Smart access control in a post-pandemic world

21 Jun 2021
BY Dave Salisbury

Smart access control in a post-pandemic world

The coronavirus pandemic has changed many things for us since March 2020. We’ve become used to new language and terminology with phrases like ‘support bubble’, ‘social distancing’ and ‘rule of six’ now commonplace in our every day conversations. We’ve also changed the way we work and where we work. We’re more conscious of high-touch areas and cross contamination from unexceptional, ordinary objects like doorhandles and keypads.

Flexible working means the office or workplace is less populated than it was pre-pandemic, which might make it more difficult to know where employees are in the building and when they are there. What areas they have access to (to avoid congestion) and how they travel around the buildings are things that we haven’t had to dwell on too much up until now.

In short, access control has become more important than ever before. Is yours up to scratch?

Safe navigation

Access control as a concept simply means controlling who enters an area or building, and when and how they enter and leave. Interactive access control lets the manager or building facilities easily identify, validate, and authorise who travels around your business and protects visitors and staff from hazardous or congested areas. What it provides is safe navigation from entry barrier to exits and every gate or door in between.

Older systems rely on standalone swipe card or pin code entry, but increasingly we’ve seen a shift towards touchless biometric scanners supported by facial recognition. Equally, with entry barriers, there has been more of an uptake on access systems that allow pre-programming of vehicle registration plates into an intercom camera to enable automatic entry. This admits the driver without them having to touch a keypad and avoids traffic build up at a site entrance.

Like everything else, access control has had to change and adapt as well.

Who’s on site? Health and safety matters

It’s so important to know who is present at your site and control where they can go. With a good access control system, you can assign varying levels of permission. You can protect areas that have sensitive data to eliminate the chances of a systems or location breach and only allow highly trained or authorised personnel into areas where there might be a high number of moving vehicles or hazardous substances.

But more than restricting access, an integrated smart access control system will generate detailed reports on time and attendance (so employees are paid correctly), and on who has passed through doors and gates and whether they’re still on site. This aspect of the system is crucial in case of fire.

The smart access systems we design have health and safety at their core. An integrated access control system works with your fire safety system so that, in the event of the fire alarm being triggered, it will automatically unlock and open all doors, gates and barriers on site to support a speedy evacuation, also removing those high-touch areas to keep people safe. It will also:

  • Automatically print a report of who’s on site
  • Report on who hasn’t swiped out for rollcall
  • Deliver the report to an app so you can rollcall from your phone if the printer is inaccessible

When speed, safety, and control are all needed at the same time, an excellent access system is more than worth the cost of smart design and installation.

Post-pandemic access control

So, the big question is: has the pandemic changed access control forever? And the simple answer is yes. There are trends that we saw emerging in 2020 that are gathering momentum in 2021. One that has garnered a lot of interest and significant effort and investment is occupancy tracking and control. The need to eliminate congestion zones and ease people’s journey around their office space will lean heavily on efficient, integrated, user-friendly access control.

Restricting access to busy areas and monitoring the number of people in places such as meeting rooms will continue to be important to both employers and employees. Physical distancing will be with us for some time to come and businesses should consider reviewing their systems to meet the safety demands of employees.

If you’re interested in learning more about how access control can help future-proof your business, you can talk to a member of the Zicam team today to get you started.

Like everything else, access control has had to change and adapt as well.

Contact us for more details

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