As we emerge from lockdown, organisations are reappraising the ability of their access control systems to keep building occupants safe.
I’m Pete England, PAC’s global product manager, and I’m going to explain why hands-free contactless technology is a vital part of an effective infection control strategy.
Our lives have altered radically over the last few months and as part of the ‘new normal’ we are encouraged to wash our hands more frequently, use hand sanitiser before and after touching anything and avoid physical contact with shared surfaces. Given what’s at stake from cross contamination, it’s not surprising that people are changing the way they engage with technology. Automated teller machines (ATM), money, chip and pin terminals, door handles, escalator handrails, lift buttons and supermarket self-service checkouts are now approached with a sense of trepidation.
As lockdown eases and people begin to return to their workplaces, employers and building managers face the challenge of making their buildings as safe and hygienic as possible in order to mitigate any potential health risks. This is an unenviable task and involves avoiding the use of devices that could easily become contaminated.
As such, the traditional push to exit button is one of the weak links in the infection control chain. It’s why PAC has introduced a new hands-free request to exit (RTE) button. Ideal for use in a range of applications including offices, multi-tenant residential buildings, schools, hospitals, veterinary surgeries, hotels and care homes, this clever device will help reduce the possibility of cross contamination and protect occupants, while also lowering the number of surfaces that need to be regularly cleaned.
Most businesses have taken a significant financial hit during lockdown, so the costs associated with implementing infection control measures need to be minimised. As well a low purchase price, the hands-free RTE button is quick and easy to install, as it fits into a standard single-gang electrical backbox. Likewise, where an existing push to exit button is in place, it can be retrofitted in minutes and wired into PAC controllers including the popular 512 and 212 devices, as well as the Easikey 99 and 250 products. Housed in a stylish stainless steel faceplate, its infrared technology is designed to prevent interference with other infrared devices located on-site, and with an adjustable latch time from 0.5 to 30 seconds, it can also be used as part of a social distancing policy.
On the move
Hands-free technology has been considered a luxury rather than a necessity but as attitudes towards contactless options shift in a more positive direction, access control will need to adapt accordingly. The current situation will also hasten the move towards using hands-free mobile credentials, which allow a user to authenticate their smartphone and use it as a way to enter and exit a building. It has been predicted that by the end of this year 20 per cent of organisations will use smartphones in place of traditional physical access cards and tokens.
Highly secure, smartphones can incorporate two-factor authentication (2FA) functionality that allows them to be used for contact tracing. PAC launched the Architect Bluetooth based Readers that support a range of identification modes including placing a smartphone in front of a reader, placing a hand close to a reader, simply passing within range of the reader, or tapping a smartphone screen twice. By downloading an app a virtual credential can be configured in a smartphone wallet, allowing the user to have multiple virtual ‘keys’ for different areas or sites.
With you all the way
Organisations must think about access control technology in a new way as they seek to protect their employees. The hands-free RTE is just one of a number of cost effective and easy to use solutions that PAC will be bringing to market to help meet the demands of its customers, as they combat the spread of infection, create more hygienic workplaces and adhere to new safety guidelines.
changing the way they engage with technology
20 per cent of organisations will use smartphones in place of traditional physical access cards and token
two-factor authentication (2FA)
Architect Bluetooth based Readers