On the edge

October 2013 Access Control & Identity Management

A good access control system should start at the perimeter and work inwards towards the premises being accessed. By limiting the flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic at the boundaries of the property, it eases the burden placed on the access control system and other security required for the facility itself.

Morne Grobler, business development manager for the Gallagher Group said that fibre detection technology, radar detection and real-time taut wire detection are the current trends in perimeter technology. “The new radar systems are based on military systems but have been made more affordable for the commercial environment. They are ideal for use at high-security commercial sites as well as at national keypoints.”

Johan Lessing, product manager at Centurion
Johan Lessing, product manager at Centurion

According to Johan Lessing, new product manager at Centurion, there is a drive towards improved connectivity. “It’s important for businesses to know what is happening at their facilities after hours. GSM products will inform the relevant people of whether a gate is open and what zone alarms are being activated in. Wireless technology, which is being used in products like photon beams, makes installation much easier as one does not have to dig up the driveway.

“In addition, gates need to open and close as quickly as possible to ensure safety of business personnel as well as homeowners. We have developed the D10 Turbo to open or close a 4-metre gate within 5 seconds, while still retaining safety for the pedestrians and vehicles,” Lessing continued.

More than alarms

Des Whittal, sales manager for TRI-BPT Automation
Des Whittal, sales manager for TRI-BPT Automation

“Alarms used to be the crux of security systems but now electric fencing and automated gates are gaining more prominence as detection, deterring and delaying mechanisms. In addition, the inclusion of CCTV surveillance cameras, at the perimeter, allow the homeowner or business owner to timeously see who is at the perimeter and to review any events. There is also an increasing move towards IP technology,” said Des Whittal, sales manager for TRI-BPT Automation.

“The Gallagher Group has evolved its taut wire technology by creating the Z10 Dynamic Tension Sensor, which has a loadcell sensor placed at the end of the fence wire. Different tension levels are programmed into the system and by continuously monitoring the tension on the fence wire, should the tension on the wire exceed pre-specified limits, an alarm will be activated generated in the control room,” said Grobler.

Di Warburton, operations manager at Nemtek
Di Warburton, operations manager at Nemtek

Di Warburton, operations manager at Nemtek, pointed out that customers are becoming more informed prior to purchasing a system. “However, it is still important for them to consult with a reputable installer who can advise them on the best equipment for their application. Safety and reliability are critical factors and are often overlooked in favour of pricing, especially in the domestic market.” Whittal agreed, adding that warranties and guarantees should be provided, something that is often absent with some of the cheaper imported products.

“Local manufacturers consider the unique African environment which is demanding on products. For example, our sunshine and UV levels are very high, so products such as bobbins are UV protected to ensure longevity. In addition modulus high-impact UV stabilised fibreglass brackets are available for use in high-corrosion coastal applications. Energisers are also designed with special technology that prevents unnecessary arcing and energy wastage, allowing your fence to operate at maximum efficiency.” said Warburton.

The integration question

As companies see the benefits of integrating their surveillance, in-building access control and building management/environmental management system, is the same true of perimeter security?

There was a unanimously positive response from all the interviewees, who agreed that this is a quickly evolving trend. “Customers want holistic solutions that are geared around forward compatibility for easy upgrading,” said Grobler.

“Integration is especially popular in the medium- to large-scale projects. Previously one would measure the size of a project based on the number of exit and entrance points required. Now, the size is determined by the level of integration occurring, which in many cases is applicable to only one entry/exit point. The skills set and the technology required for integration is not generally available to what is colloquially referred to as the ‘bakkie brigade’, so it will for at least the immediate future, remain in the domain of a select few,” said Whittal.

Interestingly Lessing does not see an immediate need for integration, but he does feel that this will be a natural evolution in the industry. “It will be focused specifically on the industrial and commercial sectors rather than on the domestic sector where there is little need for integration.”

Coming up

The new legislation on electric fence installations may not have an immediate effect on non-compliant installers, but pressure will build as homeowners and prospective property buyers insist on compliance certificates in order to execute the sale of a home.

All interviewees believe this legislation is a positive move towards ensuring that both products and installers are brought in line with standards. “While product quality and performance are already governed by industry standards and regulations, the inclusion of a certification process for a complete installation will force installers to up the ante for an improved customer experience,” said Warburton.

The commonly held opinion is that this legislation will be the driving force for new legislation for compliance on gate motor installations. Still on the legislation side, Whittal pointed out that the Protection of Personal Information Bill will affect the storage of personal data in security systems. “It will be interesting to see how this rolls out and whether the use of driver’s licences or ID books to legitimately enter premises will gain momentum.”

Warburton said that in an interesting turn of events, electric fences for keeping game on reserves are now being used to keep people out of these reserves. “Electric fences will continue to gain ground as anti-poaching campaigns highlight the importance of preserving at-risk animal populations.”

Conclusion

The feeling is that an increased emphasis on upskilling sales employees through targeted training will result in a more educated workforce who can then select strategic systems for customers, to maximise perimeter security.

Established brands that are reliable and easy to install and use, with connectivity and wireless technology will dominate the high-end market. “There will always be some balance between performance and price and suppliers will need to qualify to increasingly discerning users why certain products are more expensive than others. Focal points will be quality, performance, support and reliability,” said Lessing.

In addition, pricing will continue to play a role in the entry-level market, but solutions-based systems, rather than just boxed products will predominate in the higher-end commercial sector. Suppliers will need to become increasingly entrenched in devising and suggesting application-specific solutions to ensure that risks are adequately addressed.

Contacts

Gallagher: www.gallagher.co

Centurion: www.centsys.co.za

Nemtek: www.nemtek.co.za

TRI-BPT Automation: www.bpt-sa.co.za


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