The move to access control mobility

Access & Identity Management Handbook 2015 Products, Access Control & Identity Management

With millions of South Africans owning some form of mobile technology, it was a natural progression for access control technology to begin driving towards increased mobility of use. John Powell, MD of Powell Tronics, says that it is not always practical to use a wall mounted access control reader, specifically where large numbers of people are entering and exiting premises that are remotely situated.

In addition to its on-site access control technologies, Powell Tronics has also developed a range of mobile applications that work synergistically with products from its suppliers, such as the Morpho range of biometric readers and Impro proximity readers and access control software. Five different offerings are available for a variety of market sectors and specific requirements.

ATOM biometric time and attendance products are Web-based to ensure ease of installation and maintenance, while at the same time providing the end user with a comprehensive workforce solution easily accessible from any point on the network. There are three variants of the Powell Tronics ATOM software suite – ATOM Core; ATOM Fusion; and ATOM Charged with its recently released ATOM Mobile feature set.

ATOM Mobile, designed to work with a GSM and Wi-Fi enabled handheld biometric fingerprint reader, bridges the gap in the market that was previously unable to assist remote sites with enrolment and time and attendance. Using ATOM Mobile, supervisors on remote sites are now able to biometrically enrol new employees, capture clockings offline and at the end of the day, dock the unit and upload all the information via WAN or GSM, back to the centralised ATOM database server at head office for payroll processing by HR.

Two products that continue to find growing popularity with the business and residential estate sectors are PT-Guest and PT-Scan. Both systems use driver’s licence and vehicle disc scanning as their basis of accurately capturing visitor details and are intended to replace the manual visitor book. Using a mobile licence scanners, PT-Guest scans and decrypts South African driver’s licences, the green barcoded ID book, and vehicle licence disc then integrates the data with the Impro IXP400 ImproNet access control system, along with other data captured such as destination, contact number, number of passengers and acknowledgement of the site’s Terms and Conditions for entering the site.

Zulmira Ferraz, technical manager at Powell Tronics, says that the company is excited to now be offering PT-Guest in a tablet version as an alternative to the handheld licence scanner. Developing PT-Guest for the tablet has allowed for features that previously challenged the handheld, in particular when capturing visitor details using a green barcode ID book. Although the handheld scanner will continue to be the preferred means of PT-Guest data capture due to its ergonomic and robust construction, the aesthetics and enhanced features of the tablet will allow for a broader scope of sectors that would benefit from the PT-Guest Visitor Management solution.

Catering to sites with little or no access control is PT-Scan, a Wi-Fi enabled standalone visitor information capture solution that also scans South African driver’s licences and green barcoded ID books, and makes use of its own SQL database and web based reporting system. The company continues to develop the functionality of PT-Scan and has added a feature that allows for assets to be scanned as well as passengers in the vehicles. In addition, simple network relay solution is now available for use on sites where no access control system is currently in place, thereby providing a basic form of access control.

In October the company launched an Android tablet application based on guarding events management system born from an adaptation of PT-Scan. Ferraz explains that a security guard would carry a tablet with this standalone application on his patrol route. When he encounters, for example, a car that has been parked in a parkade for extended periods of time, or people acting suspiciously, he inputs these details into the tablet for upload to the main system when back in the control room. The mobile scanning device will allow the guard to scan and capture vehicle licence discs, people’s driver’s licences or ID books and take a photo of the situation for record keeping.

PT-Rollcall was initially developed for the educational sector, whereby the software, working with a Morpho biometric fingerprint reader, will verify students attending lectures and examinations. This effectively eliminates students from employing others to attend lectures or write exams for them by comparing student biometric data against an attendance register that is connected via intranet to a known database of students.

Gaining favour with company internship programmes, the system consolidates all data at the end of a session for easy reporting. Developed during 2015, the software has since been generically developed to accommodate the various attendance applications. As with all the Powell Tronics mobile offerings, PT-Rollcall is a GSM and Wi-Fi enabled solution capable of capturing and storing information offline until such time as it reconnects to the network for upload to the centralised main system.

For more information contact Powell Tronics, +27 (0)861 787 2537,,


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