A Look At Touchless Security Options

Facility executives are looking at where and how to implement solutions for a touch-free security experience, and this includes mobile credentials.

By Dominic Burns
From the February 2021 Issue

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.

touchless security
Photo: Getty Images

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.

Report: Global Visitor Management Systems

Anew report from Research and Markets, a global research firm based in Dublin, Ireland, looks at rising interest and expected growth of visitor management systems upgrades and installations in commercial and institutional facilities around the world. The report states that the global visitor management systems market is estimated to be USD 870 Mn in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 1,602.9 Mn by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 13%.

According to a summary provided by Research and Markets, key factors such as the rising security breaches at various customer touchpoints have demanded a need for systemic regulatory compliance to address these security-related issues. Additionally, there has been a growing adoption of software-based security solutions in developing Visitor Management Systems (VMS). These solutions are likely to prevent unwanted visitors by tracking them through VMS’s various surveillance mechanisms.

The issues related to data vulnerability and considerably slow amounts of customer adoption rates in deployment attributed to the hindrances in solution deployment and low awareness are likely to restrain the market growth.

Source: ResearchandMarkets.com; report available for sale from the firm.

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.

Do you have a comment? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or send an e-mail to the Editor at acosgrove@groupc.com.

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  1. Installing magnetic door strikes in high-traffic areas, whether connected to an access control reader or via an automatic door sensor, may transform manually operated doors into automatic entry points.

  2. It was interesting when you talked about how automatic door technology is trickling down from large retailers to include small businesses as well. According to my knowledge, it’s important for automatic doors to be maintained on a regular basis so any needed repairs can be made to avoid malfunctions. I’d like to learn more about the process for maintaining automatic doors and if there are any generalized standards followed by large and small businesses.

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