Returning from furlough to the “new normal” raises the question of how can buildings stay secure whilst people remain safe in an attempt to mitigate the threat of Covid-19? Ellena O’Sullivan of AWS Tel Sec explores why a ‘touchless’ future may lie ahead.
Businesses are facing restrictions to the way they operate their buildings. High usage buildings, in particular, carry an increased risk of transmission as multiple individuals share common touch points such as push buttons, handles, push bars, keypads, and press-to-exit buttons. Although viruses are often invisible, they can remain infectious on stainless steel for up to 48 hours. As such, they pose an ongoing threat.
So, what are the answers?
Interestingly, electronic security systems could hold some of them, and one solution to minimise and mitigate the risk of virus transmission is through the use of touchless access control.
Touchless access control ensures that staff and visitors can move freely throughout the building without ever needing to touch a shared surface. Automatic doors can be installed along with infrared sensors which trigger doors to open, while push-to-exit buttons can be replaced with wave sensors to protect both staff and the public. Where security is paramount, there are a range of contact-free solutions to allow only authorised individuals to activate an automatic door.
Some manufacturers have now launched touch-free intercom panels, which use infrared button technology alongside touch-free buttons. The infrared buttons sense movement up to 60mm, so allow visitors to safely hover their hand over the button without touching the surface when making an intercom call.
Other more secure solutions include cards, tags or mobile phone Apps that can enable access for authorised members and allow security managers to customise authorisation lists for any door. All of this can happen whilst ensuring touchless access on entry and exit, completely eliminating the need for a user to make physical contact with the entryway.
Taking this concept a step further, facial recognition systems with built-in temperature checks are also available, and can allow/restrict access dependant on whether masks are obligatory. They’re so clever that they can recognise people with masks on and allow access if the user is logged.
Some touch screens now feature thermographic technology, which is touch-free and can measure the temperature of the forehead after face detection has taken place – anything over 38ºC will trigger with an accuracy of 0.5ºC. It’s advised that this type of device is switched on for 90 minutes to warm up first, and the technology we’ve used can be wall mounted or on a pole. It simply runs through a switch, NVR and PC, which can hold centralised management access control and temperature records. There are even more hi-tech options on the market as well, including solutions with biometric functionality such as palm vertification.
Another consideration at this time is, of course, social distancing. Where a limited number of people are permitted to use indoor spaces, access control can count the number of people that have entered a space, displaying the number of occupants and restricting entry to ensure social distancing is observed. The count is adjusting accordingly as people exit, removing the need for personnel to count people in/out and reducing the chances of transmission. Some manufacturers offer a traffic light system, which is very effective for this type of offering.
At AWS Tel Sec we’ve been busy throughout the lockdown servicing existing sites, and helping to make builidngs ‘Corona-proof’. We’ve adapted our offering to ensure we work with masks and gloves and uphold a high level of safety to both our engineers and our customers. Although a new way of thinking for some, we’ve really enjoyed getting to grips with the evolving technologies available to us and making buildings as safe as we possibly can.
Contact the professionals
AWS Tel Sec is happy to work alongside electrical contractors in planning, installing and maintaining customised networks. If you have any requirements please get in touch Ellena at: www.aws-access.com or on 01582 730241