Posts

Why now is the ideal time to make security improvements at your workspace

By David Alessandrini, Pasek Corporation

The work from home movement continues, with much of corporate America postponing the full reopening of offices as part of efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As a result, office occupancy numbers remain low compared to pre-pandemic rates.

This scenario – with many offices remaining virtually empty – provides an ideal opportunity for corporations to make improvements within their facilities, such as security and HVAC upgrades or workspace and traffic pattern reconfigurations.

For near empty facilities, one of the greatest advantages of tackling a security project now – whether to install new surveillance cameras or touchless door openers – is that noise and infringing on working employees is less of an issue.

Security integrators often work closely with customers to map out an installation timeline to ensure as little impact as possible on employees or customers inside a building. An occupied building can limit when, where and how an integrator can install or repair systems, with work often getting pushed to the evening or weekend to minimize disruption. This can turn a project into a more expensive job because it now requires overtime pay for the security technician.

With fewer people in offices these days, contractors gain more access to the building since their movement and work is less likely to disrupt business operations. Employees working at their desk are not impacted when a technician runs wire through ceiling tiles, for example. Entrances that would need to remain open to accommodate employees coming and going to work can now be taken offline during regular business hours to install hands-free entrance solutions.

As a result, end users are finding that projects are being completed within a shorter period of time. This, in turn, can result in an overall cost savings for the project.

Reduced occupancy numbers also create a safer environment for everyone, limiting contact and interaction with others as people continue to follow social distancing guidelines. While many businesses have adopted procedures to screen visitors, such as temperature checks when someone enters a facility, lower occupancy numbers support a safer environment for contractors as well.

As companies postpone reopening offices, now is the time to plan for the future. Nearly empty workspaces enable contractors of all types to complete projects in a timely, and less disruptive fashion, enabling corporate America to lay the groundwork to welcome back employees in what many hope will be the not too distant future.

The New Security Buzzword – Touchless Security

By Dominic Burns, AC Technical Systems Ltd.

Much of what people do on a daily basis involves touching hundreds of items without thought – we turn a door knob 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, people didn’t have to worry about these simple actions, as they didn’t pose a potential health and safety risk.

As COVID-19 has changed how we do interact with people, eliminating hand shaking and promoting social distancing, it has also impacted our desire, or lack thereof, to touch things. As a result, the security industry is seeing greater emphasis being placed on implementing solutions that can support a touchless security experience – eliminating the unnecessary transfer of germs between surfaces and people.

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. 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.

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. Security directors are investing in magnetic door strikes to turn once manually operated doors into automatic, 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.

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 then turn the keypad into a card reader and a touchless access solution.

The security industry is adapting to the new security norms, and market demands. Security directors are driving a market shift that now includes implementing new solutions designed to facilitate a touchless security experience.