The problem with much of the integrated technology solutions utilised in estates today is that they are fairly complicated to use. In addition, once all your employees have learned how to use them, one company upgrades its software or firmware, the whole integration falls apart, and you can do nothing with the whole solution.
Solving this problem was the goal of GateBook, a locally developed visitor management system. Grant Hancock, MD of GateBook explains that the system is designed to allow users to create their own workflow at estate entrances, without needing the usual technology or technical skills at hand.
To start with, GateBook is a cloud-based solution, meaning there is no technology on site. The server is hosted in the cloud and is accessible via the Internet using 3G or Wi-Fi. The only hardware required at the gate is a ruggedised Android mobile device that has the GateBook application installed on it – the app is freely downloadable. The device itself is IP68 rated, meaning it is waterproof, shockproof and dustproof.
To make the process of registering users simple and ensuring the security staff at the gate obtain all the information required, a simple workflow is created. Hancock says that different functionalities of visitor management have been developed as modules for GateBook and the security manager simply chooses those he wants.
For example, an estate can choose the modules for driver’s licence scanning, vehicle licence scanning and photo logging (meaning the security officer must take a picture of the driver). As soon as someone arrives at the gate, the Android device will automatically take the officer through all of these steps, ensuring they capture the correct information. The estate can decide what the appropriate steps are if, for example, the vehicle’s licence has expired.
There is currently a selection of over 40 workflow modules to choose from, including:
• Scan driver’s licence.
• Scan vehicle licence.
• Driver photo.
• Mileage logging.
• Vehicle inspections report.
• Contractor management.
• Licence expiry notification.
• Visitor pre-authorisation.
• Destination management.
• Induction valid/expiry.
The Contractor Management module allows the estate to specify what each contractor must submit before they are allowed to work on the site – such as medical certificates etc. This prevents anyone from accessing the estate if they have not submitted the prerequisite information to the estate office in advance.
No server, no problem
Once an estate has a device, or devices, it registers them on its online GateBook account. The account is on a server hosted by GateBook and is accessible via any browser, secured by means of a password. The server then sends the relevant workflows down to the registered devices and its all systems go.
The estate can also allow residents to log into their own account and preauthorise users by entering their names and identity numbers. The system will provide the resident with an access PIN, which can then be forwarded to the visitors. When they arrive at the gate, visitors will need to use the PIN and their identities will be compared to the identities entered by the resident.
Should the estate wish to add or remove modules to its workflow, this is also done by logging into the server. Once the new workflow has been authorised, security users simply refresh their mobile devices and the new process will be loaded. Alternatively, at midnight every night, the server automatically refreshes the app to ensure the latest workflows and modules are being used.
One of the GateBook modules is automated number plate recognition (ANPR), which estates can use to compare cars requesting entry with a hotlist of undesirables which should be denied access to the estate, or simply to keep a record of what vehicles entered and exited the estate and the associated drivers’ licences that were scanned. This is useful, but a limited use of ANPR and Hancock believes the process could be expanded to increase security levels on a far wider scale than a single estate.
The company has developed an ANPR system named SNIPR, which is connected to the SAPS database of suspicious vehicles as well as many other sources. These sources can be existing databases of vehicles, live camera feeds, handheld devices and so forth. The system is already integrated into Hikvision LPR cameras.
Once a number plate is received by the SNIPR server, it is compared to the plates on file and on the SAPS database. If it turns out to be a suspicious vehicle, the security teams at estates (or shopping malls, business campuses or anywhere there is a constant flow of vehicles), can be prompted to take the relevant action.
SNIPR is not competing with current ANPR systems as it does not read number plates, but the company has written an API that can interpret number plate information from third-party systems. Hancock says GateBook will write integrations to connect to any third-party systems willing to provide number plates to SNIPR.
The GateBook electronic visitor management system is available now to estates on the lookout for a versatile, yet simple system to control entrance to their environment. SNIPR has been put through its paces in a number of pilot environments and is being rolled out to a growing number of organisations.
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