Digital Transformation in Access Control for a Smart City


Access control has always been the first tier and last tier of security for every commercial building. Modern access control system has prevented many crimes from happening and provided the utmost security to users compared to technology decades ago. However, while advancing technology enhances security, the shortcoming is the trade-off of convenience in our daily life. In the digital transformation era, with the rising smart cities and IR 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolutions) concept, the access control technology has evolved from a purely ELV(Extra Low Voltage) based system to an IoT (Internet of Thing) based system that promotes connectivity in a digital building as a whole to accomplish both security and convenience concurrently.

One of the crucial problems of an access control system is its isolation. The data lives siloed on an island that doesn’t offer any insight and eventually leads to untimely and passive security. For example, in a commercial building, we have often seen door access, car park access, lift access and visitor management system operate in different systems, not to mention CCTV, alarm system, workforce management system and more, that seemingly are not related.

 
 
 
These system isolations create complications during the setup of the access role, access level, and access time for most property management as they have to do the same settings in different systems to ensure that nothing goes wrong. Even though modern buildings look like they have multiple tiers of security systems that could block unwelcomed visitors, unfortunately, it could not preventively deny their visit or alert the security team in real-time. In other words, the passiveness and hiccup in reaction dent the smart building management.
  
 
 

Nowadays, building owners have started to adopt cloud technology with edge computing capability, move access control hardware to IoT, freeing data from one activity to another activity, join the dots between different systems, and consolidate access controls and other separate systems as a comprehensive ecosystem in building management. We can envisage the following common daily scenario in a modern building: An employee of a multi-tenanted building uses a smart tenant app to invite a customer to his office by sending a WhatsApp link. By filling up the required visitor’s information and health declaration, they will receive an approved QR code (or a selfie for face recognition) to be used as an access credential later on. The pre-registered process can save them the queue time or even skip the verification process to achieve an unmanned environment by allowing them to direct access to the turnstile, lift to a specific floor, and specific doors at certain permissible periods. CCTV footage can be snapped and sent to the host in real-time; any non-compliances will be alerted. Suppose the access control system is further interconnected with a workforce management system, for example. In that case, when the host is fallen sick during the appointment date and applying for sick leave, the visitor will be automatically notified, together with their pre-approved access will be lifted immediately. And, if the visitor is a VIP, the host company can opt to pay their parking fee on behalf, and the parking barrier will be auto-opened when plate number is enrolled during pre-registration when LPR(Licence Plate Recognition) technology is applied. The automation process helps to improve the user experience while maintaining tight security.

Imagine a larger township environment involving different types of buildings like residential, office towers, shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, schools, and convention centres that are fully equipped with smart systems and access control devices. Therefore, residents in this township can order food from a store, use near field commerce integrated with automated delivery and access control process kick-in. The dwellers can also use facility booking that ties up with payment and a string of subsequent access control processes; free the season parking bay while working from home; Airbnb your home while working abroad and have a new possible income stream for all types of stakeholders, making all the impossible in the past the latest trends in the digital transformation era.

Another plus point is that the increased complexity in the access control system does not increase the investment and maintenance cost. It goes in reverse. Firstly, the subscription-based cloud solutions change the existing Capex model to Opex to save the initial investment costs. Besides, IoT device shifts computing power to the cloud, translating to a simpler hardware design and lower price than ELV, and also require fewer on-premise technicians and less maintenance staff, achieving cost-efficiency in modern building management.

(TimeTec Smart City Ecosystem)

In short, an access control system is undoubtedly one of the key components in managing people flow in a digital building, whereas multiple connected digital buildings are the key components to form smart cities. We all knew that the essence of a smart city is not defined by how advanced its ICT infrastructure is, but somewhat is shaped by hundreds of thousands of connected digital buildings, with billions of interconnected activities happening daily, due to the interactions of millions of people that live, work and breathe in the city, embracing the digital lifestyle.

Rethinking the access control system from a more holistic perspective can create a smart city that sustains more complex interaction between increased populations in a safer environment.

Readers can visit www.timetecbuilding.com for more information.  

About Author:
Teh Hon Seng, Group CEO of TimeTec Group of Companies. Prior to forming TimeTec, Teh led PUC Founder (MSC) Bhd to be listed on MESDAQ (ACE) market of Bursa Malaysia in 2002. Teh initiated the R&D in fingerprint technology in 2000, which later developed into a renowned global brand for commercial fingerprint product known as FingerTec. In 2008, he foresaw the trend of cloud computing and mobile technology, and over the years, he had strategically diversified and transformed its biometric-focused products into a suite of cloud solutions that aimed at workforce management and security industries including smart communities and digital building system that centered around the cloud ecosystem. Teh has more than 20 patents to his name, and he is also a columnist in a local newspaper and a writer of several books.







Taking Advantage of Work-from-Home to Upskill Yourself and Your Workforce


Companies that invest in their employees are highly sought-after, but in reality, not everybody gets the experience of the privileges. Those willing to spend on their workforce training are also challenged by the absence of physical courses or seminars around. However, the pandemic that has dragged on for nearly two years has forced the world to accept the work-from-home concept, and now more than ever, a high percentage of the workforce is at home with some time to spend judging by the less time spent on the commute and to go for meetings in various places. Having a bit more time at home and with no shortage of online resources to learn just about anything under the Internet sun can get you ahead in your career.

The only obstacle is you and the question of 'to do' or 'not to do'.

A more initiated HR can arrange for online training of their employees in areas that need improvements, but if that is too much to ask, one has to go solo and think about how to improve oneself for the preparedness of one's career.  


Questions to ponder.

How are your communication skills?Are you comfortable in your online meet, or do you always turn off the camera hoping that people forget about you? How's your presentation skills? If ever the pandemic ends, how would you differ from the time the pandemic began? How are your writing skills? Can you prepare an outstanding proposal confidently and articulate your points excellently? Do you always have this urge to explore coding? What have you done about it so far? Do you have problems with social media marketing? 
 
If yes, is there any courses around to get you ahead of the competition?

Take a moment to think about the areas you need to upskill and do something about it in your spare time.

A few tips to get your efforts recognized are to upgrade your skill list in your employment details and sharpen those skills by applying them in your work. As the famous painter once said,
 
Action is the foundational key to all success." 
- Pablo Picasso

TimeTec solutions consist of a TimeTec Profile that allows employees to report the upgrading of their skills in their employment details. And for companies that are willing to pay for the upskill, TimeTec Claim can simplify the claim process by applying for it through an App. 
 
 Contact our solution expert at info@timeteccloud.com for a consultation. 
 

5 Reasons You Should Move Your Visitor Management System to the Cloud


Isn't it easier to have a thick logbook at the reception area with a pen and call it the Visitor Management System? Yeah, if you are living in the 80s, maybe. We are already two decades into the millennium, and surely there is a better system in place to manage visitor management being offered in the market. It is essential to have a system because having details of the visitors is not sufficient for any modern organization.

Today's organizations are not working in silos. Not only that, most organizations have branches and offices in different locations; they thrive on data, which need to be available instantly and complete for review and decision-making process. Another area of focus for today's organization is security. Better information about who's coming and going into your premises spells better security and accountability to the employees and assets.

So how does a cloud Visitor Management System like TimeTec VMS could help?


Tapping on Technology 
Technology simplifies the process, making visitor management seamless and easier to manage. TimeTec VMS comes with an invite feature where employees can invite guests to the business premises for meetings through an App on their smartphone. Once the visitors have been approved, the system will provide them with a QR code for access, complete with details about the visit. At the same time, the 
system will furnish security guards with all the relevant information about the visit in the system in real-time for verification during the visits. TimeTec VMS will make the check-in time, check-out time, visitor details, invitee details available in the system for reference. The system is totally paperless, yet it is complete with essential details that make the management of visitors easier than ever.   



Secured Access and Information
Writing personal information on a logbook does not signal security at any level. Anyone could see the information because the logbook is literally an open book. With a cloud system like TimeTec VMS, the admin can limit access to information depending on roles. While the guards have access to the system, it doesn't necessarily mean that they can view everything. The system is also away from the public eyes, and no personal information could risk being exposed like a logbook could.



Software is updated at all times
What happens to a logbook once it's full? What happens to the information in the previous logbook? Tuck away in a store, where any attempt to obtain information from it could be futile. On the other hand, a cloud visitor management system is updated all the time without having to have a technician around for the upkeep and maintenance of the system. Plus, users get to use any new features introduced instantly without paying extra, and the previous data is intact and available for years.



Try it free, pay as you go
No one would want to deal with a buyer's remorse. What if the new system is not what we needed? How comprehensive could a Visitor Management System get? Would we lose money if we want to stop using it halfway? Don't worry; TimeTec VMS opens the solution for a trial so you can determine whether the solution fits your needs. Even when you have subscribed to us, you can stop it at any time without hassle. That's the beauty of a cloud system.


 
 

 
 
Access data from anywhere
We are not saying that your boss wants something urgent at 11 pm on Saturday when you are at home. But, it's not impossible. By subscribing to a cloud solution like TimeTec VMS, you can access the information anytime you want, from anywhere you want, for as long as the Internet is available.
 
 
 
 
It's time you let go of that logbook no matter how cute it is and switch to a cloud Visitor Management System for comprehensive visitor data for your organization.
 
 Contact our solution expert at info@timeteccloud.com for a consultation. 

Work Smart During A Pandemic with Smart Tools


The pandemic post a real challenge to businesses the world over. Lockdowns upon lockdowns stress businesses even further with no end in sight. Yet, while many suffer the consequences, some thrive. Online retailers like Shopee recorded revenue for Q4 2020 at US$842.2 million, up 178.3 per cent year-on-year, according to the financial results of Sea Limited, the owner of the Shopee retail platform. Their counterparts like Lazada, PG Mall and Zalora also recorded an increase in sales and activities.

The reality is that people are forced to change their behaviour to suit a different world, to continue living despite the hardship. People are changing their buying behaviours and social behaviours, and offices are altering strategies to stay relevant to survive. In this situation, many businesses have no option but to allow most of their workforce to work from home. 

In helping the workforce accommodate the new norm, TimeTec has prepared a perfect ready solution for companies to adapt instantly and smoothly to this change. The App that can record attendance with accurate GPS location convenience the office and the employees, providing the business with a win-win solution at a great price. All employees have to do is to log in to the App and tap on the GPS clock to record the attendance, and the admin can manage the workforce from the real-time data available in the system. That is what TimeTec TA from TimeTec offers to all its subscribers.


The convenience and data accuracy, all in one solution, and all the data in TimeTec TA are transparent to both parties, and discrepancies can be attended to immediately, along with proof. 






At the same time, TimeTec also offers a tool to manage employee leave via App, which offers practicality at its best. TimeTec Leave App presents each staff with their leave details, and all leave applications and approvals are made via the App, hassle-free. These two Apps can be subscribed as a pair or individually. 




Compare the cost, features, and practicality, TimeTec solutions are a winner on all fronts. 

On top of that, TimeTec offers another great initiative that welcomes entrepreneurs and individuals to market TimeTec solutions to all. With solid guidance, support and reward scheme, TimeTec Reseller Program is a fantastic way to share the business with those initiated to bring this solution to another level. For those interested, get the details here. 

Change is inevitable, and adapt to change we must. So don't stress out during this difficult time; instead, think smart and use the tools available in the market to better the business, to get ready for the future.



A Guide to Creating A Safe Workplace


The Covid-19 pandemic has taken the world by storm, and it has affected all walks of life without exception. The workplace we once knew no longer operates the same way without imposing a risk on our health. As I'm writing this post, Malaysia's number of positive cases maintains at the 5K mark, a slight drop from 9K three weeks earlier, and 60% of the Malaysian workforce from diverse industries are instructed to work from home during the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) restrictions that have been imposed since the 1st June 2021. 

In anticipation of achieving herd immunity by the end of the year and welcoming the entire workforce back to the office, companies must take necessary precautions to ensure that the office is a safe sanctuary for all. So, where do we start? 

Let's Start with Five Simple Safety Measures for A Safer Workplace.


Safety from the Get-Go

After nearly two years into this pandemic, people are familiar with wearing masks (or double masks) and temperature reading. But, even when herd immunity is achieved, it doesn't mean that we can put our guard down and be relaxed about this crucial step. The office needs to make sure that entrances are equipped with contactless devices that can authenticate employees with mask, and even better, read the temperature simultaneously. Strike two things with one, and FingerTec Face ID 5 is a great choice to consider.








Maintain that Social Distancing
No. No group hugs just yet, please. Maybe in 2028, if we are lucky. Take that ruler and start making adjustments to the seating positions to ensure that one person is sitting at least one meter apart from another. And, stop that office gossip or take it online; whispering is dangerous for everyone's health. 









Stop Hotdesking
Maybe it was hip in 2019, not anymore. Sharing space is a bad idea in this pandemic. A company must assign a permanent space for each employee, and if that space is not available, work from home is a better option for that employee.  










Make Wash Hand Easy
Nobody fancies frequent washroom visits just to wash hands. Add a few sinks in the office to accommodate and encourage this behaviour. Just a few simple sinks to wash hands; they are not gonna cut a hole in a company's pocket, right? 









Contactless Bathroom Products
And it's time for a company to consider contactless bathroom products like a contactless soap dispenser, a contactless tissue dispenser, automatic flushing. Expensive? Not really if HR knows how to explore the likes of Shopee for better deals on these essential items. 




The pandemic has taken a toll on everybody, and many fear going back to the office with a total capacity. Before sending that memo asking all to return to the office 'as usual', perhaps HR can offer sessions to understand those fear and find ways to mitigate them.