Revolutionising access control

Rhys McNichol from Videx Security explains how remote entry management is transforming the approach to access control across local authority and housing association developments

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape of online and remote security management, housing associations and local authorities are increasingly embracing the transition from traditional ‘on-site’ management to remote management using cloud services. This shift is driven by the advanced capabilities provided by remote management solutions. These advancements are reshaping the way access control parameters, access levels, and temporary access rights are managed across housing developments, streamlining processes through centralised control and automated cloud services. 

The scope of online services enables instant modification of access parameters for a single housing development or multiple sites, ranging from adding new users to adjusting access privileges, dealing with lost access credentials, incorporating maintenance engineers, and generating health reports for properties or systems. These adjustments can be executed by remote operators or, where applicable, even automated through computer-operated systems.

The embracing of online and cloud-based services reflects a broader trend in modern society. In the same way that banking, retail, and even healthcare have utilised technology to improve customer experiences, housing associations and local authorities are recognising the potential for technology to revolutionise property management.

The benefits of remote management

With remote management, access restoration can now be effortlessly administered in various ways. A one-time access code can be issued, or access can be granted through a tenant’s mobile device. Both options can be configured with temporary limitations or a restricted number of uses. These temporary measures bridge the gap until a replacement fob is dispatched or collected by the tenant. The cumulative effect of these remote solutions not only translates to substantial time and cost savings for management companies but also significantly reduces their carbon footprint.

Another key benefit of the shift towards remote management is a dramatic increase in flexibility. Previously, making alterations to access parameters would often require physical intervention, taking up valuable time and resources. Now, these changes can be made remotely, often at the click of a button. This not only accelerates response times but also allows for a more dynamic approach to access control, responding to changing circumstances in real-time.

The use of cloud services has also opened the door to unprecedented integration across different systems and platforms. Access control can now be linked to other building management functions, such as heating, lighting, or alarm systems. This integration not only streamlines management processes but also provides opportunities for enhanced efficiency and sustainability. For example, access data could be used to optimise energy usage within a building, turning off lights or lowering heating when rooms are unoccupied.

From a security perspective, the shift to remote management also offers substantial advantages. Real-time monitoring and alerts mean that any unauthorised access attempts can be detected and dealt with immediately. Similarly, the use of remote diagnostics can facilitate rapid response to any system faults or issues, minimising potential risks to tenants.

Moreover, this shift to remote management using cloud services allows for more sophisticated data analysis. By gathering and analysing data on access patterns, housing managers can gain insights into tenant behaviour and needs, allowing for a more personalised and responsive approach to property management. This data-driven approach is not only more efficient but can also enhance tenant satisfaction by tailoring services to individual needs and preferences.

The inclusion of system events within online services is also a very useful feature. These events can be extracted from the cloud upon request or at predefined intervals, providing housing officials with valuable insights into the patterns of managed properties. An example of this functionality is in detecting instances where a door has been propped open or left ajar. The door contact can promptly trigger an error notification for relevant personnel, including details like the duration of the door being open, the last access fob used, and the frequency of such incidents within a predetermined time frame.

A tool for diagnostics and troubleshooting

Beyond situational awareness, these events also serve as an indispensable tool for diagnostics and troubleshooting. In cases where a card reader malfunctions or a controller experiences power supply issues, possibly due to a power failure, automated notifications can be dispatched to the maintenance team. This timely alert empowers maintenance professionals with precise information regarding the location of the fault and the necessary equipment required for rectification. The maintenance team can also be issued with access rights to the designated property for a specific duration, facilitated by mobile-based access or dedicated apps, further streamlining the process. By automating access rights allocation for attending maintenance engineers, this approach negates the need for key distribution and retrieval, sidestepping potential mishaps associated with incorrect or misplaced keys and minimising administrative overhead.

The integration of networked controllers and security systems marks a pivotal milestone in the entry management of housing association and local authority properties, irrespective of size. Remote management offers a user-friendly interface for configuring and controlling events, users, alarms, and notifications. This shift in management practices is not only more informative but also contributes to a smoother operational environment.

The migration from traditional ‘on-site’ management to remote management using cloud services represents a significant step forward for housing associations and local authorities. By leveraging the power of technology, they can provide a level of service, flexibility, and security that was previously unattainable. It’s a shift that reflects not just a change in technology, but a fundamental reimagining of what property management can be. It’s about not just keeping up with the times but leading the way towards a more efficient, safer, and cost-effective approach to housing management.

Rhys McNichol is national projects manager at Videx Security