Asset Protection Technology

CCTV, access control, RFID and IR technologies all enhance the new picture of asset protection.


Many of the digital systems of today can be programmed to increase their rate of recording when an alarm is activated. The systems may also have the capability to be programmed to record the period before and after the alarm is activated. Thus, when there is an alarm or some activity that may be threatening to an asset, the recording will be closer to live action and easier to utilize for legal purposes than the original time-lapse technology. This saves recording space on the hard drives and provides a better-quality recording of activity.

Access Control
Access control systems have, of course, increased the ability of users to protect assets. If you can control who has authorized access to the area where the asset is located, then you can, of course, reduce your risks. Access control can begin with something as simple as an intrusion alarm system where each individual authorized access has his or her own code to arm and disarm the system.

The access control systems available allow you to assign an access card or other identifier to gain access to a restricted area. With the introduction of these systems, potential security issues arise. For example, if someone steals your access card, that person could gain authorized access to the restricted areas. Also, if you are the authorized individual who opens the door to a restricted area, how many unauthorized persons may follow you through the door?

New technology was brought into play over the past few decades to solve these problems. Turnstile systems were created that controlled the number of persons who entered a restricted area after the access system authorized them to enter. These controllers ranged from systems with arms equipped with sensors all the way up to floor-to-ceiling turnstiles where the individuals entering are weighed to confirm they are entering alone.

One new addition to this family of systems is the doorway sensor. Turnstile systems take up floor space and often have a high price tag. The newer doorway hardware allows you to equip a normal doorway with a sensor system that confirms the number of persons who enter each time an access device authorizes entry.

In dealing with lost or stolen access cards, many end users are turning to technology that allows for a confirmation of identity beyond just displaying an access device at a reader. The earliest identity authenticators were keypads that required the user to enter a PIN. More advanced identity confirmation came with biometric systems. Now the individual responsible for asset protection can truly confirm the identity of the individual gaining access to the area where the asset is maintained.

Today's technology also allows the majority of the systems we have discussed to be integrated. That is, one system works with the others to provide the persons monitoring a complete picture of the situation. For example, the systems can be programmed to automatically display the picture of a doorway where an access device was just presented. If the doorway sensors are in use, they can provide the person monitoring the systems an alarm on the access control system indicating multiple entries while the CCTV system displays the video. Obviously, such systems are far more effective than just having an individual watching a video screen for hours trying to see unacceptable activity.

Radio Frequency & IR
The use of radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) technology in asset protection has grown dramatically in the last decade. This tracking technology actually started with the bar code, which had to be scanned to be read. The tracking systems grew to the original contact smart card technology that provided read-only as well as read/write capabilities. The card had to be inserted into a reader. This smart card system was then enhanced by RFID technology, which also provides read-only as well as read/write capabilities with cards held from three to five inches from the receiver. The IRFID technology provides real-time IR or RF wireless communication, which can be used at distances of 50 to 150 feet.

The technology has evolved from those early, expensive large plastic attachments that we saw on clothes into small adhesive tags with much lower prices and greater transmission ranges. We see many products being manufactured these days with the security tags built in. The library industry is one example of where these tags have been effectively used for asset protection. Libraries are now adding the tags to their books, CDs and other assets. The tags are deactivated when the asset is officially checked out or it will set off an alarm when the item is carried through the detectors at the facility exits. The tag is then reactivated when the asset is returned.