Visitor and Employee Management in the Time of COVID
It is the start of another week. Scheduled deliveries, employees coming and going, visitors meeting with clients, and a box of chocolate covered strawberries arriving for an anniversary. With so many people making their way into an office building on any given day, it is vital that today’s visitor and employee management systems are prepared to keep the grounds safe from unwanted visitors, including COVID-19.
When the coronavirus pandemic abruptly made its way into our lives, ensuring visitor and employee health and safety became more critical than ever. Systems that used a lot of shared touchpoints or were slow and cumbersome suddenly posed newfound health concerns, and demand grew almost overnight for visitor management systems that could do more to keep people safe. “Access control is an important issue even under normal circumstances,” writes Jonathan Lach of SecurityMagazine.com. “But right now, in the middle of a pandemic, it’s at the forefront of almost every discussion.”
Now that vaccines are becoming more widely available, many companies have decided to open their doors. As they do, it’s vital that visitor management systems play an increased role in making the modern office building a healthy environment for everyone.
Contemporary Approaches to Visitor Management
Upon visiting an office building, you have probably been greeted with some sort of visitor management tool. You may have signed a logbook with a pen or used an iPad or kiosk to type in your personal information. You might have been handed a temporary badge to gain access to the building. All of these scenarios involve touching objects shared by a great many people, accelerating the spread of germs.
Physically touching anything designed to be used by many people can be especially scary given how easy viruses can spread. The average person’s hands typically carry at least 3,000 different bacteria belonging to more than 100 species, according to US researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. And viruses can linger on a surface for as long as 28 days per The Japan Times.
Frightening statistics such as these are everywhere, and the average employee or office visitor is more aware of them than ever. Today’s reliance on physical touchpoints in visitor management make it very easy for germs to spread. Whether it’s a pen and logbook, or kiosk touchscreen, the very process poses a risk of infection. Long lines also pose a risk, this time for violating social distancing guidelines. Today’s visitor management touchscreens can be slow to navigate, and manually entering your information takes time. To keep people moving through safely, the process needs to not only be touchless, it must be fast as well.
The Future Lies with Biometrics
With contemporary systems struggling to meet the increasingly difficult requirements we face post-COVID, a biometrically powered solution is the ideal course of action for any visitor management provider. Biometrics eliminate the need for physical touchpoints by using a person’s face, voice, or iris instead of manually typed data entry. Modern biometric solutions are mobile, using a device’s native camera and microphone to perform highly secure and convenient identification and authentication without the need for specialized equipment or hardware. Instead of a touchpad to type in their identifying information, visitors or employees can be prompted through a device to share their face and voice, granting them access to the building, or notifying someone inside of their arrival without touching a single thing.
The speed of visitor management scenarios also improves with biometrics. By replacing manual data entry with face, voice or iris recognition, visitors and employees can move through the process more efficiently, adding convenience and saving time. Additionally, faster visitor management reduces the number of potential people in a shared space, such as a lobby, reducing security concerns and increasing adherence to social distancing protocols.
In addition to addressing health concerns through the elimination of physical touchpoints, biometrics also strengthen a building’s security by eliminating the need for passwords or physical tokens, such as keycards. Traditional access methods, such as those, are inherently vulnerable, and susceptible to theft. Instead of relying on items that you have, such as a password or keycard, biometrics rely on something you are, and when tied to visitor management, provide a much stronger security solution than modern alternatives.
Important Elements of any Biometrically Powered Solution
Any building or visitor management solution provider considering biometrics will have to take the following factors into consideration before determining the best solution for the specific need:
Health and Wellbeing
With the onset of COVID-19, people are sensitive to shared physical devices such as kiosks or touchpads more than ever. Check-in procedures that involve large numbers of people touching a small number of objects leave visitors feeling worried about their health. Biometric modalities such as face, iris or speaker recognition eliminate the need for physical touchpoints altogether.
Both visitors, employees and office managers want the check-in process to be quick and painless. Spending a long time waiting for a receptionist is frustrating, and if a kiosk’s user interface is vague or confusing, the inconvenience grows. Incorporating biometrics allows for a very simple and streamlined process, getting people to where they want to go more easily than ever.
Security is paramount when it comes to visitor and employee management solutions. Companies want to know who is visiting their offices and whether they are authorized to enter. Modern biometric solutions address these needs by being highly secure; removing the need for things that can be stolen, such as keycards, with something that cannot: a person’s unique physical characteristics.
System Upgrades Versus Replacement
Visitor management solutions that do not rely on physical guestbooks and sign-in sheets can be expensive to implement, with pricey kiosks, cameras, and hardware to install. Biometrics can be added to an existing system, upgrading it with new functionality without new hardware. By adding biometrics to an existing visitor management system, it can be time and cost effective.
Biometric Modality Availability
Any provider looking to incorporate biometrics into its visitor management solution should also take note of the number of modalities available through a single biometric vendor. Biometric modalities such as face, voice or iris are available through many modern vendors, but very few provide all of them under one roof. Going with a biometric solutions provider than offers you more options allows for a great deal of flexibility should you want to add or switch modalities without shopping around for a new vendor.
Touchless Access and Workplace Confidence with Aware
Aware’s touchless, mobile biometric authentication solutions are designed to enroll and authenticate visitors and employees securely, conveniently, and safely. With Aware, visitor management providers can use existing devices or kiosks to conduct biometric matching and liveness detection at check-in, providing a safe, secure and convenient user experience. Aware’s industry-leading facial and speaker recognition can be integrated directly into existing systems without the need for a replacement, saving time and money. Aware also provides multiple biometric modalities for its customers—face, voice and iris—providing a great deal of flexibility and customization options without the need to shop around.
Visitor and employee management systems that incorporate Aware’s biometric offerings can expect the following:
Aware’s facial and voice recognition is entirely touchless, increasing visitor and employee safety by removing the need for touching shared devices and logbooks. Visitors can present their faces and voices without the touch of a button.
Frictionless User Experience
Get visitors and employees where they want to go quickly and easily. Aware’s password-free facial and voice biometric recognition allows for convenient, frictionless onboarding and authentication, reducing waiting time and improving social distancing.
Robust Security Measures
Be confident knowing who is visiting the office. Aware’s liveness detection provides advanced presentation attack detection algorithms for both face and voice, detecting not only victim impersonation, but also identity concealment. Liveness is also entirely passive, ensuring the user experience is not impacted negatively.
Existing System Integration
Aware’s mobile biometric frameworks can be integrated directly into an existing visitor management system, providing market-leading biometric functionality without the need for a full system replacement and costly hardware upgrades.
With no sacrifice in security, and an obvious benefit to health and overall convenience, contactless solutions in visitor and employee management are here to stay. Contact Aware for more information on how you can improve your visitor management system, and promote health and wellbeing in the office.