“Office of the Future” in Dubai is first office produced by 3D printer

Siemens building technology provides surveillance, access control and fire protection

The world’s first office building produced by a 3D printer has just opened in Dubai.  The 250 square metre “Office of the Future” was built using a 3D printer measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide and is erected near the Emirates Towers in Dubai.  The building technology with access control and surveillance systems was provided by Siemens and is integrated into a central building management platform.  The technology ensures low operating costs and reduced energy consumption.

“We are proud to be participating in this pioneering project and supporting Dubai’s Smart City strategy by providing state-of-the-art technology for intelligent, digitalised building automation and controls,” said Matthias Rebellius, CEO of the Siemens Building Technologies Division.

The key components of the “Office of the Future” are integrated with the help of Siemens’ Desigo CC management platform.  The platform enables the control and optimisation of the building’s technical infrastructure, surveillance, air conditioning and access control systems from a central location.  A customised platform displays the status of the various systems in real time, enabling operators to accurately monitor and control the building’s performance.

The “Office of the Future” concept uses a Siemens video surveillance system with high-definition cameras and web-enabled access via apps and web clients and an access control system based on biometrics and smart cards.  Siemens also supplied fire protection technology for detection, alarms and control, including multi-sensor detectors which can adapt to changing environments, analyse signals for false alarms and protect against hazards such as the presence of carbon monoxide.  The system can also be analysed, evaluated and diagnosed remotely for more efficient maintenance.

“Integrating key functions into an intelligent building management system has clear safety, cost and efficiency benefits and Siemens is a leading company able to combine the management of all building disciplines in one integrated platform,” continued Rebellius.  “Desigo CC gives building operators a precise overview of their assets, not only allowing them to be managed more efficiently and transparently, but also ensuring flexible usage and energy conservation.”

The Desigo CC building management platform is also able to accommodate a wider range of building systems including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, power, lighting and shading, and components can be added when requirements change.

Worldwide installations of Desigo CC have led to reductions in building operating costs of up to 20 percent.


Access Control: Getting It Right

Access control is one of the most important elements of building security. It is vital in so many ways, not only from an anti-intruder or theft perspective but also in terms of health and safety.

In almost every building – whether that’s an office block, a school, a hospital or a shopping centre – many people enter, exit and move around the premises. It is crucial therefore that access into and around buildings, where people are granted or denied entry to certain zones at different times, is managed effectively.

Every building is different and presents its own challenges. It is therefore important to find a flexible door entry system which can be adapted to that particular building to meet a client’s requirements.

During the planning stages, it’s important to understand the function of the building and the type of use the system will have. You have to ask yourself (and know the answer to) a range of questions. For example, which entrances and exits require access control? Should the access control be in the form of coded keypads, proximity fob readers or a type of biometric reader? Should the door entry include video as well as audio communication? Do these entrances need to service tenants or employees? Do they also need to service visitors or customers?

The exit of buildings in particular requires additional thought. For instance, in the event of an emergency how would someone negotiate the access control to exit the building? Solutions to this would normally include break glass units and links to the fire alarm to automatically release the doors. An appropriate access control system can also generate reports to show who is in the building at the time of the alarm so you’re aware of peoples’ location in the event of an emergency.

Legislation also plays a key role in access control. Building regulations must be followed when putting an appropriate system in place and thought must go into how access control will, for example, affect users with disabilities following the Equality Act 2010 guidelines. Secured By Design, the official UK Police flagship initiative supporting the principles of designing out crime, may also be specified which means only those products that have passed the stringent tests of Secured By Design should be used.

When installing an access control system, there are also physical challenges to be aware of. Most access control and door entry systems are connected together throughout the building using low voltage cabling. Quite often, the cabling is installed as part of the first fix and sometimes the access control and door entry equipment has not been fully specified at this stage. It’s a good idea therefore to know what the right cable to install is because, in the long run, this will save you time and money.

A common cable type installed at the first fix would be Cat5. This cable is suitable for many door entry and access control systems but care must be taken to fully understand the distances between devices to ensure the cable resistance falls within the manufacturer’s guidelines.

An issue that has become increasingly apparent is the need to know the difference between solid copper and copper coated cables. In most instances, solid copper must be used on door entry and access control systems due to the need for these cables to carry current and have a low voltage drop. Copper coated cables such as copper coated steel (CCS) or copper coated aluminium (CCA) although may look attractive when comparing the price between that and solid copper will have a much higher resistance and therefore will suffer from much greater voltage drop than a solid copper cable. Not knowing this difference can prove costly in the event the system is unable to function correctly due to a voltage drop.

When choosing a system, it is also important to know that it can be modified in the future if a building is expanded or undergoes a change of use. Product support, which is what we offer at Videx, is crucial when dealing with a customised solution. Knowing that there is support available either online, via phone or on site, can offer reassurance should you run into a problem that you can’t resolve on your own.

Videx offers bespoke systems designed with individual requirements including the facility to create customer firmware and software should a particular feature not be available as standard. We can, for example, create bespoke wiring diagrams, panel layouts and offer training to installers.

New access control systems are constantly being developed so it’s important to keep abreast of the latest offerings. Ultimately, the best advice I can give in choosing the right system is that you need to first understand the client’s needs and any specifications they’ve requested. An out-of-box solution isn’t always available therefore it’s always best to talk to the manufacturer who will be able to listen to your requirements. Using their knowledge of access control systems, they can then help you find the one that best suits your requirements and, critically, meets the client’s needs.

For more information about Videx, please visit: www.videx-security.com or call 0870 300 1240.



APT Skidata at the heart of Trinity Shopping Centre parking provision

APT-Skidata2A range of sophisticated parking technology from APT Skidata, the world leader in vehicle access and parking solutions, has been installed as part of the refurbishment of the new car park at the Trinity shopping centre in Leeds to further enhance the shopping experience.

Prior to opening the leisure and shopping centre, Land Securities bought a nearby NCP car park in Boar Lane to provide up to 630 new spaces. As part of the renovation of the Trinity car park, APT Skidata is providing and installing a range of equipment that includes its latest pay-on-foot terminals, power cash pay machines (with a print at home facility and chip and pin), entry/exit barriers, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology and IP CCTV. The systems will be powered by its Parking.Logic management software.

In addition to the new car park system, Land Securities reversed the flow of traffic to accommodate a new one-way system., It repainted the site and installed new lighting and CCTV. It also built a new customer service/security office.

Paul Plumbley, Portfolio Car Park Manager for Land Securities, says this new facility has greatly improved visitors’ parking experience: “Leeds is not particularly well served for car parks, especially in the centre, so it was crucial to keep it operational even when the major works were ongoing,” he says. “It was not an easy feat.

“The car park was only shut down for what was effectively one day and we now have a state-of-the-art car park with a link to the shopping centre where visitors can be in the centre within two minutes. We now even have the ability to issue discount vouchers to members by email that they can print out and use, and season pass holders can come and go as they please thanks to the ANPR system.”

Opened in March 2013, Trinity Leeds is a shopping and leisure centre in the heart of Leeds and is named after the adjacent 18th century Holy Trinity Church, and attracted more than 130,000 visitors on opening day.

The development is in two parts – Trinity East, a new build development on the site of the former Trinity and Burton Arcades, and Trinity West, the redeveloped Leeds Shopping Plaza. The combined scheme has 93,000 m2 of retail floor space for 120 stores.