September 14, 2020

Access Control and Video Surveillance Integration

[7 Minute Read] 


Integrating access control and video surveillance provides a higher level of security within your organization. 


Access control authorizes and restricts entry while confirming identity.

Video surveillance provides reliable visibility into a space.


Unifying the systems simplifies operations, improves visibility, and provides more in-depth analytics. Instead of trying to navigate independent platforms, administrators can view critical information from a single interface. 



What is an access control and video surveillance integration?

Traditionally, the security industry has created standalone, proprietary systems. However, the most effective security plans need an ecosystem of products that work together.


Integrating access control and video surveillance is the process of combining different hardware and software products into a single platform. This enables personnel to view critical information in a single interface. 


Typically, we see this as overlayed access control data on a live camera feed. The information that's displayed can include:


  • Date and time stamps
  • Badge holder’s name 
  • Badge number/ credential number
  • Door or area accessed
  • Whether access was granted or denied
access control and surveillance overlay

Access control information overlaid on video surveillance footage. Img Source: Verkada

Benefits

Bridging the gap between access control and video surveillance provides various benefits and insight for end-users, building owners, tenants, and guests. Below are some of the top reasons why we see clients opt for an integrated security approach.



1. Increased Efficiency

Integrating systems streamlines operational efficiencies. When the multiple software and hardware platforms work together seamlessly, they provide better user experience, and personnel only have one interface to learn and monitor. It also simplifies system updates, training, and daily workflows. Many security vendors now have smartphone apps and sleek website interfaces, making management even simpler.


Video access control system rhombus

Rhombus security platform.


When you need to investigate an event that's occurred, an integrated system makes it easy. Search by time, date, badge number, name, or location and promptly address the issues. 


Alternatively, if your systems aren't integrated, someone has to audit access logs and try to manually match that information with surveillance footage, wasting time and resources. 



2. Improved Safety

Systems that work in tandem with each other provide more robust security measures effectively mitigating risk. By providing visual context for access control events, you can instantly investigate and address situations. Below are some typical applications. 


tailgating detection integration

Tailgating detection by Camio.


Tailgating: Identify and address one of the most common security issues the moment it happens.

Loss Prevention: Track individuals as they move through a space and look for suspicious behavior.

Emergency Protocols: Monitor the flow of employees during an evacuation or drill.

Occupancy Management: Track and verify the number of people in a space, a particularly important feature if you need to enforce social distancing due to COVID-19 regulations.


(Check out our on-demand webinar, How Cloud-Based Security Offers Organizations a Safer Reopening.)



3. Real-Time and Remote Monitoring

Depending on the platform you select, integrated access control and surveillance systems could provide real-time and remote monitoring. So, if you have multiple sites, one person can monitor them from a single location. Even if you have one site, personnel can view live footage from anywhere on a phone, tablet, or computer, and act accordingly.


By viewing the video and access control data simultaneously, rather than linking and reviewing them retroactively, you can respond to security incidents in real-time. Quickly addressing concerns will improve your organization's overall safety and help minimize threats over time. 



4. Centralized Data 

A centralized system means you can combine data from multiple sources into a single interface. When all relevant information can be looked at together, you can extract meaningful insights and data.


Integrations aren't limited to just access control and video surveillance though. You can also tie-in:

  • Visitor Management Platforms
  • Wellness Forms
  • Temperature Checks
  • Occupancy Sensors
  • IoT Devices
  • Intelligent Video Monitoring Software
  • AI
  • And More!
unified security system

S2 Magic Monitor program.


Adding these additional systems and centralizing all the data provides a more thorough understanding of your space so you can create a more robust and effective security plan. Integrating these platforms allows you to automatically (without any extra work on your part):


  • Identify tailgating hot spots.
  • Measure foot traffic and space utilization.
  • Restrict access to a space if an individual fails a wellness attestation.
  • Receive an alert for suspicious activity.
  • Control access to an area based on occupancy.
  • Issue guest/visitor passes and remotely monitor activity.
  • Investigate previous incidents with smart search.


smart search video surveillance

Camio smart search feature.


As incredible and powerful as these integrations are, they aren't necessarily a good fit for every user. Just because you feel like you should integrate the systems for the reasons stated above, you need to ensure that you truly benefit. After all, integrating systems costs money, and the expense must be justified.


Who benefits most from an access control and video surveillance integration:

  • Multi-Tenant Buildings
  • Large corporate offices or headquarters
  • Sensitive areas where security is a top priority
  • Sites where thefts/incidents occur regularly
  • Organizations looking for additional insights and enhanced security


Who might not benefit from an access control and video surveillance integration:

  • Small buildings where strangers would quickly stick out
  • Tenants who use biometric access control systems, as these aren’t susceptible to lost/stolen credentials
  • Organizations where you don’t frequently monitor detailed security records due to lack of personnel or need 
  • Those with a very tight budget


It boils down to two questions: 


Will integrating access control and surveillance systems increase efficiency?


Will integrating the systems add a layer of security for our organization?


If you answered yes to both of these questions, you're an excellent candidate and should consider investing in an integrated approach. 



Best Practices

When it comes time to embark on your next security project, follow these best practices to ensure your installation and integration go smoothly. 


(Related: 9 Workplace Security Best Practices - Are You Jeopardizing Your Business?)


1. Plan Ahead

A traditional project might look like this: 


The architect selects the locking hardware.

The security consultant chooses video surveillance.

The building owner picks the access control.

A variety of vendors install each of the systems. 


Suddenly, instead of having an ecosystem of security products, you have an array of disconnected platforms. This breakdown in communication and system selection can be costly to rectify. 


Since we know that most access control and surveillance systems do not integrate right out of the box, it's vital to decide early on what capabilities and integrations your organization needs. Then that functionality must drive the selection of products and installation.  



2. Carefully Determine Camera Placement 

This likely goes without saying, but make sure all cameras are unobstructed and out of the way. For the best-quality video, a professional may need to survey the site and determine the best placement. Getting an experienced consultant to do this can reduce the number of cameras necessary, increase the amount of square footage that's covered, and minimize vandalism and tampering.



3. Consider the Cloud

Cloud-based access control and video surveillance are trending and for a good reason. Updates are easier, scaling is simpler, and they can be managed remotely. Additionally, storing files in the cloud means no DVRs, NVRs, servers, or hard drives to deal with, and storage plans are often customizable, so you only pay for the storage you need. 



4. Don’t Overload Bandwidth or Power Supplies

To minimize downtime, power your access control infrastructure and video surveillance separately. At a minimum, invest in surge protection to reduce interruptions.


Additionally, as higher resolution cameras become more common, bandwidth consumption needs to be scrutinized. High megapixel cameras streaming around the clock can quickly bog down your network. This comes back to planning; make sure you know what functionality you need and let that guide your system selection.



Access control and video surveillance integration provide a layered and more robust security system. On top of that, daily users can easily monitor and manage the system while gaining detailed insights into the space, keeping everyone in the organization safe.


This increase in efficiency and security easily justifies the cost of integration, as long as you have an experienced technology partner guiding the process.


Our team of security professionals is here to help you select, install, and integrate your access control and surveillance systems. If you have any questions or want to discuss an upcoming project, Contact Us today.


To learn more about pricing, download our Access Control & Surveillance Purchasing Guidebook below.

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About the author 

John Persuitte

John is the Vice President of Automated Systems Design, Inc. He joined ASD® in 2007 as a Project Manager and quickly rose through the ranks, he is now responsible for the P&L of the ASD® North Carolina branch. John has been involved in technology since 1996 and holds RCDD and CTS certifications.

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