By S. Guerry Bruner
The ever-changing workplace environment has drastically altered employee hiring, staff scheduling, and workforce expectations over the past decade. And with it, technology and design for buildings has changed as well — from providing more open workspaces to integrating new technology into the built environment. Meanwhile, facility security concepts over that same time have mostly taken a direct approach to evolution: provide more robust security and safety to protect the people and places we value most.
So, what happens when expectations for security change based on new concepts in workforce deployment? The answer: we evolve.
Star Asset Security, an industry expert in full-service security systems, approached ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions about a unique challenge they were seeing in new building construction, interior space design, and space planning. The challenge was that owners wanted the ability to allow for ever-changing access control on shared assets, such as employee lockers and desks.
Employers are migrating toward a “free address workspace” which promotes the co-working concepts of shared spaces. That means every day a different employee might access a different locker or a different desk — yet the system still needs to regulate that access while providing an audit trail for who accessed what.
Quite simply, that is not how security access control works in today’s paradigm. The standard for such an environment is to assign an employee to one locker and one desk; then monitor the access from a static point of view. The dynamic component of user choice removes the control from security managers, facility executives, and employers.
But dynamic environments are exactly where the corporate real estate market is heading with the built environment. Buildings are becoming smarter through the adaptive technologies of IoT (Internet of Things). Lighting, electrical, HVAC, water, and facility security systems are all becoming smarter and more connected to one another. This is a very conscious and purposeful move from automation (where we set the rules and let the technology respond as we determine) to autonomous, where a building responds appropriately to all the variables that could potentially encounter in its operation.
In terms of co-working, every employee is a variable. Security managers and facility managers are no longer telling the system what the rules are. Rather, they are letting the system know what can potentially happen and what needs to be done to keep the facility secure. The end result should remain the same: a secured locker or an assigned desk, but with the data being defined as the choice is made.
To adapt to this new way of thinking, ASSA ABLOY collaborated with one of its partners: Monitor Dynamics, a manufacturer of unified security management systems that blend access control, video surveillance, intrusion detection, and identity products into an open-architecture, command and control IP platform. Together, we developed a new access control concept for applications such as lockers and desks, and being offered to building owners by Star Asset Security. As of June 2017, Star Asset Security has implemented the new FlexLocker solution in two major corporate real estate projects, to be followed up with deployments of the complementing FlexDesk solution.
These types of partnerships are critical to consider when looking at the creation of new solutions in facility security as every partner has a core competency that must be relied upon, and be trusted to implement perfectly. It is trust that is at the core of security, and our goal at ASSA ABLOY is to continue to develop our list of partner companies that we consider experts and can trust to do the same level of work we do in the security space.
The reality of this exciting change in the built environment is that there will be new challenges to tackle as our workforces continue to evolve. And those problems require a lot more than just one product to fix. They require a move from automation to autonomy, they require committed partnerships, and above all else they require a commitment to the core competency a company provides. For security, that remains a commitment to protecting the people and places we value most.
Bruner is regional team leader east, integrated solutions specialist for ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions – US.