Category: All Blog Posts

New Courses Streamline Symmetry Training Program

675x468_Training_Class_2AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Security Management System has expanded the last several years and now includes more features, modules and video management product line choices. To more effectively train and certify technicians AMAG has developed a new two-phased training approach, and now offers a 3-day Symmetry Starter Class and 2-day Hardware Class.

For technicians new to Symmetry or new to access control, the Symmetry Starter Class teaches the fundamental skills required to install and perform initial programming of a Symmetry Access Control system. The 3-day class is a prerequisite course for the Symmetry Essentials class. Technicians achieve an Associate Level Certification after the Essentials class.

For technicians who understand access control and / or are familiar with the Symmetry Security Management System, they will have the option to test out of the Symmetry Starter Class and be placed directly into the Symmetry Essentials class.

By grouping technicians by experience level, classes will operate more efficiently.

The Symmetry Starter Class begins in July, and will be available at all three North American training centers. Technicians can register now:

  • July 11-13, McLean, Virginia
  • July 18-20, Torrance, California
  • August 8-10, Burlington (Boston), Massachusetts

For technicians or those who are installing and servicing Symmetry hardware, the new 2-day Symmetry Hardware class teaches how to install nodes, door controllers and readers, and service the hardware after installation is completed. Course completion is not required for Symmetry Certification.

Coming in September

Revised Symmetry Essentials Class –  This course will be available at the Torrance, California; McLean, Virginia; and Burlington (Boston area), Massachusetts training centers.  This revised class will now cover video, elevator control and card formats, plus other new material. Upon successful completion of the 5-day class, students achieve Associate Level certification. Students must pass or test out of the Symmetry Starter Class prior to attending this class.

Revamped Symmetry Advanced Class – This is a required 5-day class for support of the Symmetry Global System and to receive Professional Level Certification. Students will demonstrate proficiency in numerous additional features, modules and advanced configurations. This course will be available at the Torrance, California; McLean, Virginia; and Burlington (Boston area), Massachusetts training centers.

The new courses are only available in North America.

Watch for more information at http://www.amag.com/en/Services/Training.

Celebrating Customers at ISC West

By AMAG Technology, Vice President of Global Sales & Business Development, Jody RossJody_Headshot_2017_cropped

Every year AMAG sets aside an evening to honor and celebrate our top resellers. It’s a tradition that’s occurred since well before I began working here, and one I think should continue for a long time. Our resellers work hard. They go above and beyond to service their end users, often working long nights and weekends away from family. It’s nice to take a moment and celebrate their accomplishments.

Convergint.EagleThis year, we celebrated our top resellers at our annual Eagle Awards reception in Las Vegas in conjunction with ISC West. Please join me in congratulating the winners.

Master Reseller Award – Symmetric Interconnect Systems

Government Reseller Award – Infotec Systems Corporation

Canadian Reseller Award – Alpha TSI

Partner Award – PSA Security Network, Inc.

National Reseller Award – Tyco Integrated, LLC

President’s Circle Award – Convergint Technologies, LLC

Regional Awards

Northeast – Advanced Video Surveillance

Northwest – Aronson Security Group

Central North – Applied Network Concepts

Southwest – ACME Security, Inc.

Eastern Canada – Alpha TSI

Western Canada – Stanley Canada

Central South – Advanced Connections, Inc.

Mid-Atlantic – Elite Contracting Group, Inc.

Southeast – Universal Security Systems

Great Lakes – Zenith Systems

Mountain States – Kratos Public Safety and Security Solutions, Inc.

SAMMY Winner – ESS

ESS.SammyWin2

Enterprise Security Systems, Operations Manager, Clint Crosston, President, Kurt Kottkamp, AMAG Technology VP-Global Sales & Business Development, Jody Ross, and ESS, Sr Sales Engineer, Jim MacQueen – PSP. 

I would also like to congratulate Kurt Kottkamp and Enterprise Security Systems for their SAMMY Award for Integrated Installation of the Year for LPL Financial!  The project was LPL Financial’s new Campus Headquarters in Fort Mill, SC. ESS installed Symmetry Access Control with Symmetry CompleteView Video Management integrated with Vingtor-Stentofon’s Turbine IP emergency communication system. Congratulations to President, Kurt Kottkamp, Operations Manager, Clint Crosston, Sr. Sales Engineer, Jim MacQueen and Sr. Installation Technician, Matt Mastrangelo. This award is well-deserved and we at AMAG are thrilled to see Kurt and his team recognized for their hard work and dedication.

Congratulations to all the winners!

AMAG features identity management, a two-in-one appliance and mobile technology solutions at ISC West

By AMAG Technology, President, Kurt TakahashiKurt Takahashi_photo

AMAG Technology has been hard at work preparing for ISC West and producing security technology solutions to meet your needs. It is our goal to deliver systems that will mitigate risk, meet compliance and save your organization money. The solutions we will be showing at ISC West will do just that.    

We are excited to launch our new Symmetry Security Appliance. This two in one solution delivers access control and video management in one small device. The power of Symmetry Business Access Control with Symmetry CompleteView Video Management comes pre-installed in a four inch rock canyon tall nuc front corner top copydevice that supports eight cameras and 16 doors. Easy to install and affordable, it’s perfect for smaller applications and upgrades.

Stop by our booth and get a preview of our new Symmetry CONNECT identity management platform. The new user interface provides everything an organization needs to manage identities and meet audit and compliance requirements. Organizations will reduce operating costs when automating on and off boarding. Receive notifications when you are about to fall out of compliance, and use CONNECT’s extensive and customized reporting to satisfy compliance demands. If your business must meet government audit and compliance requirements, I invite you to learn more about how Symmetry CONNECT can help your business.

BlueReadersOur new Symmetry Blue mobile reader delivers affordable mobile access control. Users can download the app for free as there are no subscription or licensing fees. With mobility on the rise, more companies are adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. The convenience of BYOD will create the demand for organizations to use smartphones for access control. Most people will forget their wallet or access card before they forget their phone. It’s perfect for organizations that have mobility as a key business priority.

In addition to our new products, our Symmetry Access Control, Symmetry CompleteView Video Management system and Symmetry GUEST visitor management system will be in the booth. I invite you to stop by our booth 10053 and get a demo or just say hello. See you at ISC West!  

Integrated System Delivers Efficiency and Huge Results for Yale University

By AMAG Technology, Public Relations Manager, Kim Rahfaldt

Credit: Tom Parker/OneRedEyeThe Symmetry SR Retrofit system allowed Yale University to affordably upgrade from their legacy system and save millions of dollars.  Yale was able to keep its existing cards, HID card readers and wiring.  Installers simply replaced the micros – or control panels – one building at a time.  

As part of the security program, Yale University wanted to incorporate its other solutions with Symmetry to further enhance their campus security system. The Symmetry SR Retrofit System integrated with several technologies to deliver an effective and efficient security solution.

Providing clear, understandable audio was a must for Yale, who uses audio to speak with students who want to gain access to a residence hall or building, but do not have their access card. Symmetry integrates with a Vingtor-Stentofon Alphacom Audio Server with IP Intercom station. Students push a button and a video of the student pops up at the security station. The student requests access and the security person verifies who the person is before buzzing them into the building.

Biometric fingerprint readers operate with Symmetry to secure laboratories. The fingerprint readers provide another layer of security for critical research labs and areas where limited access is granted.

Yale University installed an NEC Fault Tolerant Server that is located at an undisclosed location, off campus. The server provides continuous availability and achieves near-zero downtime, which is critical for a college campus.

“We have to be fault tolerant because of the size and magnitude of the security system,” said Yale University, Director-Information Technology, David Boyd.

Operationalize the Future

As Yale transitions to its new Symmetry SR Retrofit System, in conjunction, it is using Symmetry CONNECT, a policy- based identity management system. Symmetry CONNECT seamlessly operates with Symmetry Access Control and Yale’s legacy system, providing a workflow that is used across both systems. Information entered in Symmetry CONNECT is transmitted to the two systems, creating a seamless interface. Once the migration is complete, Symmetry CONNECT will help Yale improve its on-and-off boarding process.  

“We plan to improve Credit: Tom Parker/OneRedEyeefficiencies using Symmetry CONNECT by creating a webpage for building managers to provision access and make changes for students,” said Boyd. “Eliminating our old system of sending emails to a central scheduler will save money and time, and improve how we service our students and staff.”

Future Integrations

Yale plans to integrate Symmetry Access Control with its existing Milestone xProtect Video Management System, linking alarms with video in all circumstances and provide a safer campus. When an alarm sounds in Symmetry, the video of the area will automatically pop up on the monitor.

They are also exploring the idea of utilizing wireless locks for dorm rooms in the future. Wireless locks will allow students to use access cards to enter their rooms, and the locks will sync to Symmetry on a scheduled basis. This is an affordable option for educational environments where a large number of doors need to be tied to the security system.

Training Changes Deliver Flexibility for Today’s Busy Customer

don-boling-face-2By Don Boling, Training and Education Manager, AMAG Technology

AMAG’s Training department is making some changes in how we deliver training for the growing Symmetry product line and ever busy customer. The changes reflect an effort to become more flexible in meeting our customer’s needs.

NEW Hardware Class – A new three day Symmetry Hardware only course has been designed for those that would like a better understanding of controllers. In this course, we cover all current hardware platforms: Symmetry M2150, EN-Series and SR-Series. This hands-on course teaches students how to install and wire hardware.

NEW Video Class – We have launched a new three day Video class that covers installation, configuration and integration of Symmetry CompleteView Video Management with the Symmetry Access Control System. Students leave class with an in-depth understanding of video recording and camera configuration to assist in the optimization of the Symmetry CompleteView Video system.

NEW Monthly Webinars – We are introducing Monthly Webinars for our Symmetry System users who would like a better understanding of how to perform day-to-day operations. Check the website for a list of topics and how to register. List coming soon.

MORE Online Training Coming Soon – We also will be offering more online training content that will provide training on basic networking, card formats and other Symmetry related topics. Look for those classes in the next few months.  http://www.amag.com/en-US/Services/Training/Videos/

Customers can also take Instructor-led classes in the Burlington, Massachusetts Training Center (Near Boston) in addition to the McLean, VA and Torrance, CA locations. All courses are available at each Training Center.

Additional information will be forthcoming. Please check our Training Department website often for more information and updates to the AMAG Training program.  If you would like to register for a class, please visit http://www.amag.com/en-US/Services/Training/ or email us at: training@amag.com.

 

What does the future hold for mobile access control?

davidellaBy David Ella, Vice President – Product and Partner Programs

Use of mobile credentials has been widely discussed for the last few years, and AMAG is excited to be the first major access control manufacturer to offer their own range of Apps and Bluetooth Low Energy readers. Introducing Symmetry Blue, a range of smartphone enabled readers that allow entry through doors using a cell phone as the credential.

What sets Symmetry Blue apart? Its cost effectiveness. There is no need for any separate subscription or licensing, or the use of any third party software for it to operate. This will enable the technology to advance into mainstream implementation. Symmetry Blue readers connect directly to Symmetry door controllers just like any conventional card reader.

Are we going to see the demise of the white plastic smart card?  We don’t think that’s going to happen, and that’s one of the reasons why AMAG’s new readers also support a variety of different card types alongside the Bluetooth capability within the devices.

Using a cell phone as a credential will be extremely helpful for AMAG customers, especially in environments where users tend to lose or forget their cards, where there are occasional attendees at a particular site, for visitors or contractors where you do not want to issue an identity badge, or as a second credential to be used alongside a plastic card.

However in higher security environments, where a plastic identity badge with a photo is required to be displayed, or where it’s policy not to attached devices to the network and Internet, then the card is clearly king.

Many organizations will adopt a hybrid approach, keeping both the card and the smartphone using Symmetry’s multiple credentials per cardholder capability.  A hybrid approach will allow users to slowly changeover to the new technology, or provide the option to use a card where increased security is needed. The Bluetooth reader capability could be added to lower security doors or just the minimum number of doors required to enable access to the workplace.

It’s going to be interesting to watch Symmetry Blue roll out into the AMAG user community. Maybe in five years time we will look back with amazement at the use of the plastic card for access control. Stranger things have happened, especially as the smartphone as we know it didn’t exist ten years ago.

 

The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by AMAG Technology is under license.

Delivering Technologies That Make Sense

Kurt Takahashi_photoBy AMAG Technology, Senior Vice President, Kurt Takahashi

Technologies must work together to deliver a total security solution. Whether an organization needs access control, video, identity management, visitor management or a host of complementary technologies like audio, biometrics, or incident management, operating in silos no longer works.  

Security systems need to reach beyond their speeds and feeds and deliver greater operational value to the business. When you select the right technology, it can completely impact the overall business from a risk, cost and compliance perspective.  It can reduce the amount of time it takes people to manage the day to day operations and save money by infusing technology to improve the overall process.  As an example, reducing lobby officers from two to one or automating the process entirely and have an unattended environment. Another example, would be ensuring compliance by automating the process to provide a safe and easy way to ensure all policies are met and the right people are in the right areas with the right approvals.

At AMAG, we listen to our customers and bring technology solutions to market that help end users perform their jobs better. For example, our new Symmetry Control Desk delivers unrivaled unified security in one place. It fuses what historically takes multiple screens and operating windows into one by fusing together both access control events, live and recorded video, control over surrounding devices and automated workflow to help manage the incident and post orders.

Our new Symmetry CONNECT and GUEST hosted solutions help automate all the back office management of visitors, contractors and employees.  It provides an automated way to on-board, manage requests, re-certify access, off-board and audit restricted doors and / or areas. It provides a single operational window to ensure the right people are in the right places with the right approval and quickly report on the outcomes.

AMAG continuously examines new and different technologies in the market.  If there is a need for an integration, we will fill that need.  Our brand new integration with the RISK360 Incident and Case Management solution is a good example. Alarms in the Symmetry Access Control software communicate with RISK360, creating an incident, which could lead to a dispatch and provide critical information, producing a case management report for investigative purposes. We listened to our customers and delivered it.

Our goal at AMAG is to enable innovation and make it easy for customers to adopt. Technology can perform amazing feats, but if not operationally focused, what good is it? Sync up your technology road map and operational road map so the two can work together to provide the greatest value to the business. Working in concert will eliminate silos, save money, mitigate risk and meet compliance while delivering a holistic security solution.

AMAG and G4S Unite with Bake Off and Craft Sale to Benefit BBC Children in Need

the-judges

The judges: Jason Dudley, Chef, Howard Johnson, COO, AMAG, and Duncan Short, HR Director, G4S 

Friday, November 18 was sweeter than any normal Friday as the Tewkesbury, UK office held their annual bake off challenge in aid of BBC Children in Need.

Employees across the AMAG and UK G4S business units came together to raise £578.83 ($721.44) for the children’s charity. There were three competitions in the bake off with the judges Jason Dudley (Chef), Howard Johnson (COO, AMAG) and Duncan Short (HR Director, G4S) having the rather envious job of selecting the winners. It was a tough job, but the three men stepped up and ate a lot of cake, all for a good cause! Portions, however, were limited as the remaining cake was sold to employees.

carol-edwards-technical-challenge-winner

Winner of the Technical Challenge  Chocolate Cherry Bakewell, Carol Edwards.

The winner of the Technical challenge to create a Chocolate Cherry Bakewell was AMAG’s own Carol Edwards (Executive Administrator). Best decorated cake went to Edwina Mansell (Validations Administrator, G4S UK) for her beautiful Pudsey Bears picnic and the star baker award was won by Kath Gunston (AMAG Software Engineer) for her wonderful spotty Pudsey bear creation. Special mention also went to Terry Engram  (AMAG Technician) whose cake resembled designer footwear spilling out handmade chocolate truffles.

edwina-mansell-best-decorated-cake-winner

Best decorated cake winner, Edwina Mansell.

 

Getting Crafty

Once all the cake was gone, the Tewkesbury crafty creators, Gillian Devereux (AMAG HR Manager), Jayne Wright (Head of Business Support, G4S UK), Edwina Mansell, Jacky Devine (AMAG Senior Administrator) and Jana Bridger ( AMAG Customer Services Representative) took their turn and sold their creations. A beautiful display of all their handmade goods including jewelry, cards, Christmas decorations and knitted items were for sale throughout the afternoon. A percentage of the profits from all sales went to Children in Need.

BBC Children in Need provides grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. Projects funded help children facing poverty, victims of abuse or neglect and disabled young people. For more information please visit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/corporate2/childreninneed.

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the baking, crafting and of course – the eating!

Project Unite Enhances Customer Experience

crrteam

AMAG Technology’s Customer Relationship Team: Stephanie Kovacs, Claudia Gualotuna, Ronnie Relosa, Darlene Mitchell (front), Pamela Taylor (back), and Yalanda Thomas.

To improve customer service and provide a better experience for all AMAG Technology customers around the world, the Torrance, California customer service department launched Project Unite.

During Phase One, completed this year, all Torrance based customer service representatives have been cross trained to handle all aspects of customer service for our US customers: customer calls, return merchandise authorizations, new orders and status inquiries.  In the past, individual customer service representatives handled specific job duties. Separation of duties has been eliminated, creating a more cohesive team and positive customer experience.

The Torrance team members are now known as Customer Relationship Representatives (CRR), with Claudia Gualotuña leading the team as Customer Relationship Manager-US.

“With our business continuing to grow, I wanted to ensure we focus on our customers’ needs and continue to build a positive relationship with our customers,” said Claudia. “I’m excited to unite the customer service and RMA group to help enhance the experience for our customers!”

The next phase of Project Unite, to be rolled out in 2017, will include Alison Foote, Customer Relationship Manager-UK, and the Tewkesbury, UK customer service department. The focus will be the unification of the Torrance and Tewkesbury teams.  When complete, Project Unite will ensure either team has the tools to provide an exceptional customer experience, regardless of the customer’s geographic location.

Helping Customers Operationalize Security

793x280_kurt_asis

AMAG Technology’s Senior Vice President of Sales, Kurt Takahashi speaks live from the ASIS 2016 show floor in Orlando, Florida about AMAG’s mission.

AMAG provides innovative solutions to help operationalize security. AMAG is here to help our customers mitigate risk, maintain compliance in an efficient way and more importantly, help them save money overall.

Want to learn more? Click here to watch the short video!