IFSEC Global sits down with Carl Bell, UK & EMEA Sales Manager at Vistec Systems, to find out more about some of the access control integrations the team has recently worked on and why it has selected Suprema as its preferred partner for projects requiring biometric facial recognition and fingerprint solutions.
IFSEC Global (IG): Hi, please can you tell us a little more about Vistec Systems? What do you specialise in?
Carl Bell (CB): Since we started in 1992, our mission at Vistec Systems has been to provide customers with effective and reliable security systems and solutions to their security problems, with a quality of installation and aftersales care that sets us apart from our competitors.
We are immensely proud of the reputation we have gained within our industry and are recognised as one of the leading independent security systems specialists, with thousands of installations around the UK and Europe.
We provide a full design, supply, installation and commissioning service. All of our installations are coved by our warranty and we are able to provide extended warranty options. Our service department also oversees the ongoing maintenance to systems we have installed, as well as those we may not have originally installed.
We offer a wide range of products including:
- CCTV (IP, HD, Analogue Legacy Support, ANPR, Wireless/Rapid Deployment)
- Access Control (Biometric, Proximity, keypad, Swipe, NFC/Bluetooth, Long Range Readers)
- Visitor Management Systems
- Intercom Systems (Video, Audio, 3G/4G Wireless, Help Points, Refuge Area, Call Points)
- Entrance Control (Turnstiles, Portals, Speed Gates, Door Automation, Disabled Access Solutions, Anti-Tailgating Solutions)
- Perimeter Protection (Gates, Barriers, Secure Fencing, Beam Protection, External Turnstiles, External Lighting)
- Remote Monitoring (CCTV, Intruder Alarm, Fire Alarm, Access Control, Help Points, Intercoms)
- Alarm Systems (Intruder, Fire, Nurse Call, Affray, Cell Call, Disabled Alarms)
- Electrical Services (Commercial/Industrial, Electric Charging points, Testing and Commissioning, LED Lighting, Emergency Lighting, PAT Testing)
IG: And why have you partnered with Suprema? What is it about its access control solutions that made you choose them initially, and why have you continued to work with them?
CB: We initially started to partner with Suprema around five years ago when a project we were working on called for fingerprint biometric readers. Suprema provided a high-level service where they attended the initial client meeting, demonstrating a working fingerprint unit. This inspired confidence from the client, as they could see how the installer and manufacturer were collaborating to deliver the solution.
This type of working relationship is important as often it’s the installer who promotes a product to an end user and not the manufacturer. When an end user can see the product and meet the manufacturer in person, it really does help to confirm that they are in safe hands.
READ: Suprema’s X-Station 2: Supporting QR codes, mobile and alternative credentials for flexible access management
We then started to look at the facial biometric readers in the Suprema range. We were tasked with developing a solution for the leisure industry, where members sign up to the club and can enter the site using a facial biometric reader after enrolment. The basis of the design is to only allow authorised persons to enter the club, as the solution confirms they are a paid member.
The biometric element is important as this supersedes other access technology like proximity cards and key codes that can be shared between people. The Suprema Facestation F2 means that only the enrolled member can gain access to the site.
FaceStation F2 also offers the additional benefit of members being able to use their id photo for initial enrolment. This means they don’t have to visit the club in order to register. All they have to do is submit a photo and they’ll get seamless access on their first visit.
IG: How important is easy integration between access control and entrance systems?
CB: Easy integration between access control and entrance systems is a key factor for us as the systems we design have this at the heart of the setup. Fingerprint and facial recognition readers will always be connected to some kind of hardware and an access control system will inevitably sit in between the two.
Whether the hardware is a door lock, turnstile, security portal, barrier or gate, the ease of integration between the reader and the access control hardware is crucial when looking to deliver a project on time and on budget. Overly complicated integrations can lead to installations overrunning on site and delays to the project.
Suprema offers a comprehensive access control software – BioStar 2 – package that we have used to its full potential on multiple sites. Using reader hardware coupled with software that are both manufactured by the same company is always the preferred method of installation for us as it’s a guaranteed working solution.
Sometimes however, this configuration is not possible, as maybe the site already has an access control system in place or third party integration with a particular access control software has been completed prior.
Fortunately, Suprema has taken a pragmatic approach to this scenario, as it has made its range of products compatible with selected third-party access control software and hardware, such as the Paxton Net2 integration. If there is a Net2 system that requires biometric readers then the Suprema units can be used, without the need to replace all of the access control hardware or changing the access control software at the front end.
IG: Are there any common themes in the types of installations you’re being asked to carry out at the moment?
CB: We have seen a rise in enquiries asking for biometric access control solutions in general, especially as a result of COVID. This includes fingerprint, facial & mobile credentials. This does also appear to be driven by the fact that biometrics offer the next level of security in comparison to traditional access methods.
A recent office project where we installed Suprema fingerprint readers, BioLite N2 and BioEntry W2, was specified due to the higher level of security the solutions provide.
The real area of contactless solutions that we are asked for is smartphone-based. There have been several clients who ask us about smartphone access control technology and how best to utilise this on their site.
IG: Can you tell us a little more about the entrance and access system you installed for a line of gyms based in Manchester?
CB: The Suprema Facestation F2 product was specified for this project as its design, reliability and integration with the Paxton Net2 access control product made it a perfect match.
This client has their access control hardware integrated with a member database platform, which in turn is integrated with their Direct Debit provider and their website. With this in mind, changing the access control hardware and software at the front end would be challenging, as all the existing integration would need to be revisited.
The client’s main aim was to move from fingerprint technology, which is operating at a number of their existing gyms, to a facial biometric solution. The driver for this was the fact that they wanted a contactless entry experience for their members while also maintaining a high level of security for the site and protecting revenue.
We promoted the reader to the client and Suprema provided its usual high level of service, as the team met with the client via a video call, providing a demonstration of the product and answering all of the client’s questions to ensure they had confidence in the new solution.
Other solutions the Vistec Systems team has worked on include The Gherkin in London, installing Suprema’s fingerprint recognition terminal BioLite N2 for over 100 users, as well as the Easthampstead Park Hotel in Wokingham where it provided Suprema’s facial recognition terminal FaceStation 2 for over 400 users.
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