ICT Access Management: Simplicity through technology

New Zealand Security Magazine - April-May 2022

ICT’s unified Protege platform enables easy, end-to-end management.

Access control has gone through multiple changes in line with technological advancements. The expanded use of technology has made access management increasingly easy.

Gone are the days of carrying a big bunch of keys around in your pocket. It’s now possible to unlock your home, workplace, car, or enter your gym using your smartphone, as well as remotely managing security for your property from anywhere in the world.

Innovation and advancement

There are still many businesses – and a vast majority of homes – that use traditional locks and keys. This is despite little progress with the technology since Linus Yale Jr. patented his cylinder pin-tumbler lock in the 1860s. Take a moment to think. We still rely on tech that pre-dates the existence of the All Blacks by around 40 years.

As business needs grew larger and more complicated, the time and expense required to manage or replace a physical lock and key system made it increasingly uneconomic. The birth of modern access control happened in the 1980s with the introduction of Wiegand technology, allowing a RFID card to communicate with a reader. Revolutionary for its time, Wiegand has since been shown to have serious security flaws. It’s unencrypted, unsecured, and is unsuitable to manage most of today’s modern security demands.

Advancement has led to the adoption of technology such as secure, encrypted protocols like OSDP (Open Supervised Device Protocol), MIFARE DESFire smart card technology, and mobile or biometric credentials. By themselves, they are great technologies, but when used as part of a unified security package, there are exponential benefits.

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Access anywhere, anytime

Being able to access and manage your security system from anywhere in the world at any time is one of the major advantages of modern solutions.

That’s why ICT’s Protege WX and Protege GX systems were designed to be accessible wherever you are. Protege WX is perfect for single sites, and with a web-based interface you can manage your system from any browser. The enterprise level Protege GX system delivers a truly cross-platform solution. It’s accessible on any device with a modern browser thanks to a web client that uses ICT’s SOAP Web Service.

The Protege Mobile App adds even more functionality and is the perfect tool to monitor and control your system on the go. With the app you can lock or unlock doors, view cameras, arm or disarm areas, control lights or heating, and much more. It also gives you card-free access to unlock your front door. All from the phone in your pocket.

Management made easy

Modern access control systems like ICT Protege give you the flexibility to make even the smallest changes, whenever you need them. Change schedules with ease to ensure security is not compromised during holidays – like the upcoming new Matariki public holiday in June. Enable after-hours access for cleaners, so you’re not dealing with any more 10:00 pm callouts, or even allow or disable access to certain areas on a temporary or permanent basis.

User management becomes much simpler too. Access card lost? Simply deactivate it and issue another. System management is made quick and easy, as Annaliese Hewitt, Center Director at Shore Junction – a youth innovation hub in Auckland – explains, “everything in the Protege system only takes a few seconds to get sorted. And then we’re away.”

Custom tools add flexibility

You can also make use of ICT’s custom integration tools to build a solution that fits your needs. In places like 24- hour gyms or sports facilities, or where student databases or human resource systems are used, adding or managing large numbers of users can be time-consuming and inefficient for administrators.

The ICT Data Sync Service simplifies management by importing data such as users or access levels from external systems, so you no longer have to manage two separate databases. When information changes, the service updates the record in Protege GX.

The Protege WX API allows you to control your system from a third-party application. A New Zealand company doing this successfully is Hello Club, a club management solution for sports clubs and membership-based organisations. They offer an all-in-one solution for their customers using the Protege WX API to issue temporary access PINs for casual members and provide integrated access & lighting control, in combination with their other services.

“Our solution allows clubs to fully automate access to their facility, catering for casual members in a secure manner and receiving real time reports to track who entered the club at any given time” says Hello Club CEO & Co founder, Liat Reis.

Unify to simplify

With a unified system like Protege, you can link intruder detection, and building automation with your access control. Instead of customers having to unlock a door, enter a code for the alarm, then turn on the lights, they can just badge their card at the entrance while Protege does all this automatically. Users get ease-of-use, while business owners see energy efficiencies and cost savings.

When you include integrations with the likes of video surveillance, elevators, or wireless locking into your Protege system, you really start to unlock the value of a modern access control platform. And of course, for integrators or staff tasked with the upkeep of the security system, they can operate everything from one user-friendly interface.

As you can see, modern access control doesn’t just keep your property and people safe. A system like ICT’s unified Protege platform enables easy, end-to-end management, bringing with it cost savings, time benefits and reducing all those pain points your customers have been talking about. All of this while providing a higher level of security and true peace of mind.