By Tim Lakin, Co-Founder and Operations Director at Oracle Vision
There is barely a business around the world that hasn’t been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and commercial security is no exception. While our clients vary hugely, from hospitals and universities to huge manufacturing plants, a number of trends have united them in 2020. Here are the three main changes that Covid-19 has brought about in commercial security.
1. Managing access
Wherever you are toiling right now, chances are, there are new processes for how you enter your workplace. New processes to reduce the spread of Covid-19 have created a big burden for many businesses. You can’t just come straight in, you may need to check your temperature, sign in, or even wear protective equipment. As a result, many are turning to commercial security technology to make those processes more efficient.
For example, thermal cameras can vastly reduce the time it takes to assess someone’s temperature. What’s more, they can be linked to an access control system so that if they ‘pass’ the check, they can enter, and if not, only then is someone required to intervene.
2. Reducing contact
As we saw in the last example, as well as improving efficiency, commercial security technology can also be used to limit the contact your site visitors have with your personnel. This is top of mind for any organisation right now, but particularly in hospitals.
As well as thermal imaging, we’ve also seen far greater use of access control systems. Where in the past you may have seen ‘push to exit’ buttons, these are now being replaced by contactless access control systems that reduce contact and the potential spread of infection. Proximity cards have been hugely popular, as have automatic doors connected with intercom or video entry systems. Contactless access control systems can be more expensive, but for some organisations (e.g. in healthcare), this is an investment which is worthwhile, not just for Covid-19 but for the prevention of other infections and diseases.
3. Limiting the flow of people
Oracle Vision has supported our customers for years to manage the flow of people on their site. For example, event venues have complex protocols that leverage technology to encourage or restrict people from moving around certain areas depending on their access level. This year, that commercial security technology has been used far more widely. You may have seen a number of big supermarkets using a ‘traffic light’ system to limit the number of shoppers inside. That system is underpinned by access control technology – machines and automation are controlling the flow of people.
For many organisations, access control systems can be an effective tool to limit where people can go, to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. People management is a real concern for many of our customers, from airports to manufacturers. By using access control to engineer the flow of people, they can reduce their risk and ensure they’re looking after their staff and visitors.
At the time of writing, there is a silver lining to 2020, as we see vaccines being created in time for Christmas. However, it’s unlikely that things will return completely to normal any time soon, not least because the Covid-19 pandemic has changed so much about the way we work. Many of these changes are hugely positive, and we certainly hope to see these trends in commercial security continue into next year and beyond. But as with all new systems and tools, we must keep monitoring them to check that they’re working for us.