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Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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How Physical Security Systems Will Change Post-Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted every aspect of our lives. Many didn’t go into their business offices but instead worked remotely. Some weren’t even able to work at all. Now that we are beginning to see a return to normalcy, be it mask-free shopping or going back to work in the office, business owners and decision-makers must consider what changes need to be made to keep work environments safe, while also being more prepared in the event of another pandemic like COVID-19. 

The Importance of Employee Safety 

As businesses are expecting their staff to return to the office, they are considering a variety of new protocols. One of which is employee safety. What controls need to be in place to prevent the contraction of illness? If these controls are not implemented, can the business reopen? What would the operational impact be if an outbreak were to occur because of poor health regulations? 

Fortunately, many businesses are being proactive. They suffered a disruption in business operation because of the pandemic and want to do everything within their power to avoid a similar situation from happening again. 

AS July 1But how does employee safety correlate with physical security systems? There is quite an overlap, as employees often have touchpoints within the physical security controls of business operations. This may be scanning their fingerprint for access, using a keypad to input a passcode, or scanning an ID badge. All of which require physical contact that each employee would have to utilize. These types of security measures have a high probability to spread germs. 

The Future of Physical Security Systems 

Using Biometric Authentication 

Physical access controls have been in place since the beginning of business operations. From the traditional methods like lock and key to proximity cards, businesses have revolutionized their authentication practices. Many are now using employee biometrics to verify one’s identity. Before COVID-19, this method was starting to gain a bit of traction in certain sectors. However, now that everyone is hyper aware of spreading germs, many organizations from various industries are choosing alternative biometric authentication technologies.

AS July 3 Facial authentication offers a hands-free approach to physical security. By utilizing this method, individuals do not have to use the same retina or iris scanner that another person has recently used, nor would they have to share the same fingerprint scanner with other employees. 

Implementing Hands-Free Security 

Businesses have been able to expedite the return to normal operations by implementing hands-free security throughout their buildings. This promotes employee health and strengthens the physical security of the infrastructure. 

Many businesses have a main entrance that is open to the public. However, it is from the lobby area that there should be a secondary door where staff members are to enter. It is here where hands-free security should be a top priority. By placing a frictionless biometric platform here, you are drastically reducing the chance for germs to spread via contact as well as adding a layer of security to your restricted areas. 

There are also opportunities to utilize frictionless access control for other restricted areas of buildings. These may include the C-Suite level, accounting department, data centers, and human resources offices. However, post-pandemic, businesses are doing their best to reduce physical touchpoints shared by multiple employees. 

AS July 2Ideally, upon completing the facial authentication scan at each access point, the doors would automatically open. By using automatic doors, employees do not need to touch any element of the door, reducing the spread of illness-causing germs. Frictionless access control not only reduces the transmission of germs but also enhances the physical security of a structure by only requiring users to stand in front of a scanner or another type of authentication platform. 

Security Shacks 

Installing prefabricated security shacks enables employee safety at various capacities. With padded flooring, HVAC systems, and security-strength building materials, employees will be content knowing the structure is secure. Additionally, security shacks also promote social distancing, as the security personnel are not coming into close contact with individuals. This helps keep the security staff, as well as the members of the public, healthy. 

Physical access controls were shifting towards a hands-free approach and security shacks before COVID-19. However, getting businesses back into an operational status after the pandemic has placed a new emphasis on adopting these protocols. Because of the new emphasis that is universally placed on fostering a germ-free environment, these new, touchless security measures are being implemented at an increasing rate. 

This factor, coupled with the chip shortage that has been created by the pandemic, has really portrayed how much businesses and companies need to be future proofed in certain scenarios. Upgrading your security protocols to include a contactless platform will not only create a more secure environment, but it will also keep your employees healthier and less susceptible to contracting a sickness.

Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.

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