Adam Foster, Technical Director, Data Installation & Supplies (DIS)

As organisations look to become more agile they are turning to innovative software that lets them manage everything from a single pane of glass, without the cost or complexity of a PSIM

In doing so, they are taking advantage of an exciting new generation of enterprise-class, flexible solutions, that integrate previously siloed systems to encompass access control, visitor management, video surveillance, life safety and other building management systems, with the ability to automate data sharing between multiple departments and core functions.

Partnering with Quanika and Axis Communications, we are now delivering these solutions and unlocking multiple benefits, from increased efficiency to reduced staff turnover, just at a time when organisations need it most.

We are seeing first-hand, in projects from online retail and logistics to warehousing and manufacturing, how customers can leverage the power of their corporate databases, such as Microsoft Active Directory. They can streamline processes and workflows to manage their sites and businesses far more securely and efficiently, which assists with security threats, stringent compliance and staff benefit schemes.

Many employers are under pressure, as a result of both the pandemic and other longer term trends.

Even before COVID some high demand sectors were finding it challenging to retain good employees.  We are seeing continued strain in our focus sectors, including logistics, warehousing and food production, as the pressures of labour shortages spread. It’s telling that key workers in many sectors, from retail staff to delivery drivers, are now being wooed with wage increases, joining bonuses, and other incentives.

What does this have to do with the systems integration projects we are delivering?

Increasingly, our customers say that when they run their operations efficiently, their workplaces become more attractive – especially when they make flexibility and staff convenience a priority.

So as an employer, if you can set up your access control and visitor management so they automatically exchange data with Microsoft Active Directory, employees and regular contractors can be granted automatic, secure access to all the locations, facilities and online resources they need without having to jump through additional hoops or intrusive security layers.

Additionally, payroll and time and attendance can be integrated through that same single pane of glass, so that shift workers no longer have to clock in and out – they simply enter and exit the building through a given access point, with their arrival and departure times automatically logged.

Automatic data exchange means that when authorisation status of any individual changes (they leave their job, for example) access rights are immediately updated without the need for manual intervention.

HR or department heads now know to automatically prevent leavers from accessing company email and IT networks immediately, but regularly forget to inform security to revoke ID cards and other credentials, leaving them able to enter facilities with high value goods and assets. The integration of access control and visitor management with Active Directory puts an end to that potential for human error.

This integration model also combines off-the-shelf affordability with bespoke tailoring whenever required and lets us give customers more practical, affordable migration routes away from outdated, siloed systems and technology stacks which are less efficient and less secure.  With everything operating under one umbrella, it’s easier for customers to adapt to changing security, safety, and operational requirements, enabling seamless systems which contribute to welcoming workplaces, helping employers compete for exceptional people, whilst also delivering operational efficiencies and long-term budget savings.

Operating your systems from that single pane of glass also delivers other benefits too including threat and hazard detection and an increased visual awareness enabling increased proactivity – from a logistics perspective detection of risks can include things like the misuse of forklifts, unauthorised access attempts, or suspicious activity on the perimeter, which is increasingly important across many of our key sectors where health and safety and security are both mission critical.

Organisations not only need to mitigate risks and meet compliance requirements, there’s also now a growing need for them to ensure staff wellbeing and demonstrate proper duty of care provision – all necessary for retaining the best talent and avoiding HSE fines, liability claims and reputational damage.With a number of the projects we are involved in, we are seeing the applications and benefits expand and we can ask Quanika to adapt and customise to develop new integrations at speed – which they do. Whenever a new function is needed, we see how it can be developed very quickly, whether it’s bespoke to one customer or something with wider market applications and benefits.

Looking ahead, we see huge potential.  When you have a powerful core system, such as those we are building around Quanika Enterprise and VisitorPoint, you can add hardware, such as best-in-class video and access control hardware from Axis Communications along with multiple technologies from other vendors.  We can integrate customer-specific systems and devices, practically without limit to improve the employee experience whilst enhancing safety, security and driving cost savings through increased automation.