By Dominic Burns
Facility executives are adapting to a new norm, and market demands, as it relates to how to safely reopen buildings for business. Part of that market shift now includes implementing new solutions designed to facilitate a touchless security experience for both employees and visitors.
Much of what people do on a daily basis involves touching hundreds of items without much forethought — we turn a doorknob to open a door, touch a keypad to type on a computer, and push elevator buttons to close the door and select a floor. Until recently, facility management professionals did not have to worry about these simple actions, as they did not pose a potential health and safety risk.
As a result, facility executives need to be prepared as to where and how to implement solutions that can support a touchless security experience. Mobile credentials should be part of that consideration. Mobile credentials discourage the practice of sharing of proximity cards between employees, such as when someone may forget their card at home and cannot gain access into the company parking lot. It also enables companies to more easily monitor and manage access privileges, eliminating the need for in-person interaction to issue a new security badge. Few people leave their home without their mobile phone in their pocket or purse.
While mobile credentialing has slowly grown over the past few years, this technology is expected to increase considerably. Most access control systems already support mobile credentialing — ask your systems integrator if your system has this capability and what is needed to leverage this solution.
Automatic doors are the norm for many large-scale retailers, such as grocery stores and big box chains, but this security technology will now trickle down to include smaller business types. In high traffic areas, facility executives should consider installing magnetic door strikes to turn once manually operated doors into an automatic entry-point, whether it’s connected to an access control reader or via an automatic door sensor.
While many building entrance doors are currently equipped with a handicap button to automate opening and closing to be ADA Compliant, this function will soon move to incorporate completely touch-free solutions. Touchless buttons will replace the large touchpad, requiring a person to only wave a hand in front of the button to activate the door.
As facility executives review security measures, keypads are perhaps the most commonly used access control solution, due in part to the low-cost nature of these systems and the flexibility to scale up based on needs. However, due to COVID-19, many businesses do not currently want to leverage a system that requires people to push multiple buttons. As an alternative, businesses have begun to invest in a cover that can be placed over the keypad and turn the keypad into a card reader and a touchless access solution. This change can be a simple, cost-effective option to retrofit an existing solution without having to rip and replace the entire system.
COVID-19 has changed how we interact with people. It has eliminated hand shakes and promoted social distancing, along with removing our desire to touch things. Facility executives have an important role to play to help to eliminate the unnecessary transfer of germs between surfaces and people to support a safe building reopening plan.
Burns is President and CEO of A.C. Technical Systems, an independent security systems integrator based in Whitby, Ontario. He is also a member of Security-Net, a network of global independent security systems integrators.
Want more news about facility management and security topics?
Click here to read more news related to security and facility management.