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4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19
4 ways to keep your workplace protected from COVID-19

The unprecedented global impact of COVID-19 has taken its toll on all of us, but as cases of the virus thankfully recede, employers are now forced to confront how they can enable a safe return to work for employees. For many employers, this means they will have to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, redesign workspaces to maintain social distances, carry out more frequent cleaning, manage the transmission risk and find alternatives to touch-based security devices. Protecting workplace occupants in any emergency requires preparation and clear communication. This is especially critical in a health crisis involving an infectious disease. These are some of the essential best practices that could help organisations reduce the impact on their employees and operations during this pandemic. 1. Use a visitor management system With a visitor management system, organisations have a single source of real-time and historical insights into who is, or was recently, in the workplace. This is especially important because of the need to perform contact tracing should anyone in the organisation show symptoms of COVID-19, meaning everyone they have been in contact with needs to be contacted and asked to isolate. Yet still, first impressions are made at the front desk or lobby, where the visitor experience needs to be a positive one. At the same time, though, any emergency event requires that there be strict control over who is entering the workplace. This policy also needs to be clearly communicated to visitors. Doing this minimises risk to visitors as well as the workforce. In addition to delivering a high-quality visitor experience, the ideal visitor management system must: Enable organisations to meet regulatory compliance mandates and facilitate check-in at a self-service kiosk to minimise wait times. Customise the visitor experience to support specific security needs, such as accelerating and simplifying check-in or requiring additional security pre-checks. Automate compliance as it relates to visitor access rules with historical visit reports. 2. Pre-check questions at visitor registration kiosks Organisations can strengthen security at the registration kiosk using a flexible, enterprise-grade visitor management system to add visitor sign-in steps. This has proven successful in the past when used to control the spread of infectious disease during an outbreak. An example of this is a U.S. children's hospital which managed to reduce facility infection rates by 25 percent over a two-year period using a commercial, off-the-shelf physical identity and access management (PIAM) solution from HID Global. The solution provides two particularly important capabilities that can be used by organisations to protect their workplace from the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease: Enhance visitor registration policy with additional mandatory questions to help identify any visitors who may need other screenings. Extend the visitor registration kiosk with a mandatory pop-up asking further questions during visitor check-in. 3. Understand who has visited your workplace Successful controlling the spread of infection throughout a facility requires the ability to automatically maintain an auditable trail of activity. This can be done using an enterprise-grade visitor management system that makes it easy to retrieve historical visit reports. This provides a timeline of who was in the workplace, and when they were there. Key features include: A single dashboard providing useful visitor insights at your fingertips. Historical reports that provide visitor details including location and contact information, all in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other privacy regulations. 4. Clearly communicate how infection risks can be reduced Global organisations must actively communicate with visitors and employees on the outbreak of infectious diseases and follow best practices outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are several things organisations can do in this area to help maintain a safe and healthy workplace: Re-enforce and communicate WHO best practices with guideline posters in the front lobby and throughout the workplace. Add posters that also encourage regular and thorough washing of hands. Encourage everyone to cough or sneese into their shirt sleeve in their flexed elbow or cover their mouth and nose with a tissue. Encourage everyone to keep a relatively safe distance from each other and use alternatives to handshakes when saying hello. Organisations must contend with a variety of workplace challenges during the outbreak of an infectious disease. These challenges can be solved with best practices that include a comprehensive visitor management system that automates critical check-in policies and maintains an auditable trail of visitor activity.  

The role of building systems to ensure safety as employees return to work
The role of building systems to ensure safety as employees return to work

Returning to work after the global pandemic will not be business as usual, and security systems are an important asset when it comes to helping to keep occupants and buildings safe. For example, video analytics can provide insight into how spaces have previously been used and can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other or congregate. These foot-traffic patterns can inform settings for a variety of devices – like ventilation and temperature controls – and even help owners create social distancing plans and monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance. “While the ‘new normal’ is still being defined, we believe there will be a greater focus on creating healthier environments while also complying with new regulations,” says Marcus Logan, Global Offering Leader, Honeywell Commercial Security. “Temperature, humidity, energy efficiency, security, safety, comfort, productivity, and demonstrating compliance with regulations are all a part of a healthy building.” For example, social distancing is a new concept for the workplace. How do you make that happen in an open work setting, in breakrooms, elevator lobbies and meeting spaces? Optimised systems create healthier environments Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace Building owners will need to look at how they can optimise their systems – or deploy new ones – to create a healthier environment. Building technologies, like those provided by Honeywell's Healthy Buildings solutions, provide building owners with more control over critical factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations, and a company's risk management policies. These solutions also provide transparency for occupants into a building's status, says Logan. Hygiene will be a critical issue: People will want to know that the spaces are ready for their return. Increased cleaning procedures and schedules will evolve, and a way will be needed to demonstrate the procedures are effective and that they have been strictly adhered to. Identifying ways to measure effectiveness of sanitisation and track compliance to the procedures will be a key challenge to solve. This is a space that will evolve significantly in the coming months and years, says Logan. Access control and video analytics Contact tracing is a new requirement in some businesses, and security technology – like access control and video analytics with advanced reporting – can help. Access control technology integrated with video analytics can be used to trace occupant movements within a facility. These technologies capture data that can be used with advanced reporting to provide a digital footprint of where a person has been within a facility and if they may have been exposed to someone identified as being infected with a contagious virus. Building owners can then proactively notify exposed individuals evolve to self-quarantine and minimise further spread of an infection. Video analytics can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace. They will not only seek confidence that the building is optimised for a healthier environment but also that processes are in place to quickly identify and respond to potential issues. Transparency and visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace. “One way to do this is to share building analytics with occupants – to help them understand factors about the indoor air quality or occupancy density,” says Logan. Controlled health, safety and security Honeywell’s solutions provide building owners with more control over critical health, safety and security factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations and a company’s risk management policies, Logan adds. Visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace Every day there is new information coming from the medical and scientific community about COVID-19, and the building industry is just starting to learn what it all means. Logan warns that there is no single solution that will keep every environment healthy and safe. A good strategy features deploying a combination of solutions, optimising systems and being vigilant to make sure that companies are sustaining compliance to new and changing regulations, says Logan. “Today more than ever we must be mindful of the changing culture of how buildings are managed by making apparent the need to be mindful of health and well-being in all aspects of our lives,” says Logan. Honeywell has developed outcome-based solutions that allow building owners to transparently address building quality factors while supporting their business continuity needs in the uncertain environment. “We’re giving them the data they need to confidently reassure their employees to accelerate their business operations,” he adds.

Elevated temperature screening is paving the way to Britain’s reopening
Elevated temperature screening is paving the way to Britain’s reopening

Technology has played a vital role in how businesses have enabled their employees to work productively from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of us who can do our jobs from home you only have to look at the ‘Zoom Boom’ to see how much our working lives have changed compared to the beginning of the year. Despite the fact that those companies that can are now productively and efficiently operating remotely, the country is now facing the next challenge in this crisis: how to safely reopen workplaces for those who can’t. There is no argument that the economy hasn’t taken a hit during this unpredictable time. Shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities have been forced to close, and 23% of the country’s workforce (6.3 million people) has been furloughed. It’s no surprise that the Bank of England has warned that the UK is heading towards its sharpest recession on record. To counter this economic risk, the government is taking steps to slowly and cautiously reopen the economy by easing lockdown measures, sending people back to work and allowing businesses to reopen. With non-essential retail outlets now able to open from the 15th June, the question business owners face is how to operate safely and maintain social distancing practices, which are set to remain in place until such time as a vaccine is widely available. With lockdown easing and a ‘new normal’ on the horizon, the health of the country’s workforce mustn’t be forgotten in a bid to save the economy. This is why technology that can allow for a controlled return to work, while mitigating any risks to the health of consumers and employees, must play a part in the easing of lockdown. Temperature screening in the new normal Elevated temperature screening is one technology that should play a key part in return to work strategies and the safe reopening of businesses. This valuable solution uses a thermal and optical camera to analyse body temperature, which is a key indicator of the presence of a potential illness, and discreetly alerts the operator when the set temperature threshold is exceeded by someone screened by the tool. With temperature screening technology in place, the exposure of potentially infected individuals to others can be dramatically decreased and the risk of a localised outbreak minimised. Furthermore, for businesses such as retailers whose success is dependent on customers feeling safe to visit the premises, it has the added benefit of giving them additional assurances that visible measures for their protection are in place. In combination with other solutions, such as vigorous testing and screens to protect employees and customers, returning to work can be safe and controlled. With temperature screening technology in place, the exposure of potentially infected individuals to others can be dramatically decreased The reality of a ‘new normal’ may already be visible in some industries, such as grocery retail where one-way systems, plastic screens and constant cleaning are already in place. However, elevated temperature screening has countless applications for both essential and non-essential industries, ranging from offices and train stations, to hospitals and pharmacies. This screening technology allows businesses to take preventative steps to minimise the chances of the wider workforce and customers coming into contact with someone exhibiting symptoms of a potential illness. A number of businesses are already deploying this technology, such as Vodafone, which has deployed heat detection cameras at key UK sites to protect its employees. The camera used by the telco can screen up to eight people at once and 100 people per minute, while judging body temperature in less than half a second – all of which makes it ideal for congested and high traffic areas. Not all solutions are created equal Over the past few months, we have been inundated with images and videos of temperature screening taking place within key industries, which have continued to operate through the pandemic. However, the hand-held thermometers commonly being used require the device to be within an extremely short range of the subject and are only able to screen one person at a time. This is why remote elevated temperature screening solutions are so valuable – especially given that social distancing guidelines are unlikely to be relaxed in the near future. Stand-off solutions can enable temperature screening to take place without the need for close human interaction, further safeguarding employees and reducing the risk of contact with potentially infected individuals. Elevated temperature screening has countless applications for both essential and non-essential industries, ranging from offices and train stations, to hospitals and pharmacies Along with remote capabilities, there are a number of other crucial factors to take into account. The solution must be quick and easy to implement, as well as being highly accurate. When paired with a blackbody, the accuracy of temperature screening solutions can be within 0.3°C. Connectivity is also key and adopting an end-to-end solution linked to a centralised command and control location is invaluable. With holistic connectivity, these solutions can encompass cameras installed in multiple locations, and alarms can be viewed locally, remotely or on a smartphone app. This means that staff don’t need to provide direct supervision to the device on-site. With the guidelines regarding which industries and sectors can reopen changing on an almost daily basis, it’s important that these protective solutions can be installed without overhauling the surveillance infrastructure already in place. Looking ahead, adopting a solution with an upgrade path to other enhancements, such a facial recognition, is favourable as they can be used in conjunction with future and existing security measures.  Shop local Stand-off solutions can enable temperature screening to take place without the need for close human interaction Businesses have plenty on their minds as they prepare for the uncertainty that is sure to continue throughout the rest of the year and beyond. However, due diligence can’t be left to the wayside when looking to adopt an elevated temperature screening solution. There are high-risk vendors present in the market, many of which have been blacklisted in the US, and they must be given a wide berth. Buying British-made technology can alleviate these security concerns, as well as avoiding any logistical issues caused by the breakdown of global supply chains.  As the economy cautiously reopens, the country will have to adapt to a ‘new normal’ over the coming months. Elevated temperature screening solutions should be implemented by businesses to protect the health of the workforce and customers alike – ultimately paving the way to a safe and controlled return to work.

Latest Interlogix news

Optex secures a used car lot perimeter with OPTEX Visual Verification Bridge and OPTEX Redwall SIP-3020 motion detectors
Optex secures a used car lot perimeter with OPTEX Visual Verification Bridge and OPTEX Redwall SIP-3020 motion detectors

A used car lot owner had re-occurring issues with intruders cutting holes in the perimeter fence during night-time hours and vandalising or burglarising the area. The intruders would not enter the small office building, so the security system was never triggered. The customer did own a video surveillance system and it would record criminal activity but it did not prevent or deter crime. Integrating motion detectors Using the existing intrusion alarm panel (Interlogix NX8-v2 panel) and the existing video system, the system integrator introduced two OPTEX Visual Verification Bridges and four OPTEX Redwall SIP-3020 Outdoor PIR motion detectors. The motion detectors were installed over the two main perimeter light poles pointing into the lot with IP cameras located directly above each of the motion detectors. Access to camera visual With the two Visual Verification Bridges installed, the integrator can provide operators immediate access to eight live cameras during every alarm event. The Redwall SIP-3020 provided up to 30m of distance coverage and 20m width, complete with anti-masking and vandal tampers. With this simple but effective solution, the integrator was able to provide their customer with immediate visual verification of alarm sensors, only when the alarm panel is armed. Wireless key fobs were provided so the dealer can arm and disarm the system from outside the gate helping to eliminate false alarms during arming and disarming. Reduced false alarms Since the completion of this installation, there have been several nuisance alarms caused by cats that were immediately disregarded. Due to the visual verification solution there was no intrusion and the client has not had any vandalism or crime since. Per the customer’s request, the OPTEX Bridge has been installed on three additional car lots.

Feenics welcomes Yannis Souris and Chris Smith to its Ottawa headquarters to address continued growth
Feenics welcomes Yannis Souris and Chris Smith to its Ottawa headquarters to address continued growth

Feenics Inc., an award-winning provider of the Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) Keep by Feenics cloud-hosted platform, has added two new team members to its Ottawa headquarters. Yannis Souris has been appointed Marketing Manager and Chris Smith takes on the role of Regional Sales Manager for the Northeast, as the company continues to address its ongoing fast growth in the cloud-hosted access control market. Souris is a seasoned marketing professional with 20 years of experience in digital marketing programs, brand management and e-Commerce platforms. His marketing, advertising and creative work has garnered Souris considerable recognition—earning more than 200 local, national and international awards. Cloud-hosted platform Chris Smith is a results-oriented professional with nearly a decade of experience managing a national territory At Feenics, Souris will work closely with top management to continue to communicate the Feenics story of the efficiencies of a cloud-hosted platform—focusing on social media, media outreach and internal and external marketing programs. Prior to joining Feenics, Souris was Digital Marketing Director for Knowland Courses and Workshops in Ottawa. New Regional Sales Manager for the Northeast, Chris Smith is a results-oriented professional with nearly a decade of experience managing a national territory, focusing on the implementation of effective strategies to increase sales and grow the customer base. Most recently he was Regional Sales Manager for Interlogix, where he managed and developed the dealer channel, attaining leading sales results. His other achievements include: 2018 Top Rising Talent Award; Employee of the Quarter Q1 2018; and Top 10% in sales quota achievement. Assist in critical initiatives “As we continue to grow, adding important team members will assist in our critical initiatives and messaging,” said Paul DiPeso, Executive Vice President of Feenics. “With these two hires, we bring new and exciting marketing expertise and deep sales experience to the Feenics organisation.” Keep by Feenics gives users the choice of on-site servers or offsite cloud deployment Feenics continues to fortify its position as an ACaaS market leader, recently certified as an International Organisation for Standardisation ISO 9001:2015 company. To address global growth, Feenics opened an office in the Middle East and since has added other management and sales team members to solidify its market expansion. Feenics is the maker of Keep, a cloud-hosted platform that provides extreme scalability, unprecedented flexibility and advanced security in ACaaS applications. Native visitor management It integrates native visitor management and a RESTful API that allows systems installers simple integration of a wide array of complementary systems and open hardware devices, generating new revenue streams while creating a path for customers to lower their total cost of system ownership. Keep by Feenics gives users the choice of on-site servers or offsite cloud deployment, hosted by the public cloud Amazon Web Services. Keep significantly minimises costs through simple, maintenance-free and automatic upgrades, patches, disaster recovery and back up.

Interlogix plans to dismantle its businesses in the United States and Canada by the end of the year
Interlogix plans to dismantle its businesses in the United States and Canada by the end of the year

Interlogix, a division of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, announces a plan to dismantle its businesses in the United States and Canada by the end of the year. Here is a statement from the company: “After a thorough portfolio review of our security business, we have communicated our plans to wind down our Interlogix U.S. and Canada businesses. This decision will allow us to focus on the significant growth opportunities for our other fire and security businesses, including LenelS2.” Fire detection and life safety Dealers can continue to purchase, install, register, and service Interlogix products with complete confidence" Interlogix products will be manufactured and orders fulfilled through 2019 and will be available for purchase from distributors and dealers during ‘a well-coordinated transition period,’ according to the company. “We will continue to provide customer support related to product technical services, timely fulfilment and comprehensive product warranty into 2020 and beyond,” says the company statement “Dealers can continue to purchase, install, register, and service Interlogix products with complete confidence.” Interlogix represents a full product line including intrusion detection, video surveillance, fire detection and life safety, access control and security/fire data transmission products. Enhanced video streaming capabilities Interlogix was created in the merger in 2000 of ITI Technologies and SLC Technologies. It was purchased by General Electric in 2002 and later renamed GE Security. United Technologies Corp. (UTC) bought the security business of General Electric in 2010 and reverted back to using the Interlogix brand. Last year, Interlogix introduced TruVision Navigator version 8.0 of its unified security software Last year, Interlogix introduced TruVision Navigator version 8.0 of its popular unified security software, including enhanced video streaming capabilities, integration with the Interlogix UltraSync Modular Hub systems and tighter integration with IFS networking switches. Voice-controlled digital devices Early this year, Interlogix reinvested in its UL-listed, professional-grade, security panel lineup and added two touchscreen controls. In addition, it began providing access to more device integrations – such as sensors, lights, locks, thermostats and garage door controls, video doorbell cameras and voice-controlled digital devices, among others. In the spring, the company re-launched its Interlogix Security Pro program, a national channel partner program offering Interlogix dealers an array of resources and incentives designed to help them successfully grow their businesses.

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