Last week we kicked off our 4-part series, Technology Guide for the “New Normal’, by highlighting several technology strategies being considered by commercial property managers and facility managers. One of the most effective security technologies that can serve dual purpose as a safety technology is contactless access control. Let’s take a closer look at how contactless access control solutions can be a front-line method to preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Historically, access control required some sort of physical contact by the employee. The interaction could have been touching the access card credential to the proximity card reader at the door or having to pull on a door handle. Both expose the employee to very close or direct contact with surfaces that are frequently used by dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of coworkers. Contactless technology can eliminate this risk.
Bluetooth technology already present in virtually everyone’s mobile device is likely the best way to add touchless technology to an existing or new access control solution. The advantage of Bluetooth technology is that it can be read from a distance by a Bluetooth reader at the door. The signal is sent from the employee’s mobile device from a distance to the reader, unlocking the door. The distance of the transmission from the door can be adjusted to meet the organization’s operational and security policies and procedures. This will minimize the risk of piggybacking, following a credentialed employee closely through the door, without having to provide a credential. The Bluetooth signal is transmitted using an app on the employee’s mobile device that can be received by the Bluetooth reader at the door.
New Bluetooth credentials can be processes remotely, without employees having to meet in person with a manager or a human resources representative. The Bluetooth credential can be emailed to the employee following the normal HR vetting processes.
Simply adding Bluetooth technology doesn’t solve the entire challenge. The door must also be opened automatically, eliminating the need to touch the door handle or push bar to gain entry. The lock, normally a magnetic lock at the top of the door or an electronic strike that replaces the manual locking mechanism, is connected to the access control system. When the touchless credential is presented, the door can then be unlocked automatically. Next, the door must be opened. This automation requires that a door opening device be installed. Once installed, this is also connected to the access control system. With all these devices and technologies in place, the employee can approach the door, activate the credential on the app from a distance, and the door will open automatically, enabling a touchless experience.
Facial recognition technology can be used in place of Bluetooth technology. However, the wearing of face coverings must be considered. Organizational policies and procedures regarding face coverings may drive the decision between Bluetooth and facial recognition.
With facial recognition, touchless entry is maintained. An employee is enrolled in the system using an enrollment device. This device captures unique features of the face and creates a unique credential for the employee. When the employee approaches a door, she looks at the facial recognition reader device at the door and is granted access. These systems are especially beneficial for entry when carrying boxes and reaching for a mobile device is inconvenient or delays operations.
A Safe New Normal
To help keep your security team and facility as safe as possible while operating at maximum efficiency, Vision Security Technologies will design, engineer, install, and maintain physical distancing and occupant safety systems that meet the needs of your organization and exceeds the requirements of all stakeholders from the security team to the operations team. We can perform most on-site installation, migration, integration, and maintenance during non-peak hours with proper PPE in place during times of health concerns.