Forge

Connecting Buildings & People

Paul Speariett, co-founder of Forge and regional director at Yardi spoke to Security Journal UK about the challenges facing the access control sector and how integration with visitor management facilitates a smarter journey for visitors.

Can you provide us with an overview of the services Forge powered by Yardi provides?

For a number of years, myself and co-founder Wayne Lee have worked in the technology and electronic security sectors. In 2017 we were asked to come up with a solution alongside an access control manufacturer for managing visitors to a high-profile multi-tenanted building in London.

Forge Bluepoint for visitor management was the solution. It integrates with access control to facilitate the smart movement of people to and through buildings. Today, we have over 160 commercial real estate sites with over 2,400 companies using Bluepoint across the UK and Europe.

Earlier this year Forge was acquired by Yardi, which has allowed us to accelerate the growth of Bluepoint into an international market.

How has the company adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The pandemic has accelerated the need for technology that empowers businesses to manage and gain visibility of people connecting to buildings. We have seen a huge growth in the number of customers reaching out to procure a visitor management solution like Bluepoint as it gives them the flexibility to create journeys for their tenants that work for them and provides the data to understand and manage the usage of their buildings.

We’ve increased the availability of remote training and support and adapted and accelerated the evolution of Bluepoint to manage and update remotely, in particular, the API for access control integration. We added Lenel S2 and C-Cure to our list of access control integrations last year, which includes Gallagher, Paxton, Inner Range and Nedap.

What are the biggest challenges in the access control sector?

I think the biggest challenge is providing a global solution that works for all. One that doesn’t require the user to download a specific app but works regardless of the technology you are using.  The pandemic has accelerated the growth of mixed-use buildings. This creates a challenge between being open and welcoming but also secure. Access Control systems need to ensure both long-term users and short-term visitors can be easily and securely managed. The number of people expecting a contactless experience is increasing, whilst apps can help solve this problem for long-term access, they can add extra frustration for short-term visitors. Bluepoint currently uses QR codes to facilitate universal access without friction.

What are the benefits of integrating visitor management systems with access control technologies?

Customers expect systems that work together, which is why interoperability and APIs are crucial to providing customers the choice to build journeys that work for the users of their buildings.

By keeping both visitor management and access control systems in sync, secure access can be issued directly from Bluepoint with either a QR code on their phone or even a physical access control card. This allows building managers and operators to be confident that short-term access control is secure, easy and visible.

Furthermore, the real-time data gained from Bluepoint provides the insight needed for operators to ensure the safe management of the building.

Can you tell us about some of your recent case studies?

In 2020 during the height of the pandemic, we won the tender to provide Bluepoint for Landsec’s portfolio of over 19 buildings, which was a great achievement for the team and we now integrate with C-Cure to provide seamless access across the Landsec portfolio.

The News UK building went live recently with Lenel S2 integration and now we provide Bluepoint integrated with Gallagher at the iconic London landmark, The Gherkin, which has over 2,000 visitors a week including diners at its Helix Restaurant managed by Searcy’s. Bluepoint was chosen to assist with fast check-ins, secure admission and access to real-time data with seamless integration with its other building management technology.

This article was published in the September edition of Security Journal UK. Check out the full edition.