Innovative solutions for a smart, healthy building

 

As we adapt to life with Covid-19, many organizations are looking to resume normal office activities and bring their workforce back to the office. However, it must be ensured that government, health organization and the company’s own protocols are complied with and recorded, such as workplace social distancing, occupancy monitoring and control, face mask compliance, visitor and employee screening, and timely sanitization.

 

Organizations seek to provide a sense of security and confidence to employees and visitors while they are in office, thereby increasing productivity and brand value. There are various solutions available to ensure compliance, employee health and a positive end-user experience. Moreover, these measures can be rolled out with few modifications to the organization’s existing physical security and facility management infrastructure.  

 

Entrance control using proactive screening

 

Since the onset of the current pandemic, temperature screening at building entrances has become common practice. A standalone solution is often adopted, either a handheld temperature measuring devise or a thermal camera. This requires dedicated security staff to screen, monitor and stop personnel who have an elevated temperature or who are not wearing a mask.

 

Risk of exposure for security staff, employees and visitors is high. There is also room for human error, such as inaccurate temperature reading or, in the case of thermal camera screening, identifying the wrong person with an elevated temperature from a crowd.

 

The proactive approach is to automate the entire screening process. Access to the area is only granted once prechecks like body temperature and mask compliance have been successfully completed. Access is denied and recorded for individuals with an elevated temperature or who are not wearing a mask. Even in a post-pandemic era, this is an effective way to identify and isolate people with a fever, thereby preventing the spread of disease and illness.

 

No or reduced touch points

 

In the pre-pandemic era, contact with door handles, elevator buttons, water faucets and other surfaces was made without thinking about it. Now that is not the case.

 

To reduce risk of contamination, various solutions are available to help decrease touchpoints within a building:

  • Adopting facial recognition solutions or mobile credentials for access control eliminates the need for keypads, touchscreens and key cards by moving access control capabilities to smart phones via Bluetooth technology or facial verification terminals. To keep the overall cost low without compromising the building’s security and hygiene, facial readers can be installed at the main entrance and Bluetooth/UHF-based card readers can be deployed at all interior doors. 
  • Door shutters can be automated using either automatic door openers or automated sliding door fixtures with IR or microwave-based devices as exit buttons. This avoids the need to touch door handles and makes the whole access control process touchless. 

These solutions reduce touchpoints which in turn lowers risk of transmission of any surface-borne viruses and microorganisms, not limited to the Covid-19 virus.

 

Occupancy monitoring and energy management 

 

During the pandemic, maintaining social distancing within the office is as important as mask compliance. As organizations take steps to safely welcome people back to their facilities, finding a means to monitor social distancing in workplaces, classrooms and campuses is essential. For a smart solution, it starts with occupancy management.

 

Existing access control and video surveillance systems can be used as sensors to measure occupancy, social distancing and mask compliance within the workplace and confined spaces. In areas with no access control readers or cameras, IoT sensors can be installed to collect the required data for occupancy management.

 

Live occupancy metrics can be displayed on dashboards and heating, cooling, and lighting systems can be managed based on occupant location for improved energy efficiency and a healthy building experience. 

 

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