, its TFT screen and its capacitive touch buttons remain behind an ultra-resistant transparent polycarbonate sheet with ultraviolet protection. It is therefore cool and smart with a design that allows its perfect integration in any surrounding.

Portability

Life has become very fast paced and products/solutions have had to evolve towards catering for the modern day consumers on-the-go needs. With the Fermax Telephone Interface you can control your visitor door entry system from any land line or mobile phone, whether you are at home, business or office.

Automation

As previously stated it can be seen how various solutions offer extensions towards integration and automation for modern day consumers. Although this is related to simplicity, personalisation and even portability there have been many innovations focused solely towards the improvements of automation.

The ability to find solutions that collaborate or enhance linkages with other appliances already utilised daily is growing. We have already seen how the Lynx, Vivo, Smile and various other solutions subsist as options and satisfy various modern needs. Various packages have also been placed for the purposes of enhancing automation.

For example, homes and small businesses with VDS digital video door systems can increase the features offered through Fermax home automation kits, which include a high-performance iLOFT monitor with touch screen, and a colour icon menu for easy management of functions like security, heating and air-conditioning, and energy efficiency.

The iLOFT monitors in these kits also have Wi-Fi connection capability so home automation services can be controlled from mobile devices (Android and iOS). These kits feature Ingenium BUSing components that can be combined with other components for new features like controlling blinds, regulating lighting, etc.

Productivity

Synergy is required in the solutions used by an organisation. It is no use to have many independent systems (as great as they might be) that operate in isolation which in turn creates complications, clutter and higher workloads.

Therefore, the need for visitor/staff management systems that facilitate various access points and extensive integrated functions has become popular amongst consumers. An increase in productivity almost always results in an increase in efficiency and profit.

Whether a preference exists towards access control by means of a numerical code, proximity card/key ring, biometric fingerprint or mobile phone Bluetooth technology there are many other benefits that can impact positively on productivity such as incident recordings and employee/visitor time keeping.

A Fermax centralised system now allows complete management of a system with several access points and advanced access control functions: restrictions by user groups, both in terms of space (zones) and time (timetables), one-way function, restriction of numbers, greater user capacity, activation of devices from the reader, recording of incidents for subsequent consultation, control or security centre. Furthermore it also allows the integration of additional services within the access control system itself: intercommunication, alarms, automation, etc.


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