Using Access Control System Data for Time and Attendance
30 September 2021
At the heart of an access control system is a database which records every system event including alarms. This information can provide a wealth of information for time & attendance reporting, link to third party systems and assist with building automation programs.
What is Time and Attendance Reporting?
A time and attendance system tracks attendance over a time period and is traditionally used within a building to monitor hours on-site. In the workplace, traditional time & attendance systems used punch cards and time clocks. A worker arrive at a factory would ‘clock-in’ and then ‘clock-out’ when they left for the day. The punch cards were then used for payroll processing and HR functions as required.
Credentials and Readers
Modern time & attendance systems are electronic of course and make use of credentials in a similar way to access control systems. A credential is assigned to a specific user in the time & attendance database and when presented to a specific reader, their database record is updated to report on their ‘clocking-in’ or out of a building.
Access control systems work in a very similar way but with additional security and door control measures. When a person presents their credential to a reader, it is checked in the database record and the credential holder is either granted or denied access through the door into or out of the specific area.
Within an access control system like EntroWatch, the credential can be carried on an access control card, a mobile phone or be biometric as a finger print or facial recognition. A user can be assigned more than one credential in the system database and this can only be read by the relevant access control reader i.e. a card reader, finger print reader, mobile phone reader etc.
The Who, Where and When of Access Control
The purpose of an access control reader is to protect a building, the people and assets within. A typical system like EntroWatch can provide reports from its database of logged events. Information such as who, is where and when in addition to whether door access requested were granted or denied.
Time & Attendance Systems
Traditional time & attendance (TNA) systems have operated independently to access control systems. A TNA system is not intended to provide security to a building, its people and the assets within. The reporting from a dedicated TNA system will be more extensive in terms of the information it can provide for HR departments and off-course payroll processing.
However, some TNA systems can make use of a feature referred to as third party data exchange (TPDE) available in Remsdaq access control systems including EntroWatch and StarWatch. The data accessed can assist in payroll operations, human resource management, productivity, energy usage & automation and other organisational aspects that link to ‘when, where and when’ a person was on site
Smart Building Automation and BACnet
BACnet is a communications protocol used predominantly in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industries. The protocol allows hardware systems from different manufacturers to communicate with a for example a building management system (BMS) using a common language.
Entro access control devices are native BACnet devices. This means that the BACnet operating stack is embedded directly into the devices, making them ideal for use in smart building automation projects. Utilising the ‘Who, Where and When’ information (from the access control database), allows energy managers to lower operating costs through more efficient management of building spaces in terms of required heating, cooling and lighting levels for specific user times.
Buildings are becoming smarter. As the world moves towards ‘net zero’ and economies transition towards lower carbon usage, there is a greater need to manage energy and the how buildings are used. Smart access control systems can support the energy revolution and especially where they use a common building system protocol such as BACnet and can provide information via TPDE to third party systems including time & attendance.