A security investment

September 2002 Access Control & Identity Management

Today building owners, facility managers and corporate real estate executives want more from their security systems than ever before. They want systems that are easy-to-use, economical, unobtrusive, failsafe and multifunctional. In other words, once they have invested in the hardware and software, they want that investment to do everything it can for them.

Security technology advances plus the evolution of open protocols, inter-operability and true building systems integration are helping move the security marketplace in new directions. Over the next several years, a few ripples will develop into high-impact waves. Furthermore, the advent of the `smart' proximity chip card is changing the dynamics of the market.

Initially smart proximity chip-based cards were too expensive to enter the market for security applications. Now, due to larger production volumes, smartcards are entering what heretofore has been the arena of the dumb proximity card.

Traditionally, information from a proximity card had to be processed through a central 'host' in a security system. In the future, new smartcard technology will speed up the processing of the security system because the information will now be carried on the smartcard itself. This will also take the load off the central host.

For example, in the health care industry the traditional way of pulling data from your proximity card would be for the doctor to scan your card, which would pull your medical history from a central location. With the new smartcards, all of your medical history will be on the card. This is a more efficient way of tracking information.

The anti-passback feature is an example of how smartcard technology will not only take the load off a central host, it will make security more efficient.

Traditionally, when employing an anti-passback feature, every time an employee enters/exits a secure room, information has to be sent to the host. This same host is monitoring and processing the access of all employees and their activities, which can be very process-intensive. With new smartcard technology, the card becomes the policeman. Access to areas is processed from the card itself and no longer has to be sent to the central host.

True integration

Web-enabled capabilities will soon provide a vital boost to all security applications, and will be the norm within the next several years. In addition, when Web-based security is coupled with remote monitoring services, traditional suppliers of monitoring services will then have a new range of capabilities. Services such as child monitoring, patient wandering, remote access and alarm monitoring can use existing technology, and coupled with positioning systems, offer attractive opportunities for keeping track of people, products and assets. Closed circuit television (CCTV) and full motion video will also allow visual identification and interaction via the Web over vast distances.

In addition, cost of ownership will shrink with true integration. As the new integrated system platforms use industry-standard tools and communication techniques, the overall cost of ownership will shrink dramatically. Leading building automation and security systems already epitomise this direction. A common platform shares and handles multiple tasks that might otherwise have required three or four dedicated systems. This delivers benefits to the end-user that range from a single graphic user interface that makes training simpler, to a reduction in the staff needed to monitor and control different process, and to a smaller footprint so fewer resources are required to house and run the system.

This is a win-win situation in terms of functionality and costs. True integration of life safety, information technology and building controls helps maximise the comfort, security, and overall user-friendliness of any facility.

For more information: Johnson Controls, 011 886 8997.

About the author:

Derek Trimble is the vice president of marketing for Cardkey Security Products at Johnson Controls.

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