Independent Locksmiths & Security has integrated a secCloud access control solution for Rondo Building Services. This cloud-based management system has allowed Rondo to create an enterprise access control solution, despite the use of disparate hardware across its sites. While we’ve touched on the Rondo application before, this is a deeper examination of the solution.

Rondo Building Services is a leading manufacturer and supplier of wall and ceiling systems and complementary accessories to the building industry. The company has multiple sites in Australia, as well as facilities in New Zealand and Malaysia. The Rondo IT team in Sydney was frustrated by having to use different access control and security systems across company sites. When staff travelled to interstate distribution warehouses, they needed a different swipe card for each site. Remote access to the sites from their IT department was also difficult due to the different systems. The process of onboarding and offboarding employees for example, was too slow because the systems were different, and they didn’t have a single log on.

The objective of the secCloud installation was to establish one integrated security solution across all sites so the team could gain situational awareness of the business from one location. The completed system needed to deliver a single access control card that allowed the Rondo team to access all sites. The single cloud-based platform would enable them to onboard and offboard employees quickly which would ensure a tighter level of security. They wanted to remotely arm alarms, open boom gates and view CCTV footage and they needed to have a separate network to their corporate LAN to run the security system.

The secCloud Solution

Features of the secCloud solution include remote access, which allows users to harness the power of the internet – including 4G wireless for remote locations – to connect to the security system from any web-enabled device. Control and management can all be handled from the secCloud web portal anywhere, anytime.

The secCloud online portal allows administrators to add users, run reports, turn on alarms, turn off lights and air conditioning, all from a phone, tablet or laptop. The portal is easy to operate and takes the complexity out of operating your security system. Users can also see the status of the alarm areas and doors in real time from the custom status pages in secCloud.

If administrators update the access levels of a person once and they will be updated across all sites at the same time because secCloud is a central database that can send data to many sites. If a regional manager leaves the organisation administrators can instantly stop the person’s access to doors and alarm with a couple of clicks. There’s no need to dial into each site or get a technician to visit each site to make the changes.

Using keyless entry, it’s possible to restrict the times that facilities can be used by clients hiring. Clients will need to have a paid booking in the system to get a PIN number that will allow them to open a facility. This can work across a number of assets including tennis courts, community centres, 24hr gyms and self-storage facilities.

With secCloud, cost savings aren’t only about remote management. By allocating trades and cleaners with PIN codes, administrators can review the audit trail to see when they attended site and make sure they are fulfilling their commitments. It’s also possible to reduce reliance on keys by issuing PIN codes, smart proximity cards or fobs where the access levels can be managed from a web browser without visiting site.

Another strength is that it’s possible to connect a booking or membership database to secCloud that allows the seamless exchange of user information and eliminates the requirement for double handling. When you create a new booking or member the access control card or PIN information is transmitted directly to secCloud. Ideal for 24hr gyms, community centres, self-storage and tennis courts.

A particular benefit of secCloud is situational awareness. Administrators can log on in real time and work out what is happening on site. They can view CCTV to verify who is on site and then disarm the alarm and open the door to let them in or activate sirens and lights and call security or police if there is visual verification of a break and enter.

The Rondo Solution

According to secCloud’s Ryan McGovern secCloud is a multi-tenant, multi-site solution.

“The Rondo sites had a mixture of disparate access control and alarm systems to contend with,” McGovern explains. “As the systems all have a RS485 bus, we were able to replace the existing equipment easily and then extend the systems where required. Depending on the size of the site, the changeover would take between 2-10 days with a couple of technicians.

Prior to installation, we pre-engineered the solution in our workshop. The controller is connected to the 4G modem and communicates with our server from our workshop. We commission all of the expanders prior to deployment. This strategy ensures that time on site is reduced.

“Each site has a security controller that is connected to a 4G modem and communicates with the centralised secCloud server located in a data centre. The communication between the controller and the server is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption. Downstream from the security controller on a RS-485 bus are expanders for access control, intruder detection and building automation. The primary path for alarm reporting is done through the IP interface and also has a backup path.

“Being industrial sites, access control is handled by automatic gates and boom gates. Lighting is controlled using virtual outputs driving C-Bus automation over TCP/IP. Laid over the top of the access control, intruder detection and building automation system is a HD IPCCTV system that also connects back to the 4G modem.”

Installing secCloud

“secCloud was rolled out to Rondo’s Distribution Warehouses in Victoria first, then Queensland and South Australia,” says McGovern. “For the Western Australia installation our electronics technicianflew to Perth to manage the project. We then moved to their offshore sites in Auckland, New Zealand, while our first installation in Asia was completed at the Rondo Metal Products Sdn.Bhd in Malaysia.

“To bring each distribution warehouse online, we first pre-engineered the solution in our Sydney workshop, then shipped the hardware for installation and commissioning. This involved working with incumbent contractors at some sites. Once the system hardware and 4G modem were installed we connected the hardware through the 4G modem into our hosted security server, secCloud. This would then be ready to centrally operate from Rondo’s Sydney head office.

“In the final stage, we brought Rondo’s huge Sydney head office online,” McGovern explains. “CCTV cameras were installed to cover the warehouse interior so security of stock could be managed, and exterior CCTV needed to cover the carpark and boom gate entry points.”

According to McGovern, the process of installing the solution involved multiple integrations to maximise system functionality.

“As part of this process we integrated the system with C-Bus lighting for extended building automation,” McGovern explains. “Now when staff need to disarm an area, for example the front gate at 4am, they badge the front gate and carpark lights automatically come on. If they then badge the front door at Rondo the door opens, the alarm turns off and the lights turn on.

“Meanwhile, at the boom gate we integrated the Dallas Delta intercom system into Rondo’s VoIP telephone system. Now when a truck driver presses the intercom at the boom gate it rings through to the dispatch office who use their phone to open the boom gate. If staff have to leave the dispatch office, they forward the desk phone to their mobile and open the boom gate away from their desk.

Challenges of the Rondo Application

“We faced a particular challenge in Sydney when we couldn’t get cable out to a boom gate that Rondo needed to control remotely,” McGovern explains. “The solution was to use a point-to-point link from the boom gate back to the security local area network. Effectively, this was running the system over an internet protocol link.

“But the greatest challenge with national and international systems is geography. You need to travel to the site to gather intelligence about how to implement the solution. Then you need to project manage the installation of the system remotely. Some of the installations were carried out by local incumbent integrators and some of them we sent technicians to complete the work.

As mentioned, during the roll out we worked on 2 international sites. Kuala Lumpur Malaysia has secCloud and CCTV, while Auckland New Zealand only has CCTV at this stage. To get these sites upgraded, we had to rely on the incumbent integrators to feed the information back to us so we could pre-engineer the solution and ship the hardware for installation.

Benefits of The secCloud Solution

According to McGovern, the secCloud managed security system delivers a network that connects all of the Rondo sites to secCloud’s hosted server over 4G and remains separate from Rondo’s corporate LAN.

“Rondo can now use one platform to control its security across multiple sites interstate and overseas,” McGovern said. “Administrators can run audit trail reports to see who had attended sites and when. The Rondo management team love being able to log-in to the system in Sydney’s Head Office and be able to view CCTV footage in Perth, NZ and Malaysia to work out what is happening on site. We continue to provide preventative maintenance to Rondo to maintain the CCTV cameras, alarm and access control systems in optimum health.

“secCloud enables the end user to use a web browser to maintain users, control alarm areas and remotely open doors. This is done in the cloud so there is no need for on-site servers. Doing this work remotely keeps the database up to date, which mitigates risk. Time is saved by being able to remotely control devices from an internet connected device without sending a person to site to arm the alarm for example. The system embraces the internet of things and machine to machine communication.”

According to McGovern, the Rondo team can also create reports that can be automatically emailed daily or weekly for any event.

“This is used for afterhours activity, access denied or cleaners entry, for example,” he explains. “Another benefit is that calendar events can be used to open doors or disarm alarms for an ad hoc event, instead of setting up additional schedules that you have to remember to change back after the event. And secCloud is integrated with battery operated locks such as Salto Sallis and Aperio so extending the system is cost effective.

“From the point of view of the installer/integrator, secCloud enables you to work from a single database across multiple customers with multiple sites. The advantage for the integrator is that the technicians and support staff can have deep knowledge on the one system. With remote access on all the time, it is easy to trouble shoot on site issues and conduct online customer training and support.

Conclusion

Access control, intruder detection and building automation are the core elements of Rondo’s integrated security system and being hosted, secCloud frees Rondo from the hassle of managing software and servers.

“Built on enterprise grade hardware, secCloud is modular in design and infinitely scalable,” McGovern said. “The smart controllers communicate over an encrypted network and the database is backed up so Rondo can rest assured its privacy and data is safe. secCloud enables Rondo to manage the security of its facilities and staff anywhere at any time.

“We believe secCloud is at the forefront of technological changes in the security industry. By harnessing the internet of things, where devices can connect to form ever expanding networks, you can control multiple buildings from your mobile phone, tablet or laptop using secCloud.”

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