TDSi has enhanced its EXgarde PRO 4.3 integrated security and situation management software to include full integration with the Octopus contactless smartcard system in Hong Kong. The enhancement has been developed to enable Octopus payment cards to be used as authentication and approval for personal access, via EXgarde PRO 4.3. This provides increased convenience for users and security operators (one card can be used for both purposes) whilst maintaining the strictest security levels and incorporating it all into a fully integrated security system.
Launched in September 1997 to collect fares for the territory's mass transit system, Octopus has also grown to be used for payment in many retail shops in Hong Kong, from convenience stores, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, on-street parking meters, car parks, to other point-of-sale applications such as service stations and vending machines. Whilst the scheme offers an ‘On loan’ card which simply holds credit, many residents choose to use a ‘Personalised’ card which holds personal data and is as secure as a bank or ID card. Because of its high levels of identity and financial security, as well as ubiquitous use by Hong Kong residents (official figures suggest there are 20 million cards in circulation), the personalised card is an ideal token for personal identification as well.
TDSi’s Managing Director, John Davies, commented, “With its popularity as an everyday solution for ID and payment (which goes way beyond its original intentions), and its contactless nature, the Octopus card is an ideal token for use in security and access control applications. It uses mutual authentication with the card and reader, providing a very high level of security, so in many office buildings, residential buildings and schools, usage of an Octopus card is already required for entry. Therefore, integration with EXgarde PRO and our integrated security systems as a whole was a perfect fit.”
EXgarde PRO is designed to bring together different security and other applicable business systems, offering a central hub whereby the security and management team can oversee all these operations in one place. It also integrates with central business systems (such as a personnel database for example) to ensure that the security protocols are completely up to date and can be updated immediately to react to any situation. John Davies added, “EXgarde PRO already has integration capabilities with many TDSi and third party systems because we recognise the increasing requirement for security systems to match the exacting needs of specific markets. Users in Hong Kong already have a high adoption and expectation of contactless systems, so feedback from our partners and customers was that it would be highly useful to include Octopus compatibility as a built-in function to our latest security software enhancement.”
As well as integration with the Octopus system, EXgarde PRO 4.3 will operate with most modern card/PIN/biometric readers and also features integration with video CCTV systems. This is through TDSi’s own VUgarde2 IP CCTV VMS software, but additionally also through full integration with Milestone’s video management software solutions. To interact with alarm systems EXgarde PRO operates directly with Texecom’s Premier and Premier Elite range of intruder alarms. Additionally the product recently added ASSA ABLOY’s AperioTM wireless locking technology to its integration compatibility list.
By providing an IP connection option to co-ordinate all these elements and with the added compatibility to Microsoft’s Active Directory, TDSi’s EXgarde PRO offers a solution that can run at the heart of an even previously disparate set of security and building control systems (equally over a number of sites), to offer a fully integrated and managed solution that is straightforward to install and use.