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Touchless Access Control for the New Normal

Physical access control system in the ‘New Normal’ will be different because Covid-19 has introduced a new sense of awareness on how people interact with objects and each other such as shaking hands or touching a door handle. Hence, there will be more demands for touchless solutions to help minimise human-to-object touchpoints, preventing viral transmission.

Alex Tan, Commercial Director of Physical Access Control, HID Global, ASEAN told The Story Thailand that mobile access and the use of mobile apps is a top trend shaping the access-control industry in the current and near future, providing the user with a touch-free experience.

Even more, mobile access allows security administrators to issue and revoke credentials over the air, reducing person-to-person interactions in the workplace.

In addition to touchless solutions, data security will be of growing concern to both service providers and consumers. To start, identity management and data privacy will be a prized asset as the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption, thus increasing cybersecurity risk. As data breaches become more pervasive, companies that protect and earn digital trust can be a valuable commodity, and it was started to change the way management looks at security.

This trend was already in motion but has been accelerated by the pandemic. In recent years, businesses are waking up to the reality that good security is a business enabler instead a cost center.

In the new digital age, solutions require devices to be connected to capture data insights that allow companies to deliver personalized services for better customer user experience. Doing so requires a solution ecosystem that makes standalone systems a thing of the past. A service model mentality will outweigh the traditional product only approach. 

As it relates to physical access control, consider the technology of mobile access – by pairing with an app through a mobile phone, users can generate more data sets based on the high frequency of its usage and mobility.  With connected architecture deeper insights can be mined from the data sets to provide tailored solutions that improve the user experience for companies. 

Of course, ensuring the integrity of this type of data is critical. This means that such architecture should easily integrate to existing systems or platforms, as well as use trusted technology that can protect and prevent electronic attacks. End user privacy is key in sustaining the interactions between the users and the system.  

New technologies for physical access control in the new normal era 

With the new scenario, there is a need to adjust the physical access control technology. Alex Tan said that meeting the needs of the new normal can be achieved by leveraging existing physical access control technologies to help companies safely return their employees to the workplace. Many of these align with touchless solutions to help reduce person-to-person and person-to-object touchpoints. 

One example is utilizing digital visitor management technologies, as visitors introduce a new variable to the safety of a facility. Visitors must be credentialed upon entry, and their whereabouts throughout the building must be known for security reasons, should contact tracing become necessary.

Sound policies and advanced technologies can ensure safe movement of visitors. Visitor management solutions can be used either standalone or in conjunction with an organization’s access control system. Visitors self-register in the lobby and hosts are notified when they arrive. Driver’s license scanners, barcode scanners, cameras, and printers all help support those front desk processes.

Real-time location services technology 

A newer technology that is of growing importance in our new normal is location services. Real-time location services technology allows organizations to manage the real-time location of individuals in a workplace, including occupancy levels, which go hand-in-hand with effective social distancing and movement monitoring. 

Location service systems can make space utilization more efficient. Connected beacons broadcast room occupancy, for example, letting people know which spaces are free and which are in use. In the same way, this connectivity could serve as an early-warning system when a room is at or beyond its assigned capacity to facilitate social distancing.

There’s also significant forensic value in this capability. Should an individual test positive for COVID, the arduous task of contact tracing — identifying people who have an infectious disease and those they’ve come in contact with — is automated. 

Another important aspect of touchless access control solutions is the capability of over-the-air provisioning. This capability minimizes contact for those seeking credentials, and it can have a dramatic impact on the human-to-human contact for the administrator charged with assigning credentials. Fewer visits from those looking to obtain credentials significantly reduces the risk factor for those that normally see a range of personnel on a daily basis. This delivery system is akin to getting your favorite purchase book in digital format delivered to your e-reader device. 

Mobile access will be of particular value to organizations looking to reduce person-to-object contact. To facilitate this, iBeacon technology has contributed to better user experience. iBeacon supported  in HID Signo Readers allows for the HID Mobile Access app to be “woken up” before being presented to the reader, resulting in a better and seamless user experience. For example, when the user reach to the door, the app will be automatically awaken and is ready to be use for authentication to open the door. 

Open API architecture allowing Mobile Access to be embedded in the Building Management/Smart Community App improving trust within the eco-system enabling frequency of the app usage – generating richer data sets improving data analytics accuracy to generate new business innovation and new revenue streams through Big Data. We have seen a sharp rise of smart building developer partnerships incorporating our Mobile Access technology into their application to improve their application richness and offering.    

“Post Covid19, I would envisage that the PACS solutioning landscape will be better forward integrated in user experience allowing a single mobile credential to be use across a plethora of access control devices – thereby increasing the breadth of the eco-system and use case across both open and indoor applications. This will allow end users to move between the physical and logical world in a seamless manner enriching both customer experience and personal data protection, monitoring and control”

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