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Should You Integrate Surveillance Video with Your Access Control System?

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 28, 2017 1:00:00 PM

If you ask ten people to give you the first image that comes to mind when hearing the word "security system," chances are you'll hear "surveillance camera" or some variation of that term pretty frequently.

And it makes sense: to most people, a surveillance camera is the very symbol of security, whether it's looking over busy city streets from atop a utility pole or stuck up in the corner of a local convenience store.

Surveillance cameras are a powerful security feature for a pretty simple reason: they provide irrefutable record of whatever is going on at a site. 

With today's technology, audio can be somewhat misleading and still images can be doctored. However, "let's go to the tape" is still worth its security weight in gold.

For this reason, many organizations shopping for an access control or door security system have surveillance cameras on the brain when comparing and contrasting various systems.

Because access control systems and surveillance cameras are, on their own, pretty complex pieces of hardware and software, it's no surprise that the level of compatibility between the two varies so wildly.

Some access control systems integrate flawlessly with surveillance video equipment, while others have trouble or just barely scratch the surface of the camera's capabilities.

However, before you go looking for a system that can handle high-powered surveillance cameras, there's a basic question: should you bother?

"Let's go to the tape" or take things off-camera?

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Topics: access control, building access control, building security, access control software, surveillance video, video integration

3 Reasons Electronic Door Locks Continue to Grow in Popularity

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 23, 2017 1:00:00 PM

 

It could be argued that basic key/pin-and-tumbler door locks are one of the most ubiquitous inventions in human history

That may sound like pure hyperbole, especially when one considers things like electricity, indoor plumbing and the Internet.

But think about it: how many times on a daily basis do you encounter a basic, cylindrical pin-and-tumbler lock?

The answer, of course, is dozens. There's probably one on the front door of your house, one on the back door, one on the locker at your gym, one on the front door of your favorite coffee shop to lock up at the end of the day...the list goes on and on.

The standard pin-and-tumbler lock is reliable, trustworthy and familiar. It's been used in some format for more than six thousand years. (That's a lot of keys...)

However, technology marches on, and the key/pin-and-tumbler lock isn't immune to the relentless advance of modern progress.

Like the iPod® rendered the DiscMan® obsolete, or like Amazon is bringing about the death of big box stores, electronic locks are slowly but surely replacing key/pin-and-tumbler locks at facilities of all kinds.

An innovative security solution for modern times

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Topics: access control, access control for apartment buildings, Schlage locks, access control for schools, wireless locks, electronic door locks

The Importance of Watch Lists in Hospital Visitor Management

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 21, 2017 2:00:00 PM

One of the main goals of any hospital is to keep the people inside, whether they're staff, patients or visitors, safe from harm.

While this goal isn't limited to hospitals (factories, schools, office buildings and other sites all want to keep their personnel safe too), safety and security are taken particularly seriously at healthcare facilities

It may be because of the vulnerability of the people receiving treatment inside, or due to the desire to ensure that people wracked by anxiety over a loved one's condition don't have anything else to worry about.

Regardless of the specific impetus, hospital administrators and security staff spend countless hours reviewing Visitor Management procedures, fine-tuning security plans, monitoring video and training for particular incidents.

It's obvious, but a security director or hospital administrator would be able to sleep a lot more soundly if he or she knew the facility was doing everything it could to keep potential threats from ever accessing the building.

This, of course, seems obvious: if you keep nefarious characters outside, you drastically decrease the likelihood of those characters harming anyone at your facility.

The problem is that it's difficult to identify troublemakers before they come inside, right?

Wrong.

Watch lists serve as a first line of defense

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Topics: Visitor Management, PassagePoint, hospital security, healthcare Visitor Management, hospital visitor management, healthcare security, healthcare tips

Beyond the Lobby: 4 Areas of Your Hospital That Would Benefit From Visitor Management

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 16, 2017 11:30:00 AM

Take a second to picture a stereotypical Visitor Management installation. The kind of system doesn't really matter — it could be a software system, a log book or even just a package of expiring visitor badges on a desk.

Now...where in this imaginary facility is the installation located?

If you're like most people, you picture a Visitor Management system sitting in the lobby of a building, whether it's the ground floor of a multi-tenant office building or the entryway of a school.

Hospitals aren't much different: if you picture a hospital Visitor Management system in your mind, you're probably going to see it in the lobby.

It makes sense: hospitals are extremely busy places, oftentimes bordering on chaotic. This makes guest management key, and the first place that guests visit is usually the lobby.

However, many hospitals find putting Visitor Management systems in their main lobby to be an overwhelming task, as there are so many moving parts and factors to consider.

This can lead organizations to put off installing a Visitor Management system entirely, opting to postpone the expense and stress until they're better equipped to handle it.

But procrastination like this leaves a facility vulnerable and ignores a big detail that many hospitals overlook: there are several other "smaller" places where a hospital can effectively install a Visitor Management system.

Visitor Management doesn't need to be limited to the lobby

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Topics: Visitor Management, healthcare, healthcare Visitor Management, visitor management for maternity wards, emergency room visitor management

Open Up: Should You Use Access Cards, Key Fobs or Access Wristbands?

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 14, 2017 11:30:00 AM

In today's office buildings, factories and schools, physical keys are becoming a thing of the past.

Sure, keys still exist and will always be used in certain places. Some organizations are a little resistant to change, while others may lack the necessary room in the budget to overhaul an access control system.

However, access credentials are becoming more and more common, as swipe/scan cards, wristbands and fobs are replacing physical keys in more and more locations.

The reasons behind these changes vary from place to place, but most organizations switch to access credentials because they're easier to manage and offer increased control over security at a site.

When it comes to choosing a modern access credential solution, you have three real options: access cards, access wristbands and access key fobs.

All three options perform similar tasks, namely interacting with card readers to unlock doors. Both allow an organization to introduce a more modern security solution to a site at a reasonable cost.

There are also clear differences between the three solutions that will almost always make one option clearly better than the other two when it comes to meeting a site's specific needs.

How will you open your doors? 

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Topics: proximity cards, smart cards, access control, proximity accessories, UBand, access wristbands, access credentials, card readers

Watch Lists, User Levels & More: A Glossary of Important Visitor Management Terms

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 9, 2017 1:00:00 PM

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about Visitor Management.

In fact, as of the publishing date of this post, Visitor Management was the most-covered topic on the blog

We've covered questions to ask, problems to solve, enhancements made and more, all in an effort to help people better understand this complicated topic.

However, it occurred to us recently that there are some Visitor Management basics that we had failed to cover, namely terms and concepts that are second-nature to Visitor Management experts but may as well be a foreign language to newcomers.

In the interest of helping current and potential customers be better educated, we've curated a series of terms that we think anyone exploring a Visitor Management system should know.

Consider this a Visitor Management dictionary, offering a simple, straightforward explanation of terms, concepts and ideas that you'll encounter as you search for a system.

SMS alerts, standalone systems, visitor reports...

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Topics: WhosOnLocation, Visitor Management, expiring visitor badges, TEMPbadge, TEMPbadge VMS, healthcare Visitor Management, office visitor management

3 Questions to Ask About Your New School ID Badge Program

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 7, 2017 2:00:00 PM

For many educational institutions, the end of the school year is a time to reflect on the year gone by, wrap up any loose ends and make plans for the "off" months ahead.

However, the end of the school year is also budgeting season, making it the perfect time for schools to plan for upcoming expenses, both large and small.

This makes school budgeting season the perfect time to think about investing in a school ID card program, whether it's an overhaul of your existing solution or implementing student or employee ID badges for the first time.

While an investment in an ID program isn't going to completely blow the budget like a new gym floor or repairs to the HVAC system might, creating a new identification badge program will require careful planning and investment.

In order to get the most efficient and effective badging system possible, it's understand what options you have moving forward and how those options mesh with your school's needs.

When it comes to school ID badges, don't just wing it

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Topics: ID cards, education, student id cards, school ID tips, school identification

3 Reasons to Choose Custom-Shaped ID Cards

Posted by Dan Ryan on Jun 2, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Let's be honest: there aren't a lot of secrets about ID cards.

While there are a number of concepts in the identification industry that are a bit mysterious to the average person, the concept of credentials isn't one of them.

Most people are pretty familiar with the basics: they know what an ID card does, what the different kinds of ID cards are (student ID cards, employee badges, etc.) and what functions cards are able to perform.

In most cases, knowing the basics is enough. It'll help you have a decent idea of what you need, and you'll be able to fill in the rest as you go.

However, in the case of ID cards, we've found that there's something fairly basic that many people don't know: you can get custom-shaped ID cards!

Yes, employee badges, student credentials and more can be ordered in shapes other than the rounded-edge rectangles most people picture when they think about ID cards. 

In fact, ID cards can be round, triangular or even shaped like a giant tooth — whatever your imagination can think up!

Rectangles are out — shapes are in!

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Topics: card tips, ID cards, JetPak, ID card design, id card tips, custom id cards, custom-shaped id cards

"Why Bother?" How to Get the Internal Buy-In For a School Security System

Posted by Dan Ryan on May 31, 2017 1:30:00 PM

Every school administrator has a vested interest in making his or her school or school district as secure as possible.

Besides the obvious reason of wanting students and staff to be safe at all times, no administrator wants to look like he or she was caught unprepared in the event of an incident.

Oftentimes the people "on the ground," so to speak, are aware of the shortcomings of school infrastructure, whether those shortcomings are outdated security equipment or leaky spots in the roof.

These people see, experience and are inconvenienced by these shortcomings and issues on a daily basis, coming to and leaving from the building or campus.

If you tell these people that an issue needs to be fixed, chances are they're already well aware.

However, in today's school districts, there's usually an off-site entity making decisions on large purchases, whether it's a county education chair, superintendent of schools or the head of a school board for a town. 

These people aren't likely to be as familiar with a school's security needs as the students, teachers and staff.

This means that when they see "new school access control system" for Johnson Elementary School on the budget request form, they're going to need some convincing to sign on the dotted line.

Help the higher-ups understand the need behind the need

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Topics: access control, education, school security, building security, access control for schools, school security systems

3 Reasons to Add Access Wristbands to Your School ID Program

Posted by Dan Ryan on May 26, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Student ID badges are a pretty common sight at schools across the country, whether they're high schools, middle schools or sprawling universities.

A student ID badge's main goal is to confirm that the student possessing it is, in fact, an authorized student.

The key elements of a good student ID badge include a clear photo of the student, the student's name printed in large text and maybe some school-themed branding, like school colors or a logo.

However, many of today's schools use student ID badges for far more than positive identification.

Today's schools, particularly colleges, need a student ID badge that can grant access to the gym, pay for meals at the cafeteria and get a student on the campus shuttle bus.

Even today's high schools are getting into using "smart" student ID badges, requiring students to use a card to pay for lunch instead of using cash.

With school budgeting season in full swing, you may be looking to update or overhaul your existing student ID badge program.

If so, now is a great time to make the switch from a card-based credential system to a far more modern solution: wristbands!

Add a modern twist to your school ID program

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Topics: wearable technology, tech tips, education, UBand, access wristbands, school ID tips, school identification

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