System integration - can it be seamless?

Access & Identity Management Handbook 2005 Integrated Solutions

Start with Access, enter details.

Switch to Payroll, enter same details.

Switch to T&A (time and attendance) enter same details.

Find the worker, enter details and capture print.

No wonder HR gets frustrated and mistakes are made!

In the wish to provide best-of-breed components, installers are faced with integration issues in cabling, connecting, multiple databases and multiple UI (user interfaces). When the installer eventually gets all those working together, he leaves the HR and security managers with a number of programs to learn and to switch between during their daily tasks.

What are these interfaces?

Access control system (ACS) to time and attendance (T&A )

The ACS is primarily designed to contain rules controlling access and movement of people around the premises. At the same time it must keep a log of these movements for security purposes, which also facilitates the calculation of time worked by the T&A program.

The T&A system however, is built with rules needed to calculate worked time, deducting for breaks and identifying overtime. In the ACS the take-on process focuses on permission of access while in T&A the person is connected to shifts with various work rules.

Often these are completely separate, only connecting via an output file by the ACS of the clocking events. However, a much better and easily implemented solution is possible if the T&A program can access the ACS database. It can then extract the personal information it requires whenever it receives a clocking transaction, and in fact find that transaction in the database, without the need for the intermediate file. It still requires that an allocation of each person to his work rules is done within the T&A system at some time before reports are needed.

Common glitches experienced in this area of import of data by the T&A system are:

1. Readers are not or cannot be designated as access only, so that the T&A system is swamped with access information from every door on site.

2. Visitors and contract workers are not identified as non-clocking and their transactions are imported and must be excluded from the T&A reporting.

3. Cleaners, messengers and security staff move through the system many times and their work related clockings cannot easily be extracted from all the other movements.

T&A to payroll

Payroll contains a large amount of personal information about staff members as well as their rates of pay. Most of this is confidential and cannot be made visible to the operators of the other systems. The only regular input of data it needs is the time worked or attendance and leave information.

Where the T&A system is used to calculate time worked, the final process is the transfer of calculated times into payroll. Most payroll providers do not allow direct transfer into their systems as they have various checks in place to ensure integrity of their data. They also produce audit trails due to the importance of the information which controls money paid out to staff.

The common method is that the T&A system creates flat data files or populates an import table in the payroll system, and these are processed. On the employee capture side however, there is potential to integrate. This can be done either by a user interface in the T&A system that 'knows' the payroll database, or by using an integration management program as described below.

Biometrics to ACS

New generation biometric readers are utilised with many types of ACS. This is usually done by connecting the readers into Wiegand or similar ports on controllers of the ACS. Here the transaction data goes transparently into the ACS as would a reading from any of the ACS's own readers. However, a major difference is that biometric templates have to be captured, managed and communicated to the biometric reader. These templates are an encoded string of numbers that can be matched to biometric input (usually a fingerprint or hand scan).

In most cases a second communication link is installed from the controlling computer and the biometric reader's own software must be used for take-on and template management. New integration software is becoming available to create a unified UI that handles the biometric take-on and creates the data record in the ACS. This alleviates much frustration and duplication of work at the data capture stage.

Often in a simple access control scenario, the ACS is not installed and the biometric readers alone control access.

Integration managers

A solution to the problem of data getting out of synch in the various systems and the need to do repeated capture of same data, is found in data integration managers. These programs are written or set-up with a knowledge of the database structures of the various products being integrated. They then run in the background and based on certain prioritisation rules, update each database so that it is in synch with the database of the product that has been set as the primary capture system.

Many of the larger enterprise ACS offer integration of CCTV, fire control and building management. These integrations are complex and are inadvisable to be undertaken in a piecemeal way by installers. Where needed, the system design must utilise an ACS that provides this functionality.





Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Building a nervous system for smart cities
Issue 1 2020, Pinnacle Instruments SA , Integrated Solutions
Build a central nervous system for smart cities, by employing real-time situation reporting and analysis that unites the powers of cloud computing, AI, IoT and big data.

Read more...
The secret to 5G security? Turn the network into a sensor
Issue 1 2020 , Integrated Solutions
We are about to make the leap from being a civilisation that uses networks to one that runs on them in a fundamental and inextricable way.

Read more...
The move to services and RMR
Issue 1 2020, Merchant West, G4S South Africa, Technews Publishing , Integrated Solutions
Project work used to be the staple diet for system integrators, but that was before the services model changed the way businesses buy and use their security systems.

Read more...
Global security industry adopts servistisation models
Issue 1 2020 , Integrated Solutions
New as-a-service business models are gaining traction because they reduce capital expenditure and cost of ownership, finds Frost & Sullivan.

Read more...
Looking ahead with mobile access technologies
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020, Technews Publishing, HID Global, dormakaba South Africa, Salto Systems Africa, Suprema, Gallagher , Access Control & Identity Management, Integrated Solutions
Given the broad use of smartphones around the world and the numerous technologies packed into these devices, it was only a matter of time before the access control industry developed technology that would ...

Read more...
Scalable access solution
Access & Identity Management Handbook 2020 , Access Control & Identity Management, Integrated Solutions
Bosch Building Technologies makes access management simple, scalable and always available with Access Management System 2.0.

Read more...
Securing perimeters of secure locations
November 2019, Axis Communications SA, Modular Communications, Hikvision South Africa, Nemtek Electric Fencing Products, Technews Publishing, Stafix , Government and Parastatal (Industry), Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection, Integrated Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked a number of companies offering perimeter security solutions for their insights into protecting the boundaries of national key points.

Read more...
The safe city and its need for interoperability
November 2019 , Integrated Solutions, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
Interoperability continues to present one of the greatest challenges, particularly with video management systems, video recording devices and cameras.

Read more...
Analytics-driven solutions for smart infrastructure
November 2019, Bosch Building Technologies , Integrated Solutions
Video analytics technology can bring intelligence to infrastructure by delivering solutions for traffic flow, improved safety, smart parking, and data collection.

Read more...
A platform approach to innovation and value
CCTV Handbook 2019, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Integrated Solutions, IT infrastructure
Moving to the platform model of doing business holds tremendous advantages for end users and smaller developers, but also for the whole technology supply chain.

Read more...