New NHS Mental Health Facility Chooses Smart Access Control Solution

Health services and their funding have long been in the news, with social care and mental health coming in for particular attention. Both of these core areas are seeing a growing need for their services.

While nationally this is a problem, there is good news in East Anglia with the opening of the 16 bedroom Samphire Ward at Chatterton House, a new acute care mental health facility in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. The build comprised of a refurbishment of two redundant wards linked to create one modern compliant 16 bed facility at a cost of £4m which is operated by North and West Norfolk Care Group, part of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

NSFT provides inpatient and community-based mental health services in both Norfolk and Suffolk. It is also commissioned to provide in some of its localities, learning disability services, along with other specialist services including medium and low secure services and wellbeing.


The new facility is one of many sites across Norfolk and Suffolk that fall under management of the trust. Managing over 4,000 staff and controlling over 1500 access controlled doors across multiple sites. Many of these sites use a legacy building access control system called Continuim which is a bolt on module to Trend BMS, where all doors on this system are required to be wired on-line.

Several years ago the trust wanted a more modern contactless access control solution for their facilities in Norfolk and Suffolk. They specifically wanted a solution that offered cost savings by not having to wire all doors. SALTO access control was chosen for fitting to new and refurbishment projects, with a view to possibly retro-fitting the new solution across all the existing sites on a rolling upgrade basis as time and future budgets allow.

Security and Infrastructure Manager for the Strategic Estates department at the trust, Paul Evans, says “By choosing SALTO the trust were able to specify a mix of online and offline equipment. The cost saving for offline equipment enables the trust to specify more internal offline doors to become controllable as part of the access control system, thus giving us greater flexibility and security for our facilities.”


Evans continues “Given the nature of our work and that some of our service users can have really challenging behaviour issues, it is vital that for their safety and that of the staff, we are able to control access simply and easily yet securely into and around the many different areas of the ward, the administration area and indeed the rest of the rooms in the building.

A standard off the shelf access control solution was not suitable as reduced-ligature hardware working with contactless smart access control was needed in the user areas together with anti-barricade doors, vision panels, automatic lockdown abilities, locker locks and a host of other special items and so we wanted a company with specialist experience in this field to carry out the supply and installation.”


After going out to a competitive open tending process, local security specialist and certificated SALTO partner AC Leigh, based in Norwich, won the contract to secure the new facility. One of their lead designers, Simon Clarkson, worked with Paul and his team to design and deliver the system.

Clarkson, Health and Safety Director at AC Leigh says “We listened to what Paul and his team needed and especially how they wanted to manage and control the building and delivered a completely focused solution that allows central administration of the facility using hardware and software from SALTO Systems as the core of the solution.”

On-line wall readers are used to control access into and around the building and these have been installed on main entry points, alongside bedroom doors and in ‘airlocks’ to control access from one area to another.

Paul Evans says “The latest SALTO online CU4200 control units were used on this project where data can be shared to SALTO slave control units via a single master control unit. This reduced the load on the already exhausted IT infrastructure which has meant that more online doors can be added to the SALTO system.”

Bedroom doors are all fail secure with mechanical key override and are also anti-barricade. The facility has the bespoke ability to operate a standard 8 male, 8 female bedroom configurations. However, the trust wanted the flexibility to extend either male or female bedrooms to 10 bedrooms. This was achieved by two swing corridor doors. In standard operation, these powered swing doors are held open with electro-magnetic locks. In their swing scenario a key switch can be operated which releases the hold open magnet and energises the SALTO system powering a separate electronic locking device on the door. This enables the trust to easily maintain the required gender separation within the bedroom areas. Paul Evans comments “AC Leigh were able to configure the required solution easily and train the staff in its operation accordingly.”

Other doors are fitted with Aelement Fusion smart locks. AC Leigh worked closely with the trust to design and manufacture special reduced ligature handles and reader covers to ensure that ligature points were reduced in conjunction with DHF technical specification TS001:2013 enhanced requirements and test methods for anti-ligature hardware.

“The consultation between AC Leigh and the trust took several months with multiple prototypes being presented to the trust for approval. Evans says “After looking at all the various options, the trust is happy that the best solution for this type of battery operated offline door has been chosen and installed at Chatterton house.” He also confirms that the bespoke design would be used as their preferred solution on future projects for this type of door.

Meanwhile in staff areas XS4 Mini locks are fitted. In open common areas, lockers are equipped with smart XS4 locker locks enabling each service user to have a secure storage place for their individual personal items. To operate the various doors, staff use their smartcard ID badges to gain access while service users use wristbands to access their bedroom, locker and certain permissible doors.

Tying all this together is SALTO SPACE a flexible, fully integrated electronic locking and software platform that enables operators to effectively manage every door and user access plan on-site via powerful web-based access control management software. Audit trail information from the doors is held for 31 days before deletion in accordance with the trust data policy.

Simon Clarkson concludes “The client needed precise tailoring of access levels and the SALTO access control solution has empowered them with an intuitive, easy to use but adaptive system. The use of this stand alone largely battery operated access control system will provide significant cost savings over the years to come compared with other systems, and will deliver a reduction in engineer call-outs and simplify system administration making for a long term secure and reliable access control solution for the trust.”

Access Control Solution for Queen’s Award Homeless Charity

NiskhamSWAT, a leading charity that provides hot meals and everyday essentials to homeless people the UK, has partnered with Videx Security, to overcome their access control and entry challenges.

The charity, which was established in 2009 in West London, now serves disadvantaged communities in Oxford, Reading, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Slough, Windsor and Lancashire as well as London. It’s ran by volunteers and the charity currently has 1,300 volunteers across the country, serving those who need it most.

Randeep S. Lall, Global Operations Director at the charity, said: “We provide 3,000 meals per week to those in need which means our main warehouse in London is extremely busy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Security and appropriate access and entry are so important. Although we have a secured electric gate that drivers have to report to in order to gain entry, it meant someone had to permanently stay at the warehouse to grant delivery and collection vans access. This wasn’t sustainable given we are a completely volunteer led organisation.  We needed a more flexible and convenient access control solution that still provided a high level of security too.”

NiskhamSWAT, who have recently won a Queen’s Award for voluntary service, worked with leading access control and door entry distributor, ADI to overcome their entry challenges.

Joseph Davies at ADI explained: “We recommended a GSM access control system to NiskhamSWAT to help solve their entry issues. After researching which solution would work best, we advised that the charity used a Videx two-way GSM audio kit with code lock and proximity access control in a 4000 series style panel.”

Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx, continued: “When ADI contacted us we were more than happy to help provide a system that could solve NiskhamSWAT’s access problem. The GSM system we’ve donated to them enables people to answer calls to their front door or gate from their mobile phone or landline, so they never have to miss that important visitor and are made aware of who has visited even when they are not there.”

For NiskhamSWAT this means that no one is required to remain at the warehouse 24/7 to authorise access. If a van arrives for a collection or delivery and no one is there, the system will call the designated number for access and has the facility to divert to another number if the first call is not answered, with a maximum of up to four numbers per button. Programming the entrance panel can easily be carried out either by SMS or dialling into the system using a telephone without a keypad.

Randeep at NiskhamSWAT added: “Huge thanks to ADI and Videx for the donation and free installation from Image Security too. It’s helped us out massively as it’s meant no one has to stay at the warehouse, freeing up precious volunteering time that can be put to better use elsewhere. It’s so much more convenient to receive a call when someone is asking for access. I can verify the caller and swiftly authorise or deny access.”

Mitie names Nedap as a strategic partner for access control

Mitie Fire & Security Systems has announced Nedap Security Management as a partner of choice for access control in the UK. This new strategic partnership builds on a close relationship developed between the two organisations while working for clients in a range of sectors, from large automotive manufacturing to high street retail outlets.

Strong collaboration

Chris Watts, Director of Mitie Fire & Security Systems says: “Mitie’s relationship with Nedap has gone from strength to strength over the past couple of years with some important new contracts wins. Nedap has a collaborative partnering approach and works proactively with our sales and operational teams to ensure we have the knowledge and expertise to support our customers and prospects.”

Tackling complexity together

Mitie is one of the UK’s foremost integrators of technology-based security solutions and end-to-end managed services. It provides highly complex security solutions for national and multinational organisations and appreciates the depth of industry insight and technical support offered by Nedap. Not to mention the flexibility, scalability and wide-ranging functionality of Nedap’s AEOS access control system.

People come first

Nedap also stands apart from many other access control suppliers with its people-first approach. It believes that, fundamentally, security isn’t just about technology – it’s about people and how they live their daily lives. Nedap aims for its access control to free people’s minds from security and help them live life to its full potential. It calls this ‘Security for life’.

This fastidious approach to ensuring an optimum end-user experience is reflected in Nedap’s approach to partnerships. Mark Vickers, Channel Partner Manager at Nedap explains: “Mitie fully committed to the Nedap channel partner programme and, as an Advanced Partner, has shown the exact qualities we strive for. This gives us confidence that our end clients’ requirements are always being met and, more often than not, exceeded.”

The new SMARTair® Knob Cylinder: one small change has changed everything

London, July 2019 – Style, intelligence and robustness come together in the new SMARTair® Knob Cylinder from ASSA ABLOY. Part of the SMARTair® access control system, this intelligent device with integrated RFID reader is now more resistant to attack. It comes in elegant, contemporary finishes and colours, upgrading aesthetics and functionality in equal measure. It quickly upgrades almost any existing regular door to an access-controlled door — without any drilling.

The new Knob Cylinder fits seamlessly and flexibly into a SMARTair® system, providing advanced, user-friendly access management designed to make any workplace work better. If you need to monitor and control who goes where, and when, you need the new SMARTair® Knob Cylinder.

The Knob Cylinder is battery-powered and works with every SMARTair® access management option, so you can choose between online (“real-time”), offline, update-on-card and standalone management — or combine more than one system at the same site with the same software interface.

Upgrading to the new Knob Cylinder is simple: just replace an existing mechanical cylinder with the new device. No complex installation or drilling stands between you and safe, reliable, flexible SMARTair® access control. Glass, wooden or aluminium doors — Scandinavian, Euro and many other profiles — present no problem.

A modern, mobile solution

The Knob Cylinder works with all standard proximity technologies, including MIFARE®, DESFire and iCLASS®, and also offers another new way to open your doors — with the SMARTair® Openow™ mobile app.

With Openow™, users no longer carry separate credentials; just their smartphone with secure virtual keys stored inside. There’s no longer any need to collect or validate an access card to open authorized doors locked with the new SMARTair® Knob Cylinder. With Openow™, if you have your phone, you are already carrying your keys.

Modern and mobile-ready, the SMARTair® Knob Cylinder is built to make your building smarter. Its robust design, redefined aesthetics and easy installation are perfect for securing offices, business headquarters, conference and meeting rooms.

To download a free product guide and technical specifications for the new SMARTair® Knob Cylinder, visit:

New App for Videx GSM Intercom Range
App enables easier programming & usability

Videx, a leading manufacturer and supplier in access control and door entry kits, has added a new app to its flagship GSM intercom range, the popular entry systems that provide greater security and freedom to users.

The new app simplifies programming and usability for both end users and installers. Available for iOS and Android devices, the app allows you to program the GSM intercom system by automatically creating the SMS messages.

James Gray project manager at Videx said: “The app is a great addition to the Videx GSM product range, enhancing the features while also providing a convenient way to manage and operate the system.

“Features include the ability to activate the door or gate either for the programmed time or to latch and unlatch it. This can be done via text message or dialling using the dial to open feature. You can also add and modify numbers called, the dial to open numbers, access codes including temporary access codes for one-time visitors, as well as proximity tags that are used to open the gate or door.”

Up to 10 GSM intercoms can be stored in the app. Settings such as master code, telephone number, call button telephone numbers and free access settings are all stored to save the user time while using the app. An advanced version of the app will also be available soon with even more features for the installer or managing agent of the system.

The app is not restricted to the GSMPRO version of the Videx GSM intercom systems and can also be used with the Digital GSM, vandal resistant GSM’s, multiple entrance 2270 interface and the GSM lite.

James added: “Users can also set up free access time periods where the gate or door can be held open for visitors. The ability to decode received messages from the intercom panel is also included and some of these messages can also be imported and saved in the app for future use. For example, if the intercom call button has already been programmed it’s possible to receive the telephone numbers for the call button and import them into the app.”

Users will be able to download the app directly from Google’s ‘Play store’ and Apple’s ‘App store’ free of change. The app can be used with all current and older model GSM intercoms.

For more information about the new GSM Intercom app, please visit:

Videx strengthens GSMPRO offering

Videx, a leading manufacturer and supplier in access control and door entry kits, has added new features and functionality to its GSMPRO intercom system that provides users with much greater freedom and security.

The GSMPRO, which is now expandable to an eight-door access control system, enables people to answer calls to their front door or gate from their mobile phone or landline, so they never have to miss that important visitor and are made aware of who has visited even when they are not there.

The GSMPRO is now available with an integrated back lit coded keypad, with up to 400 access codes and 32 temporary codes, which can be programmed to expire after a number of hours, to meet all your access control needs. Codes can also be programmed via PC software and remotely via SMS, enabling greater flexibility. A new app is also available for both Android and iOS which simplifies the process of sending SMS messages.

Commenting on the new features, Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx UK, said: “Our new generation GSMPRO now boasts many more features which makes it an ideal access control choice for a greater range of businesses and organisations. For example, it now has free access time bands enabling users to set up to 10 time periods where the entrance is held open, for specific hours of the day and on specific days of the week, which makes it perfect for housing associations, warehouses and offices. It’s also now an eight-door access control system, with the ability to add up to seven extra keypad or proximity access entrances. Additional entrances connect back to the GSMPRO via an RS485 bus using standard CAT5 cable.”

Many of the new features have been the result of special requests from customers which have been found to be good additions to the system and have allowed the GSM range to be used on installations with complex requirements.

Neil continued: “A great new feature is that the system now carries a new remote event log that can be accessed online (, allowing events to be viewed in real time, on the move via a phone, tablet/laptop. It’s a great security feature because it’s where a record is kept of calls, gate/door openings and much more. What’s also useful is that alerts can be programmed where an email will be sent should that alert be triggered. For example, if the gate or door is opened out of normal hours – any unusual activity is flagged.”

There are several new programming commands too, included to make the system very easy to set up and simple to use. For example, it is now possible to program all an apartment’s telephone numbers (primary and divert numbers) in a single SMS message and program up to five dial to open numbers in a single SMS.

For more information about the GSMPRO, how it can work for your customer’s access control needs and its new features, please

Nortech’s standalone access control system is a reliable and cost-effective door controller

People and vehicle access control specialist Nortech has launched its NanoQuest, a secure, single door self-contained access control system. This proximity card reader/access controller combination is small, powerful and supports up to 500 users.

The NanoQuest is a compact standalone proximity card reader and access controller that is easy to install and operate and houses both the access control electronics and the 125kHz proximity reader. Its slender and elegant compact design suits most architectural and interior design settings, while the robust construction allows it to be used in most working environments. A NanoQuest unit controls access through a single door for up to 500 authorised users, and can also be used as a secure method of controlling devices such as intruder alarm panels, lighting and heating.

The configuration of its many features and the addition/removal of user cards are made simple with a ‘Master’ card. Special ‘User’ and ‘Auxiliary’ cards can also be added to control auxiliary devices and access restricted areas and free exit input is included.

The unit can also output card data in RS232 format when in ‘NanoQuest’ mode, and in both RS232 and 26-bit Wiegand format when in ‘Reader’ mode so that it can be used as a standard card reader as part of a future migration to a larger system. The unit can also be armed by an external device and allows door monitoring and alarm output to external alarm devices.

Nortech offers a flexible range of card and fob packs. Cards and fobs can be purchased as necessary, and individually enrolled into the NanoQuest when needed. For installations with many users, card packs are supplied in filing wallets, where each card comes with a duplicate administration/shadow card option. A batch enrolment card is also supplied to enable the enrolment of a whole batch of cards in a single procedure. If a card is lost or stolen, then the corresponding administration card can be used to remove that card from the NanoQuest.

Key fobs are also available with a corresponding batch enrolment card and administration cards.

Nortech has supplied products and solutions to the security industry for over 25 years as an independent British company. The company uses extensive experience and expertise to create new security products to fit their clients’ needs and designs everything with the customer in mind.

Further information is available from Nortech on 01633 485533 or by emailing or by visiting the company’s website at

Nortech is supported by Vantage PR

SALTO launches revolutionary SVN-Flex access control technology at IFSEC

SALTO is excited to be showcasing the latest in access control technology at IFSEC, the UK’s premier security event, taking place at ExCeL London 18-20 June. SALTO is on Stand IF2810.

SVN-Flex provides access management with increased security, more convenience and at lower cost. It makes hard-wired update point’s obsolete, thus introducing completely wire-free access control with online functionalities.

It provides a range of benefits to operators and end users, especially by removing the need to go to specific doors or locations to update cards. Now users can update their access rights anytime and anywhere as any wireless door can be activated as an SVN-Flex updater.

SVN-Flex is based on two core technologies, the SALTO Virtual Network and SALTO BLUEnet. Since all new SALTO escutcheons are equipped with Bluetooth for mobile access, SVN-Flex combines SVN and BLUEnet in such a way that updated access rights can be transferred wirelessly via Bluetooth to defined escutcheons and cylinders.

SALTO has also strengthened its position as the cloud access market leader with additional functionality in its SALTO KS app. Now, with new SALTO KS Mobile keys and any SALTO BLE lock, SALTO KS users can select a floating button in the app and just tap their smart phone on the lock to securely open a door. It enables their smart phone to operate as a tag, opening the lock without the need for an active internet connection; making Mobile Keys as secure and easy to use as a physical tag.

Other innovations at the show include the brand new SALTO NEO Cylinder which is built with the absolute latest in technology. Compatible SALTO SVN, SALTO BLUEnet Wireless and SALTO KS – Keys as a Service – cloud-based technology, it enables users to decide which technology fits better with their security, operational and IT needs.

The SALTO NEO Cylinder is one of the few; if not the only, electronic cylinder to be BLE enabled which makes it compatible with both with iOS and Android mobile phones. So whether you use Salto KS in a co-working space or are a student in a university that uses JustIN mobile, you will be able to use your mobile phone to get access into the door you need.

The SALTO NEO Cylinder will be available in a variety of local standards including European, ANSI, UK, Swiss, Australian, RIM, Deadbolts, etc. It will also be available for different applications like padlocks, swing handles for server racks, cam locks, and the like and is also IP66 rated meaning its built to withstand even the harshest environments. But what’s really impressive is that one set of batteries can last for up to four years!

Joining these innovations are updates to the SALTO KS product platform, which is now more complete than ever with the integration of SALTO BLUEnet communication technology and a new opening mode based on Personal Identification Number Codes (PIN) in order to offer more convenience to users. With these new features SALTO KS now offers 4 different ways to access a building: SALTO KS tag, Mobile key, Remote opening and PIN code.

Videx Apprentice Shines Bright In New Project Manager Role

Videx Security has appointed James Gray to Project Manager, as the business looks set to grow its client base. The appointment follows an even greater focus for the business in working with more local authorities and housing associations and educating and advising them on the most appropriate entry systems to use for their building requirements and residents’ needs.

In his role, James will be managing and taking care of customers from the very beginning of a door entry installation, the estimation stage, through to the end of the process when the system is finished, wired and installed. He will also spend a lot of time on development sites to ensure a smooth installation process and offer hands on support to customers and engineers so that the system operates to the best of its ability, to meet the needs of its users.

James joined Videx in 2009 as an apprentice in the repairs and production team. Following a successful apprenticeship, he moved into the technical department where he handled trouble shooting and technical issues and ensured any problems customers encountered were resolved swiftly and appropriately. As we enter 2019, James is now Project Manager, a national role which will see him manage large scale specialist projects that particularly focus on housing association and local authority access control and the entry and security challenges the sector faces.

“I joined Videx as an apprentice 10 years ago and, during this time, I have gained a vast amount of experience, knowledge and skill in the access control market which puts me into a strong position to fulfil the potential of the Project Manager role,” said James. “A key regulation in the social housing market is Secured by Design (SBD), the UK police initiative for designing out crime by physical security, that aims to reduce crime through effective environmental design. The scheme calls for the installation of security products that meet police approved standards to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour using the principles of SBD. Videx were the first door entry manufacturer to achieve Secured by Design accreditation in 2013 with a range of products tested to STS202 BR2 level of burglary resistance, and it continues to be a vital part of our advice and assistance especially with social housing installations.”

As Project Manager, James will also explain how Videx systems can integrate seamlessly with other technology to provide a complete security package. This includes demonstrating how Videx systems can work with other providers such as Milestone CCTV software and Holywell burglary alarms, so that end users receive a holistic and all-inclusive service.

Neil Thomas, National Sales Manager at Videx, added: “It’s great to see how James has risen through the ranks at Videx, starting out as a young apprentice a decade ago, and now taking on a vital role within the company that requires extensive and specific knowledge and understanding of key issues within the access control market as well as specific sectors like social housing. James has a wealth of technical experience and skills that enables him to manage our larger scale projects, where education and guidance on key issues such as regulations, specific requirements and common security challenges form a vital part of the job. 2019 has a lot in store for us – we cannot wait to get started!”

For more information about Videx’s work with local authorities and housing associations, visit or contact James Gray on

Next generation of ANPR to be showcased at Parkex

Nortech, UK specialists in long-range identification solutions, will be launching and providing live demonstrations of Nedap’s next generation of ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) camera at this year’s Parkex.

The ANPR Access V2 short-range keeps up with the rapid growing demand for effective number-plate reading. It is purposely designed for vehicle access control applications whilst ensuring customers benefit from the latest developments in ANPR technology.

The ANPR Access V2 has also been selected by the Parkex 2019 panel of industry experts as one of 10 prime examples of cutting-edge innovations that have emerged within the market in the last 12 months.

In a relatively short period of time, number-plate recognition technology for vehicle access control has become very popular. Nedap’s ANPR cameras identify vehicles by capturing their number plates, making it the perfect solution for applications where it is undesirable or not possible to issue (RFID) tags. It is ideal in situations where vehicles need to be granted continual or temporary access to a site such as in employee or visitor parking applications.

The ANPR Access V2 supersedes Nedap’s ANPR Access offering better performance, power over Ethernet, built in Wiegand modes and it now has 28 European libraries preloaded by default. Furthermore, it is still fully backwards compatible with existing installations.

This new camera can also easily integrate with any third party security, parking and traffic management systems by accessing the built-in Wiegand options.

The ANPR Access V2 cameras take the effectiveness of using ANPR for vehicle access control to the next level. Its available options for configuration and interfacing have been enhanced and extended, making ANPR now a viable option for installations all over the world, including the Pacific and the USA.

Nortech has supplied products and solutions to the security industry for over 25 years as an independent British company. The company uses extensive experience and expertise to create new security products to fit their clients’ needs and designs everything with the customer in mind.

Visit Nortech at Parkex 2019 on 2-4 April at Birmingham’s NEC to find out more about the many systems available and how they can benefit the future of people and vehicle control solutions.

Further information is available from Nortech on 01633 485533 or by emailing or by visiting the company’s website at

Aston University rolls-out unified SafeZone protection and assistance solution for all staff and students worldwide

Aston University, Birmingham, is transforming security and safety with the introduction of SafeZone® for students and staff on campus and those travelling globally.

The SafeZone solution, from CriticalArc, will put users directly in touch with the university’s security control room using their mobile phone, enabling them to request help, trigger an emergency response, receive rapid notifications in the event of emergencies and benefit from a wide range of customer-care services.

SafeZone was selected following a detailed comparison of alternative systems, says Mark Sutton, Head of Security and Emergency Planning at Aston University.

“While some alternatives offered individual features that were attractive, none of them combined all the functions and benefits in the way that SafeZone does,” he says.

“What we are investing in is a comprehensive solution that allows our security team to engage much more closely with students and staff, and to work in a more integrated way with the university’s various departments and within its senior management structure. It also gives us important additional functions including lone worker protection and resource management capabilities.”

The technology works by letting Aston’s control room operators pin-point the locations of individuals who elect to check-in using a simple app on their smart phones, including staff, students, service users and members of the security team.

This app makes it easy for students, staff and school’s using the system to communicate directly with security responders, calling for help, asking for advice, reporting suspicious activity etc. And in return security teams can send out alerts and safety instructions to groups or individuals, in specific locations, as individuals or by specified user type. Notifications can range from helpful advice to alerts regarding specific threats.

Officers responsible for emergency response management can also monitor activity patterns of those who choose to check-in, seeing where people are gathering during an incident for example. And they can co-ordinate resources, keeping track of where known first aiders are, or seeing exactly how team members are deployed, minute by minute.

The benefits of SafeZone bring together features found in an assortment of systems – including lone-worker protection – making them available in a unified, scalable package. There are also new options for users to collaborate with the growing global network of SafeZone system operators.

At Aston University stakeholders such as the students’ union, staff and department heads have been fully engaged in the roll-out of the new system.

“Safety is a big issue, particularly for city centre campuses,” says Mark Sutton. “Prospective students and parents want to know how well we look after our community, so we see SafeZone as an important new benefit.”

Aston also has a growing international reputation and a significant placements programme, with students and staff travelling around the world to work.

With the ability to ‘geo-fence’ any location in the world that has a signal, the university’s security team will now extend the same level of customer care and safety monitoring to all users, whether they are on campus, in accommodation blocks or associated sites around the city, or working abroad, says Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Managing Director EMEA and APAC for CriticalArc.

“We are delighted to be working with Aston University’s security and emergency response team to help them provide the best available monitoring and protection for all their people, in all situations and wherever they are. In addition, they are benefiting from a wide set of extra functions which would otherwise have to be purchased separately – including lone worker protection and health & safety compliance.”

There are also important, emerging benefits which CriticalArc is developing alongside its community of users, confirmed Darren Chalmers-Stevens. “These were discussed during our recent two-day user group conference in February.”

For more information on CriticalArc and SafeZone go to or email Stay up to date with news and information by following CriticalArc on Twitter and LinkedIn.

A First In security: Stanley Security Achives BIM Level 2 Accreditation

STANLEY Security, is delighted to announce it is the first security company to achieve BIM Level 2 accreditation in the UK.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a shared knowledge resource, providing all of the information about every component of a building, in one easy to access place.  It enables construction professionals to digitally model a building and use the BIM data to reduce the risk of mistakes or discrepancies at an early stage, making for more cost-effective, safe construction, improved carbon performance and predictable planning.

As one of the UK’s leading security companies, STANLEY Security’s customer base extends from small businesses with a single intruder alarm system through to large integrated security systems operating across multiple sites in the commercial and public sectors.  Achieving BIM Level 2 accreditation has become increasingly important not only for full participation in public sector projects – construction suppliers tendering for centrally procured government projects must be working at BIM Level 2 – but for organisations in the commercial sector looking to reap the benefits of this advanced approach to construction.

Jason Wescombe, Design Manager – GB at STANLEY Security, explains: “From early in 2017 we noticed increasing customer enquiries relating to BIM services, ranging from design and construction, including COBie, to the provision of BIM Object Libraries. There was also increased Pre-Qualification Questionnaires relating to BIM Level 2, which was very much a new turn of events.  STANLEY Security is a proactive company that has its finger on the pulse of the security sector to identify where the market is going. We very much focus on identifying technology solutions that minimise financial outlay for a client; in this sense we are very much aligned with the BIM philosophy.

“We went out to the market to actively engage customers on the subject of BIM and it quickly became clear that BIM Level 2 capabilities had to be developed to meet future client requirements, and not just in the public sector.”

STANLEY Security worked with Excitech, a technology solutions and services provider to the construction sector, to undertake a BIM Level 2 Accreditation GAP Analysis and provide consultancy and training in BIM Level 2.  The transition to BIM Level 2 processes was achieved over a period of 18 months and, following a full Lloyds Register BIM Level 2 Assessment to ensure all processes were in place, understood and adopted, culminated in full accreditation.

According to the BSI, BIM Level 2 facilitates well-informed decision making for greater clarity, better communications and better efficiency. Cost savings of around 33% across CAPEX and OPEX are possible by following a Level 2 BIM process. As the cost of operating and maintaining buildings and facilities can represent up to 85% of the whole-life cost, savings can pay back any upfront premium in construction expenses in just a few years.

For more information, please go to

New Ways Of Controlling Access

Amer Hafiz, Technical Director At Nortech Control Systems, Reviews The Evolution Of Identity Credentials In Access Control.

Access control is defined as “the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource”. For an automatic access control system to function, it requires a means of identifying individuals to determine their access rights. The form of identification can be anything from a memorised password or PIN (personal identification number) to biometrics (measurement of a human characteristic).

Since the early days when access was granted when an authorised PIN was entered into a keypad, access control systems have evolved to support many forms of ‘physical’ credentials. Generally referred to as “pass cards”, these credentials have taken many forms:

Barcodes – where an identity number is printed on the card in the form of a machine-readable series of variable width bars. Although more secure than a memorised number, a barcode can be easily copied or reproduced.

Magnetic Stripe – where a magnetic stripe on the card stores an identity number within a designated track. A special magnetic card reader is used to read the number from the track.

Proximity Card – where an electronic chip on the card holds the identity number and a built-in antenna enables a compatible proximity card reader to read the identity number using radio frequency technology. The card simply needs to be held within a few centimetres of the reader.

Smart Card – using a similar radio technology to that of proximity cards, smart cards can hold a variety of data within the chip. The data can be read and/or written to the card using compatible readers/writers depending upon the application. For access control applications, an identity number can be stored on the card and read by a compatible access control card reader.

In each of these technologies, it is necessary to issue a uniquely numbered card (or key fob) to each authorised person. The unique number on the card serves as their identity on the access control system. Without the card, they would not be able to gain access to the restricted areas. This makes it necessary for them to keep their identity cards with them whenever they need to move around the building or installation.

Recent technological advances have made the need to carry identity cards unnecessary. Two completely different approaches have been used.

Biometric readers – The first was the development of Biometric readers, where the recognition of unique human characteristics such as fingerprints or retina patterns are used for identification, precluding the need for identity cards. To support these systems, authorised users must ‘enrol’ on the system, where their biometric data is read and stored in a database. Whenever the user needs to access a restricted area, they must present themselves to a biometric reader at the access point (e.g. places their finger on a fingerprint reader). The data obtained is then compared to the database to find a match to determine their identity and check their access rights before granting entry. Although this provides a high level of security and avoids the need to issue credentials, the readers are very expensive and the process of looking up complex data with a large database can be slow and limiting.

Virtual credentials – The second alternative is to use Smartphone-based ‘virtual credentials’ to replace physical cards and fobs. A virtual credential is a unique identity code that can be securely sent from a cloud-based server to an App on the user’s smartphone. Several virtual credentials can be stored on the smartphone for different access applications. A smartphone with its virtual credential can be used to gain access to restricted areas, making it unnecessary for the user to carry cards or fobs. As most people now carry their smartphones everywhere they go, they are far less likely to lose their credentials or forget to keep them handy.

The app can present the credentials to readers using one of the smartphones built-in communication technologies such as low power blue tooth, NFC or QR Code. The technology used would depend on the capabilities of the reader and the type of smartphone being used.

If Bluetooth is used, it can offer a further benefit as it can be used at distances of up to 15 metres from the reader, effectively replacing long-range, hands-free reader technologies.

Where might credentials go next?

In the short to medium term, identity cards will continue to be used, with contactless smartcard gradually replacing older technology proximity cards. Virtual credentials on mobile devices will become far more widespread. The ever-increasing levels of security being required will most likely lead to a wider use of facial recognition as the main biometric credential. With advances in Bluetooth technology providing increased bandwidth, more information can be quickly retrieved from smart devices, making the combination of high-security biometrics and smartphone apps a real possibility for controlling access.

Further information is available from Nortech on 01633 485533 or by emailing or by visiting the company’s website at

SP Energy Networks set UK utilities trend with largest ever smart key project

Electric high-power station and powerful transformers

Scottish Power Energy Networks is leading the way with its security and access management control, using a unique key-centric access control solution, from smart electronic key manufacturer, LOCKEN. The leading name in smart key solutions has just signed a contract with SP Energy Networks to secure its electricity supply infrastructure, across more than 17,000 sites.

The energy supplier is looking to roll out the customised solution over the next three years using electronic locks to protect 23,000 access points with over 1,000 users.

The contactless electronic smart key combines the advantages of a traditional mechanical lock with a state-of-the-art electronic solution, with the information exchanged between the key and the cylinder by magnetic induction, rather than by an electrical contact. This allows almost instantaneous opening of the lock and a high reliability of the hardware without disruption by presence of rust, wear or dust.

The solution includes a Bluetooth module, which means the mechatronic key communicates with the user’s smartphone, using the MyLocken app. It is capable of offering centralised control and case-by-case, real-time access control, reaching standards of security that are usually only available from on-line access control systems.

The system does not require any on-site cabling or batteries for the lock, because the key supplies the cylinder with the energy and the information required to open the lock. In this way, users working on large infrastructures or complex sites with multiple points of access can make do with a single key. The solution is made even more flexible by its purely mechanical component, which can be used to open conventional mechanical cylinders, wherever the two types of locks co-exist within the same system.

Nick Dooley MD at LOCKEN UK Ltd explains: “This innovative electronic solution will enable the power supply network to support the improvement of health and safety procedures for the power group’s employees and subcontractors and deliver maximum performance to its customers.

“LOCKEN’s advanced access control solution helps DNOs to comply with Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR). The solution allows simple, flexible, efficient access management, which can be integrated with SP Energy Networks’ existing software system, giving improved operational efficiency which equals enhanced profitability.”

For further information about LOCKEN, visit, find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or telephone 0203 691 1610.