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.