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Why Smartphone-Enabled Access Control is the Future of Security

Why Smartphone-Enabled Access Control is the Future of Security

As industry leaders in access control and asset security, System Links is always on the lookout for cutting-edge technologies, and one of the trends we have been watching is the emergence of smartphone-enabled access control systems. But what exactly is smartphone-enabled access control, how does it differ from token-based systems, and why is this technology the future of access control?

What is Smartphone-Enabled Access Control?

By smartphone-enabled access control, we mean allowing access to a secure location based on the connection of a smartphone (and not a physical token or a biometric device). Typically, you grant this access the same way your phone connects to your car, Alexa, or other smartphone-enabled devices – via Bluetooth.

Smartphone As An Alternative To Token-Based Access Control

Smartphone-enabled access control is an alternative to the more traditional token-based access control systems where employees need to use physical proximity cards or fobs to enter secure areas such as the workplace or office buildings. Smartphone-enabled access control systems authenticate users through an app or software installed on the smartphone.

You Might Like: Should You Use Electronic Door Locks For Access Control?

Why Using Smartphones Is The Next Step For Access Control

Allowing entry with a smartphone, the most widely used device in the world, is the next logical step for the security of a building, room, or system. Why? For four main reasons:

Smartphones Eliminate the Need for Tokens

One of the biggest challenges to Colorado businesses that utilize traditional access control systems is their employees. Even the best employees can share, lose, or be victims of theft. And worse yet, employees are often not anxious to reveal their indiscretions to their employers, leaving the security of the building and the business at risk.

Some businesses have gone another route for access control and utilize keypads for entry. However, this system is fraught with issues as well. First, forgetful employees may need to write down the code, and the note can be easily lost. Second, sharing codes between employees and visitors is even easier than sharing a keycard.

Switching to smartphone-enabled systems eliminates the above potential security risks. Very few individuals share their phones with others, and most individuals carry their phones with them at all times.

smartphone-enabled access control

Easy Integration with Current Access Control Systems

One of the things that we love about smartphone-enabled access control is how easily these systems are to integrate into a business. Companies with access control via traditional tokens can smoothly integrate smartphone technology into their existing systems. This can be a valuable consideration for companies desiring to transition into a modern access control system gradually.

Convenience of Software Upgrades vs. Hardware Upgrades

Any Southern Colorado business owner with experience in traditional access control systems knows that the initial cost of installation and maintenance of the included hardware can be inconvenient and costly.

On the other hand, smartphone-enabled access control has comparatively low installation costs, and most maintenance is as easy as updating software or an app on your phone.

Granting and Revoking Credentials With the Swipe of Your Finger

A considerable advantage of smartphone-enabled access control is the ease with which administrators can grant and revoke user access. With a simple swipe of the finger, a new employee can access all business areas relevant to their position. Conversely, employees who are no longer part of the company can have their permissions quickly revoked by the same simple swipe of the administrator.

Additionally, business owners and managers can permit access during specific times and receive alerts when employees attempt entry at unauthorized times. Again, all of this is done efficiently through your smartphone.

Smartphone-Enabled Access Control is the Future of Security

As with many other sectors, the security camera and access control industry is shifting into new territories. Modern access control has come a long way since the days of tokens and keypads. We have moved from being a hardware-centric industry to a software-driven industry. This shift paves the way for innovations and growth opportunities.

Smartphone-enabled access control systems are one emerging trend that System Links is proud to promote in Southern Colorado. This exciting technology is not only cutting-edge but also provides a cost-effective solution for local businesses seeking to protect their assets through asset control.

If you want to learn more about smartphone-based security for your home or business, please contact us to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to being your guide to the future of security!

Speak with one of our security camera and access control specialists today!

The True Value of Security Cameras for Large Rural Properties

The True Value of Security Cameras for Large Rural Properties

Why are installing security cameras for large rural properties an absolute must for the many families and individuals who call these remote areas home?

If you live on a remote property, chances are you already know the answer to that question. From safety and security, asset protection to keeping an eye on crops, livestock and more, installing security cameras for large rural properties makes sense.

Keep reading for more information on how a surveillance system can benefit your property and cutting-edge features to consider including in your system.

Why Invest in Security Cameras for Large Rural Properties?

Safety and Security

While small urban properties and suburban dwellings often rely on their tight-knit communities to help keep them safe from potential threats, large rural properties tend to be much more isolated from assistance. This makes securing your sprawling estate with effective video surveillance systems an essential part of any security plan.

Like their suburban counterparts, rural properties benefit from security cameras throughout the property, including barns, outbuildings, equipment storage areas and the property’s perimeter.

Many large estates on the Front Range rely on gates to control access. The perfect complement to these access control systems is a security camera system that provides intercom capability and license plate recognition.

Monitoring of Crops and Livestock

Installing security cameras for large rural properties is especially beneficial for ranching or farming estates. Imagine the time saved by pulling up a live feed from your pasture to see where your livestock is grazing today or monitoring the irrigation of your crops while working on other vital operational tasks.

Additionally, surveillance cameras placed in barns can keep you alert and ready for birthing during foaling and calving seasons and can also catch that sneaky fox raiding your chicken coop.

Weather and Emergency Disaster Preparedness

If there is one certainty of Colorado living, it is that the weather can and will change at any moment. Surveillance cameras can prepare property owners for weather events, so they can take precautions before the weather comes into contact with valuable assets or structures. And most importantly, knowing a weather event is coming can allow property owners to get themselves and their beloved animals to safety.

Colorado is immune to many of the natural disasters other parts of the country struggle with, but one area that is always of concern here is the danger of wildfires.

When the Black Forest Fire started in June 2013, many residents were unaware of how quickly wildfires jump and spread in dry conditions.

Mandatory evacuations forced many Colorado Springs residents to flee without knowing if they would ever see their homes intact again. Seconds and minutes count in these emergencies, and live feeds from security cameras can provide those extra moments that save lives.

Additionally, property owners who installed security cameras on their properties large rural properties could monitor the fire’s progress and reduce the anxiety of not knowing if their home was (literally) in the line of fire.

Choosing Security Cameras for Large Rural Properties

Modern security camera systems provide cutting-edge technology that protects people, animals and assets. Some of the features to consider when choosing security cameras for large rural properties include the following:

security cameras for large rural properties enable you to view horsesField of View

Choose cameras with long-range capabilities and place them correctly to maximize their field of view. Even the best long-range cameras are ineffective if they capture mainly the sky and no pasture.

Hi-Definition

How high of definition you need depends on the application. Many farm and ranch owners opt for the highest definition in areas with ingress and egress from their property, barns, equipment storage areas, and utility sheds.

Night-Vision and Thermal Imaging

Since most security events happen under cover of darkness, consider investing in cameras with night-vision and thermal imaging capabilities. Never again will you be caught unawares by an intruder in the middle of the night.

Related: Advantages of Installing Thermal Imaging Cameras for Access Control

Motion Detection and Monitoring

One of the most significant benefits of modern security cameras for large rural properties is the ability to detect and monitor motion throughout your property. The cameras can be programmed to detect motion as small as a mouse or as broad as a moose. The settings are customizable to the needs of your estate.

Once the motion parameters are set, a CCTV camera system can automatically mark the exact time of a motion event, so you do not have to watch hours of recorded video to see what is happening.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are invaluable in maintaining the security of your large property. Knowing when outsiders are approaching your property before their arrival allows you time to decide if and how you want to grant access.

2-Way Radio Communication

Many security camera systems now come equipped with 2-way radio, so you can communicate with visitors at the gate or alert your spouse when dinner is almost ready, so they can start coming in from the ‘south forty.’

Which security camera system is suitable for your estate will depend on the size of your property, how you intend to use the system, and of course, your budget.

Conclusion

If you are considering security cameras for your sizable rural property, you are in the right place. System Links is Southern Colorado’s leader in CCTV installation and access control systems.

Call us today to schedule your free, on-site needs assessment. This one simple step will result in a reliable free quote, with no surprises once the installation is complete.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Access Control Systems

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Access Control Systems

Throughout Colorado Springs, you will find various types of access control systems. These systems are constantly monitoring who can access what and when. There are many ways in which an access control system can be implemented and tailored to the needs of a specific organization or business.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of access control systems.

Card Access Systems

One of the most common types of access control utilizes cards coded to the system and assigned to a specific user. The system scans the card to determine if the user is authorized to access the program or area in question.

Pros

Card access systems are very versatile for a wide variety of situations. They are affordable, making them an excellent choice for small businesses and organizations in Colorado Springs that want to implement access control but don’t have the budget for a robust system.

Cons

One downside to card access systems is that they can be less secure than other systems. Even newer types of cards that boast greater security (such as RFID) are susceptible to hacking if not kept in a safe place. Additionally, many businesses find that tracking who does and does not have a card is difficult. There is always a risk that an authorized user will let an unauthorized user borrow their card, negating the system’s benefits.

Automated Identification and Authorization System

An automated identification and authorization system (AIDA) tracks who enters and exits a building or area using ID cards or badges.

Pros

AIDA systems are popular in larger organizations, like hospitals or hotels, where controlling access and monitoring who comes and goes is vital to security. These systems are often a smaller part of a more powerful system.

Cons

The main downside to AIDA systems is cost – they are more expensive than other access control systems. They can be challenging to maintain and update, especially when compliance auditors want to examine the system to verify its functionality.

Proximity Card Access Systems

types of access control for your colorado businessA proximity card access system uses cards emitting radio waves that grant access to the user when near a card reader.

Pros

Like AIDA systems, proximity card systems are popular in larger organizations – like factories or warehouses. They are also relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.

Cons

One major downside to proximity card systems is that they require line-of-sight to work correctly and may be susceptible to interference. This means the card must be near the reader to unlock the system. Proximity cards are usually part of another, more secure system, like biometric authentication (more on those below).

Smart Card Access Systems

Closely related to proximity cards, smart cards grant access through specific information about the person holding the card. This can include name, job title, and access permissions for specific programs. The system scans and authenticates the card, granting access if everything is correct. These systems are popular in healthcare and academic settings.

Pros

Updating the information on smart cards to reflect promotions, changes in job descriptions, or employee departures, is easy.

Cons

Smart card access control systems often come with a higher price tag than other types of access control, making them more suitable for larger organizations. Additionally, these systems require an expansive infrastructure and regular maintenance to ensure cybersecurity.

Biometric Access Systems

Biometric access systems use fingerprints, hand scans, eye mapping, or other biometric features to grant user access.

Pros

These types of access control systems tend to be very secure, as they only grant access to authorized individuals. Biometric access systems are an excellent choice for healthcare or law enforcement industries, where security is a top priority.

Cons

Biometric access systems can be expensive, making them more suitable for large organizations than small Colorado Springs businesses. Additionally, these systems require a lot of upkeep. Getting them back up and running can be difficult if the system breaks down.

Affordable and Convenient Access Control Through Your SmartPhone

At System Links Colorado, we have experience installing and maintaining all of the above types of access control systems. However, one access control system has caught our eye because of its affordability, security, and convenience. This system relies on the one object most of us keep on our person at all times – our smartphones – to provide access control via Bluetooth technology.

While there are many options for access control, our favorite is the VIZPin access control system. Why?

Convenience

Using your smartphone, you can grant access (and revoke access) to anyone at any time, from anywhere. No more cards, FOBs, or PINs. Your phone does everything via Bluetooth, so no internet connection is necessary.

Security

Because your VIZpin SmartKey app is encrypted and uses Bluetooth, no wi-fi is needed. This means VIZpin access control systems are essentially impossible to hack. And, unlike physical cards or fobs, most people don’t let others borrow their phones, so the chances of users sharing their credentials are significantly reduced.

Affordability

One of the best features of VIZpin is the affordability of the system. Because VIZpin smart keys do not require expensive panels, networks and wiring, the installation and maintenance costs can be much lower than other types of access control systems.

VIZpin may be the access control solution your small Colorado business needs!

Conclusion

These are some of the many different types of access control systems available today. With so many options available, how can you select the right one for your business and budget?

System Links provides Colorado Springs business owners with the peace of mind that they are securing what is essential to operations – their data, employees, and assets. When you schedule your free on-site security evaluation, our experienced installation technicians will assess the needs of your specific business. We will never try to up-sale you an access control system or security camera installation you do not need. And once the installation is complete, we will be there for questions, system maintenance, and repair with our CCTV and access control service agreements.

Contact System Links today to schedule your free on-site security evaluation and quote.

5 Reasons Why You Need a Surveillance Camera for Your Home

5 Reasons Why You Need a Surveillance Camera for Your Home

Security cameras are popular for businesses up and down the front range, but did you know there are good reasons you should install a surveillance camera for your home?

When people think of security cameras, they typically picture cameras mounted outdoors or indoors to monitor business or retail spaces. But home security cameras offer many benefits for personal usage as well. For instance, if you’re going out of town, you may want to monitor activities at your house from your smartphone. Do you want to keep an eye on your kids while working in the basement? Or what if you want to ensure nothing creepy is happening in your home when you aren’t there? For all these reasons and more installing a surveillance camera for your home may be the right decision. With the help of our insight, this article will explore some reasons why you might find a surveillance camera useful at home – and how they can come in handy.

Protect the things you care about

If you own expensive items, the last thing you want to do is leave them unprotected. If someone breaks into your home, they could steal your valuables, break or destroy them, or even set your house on fire – destroying your items and putting your safety at risk. A surveillance camera for your home can help you protect your valuables. You can set up a camera in a location where you can easily monitor your expensive goods, such as a hallway adjacent to your living room.

Monitor who approaches your home

If you live near your neighbors or have a lot of foot traffic in your neighborhood, you may want surveillance cameras to help you keep an eye on who approaches your home. Many modern security cameras have motion sensors that automatically record when they detect motion nearby. This way, you don’t have to actively monitor the cameras to see who comes and goes.

Deter possible intruders

Some burglars are just looking for easy targets, so installing a surveillance camera for your home can result in thieves and vandals avoiding your house altogether. For most burglars, the risk of getting caught is not worth the possible gain of breaking into your property.

In addition, surveillance cameras can provide extra security for your Colorado Springs Neighborhood Watch Program. Burglars that know a neighborhood has not only residents keeping an eye out for each other but can also provide security video as legal evidence of suspicious activities are less likely to target homes in that area.

Have peace of mind while you’re away

Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is largely at bay in Colorado, many people are returning to travel. Whether you are gone for work or pleasure, monitoring your home from afar via smartphone or computer can ease worries about break-ins, water pipes bursting, or even package delivery while you are away.

For additional information about protecting your home while you and your family are away on vacation, read our article, Four Powerful Ways to Improve Security While on Vacation.

Make sure your kids arrive home safely

surveillance camera for your home when kids are home alone As far back as 1944, the term “latch-key kids” was coined to describe the increasing number of children who return from school to an empty home because their parents or guardians are still at work.

If your home circumstances dictate that your children are at home at times by themselves, installing a surveillance camera for your home provides added security for them and peace of mind for you. Seeing your children open the front door right on schedule is priceless when you aren’t there to welcome them in person. And, if they are not home on time, you can quickly take steps to contact them.

Many surveillance systems come with two-way audio, meaning you can communicate with your kids or pets when you are not home, and many systems are equipped with night vision, so you can keep track of your kids or pets even if they are in a dark room.

Wrapping up

If any of the above situations apply to you, it may be a good idea to invest in a surveillance camera for your home. But with the many options out there, how do you know the best option for your situation and budget? And where is the best location to install a surveillance camera for your home?

The answer to these questions and many more can be easily found by contacting an experienced Colorado Springs home security camera installer. At System Links Colorado, we will perform a home security assessment and provide you with a custom quote based on our recommendations. The assessment and the quote are both free of charge.

Contact us today to see why we are Colorado Springs’ most trusted source for surveillance camera installation for home use.

Why Access Control For Daycare Centers Is A Worthwhile Investment

Why Access Control For Daycare Centers Is A Worthwhile Investment

Access control for daycare centers is one feature Southern Colorado parents demand when selecting a childcare facility. And really, who can blame them? They are entrusting the care and safety of their precious child to someone else. Parents want to know that their child’s well-being is in the hands of responsible individuals who will care for them as well as they would themselves. But does that mean that access control for daycare centers only benefits the parents, or is this a worthwhile investment for daycare operators as well? This blog will give solid reasons to consider installing or upgrading the access control system for your Colorado Springs childcare facility.

Why Consider Access Control for Daycare Centers?

There are four reasons why installing or upgrading access control in your daycare is a good idea.

Access Control Gives Parents Peace of Mind

As mentioned, the number one reason more parents seek childcare facilities with access control systems is to give them peace of mind. The knowledge that only authorized personnel and visitors are allowed in the center assures parents that their child or children are in a safe and secure environment. They know that only those with permission to pick up their child will be allowed into the building – a true blessing when a couple goes through a contentious divorce or other concerns for the child’s safety are present.

When access control for daycare centers is present, along with a professionally installed security camera system, moms and dads can get the extra reassurance throughout the day that their child is happy and receiving appropriate attention and care.

Access Control Increases Staff Safety

Especially for daycare centers, having happy staff members can make or break the business. These hard-working and dedicated employees are on-site first thing in the morning to accommodate early risers and late into the day until the last child is (finally) picked up. Since this often means opening and closing while it is dark outside, think of the security you are providing when they know they are the first ones in the door, and no one can enter until they are ready to receive them.

Related Reading: How To Pick the Right Key Card Entry System for Your Business

Access Control Benefits the Daycare Center Operator

system Links-access control for daycare centers late parentsEvery daycare center has that one parent (hopefully just one) who is consistently late to pick up their child at the end of the day. Worse yet, this parent often doesn’t realize how late they are regularly and does not believe they should pay for the additional time. However, access control for daycare centers can provide detailed drop-off and pick-up times is as easy as clicking a button. Imagine the benefits of not arguing with parents and guardians over billing issues! Parents will know not only what time they are picking up their child, but if the responsibility is shared between two guardians, they can track who is timely and who is late.

In addition, daycare operators can remove the complications of unbilled time and manage employees better. Knowing that one staff member who is supposed to open each day is consistently 15 minutes late to work can help you decide if another staff member might be a better fit for an opening shift.

Access Control Can Assist Compliance with Colorado Regulations for Daycare Centers

As any daycare operator knows, the Colorado Department of Early Childhood has many rules and regulations that centers must follow to maintain their license. These standards are non-negotiable and include precise record-keeping such as monitoring staff movement, logs for sign-in and sign-out for each child each day, and which individuals have the authorization to pick up the child at the end of each day. Access control systems for daycare centers can make compliance with these and many other regulations easy.

Choosing the Right Access Control for Daycare Centers

As discussed, there are many reasons why access control for daycare centers is a worthwhile investment. The many benefits to daycare operators are second only to the peace of mind given to parents and staff.

Many options are available to daycare centers concerned with access control. From keypads to card and fob readers to Bluetooth access through smartphones, the only challenge you face is deciding which system is suitable for your facility and budget. And fortunately, there is a straightforward answer to that as well. The easiest way to evaluate the options available is to contact a professional access control installer. When you schedule your free, on-site security evaluation with System Links, you get access to decades of experience from a local access control expert.

Parents trust you to take care of their most valuable asset. You can trust System Links to provide friendly, timely, and professional service to keep your daycare center secure.

The Newbie’s Guide to Security Camera Installation

The Newbie’s Guide to Security Camera Installation

If you are venturing into the world of CCTV for the first time, you likely have many questions – and our guide to security cameras can answer those questions! In this article, we’ll take you through some of the most frequently asked questions about security camera installation so you can make an informed decision.

Why Do I Need Security Cameras?

The website Neighborhood Scout reports that one out of every 29 Colorado Springs residents will fall victim to property crimes. As these statistics continue to increase, Southern Colorado residents and business owners are seeking video surveillance solutions as the first line of defense against outside threats such as theft and other personal crimes.

Which Security Camera System is Right for Me?

This is an excellent question with many potential answers. With so many different camera types on the market, each with their own features, pros, and cons, you may be unsure which type is best for your home or business.

The first step to deciding which system is right for you or your business is determining your needs. For instance: Are you concerned about intruders to your home or business? Then security camera placement by entrances is likely your top priority. Do you need to monitor activity in your storefront to prevent theft? Then placing security cameras that record events on your showroom floor will be most helpful.

Guide to Security Camera Types

Security camera systems come in three variations:

Analog Cameras – These cameras use a coaxial cable to connect to a digital video recorder (DVR). The cable transmits power and data, making it efficient for long distances and outdoor use. In terms of quality, analog cameras are generally lower in resolution than other security camera types.

IP Cameras – Sometimes called “smart cameras,” internet protocol (or IP for short) cameras use a network connection to stream footage to your computer or smartphone. These cameras are great options for homeowners and business owners who want to monitor their property wherever they may be.

IP cameras connect to a local network (or a router, which allows multiple cameras on one network). These cameras also can be linked to a cloud-based recording system or a traditional DVR. While IP cameras are more expensive than analog ones, they do not have the same distance limitations as analog cameras, making them a popular choice.

Video Cameras – Unlike the security cameras already mentioned, video cameras do not record footage. Instead, they send a live feed to your computer or smartphone. With video cameras, you’ll see what’s happening in real-time rather than reviewing footage after the fact.

How Many Cameras Should I Install?

While there is no definitive guide to security camera numbers, you should consider the layout of your home or building, the viewing range of the cameras you choose, and the level of security you want to achieve.

A novice in the field of security camera systems does not have to guess about the number (and placement) of cameras. A Colorado Springs security camera installer can determine needs during a free, on-site home or business security assessment.

Where Should I Place Security Cameras?

Again, your guide to security camera placement will depend on your specific needs. However, general guidelines to follow are to focus on places most likely to appeal to criminals.

For instance, homeowners typically choose to install security cameras to monitor traffic outside the home, at doors and windows, and in rooms that contain valuables.

guide to security camera installation for business

More Details: Best Places to Install Home Security Cameras

In contrast, we recommend businesses have at least one camera in every public area, including entrances, loading docks, and parking lots.

Of course, any guide to security cameras for businesses would be incomplete without reference to access control. By integrating security camera features with the installation of access control systems, Southern Colorado businesses can more conveniently protect employees, visitors, and their valuable assets.

What’s the Difference Between WiFi and Wired Security Cameras?

The main difference between WiFi and wired security cameras is the method of data transmission. WiFi cameras transmit data over WiFi networks, while wired cameras plug directly into your router or modem.

For a complete analysis of the pros and cons of each, check out our article Wired vs. Wireless Security Camera Systems.

System Links: Colorado Springs Ultimate Guide to Security Camera Installation

If you are new to the world of CCTV and access control, having an experienced guide can make all the difference. A guide can help you stay within your budget while ensuring everything is installed and working correctly. A guide will know best where to install each camera, how many are needed, and how high to place them. They will also understand how to integrate your cameras with your WiFi network, DVR, and other equipment.

System Links is the ultimate guide for security systems in Colorado Springs. Our knowledge, expertise, and unparalleled customer service combine to give you the best security system sales and installation experience.

Contact us today to schedule your free, on-site security assessment. We look forward to securing your world.