At a Glance: Will Coronavirus Change Access Control and Entrance Security?
With novel coronavirus cases rising daily, we can’t help but look to the future and wonder what the new normal will be. We can only speculate at this point as we haven’t had to deal with a viral outbreak of this magnitude since the 1918 Influenza outbreak. But, one thing is for certain; this novel coronavirus outbreak will sit fresh in our minds for years to come, popping into our thoughts whenever we go in for a handshake or attend a crowded social gathering. There is no denying the monumental impression this microscopic virus will leave on the world.
If there’s a silver lining to this novel coronavirus pandemic, though, it’s that we now understand the all-too-real threats that lurk in the microscopic world around us. We have now seen firsthand what works, what doesn’t work, and what preparedness–or lack thereof– looks like in a global pandemic situation. Looking forward, I can’t help but wonder: will coronavirus change the access control and security spaces?
Put simply: yes, I think it’s safe to say that coronavirus will change the access control industry. Why? Because access control has never been more important. If you think about it, the whole idea of quarantining to flatten the curve is basically just a huge access control effort with people actively controlling who they come into contact with and who they do not. Pathogens are now just another risk factor on the long list of reasons to monitor and control access into and out of your facilities.
Looking forward, there will be a shift in the access control industry: one that favors tighter security, hands-free entry control, and new sanitization technologies. As access control remains a facility’s first line of defense against unauthorized entrants, it too will now function as a facility’s first line of defense against pathogens.
Uncovering Long-Forgotten Risks
In the overview, I touched on the H1N1 outbreak of 1918. This strain of influenza, colloquially referred to as the Spanish Flu, was particularly harsh: infecting over a third of the world’s population with at least 10% of carriers succumbing to the unrelenting disease. The Spanish Flu pandemic was like a scene out of a horror movie. But like all things, our memory of its severity faded over time. In fact, I bet a viral pandemic wasn’t even on your list of worries just a few months ago, and why would it be?
Well, things have obviously changed over the past few months. The long-forgotten risks of a deadly viral pandemic have taken center stage again after almost one hundred years. We are now experiencing first-hand how a microscopic virus can create some very real macroscopic threats. And somehow I don’t think we will be forgetting the events of the past few months any time soon.
The threats that a viral outbreak poses are especially apparent in offices, factories, entertainment venues, and really anywhere where people gather in large numbers and come into close contact with each other over extended periods of time. Anything from touching doors, to using the same sinks, or even just sitting in the same office can help a virus spread. Because of this, many organizations have chosen to work from home or close their doors entirely to stave off the deadly disease.
Business owners feel like they do not have the proper controls in place to simultaneously keep business going while keeping the virus at bay. Closing the doors for any period of time could prove detrimental to some smaller businesses, so savvy business owners are looking for new ways to keep viral threats at bay and minimize risk without having to shut down.
What Does This Mean for Access Control?
COVID-19 has functioned as a wakeup call for most. Companies have seen firsthand how quickly and violently this novel coronavirus can spread from their factories into their offices and beyond. Above all, facilities with sophisticated access control solutions implemented are uniquely at risk. Just like door handles and bathroom sinks, access control systems like turnstiles and security gates are inherently high-trafficked. In fact, many turnstiles and gates require users to push through with their hands to gain entry. These inherent characteristics of an access control system should not be overlooked in a global pandemic context.
Now more than ever, facility managers should practice proper turnstile and gate maintenance, making sure to clean and sanitize all access control products on a regular basis. Coupled with keeping units clean, users should practice proper hygiene by washing their hands and avoiding touching their faces after going through a turnstile or gate, for example.
So, what does this all mean for access control anyway? Well, given the recent eye-opening coronavirus pandemic, access control is no longer only about controlling who is allowed access into your facility, it is now also about controlling what is allowed access into your facility–with that what being pathogens and other potentially deadly contaminants.
Hands-Free Operation: The Future of Access Control is Touchless
As this novel coronavirus continues to progress and spread across our world, we must think ahead. We owe it to ourselves to better prepare for the next outbreak, even if one never comes. I know I am not the only person who believes this because our Hayward Turnstiles access control specialists have seen a massive influx of inquiries from potential customers looking for touchless turnstiles and gates that feature hands-free operation. These potential customers are planning for their futures and taking responsibility into their own (washed) hands.
Now, I know that most people don’t know the subtleties of access control turnstiles and security gates. But, I can assure you that there are hands-free options available. In fact, here at Hayward Turnstiles, we offer completely motorized ADA compliant gates and optical turnstiles that provide a completely touchless entry experience. Both of these types of units control access into and out of your facility while simultaneously halting the spread of germs and harmful viruses. What could be better than that?
All is not lost for our customers with higher security needs that require hands-on units like full height turnstiles. We offer a line of full height turnstile safety sleeves that act as a barrier between your turnstile and its users. Simply remove safety sleeves at the end of each day, wipe them down, and reinstall them for a quick and easy sanitization. These safety sleeves can be purchased right on our website from our convenient full height turnstile safety sleeve store.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has been an eye-opening event for us all. Though we never used to worry about a future viral outbreak, we most certainly do now. COVID-19 and other pathogens create a unique threat to access control turnstiles and gates because of their inherent exposure to high traffic and touching. Because of this, many organizations are now preparing their access control systems for the future by implementing hands-free turnstiles and gates that allow for touchless entry. Though nothing can replace proper cleaning and active transmission prevention, touchless operation is a step in the right direction.
As we are starting to see–and we will soon see more clearly– access control is no longer simply about controlling the traffic of visitors into and out of your facilities, it is now also about controlling the transmission of disease into and out of your facilities.