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Access control systems are a vital part of ensuring the security of your business. These systems, as a priority, allow you to determine who is allowed entry to certain sensitive areas of your premises, so that you can keep unauthorized individuals out. They do this using ID’s (cards, tags, keys), PIN’s or by using some biometric method. This last method, biometry, is by far the most secure but is also the slowest which means many end users still opt for cards and tags. To help you determine the best Access Control system for your needs, here are the types that are currently available: Stand-alone systems: Do not require any type of infrastructure or connectivity, the Access Control terminal itself has the memory and the capability to manage users. These entry-level systems are usually limited by the number of users which can be stored and generally don’t allow for scheduling. One or two entrances can be controlled. They are ideal for small shops, offices, warehouses, etc. with a maximum of 30 registered users. A variation of stand-alone systems is telephone entry systems. These systems provide the option for a guest to call up to a resident so that they can remotely open the door for them. These types of systems are generally found in apartment buildings and they effectively act as an automated doorman who screens guests and determines who is allowed in or not.   Managed systems: Are networked and connected to a central software application from which users are administered, hours and calendars are controlled together with entry permissions. This allows security personnel to not only restrict access but also monitor who...

THE ABC OF BIG DATA The phrase ‘Big Data’ has in recent times become a popular jargon. It has been used, overused and used incorrectly that it is difficult to decipher what it really means. In this post, we shall be demystifying Big data and seeing why it is considered one of the most promising technologies of the decade. Big data refers to the massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large it is difficult to process using traditional techniques. So Big Data is just what it sounds like – a whole lot of data. Social media, online books, videos, music and all kinds of information have all added to the staggering amount of data that is available, as more of this information have become digitized. All these data can then be analyzed, and value can be gotten from it. Categories of Big Data Big Data may be well-organized, unorganized or semi-organized. Based on the data form in which it is stored, the data is categorized into three forms: Structured Data – Data accessed, processed, and stored in a fixed format or form is called as structured data. The example of this data form is a table ‘Student’ storing different fields for the different students containing the data in rows and columns. Unstructured Data – Data without any structure or a specific form is called as unstructured data. It becomes difficult to process and manage unstructured data. Examples of unstructured data may be data sources with images, text, videos, etc. Semi-structured Data – This kind of data contains the combination of both structured and unstructured data. It has a structured form...

By 2030 one in five people will be African. Africa will account for more than half (54%) of the 2.4 billion global population growth in coming decades. The United Nations predicts that between 2015 and 2050, Africa will add 1.3 billion people, more than doubling its current population of 1.2 billion. Combine the continent’s soaring population with technology, improvements in infrastructure, health and education, and Africa could be the next century’s economic growth powerhouse. Africa has had a sporadic growth in Technology through the development from spears and arrows from trees, to the discovery of machines and software to making life better. Even in this evolution of Africa in Science and Technology, research still shows that Africa portrays a gap in Technology compared to the rest of the technology inclined world, due to the myopia on the part of its Government to recognize the value and need for science and technology in its country’s development. As Africa transitions from the margins to the mainstream of the global economy, technology is playing an increasingly significant role. According to the IMF’s 2014 World Economic Outlook report, of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, six will be from Africa. Past Technological Achievements Despite suffering through the era of horrific system of slavery, countless contributions to the fields of science and technology was made by early Africans. The first evidence of tools used by African ancestors is interred in valleys across Sub-Saharan Africa. There is no doubt that tech and innovation can play a big role in making some countries richer than others. About half the differences in GDP per person between countries are due...

Although the term “blockchain” has really grown in popular imagination in the last few years, the technology itself is just 10 years old, given that it was first conceptualized in 2008. Blockchain is the basis of the Bitcoin protocol. (see here for our post on the ABC of blockchain). Interestingly, although blockchain is one of the most discussed topics in recent times, a vast amount of people within the industries that stand to benefit most from blockchain are also completely uninformed about it. This is amazing since blockchain technology has the potential to completely revolutionize industries like healthcare and insurance. Another industry that blockchain stands to benefit enormously is finance. This incredible new technology stands to benefit the industry by saving them enormous amounts of money by streamlining their processes. Why Blockchain in Financial Services? Many of the industry’s processes are overdue for an upgrade or in some cases complete replacement to withstand new volumes, hacks and security threats. Blockchain is far more impregnable and recoverable as no centralised version of this information exists.   Transfers facilitated by central authorities such as banks have not changed in the last 150 years! An international transfer can still take as long as five days to settle, entailing risks like credit risk, exchange rate risk etc., and the industry needs to reduce heavy transaction fees and transaction times. Blockchain can make these transfers visible securely immediately, which other technology cannot.   In the future, people are going to make a lot of smaller payments. That’s going to increase economic activity. That, in principle, makes a larger pie with lower fees, higher volumes and a demand for...

Last week, we learnt about the interconnectedness of devices, humans and the cloud and how that has impacted the world today. We will go on to talk about the applications of IoT; this will give us a glimpse of how IoT will transform our lives soon. Smart Homes Smart home products promise to save time, energy and money. Wouldn’t you love to be able to switch on your air conditioner before getting home, so the house can be cool before you arrive? Or switch off your lights even after leaving the house? Or grant your friends access to your house when you are not home? IoT has made it possible for companies to build products that make life convenient and simpler. It is predicted that smart homes will become as common as mobile phones. Connected Cars A connected car is a vehicle which can optimize its own operation, maintenance as well as comfort of passengers using onboard sensors and internet connectivity. The automotive digital technology has focused on optimizing vehicles internal functions. But now, this attention is growing towards enhancing the in-car experience. Major brands like Tesla, BMW, Apple, Google are working on bringing the next revolution in automobiles. IoT in Agriculture Smart farming is often overlooked when it comes to the business cases for IoT solutions. However, there are many innovative products on the market geared toward forward-thinking farmers. Some of them use a distributed network of smart sensors to monitor various natural conditions, such as humidity, air temperature, and soil quality. Others are used to automate irrigation systems. With the continuous increase in world’s population, demand for food supply is...

Blockchain technology is one of the most talked about yet misunderstood topics in recent times, commonly associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Blockchain is commonly used interchangeably with bitcoin, even though they refer to two very different things. Bitcoin is a form of virtual currency, more commonly known as cryptocurrency, which is decentralized and allows users to exchange money without the need for a third-party. All bitcoin transactions are logged and made available in a public ledger, helping ensure their authenticity and preventing fraud. The underlying technology that facilitates these transactions and eliminates the need for an intermediary is the blockchain. What is blockchain? Blockchain is a public electronic ledger that can be openly shared among different users and that creates an unchangeable record of their transactions, each one time-stamped and linked to the previous one. Each digital record or transaction in the thread is called a block (hence the name), and it allows either an open or controlled set of users to participate in the electronic ledger. Each “block” represents a number of transactional records, and the “chain” component links them all together with a hash function. As records are created, they are confirmed by a distributed network of computers and paired up with the previous entry in the chain, thereby creating a chain of blocks, or a blockchain. Blockchain can only be updated by consensus between participants in the system, and when new data is entered, it can never be erased. The blockchain contains a true and verifiable record of each transaction ever made in the system. It is a database that is validated by a wider community, rather than...

Security has been a growing concern for businesses in different industries- from small shops to large corporations. Priority is now being placed on keeping people, equipment and information safe. It is then important to reinforce the need to control access into organizations and to properly identify those persons who are seeking access. In the past, many businesses used lock-and-key access systems. While this type of system can work for a business with only a handful of employees, it usually isn’t effective for companies with larger workforces. Employee keys can get misplaced or fall into the wrong hands, and companies must spend money either replacing the keys or all their locks. Another potential problem with this type of system is that within most companies, only high-level staff receive keys. This results in employees not having access to the facility in situations where the staff is absent from work. An access control system can provide you with greater control over who enters your building and when they enter your building. It can also allow you the power to remotely monitor access to your business. With these types of systems, employees use badges with embedded wireless technologies or punch-in codes to gain access to the building or certain spaces. These systems allow businesses to control who can access buildings or rooms always or on certain days and times. They are also more user-friendly for employees at all levels, who may need to have access in and out of buildings after their supervisors leave for the day. With access control systems, companies can keep track of who is entering and leaving buildings. This information can...

Security is Vital You take basic security precautions every day -- you use a key to get into your house and log on to your computer with a username and password. You've probably also experienced the panic that comes with misplaced keys and forgotten passwords. It isn't just that you can't get what you need -- if you lose your keys or jot your password on a piece of paper, someone else can find them and use them as though they were you. What is biometrics?? Instead of using something you have (like a key) or something you know (like a password), biometrics uses who you are to identify you. Biometrics can use physical characteristics, like your face, fingerprints, irises or veins, or behavioral characteristics like your voice, handwriting or typing rhythm. Unlike keys and passwords, your personal traits are extremely difficult to lose or forget. They can also be very difficult to copy. For this reason, many people consider them to be safer and more secure than keys or passwords. Biometric authentication is simply the process of verifying your identity using your measurements or other unique characteristics of your body, then logging you in a service, an app, a device and so on.. [caption id="attachment_8491" align="aligncenter" width="387"] Authentication of fingerprints[/caption] How Does it Work? Biometric systems can seem complicated, but they aren’t. What is complicated is the technology behind it.  All biometric systems use the same three steps: Enrollment: The first time you use a biometric system, it records basic information about you, like your name or an identification number. It then captures an image or recording of your specific trait. Storage: Contrary to what you...

The financial sector is constantly coming up with useful and innovative ways of providing its services to the population. The advent of fintech (the use of technology in the financial industry) has provided a way for all entities to have access to financial products and services at a reasonable rate. Although these services have included more people in the money sector, thereby disrupting the financial world, there is still a huge portion of the world population which is largely unbanked. Financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way- (worldbank.org). According to a survey by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), about 40.1 million or 41.6 percent of Nigerian adults are financially excluded, and 48.6 percent are financially included, while 58.4 percent are said to be financially served. This shows the sheer amount of people without access to financial services. In Nigeria people have found ways to have access to financial services and become financially inclusive; either by getting a job (their salary is paid through a bank account) or starting a business (open an account to obtain payments or credit). They then become increasingly financially inclusive by growing to having insurance, a credit account, a brokerage account, and mortgage etc. The way financial services are delivered has changed tremendously in the past century. These changes are underscored by transaction costs, which have evolved based on changes in communication and computing technology. The developments in communication and computing technology have contributed significantly in bringing...

ChamsAccess is in the business of providing reliability, quality and convenience in card printing and personalization. That said, it would be beneficial to have an understanding of the various technologies used in card printing. Some of them are: PVC Plastic card Printing technology Plastic cards are ideal for many applications, which makes them prevalent in our daily lives. Their portability, durability and standard size is suitable for payment cards, driver's licenses, membership cards and employee identification badge. Card printers let you print customised, secure and cost-effective cards on demand. Cards can be printed in colour or monochrome and can be encoded with multiple features like magnetic stripes or RFID to extend their use from highly secure employee IDs to gift card applications. To print images onto plastic cards, card printer uses dye sublimation technology. The dye sublimation process uses three panels (YMC) for colour and one panel (K) for black. YMC are used for colour picture and K for black text. An overlay panel is used to protect colour picture and text from wear and tear. Monochrome Printing Monochrome printing uses a single colour such as black, white, blue, red, gold, silver etc. This is the most cost-effective method to personalize with pre-printed cards. It is the ideal solution for cards printing that do not require colour picture. Monochrome is often used to print barcodes. Colour Printing Colour printing uses colour ribbon composed of yellow, magenta and cyan panel. The plastic card is passed through a thermal print head together with colour panels. The colour from the panel is then transferred on to the cards though the heat given out from the print head. The standard...