How Access Control Technologies Can Protect People
30 March 2020
Access control systems play a vital role in protecting buildings, assets and the people within them. In these extraordinary times of Coronavirus and COVID-19, how can a properly specified and stalled security system help to protect people? Remember those on-site can include those classed as essential workers who must remain in order to guarantee a manufacturing output or a critical service, remote workers ‘popping’ back to site for an engineering meeting or the arrival of emergency maintenance engineers or deep-cleaning team.
For organisations with an on-site security team and perimeter gate, the first point of any contact can authorise someone to enter the site. Under normal circumstances, a gatehouse may have one or two security staff and a signing-in/out book. Where an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) system is installed, vehicle number plates can be pre-registered. On arrival, an APNR camera reads a vehicle’s number plate, checks this to a credential and if approved, allows a vehicle onto site. Even if there is no gate, ANPR cameras can be used to help identify vehicles arriving or leaving site including employees. ANPR cameras therefore remove the need to interact directly with an on-site security team or genereal reception. Visitor instructions can generally be easuly emailed before arrival to direct the person once they arrive.
CCTV Camera Systems
An ANPR camera can be used solely for vehicle authorisation or as part of a wider CCTV system. An access control system such as EntroWatch features complete HIKVision CCTV integration. The system allows footage from a HIKVision camera system to be tied to individual door events. For visitors to site, EntroWatch can also be used monitor the camera system and the security or reception team can interact with the visitor via an intercom, granting or denying access as required.
Antimicrobial Card Readers
There are a number of surfaces in any building that can see a build-up of harmful bacteria and viruses. Access control devices and door handles are two such examples. For any site operating during the current outbreak, the management team can help to manage the health and wellbeing of onsite staff (and essential visitors) by placing sanitiser dispensers in reception and building entry areas. Posters can also be strategically placed to remind people to make use of the cleaning gels.
For those organisations with an access control system in place, Wiegand keypads and biometric readers can be easily replaced with antimicrobial card readers like EntroPad.
Keypads require a pin-code to be tapped into the keypad for credential verification. Biometric readers also rely on the touching of the reader surface with finger.
A typical proximity card reader can read a card placed within several millimetres. The distance has to be small enough for the card itself to be energised through the electromagnetic field surrounding the reader. Most users tend to tap their cards to these readers presenting a potential contamination transfer point from the card to the reader. Users also tend to stand close to a reader and may cough nearby to the reader if caught unawares.
A card reader like the Remsdaq EntroPad can help to some degree here. The EntroPad has built-in antimicrobial protection, designed to kill bacterial type infections. Though this will not kill Coronavirus, the antimicrobial coating will help to prevent other general bacteria build-up and from being transferred from card to card. If users can also be instructed not to tap their cards against the readers then this would also help to reduce the chances of virus ‘pick-up’.
Facial Recognition Systems
Facial recognition offers another way to identify people looking to enter access-controlled areas. Though using biometric information, facial readers do not require contact and use advanced algorithms to compare stored facial images against that presented to the reader. If the credential is improved, access is granted. The technology used is slightly more complex than that used to unlock Microsoft Surface laptops, Apple iPads or Samsung mobile phones and can be used on a wider scale i.e. to recognise people within a group or team entering a building.
Thermal Fever Screening Cameras
Thermal cameras have been available for some time and are used in a wide range of manufacturing and inspection industries. To help battle the Coronavirus outbreak, new thermal fever screening cameras from companies such as HIKVision can be used to detect elevated skin-surface temperatures. The cameras typically have an accuracy within +/-0.3°C, can monitor multiple individuals simultaneously and raise alarms to warn EntroWatch-type system operators. Artificial intelligence is used to reduce false alarms from other heat sources i.e. sunlit door entrances and hot drinks.
When the UK government eases lockdown and travel restrictions it will be time to review existing access control arrangements and review how new technologies can be used to protect people and keep them healthy. At Remsdaq we remain commitment to our mission of extending the boundaries of technology. Our development team continues to investigate new technologies and how best to apply them in what will be a new working world when businesses and organisations return to a new ‘normal’ modus operandi later this year.