Physical security on commercial sites

June 2019 Access Control & Identity Management, Commercial (Industry)

Rising crime rates and an increased global awareness around security have dramatically changed the access control landscape, with innovation and technological leapfrogging driving growth in this arena. According to a research report published by Grand View Research last year, the global security market is expected to reach $167,12 billion by 2025.

Charl Mijnhardt.
Charl Mijnhardt.

The report goes on to explain that “[increasing] competition in the market, owing to the introduction of advanced technologies, is driving the need for automation in organizations [sic] at various levels. In addition, the growing number of infrastructures across the globe has resulted in the increased demand for safety systems such as access control systems and video surveillance systems for real-time monitoring”.

For security integrators, this means greater choice and more freedom when it comes to meeting their clients’ access control needs. It also means doing your homework and educating yourself with regards to the many solutions on offer, as well as getting a thorough understanding of the systems’ capabilities and limitations. This is especially important on commercial sites, where high traffic volumes and multiple access points demand a truly robust and sophisticated security backbone.

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the most popular and effective access control solutions currently on the market, as well as listing the benefits of each.

Gate motors

Gate motors are an absolute staple of access control and offer a reliable and cost-effective means of preventing unauthorised access and promoting security and convenience. Many modern gate motors come equipped with advanced functionality and various high-security features such as time-barring technology and built-in intruder detection alarms.

Gate motors represent a first line of defence against unauthorised access, and are generally quick and easy to install and simple to maintain. They are also versatile and save visitors the inconvenience of leaving their vehicle, especially in bad weather.

Traffic barriers

Traffic barriers remain an immensely popular and effective choice with regards to controlling vehicular access into and out of parking areas, but it’s important to ensure that the barriers are suitable for the particular application and environment. For example, if they are to be used in a commercial or industrial milieu, they need to be capable of coping with high traffic volumes (possibly thousands of operations per day) and should be outfitted with some sort of battery backup facility to ensure continued operation in the event of a power failure.

These solutions benefit from easy integration with other access control equipment, high volume capability (especially when equipped with battery backup), and they can be fitted with longer boom poles for particularly wide entrances.

Tyre killers

While traffic barriers do make formidable sentries on their own, integrating ancillary devices such as tyre killers and pedestrian barrier fences ensures that vehicular access points are as comprehensive as possible and leave precious little room for trespass. More and more commercial operators are seeing the value of this as a means of combating tailgating and vehicle theft out of parking lots, and adding further security to, for example, tenant parking facilities by integrating proximity access control systems and biometric readers.

These technologies not only facilitate access control, but due to their inherently integrative nature and compatibility with software packages and PC administration, they provide administrators with a means of logging transactions, tracking employee movement for time and attendance-based logging, remote site surveillance, etc.


Interestingly, the term ‘bollard’ has its origins in maritime use, meaning a post or pillar used to moor ships. Therefore, in a sense, its earliest function was to stop or control movement. In the context of access control, bollards perform a variety of functions, including restricting access to high-risk areas such as banks and embassies, traffic calming and demarcating pedestrian areas.

Bollards may be seen as offering the highest level of security and, with their tough construction, they provide a virtually impenetrable barrier against many different types of attack. Crash-rated bollards are effective even in anti-terrorism applications.


Over time, turnstiles have proven to be among the most versatile and widely used pedestrian access control systems on the market today. Their effectiveness and popularity as a crowd-controlling device have led to the implementation of turnstiles in virtually every setting requiring the regulation of pedestrian traffic, including sports stadiums, music venues, university campuses and factories.

From a security standpoint, turnstiles help to prevent unauthorised access and provide a physical barrier that can only be bypassed upon the presentation of valid credentials, usually by means of an integrated access control system such as a biometric scanner or card reader. Since turnstiles allow only one person at a time to pass through, they are highly effective in combating pedestrian tailgating or piggybacking, whereby an unauthorised person follows an authorised individual into a secured area.

Turnstiles are also beneficial to operational efficiency. By streamlining entry, these intelligent gates save security staff and receptionists the effort of manually checking credentials, enabling them to focus on their primary duties.

For more information contact Centurion Systems, +27 11 699 2400, [email protected],


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