Access control software - Expert commentary

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 Texecom news

Texecom, CSL and Hikvision to sponsor WorldSkills LIVE to raise awareness about security and surveillance industry
Texecom, CSL and Hikvision to sponsor WorldSkills LIVE to raise awareness about security and surveillance industry

Texecom is delighted to be sponsoring, along with CSL and Hikvision, the new Electronic Security Systems Competition at this year’s WorldSkills UK LIVE on 21–23 November at the NEC in Birmingham. WorldSkills UK and Skills for Security launched the competition to raise awareness of apprenticeship and career opportunities in the security and surveillance industry. Attracting over 70,000 visitors, WorldSkills UK LIVE is the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event. Electronic Security Systems Texecom has been a longstanding supporter of engineering apprentice training within the security industry" The event also hosts the National Finals of the WorldSkills UK Competitions which see the UK’s top apprentices and students compete to win Gold, Silver and Bronze in their chosen skill. This year, for the first time, visitors to LIVE will be able to watch apprentices take part in the Electronic Security Systems Competition which has been designed to reflect the role of an Electronic Security Engineer and the high standards that are expected within the industry. “Texecom has been a longstanding supporter of engineering apprentice training within the security industry, and we are delighted to partner with WorldSkills UK and Skills for Security for the launch of this competition,” says Clym Brown, Texecom’s Marketing Director. Electronic security apprentices “Electronic security fundamentally protects people’s lives and livelihoods and as such is a very worthwhile endeavour for young people to consider as a career choice. This new competition will highlight the skills and innovation in the industry to a wider audience, as well as increasing the training level and knowledge base of electronic security apprentices already involved.” As part of its commitment to helping the next generation of security engineers and installers adapt to the digital revolution, Texecom recently launched the Texecom Academy. Designed to help security professionals get ahead of the digital curve, it redefines what it means to be a security professional by providing the skills, tools and mindset that will define the future of security – for installers and their customers.

Texecom Cloud wins ‘Technological Innovation of the Year’ at the PSI Premier Awards
Texecom Cloud wins ‘Technological Innovation of the Year’ at the PSI Premier Awards

Texecom Cloud is delighted to announce that they were awarded ‘Technological Innovation of the Year’ in the recent PSI Premier Awards. Accessible on any internet-connected device, Texecom Cloud enables security installers to manage multiple alarm systems from one simple interface, simultaneously. This in turn helps them save money and increase revenues by being more efficient and adding value to their customers. It gives engineers complete control over their alarm system portfolio – this includes safeguards to ensure only the right people have access to the right data. Engineers are restricted to only view and access security systems that are specific to them. Simple, quick and easily accessible The company has invested a great deal into R&D to develop the best, most relevant technology" System programming is simple, quick and easily accessible, and there is even the option to create custom programming templates from previous installations or imported Wintex profiles. This reduces the number of programming steps required, guaranteeing consistency from site-to-site and eliminating programming errors. One of the most important features of Texecom Cloud is remote maintenance and health checks. This reduces the number of times installers need to visit a site to diagnose, maintain, manage and service customer’s alarm panels – it can even eliminate the need to go on site completely. Digital revolution in security “We’re absolutely delighted to have won this award,” comments Texecom’s Marketing Director Clym Brown. “The company has invested a great deal into R&D to develop the best, most relevant technology to help our commercial and residential installers adapt to the digital revolution in security. Texecom Cloud, along with our TexecomPro App and our award-winning Texecom Connect connectivity options, are designed to help them increase revenues and delight their customers!”

IFSEC announces IFSEC Europe to expand and enhance global standing
IFSEC announces IFSEC Europe to expand and enhance global standing

IFSEC hosts globally renowned security content and events, with shows in the United Kingdom, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines. Soon, the IFSEC brand will extend into mainland Europe with the launch of IFSEC Europe, a brand-new biennial security event providing a new gateway to the European integrated security market. Taking place for the first time on 20-22 September 2021 at RAI Amsterdam Convention Centre, IFSEC Europe will create a pan-European home for integrated security, fire safety and intelligent buildings professionals in one of Europe’s most dynamic and accessible capitals. IFSEC Europe IFSEC has established itself as a widely-respected hub for launching products and solutions Co-located alongside Intelligent Buildings Europe, the new event will complement IFSEC’s flagship show IFSEC International, which will continue to take place annually at ExCeL London. This expansion is the result of a three-year research project to find the next hub for IFSEC’s global security community, designed to bring the expertise, prestige and comprehensiveness of the UK show to continental Europe. IFSEC has established itself as a widely-respected hub for launching products and solutions, as well as showpiece events such as 2019’s National Surveillance Camera Day. In 2019 it welcomed over 80,000 visitors across all of its events from over 120 countries. IFSEC Europe will better connect the major players in security manufacturing and distribution with key end-users, installers, integrators and consultants across mainland Europe. Source products and discover insights at IFSEC Responding to shifts in the European and global economy, IFSEC Europe offers UK, continental and international security professionals a platform from which to penetrate the European market. It’s a unique opportunity for firms to source products, discover insights and generate new business connections in one of Europe’s largest conference venues. IFSEC Europe will extend the IFSEC brand into a vibrant market" Moreover, RAI Amsterdam could not be better placed to accommodate the new event. Just fifteen minutes from the major hub at Schiphol Airport and boasting its own railway station, the venue offers convenient links to one of Europe’s most celebrated business centres and tourist destinations. IFSEC International security event Gerry Dunphy, Strategy Director of IFSEC International said, “IFSEC Europe will extend the IFSEC brand into a vibrant market to parallel and complement the London-based IFSEC International, which will remain IFSEC’s centre-piece event. It will provide a much-needed hub for the European security industry, and create a new entry point for the European market for the UK-based firms that already attend IFSEC International.” Gerry adds, “Amsterdam is centrally-located and easily-accessible, making it the ideal location for a pan-European security event. In addition, it’s a beautiful, dynamic and exciting city in which we’ve been working to launch an event since 2017, so it’s a joy to finally announce a major event there.” Integrated security tradeshow IFSEC International in London remains the most important event for the UK security market" Simon Young, Event Director of IFSEC International said, “We’re thrilled to announce this addition to the IFSEC portfolio. IFSEC International in London remains the most important event for the UK security market, but we feel this expansion into Amsterdam meets an urgent need for a sophisticated, comprehensive integrated security tradeshow in the European market.” The event is being launched in conjunction with some of IFSEC’s existing premier partners, including CSL, Texecom, UTC, Vanderbilt, Dahua and Euralarm, speaking to the high confidence these major security industry players have in the IFSEC brand. Partnership with CSL Pascal Zeegers, Director, CSL Benelux said “CSL is excited to be a part of the launch of IFSEC Europe at the RAI Amsterdam in 2021. We already have strong partnerships in the Benelux region and are rapidly growing our customers in the wider European areas, so the timing is perfect.” He adds ,“As a long standing IFSEC Premier Partner, CSL understands the value and legacy of a global brand such as IFSEC, so this new addition to the portfolio, in a major European destination, is welcome. I look forward to meeting all our customers in Amsterdam for what promises to be a rich and engaging event for the security and fire safety sectors.’’ Vanderbilt and Comnet to engage at IFSEC Europe IFSEC has been important for Vanderbilt and ComNet in reaching our UK customers" Sam Lord, Events Manager Vanderbilt International (UK) Limited, said ‘’IFSEC Europe is a new opportunity for Vanderbilt and ComNet to engage with our key European commercial partners in one of the world’s favourite cities, and an exciting prospect for us to showcase our world leading technologies. IFSEC has been important for Vanderbilt and ComNet in reaching our UK customers and we welcome this strategic decision to expand the show’s influence into Europe.’’ Jim Ludwig, Managing Director, Texecom Ltd., said ‘’Texecom is pleased to endorse and support the news that IFSEC Europe is coming to Amsterdam in September 2021. We have strong business partnerships across the whole of Europe so an event of IFSEC’s stature coming across to the Continent provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet with our partners and colleagues from key European markets. Texecom has enjoyed a long association with IFSEC for many years supporting various events in the UK, South East Asia and India so we’re looking forward to being a major participant at IFSEC Europe 2021.’’ Euralarm and Carrier excited about IFSEC Europe Martin Harvey, President, Euralarm, said ‘’Euralarm is excited to hear that IFSEC is coming to Amsterdam in 2021. As a dedicated and committed European organisation focused on the fire and security sectors, the event will provide us with a significant opportunity to engage with industry and market stakeholders in a truly focused way.’’ We are excited to learn that IFSEC is taking a strategic decision to expand into Europe" Kris Somers, Strategic Marketing & Communications Director, Carrier, said “We are excited to learn that IFSEC is taking a strategic decision to expand into Europe. As a long standing participant to IFSEC in London, we welcome the launch of IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam in 2021. It will provide an opportunity for leading stakeholders to engage with customers in a highly focused environment. As a global fire and security company providing the technology and solutions that protect and save lives, Carrier looks forward to exploring the potential this event has to offer.” Dahua and BSIA promote IFSEC Europe Lilia Zhang, General Manager, Dahua UK Limited, said ‘’Dahua is fully supportive of the launch of IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam. We have a proven and successful relationship with IFSEC in the UK so we’re excited to see this new development arriving in 2021.” Mike Reddington, CEO, BSIA, said ‘’BSIA and IFSEC have a strong and long-standing relationship which goes back many years, so we’re naturally excited to support the launch of IFSEC Europe in 2021. In view of the UK security industry’s export relationship with Europe, it is vital that its official trade association is taking a leading role at this new event and we look forward to working with our members at IFSEC Europe in Amsterdam.’’

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