Access Control’s New Normal

Access Control’s New Normal

Businesses all over the country have access control systems for security purposes, many of which require physical contact through keypad systems. While these systems are effective in securing entry points, they present a problem in 2020 with concerns over Coronavirus spread. Since the Coronavirus is spread through droplets that can stick on surfaces for extended periods of time, frequent touchpoints, such as keypads or door locks around offices and high-traffic areas, can be concerning. If someone with the virus happens to sneeze or spread droplets onto a touch-pad system to enter a building, the infectious particles can remain there for days, putting others at risk.

To help eliminate the spread of this highly contagious virus, businesses have been forced to reconsider their access control systems, often upgrading to touchless options to limit contamination while still maintaining a secured facility.

Alternatives to Touch Keypad Systems

There are multiple alternatives to the high-touch surfaces that keypad systems create. Here are a few options:

  • Keycards and key fobs – Rather than entering a number or code on a touchpad manually, switching to a badge or fob system would simply require scanning the access control reader, without touching a device to the interface.
  • Bluetooth-enabled smartphones – Utilizing Bluetooth access control measures would eliminate the need for touch systems as well, requiring less equipment as employees would simply scan their smartphones in front of a reader.
  • Biometric – In more high-secure environments, biometric options can eliminate touchpoints by scanning a person’s retina or using facial recognition technology to enter a facility.

Addressing Door Opening Touchpoints

You may be thinking, “Well, it’s great to eliminate the touchpoint for unlocking the door, but what about when you’re touching the door or door handle to enter the building or room?” There are, in fact, many solutions. For example, there are cost-effective automatic door augmentations you can add to existing swing doors.

If door automation doesn’t work for your business, you can easily retrain your staff to follow safety standards while opening doors. Use a shoulder or elbow to push open a door or use a napkin to pull open a door. Like many of us who’ve learned to wash hands for 20 seconds, sanitize frequently used surfaces and avoid handshakes, your employees will easily pick up safety standards for touching frequently used doors.

Access control solutions can be just one part of a wider Back to Work strategy. Many businesses are adopting multiple tools to keep their workplace safe as employees return. Self-certification surveys, health screening checkpoints, continuous monitoring cameras and contact tracing tools are all popular considerations. If business leaders choose to adopt a suite of services for their Back to Work initiative, touchless access control can easily fit into that plan.

Best practices for these solutions suggest all tools be maintained and monitored using one centralized dashboard. This way business leaders can monitor checkpoints and employee statuses in real time. A centralized dashboard can also provide the ability to remotely control badge/fob access. For example, if an employee with an activated keycard answers a self-certification survey to suggest they could be contagious, or fail a health screening test, managers can remotely deactivate the badge, effectively locking them out of the work environment. This process can also be automated.

Benefits of Touchless Door Access to Schools and Workplaces

Keypads and door handles are the most touched surfaces in offices and schools. Removing the need to touch these surfaces greatly reduces the risk of contamination. The ability to automatically take away access to entrances for people who have failed certain checkpoints is another layer of security. By implementing touchless door access, you’re taking steps to keep your community safe.