Published on November 7th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan0
Visitor Management Systems Are Making Smart Buildings Even Smarter
Transformational technology has made smart buildings possible now more than ever. Think faster Wi-Fi connections, IoT, cloud computing, and big data. Urbanization of the world’s population is helping a lot. An estimated 68 percent of the global population will live in cities by 2050. Given this, smart cities are no longer just a trend. They are what the future looks like.
Smart buildings are the essential building block for a smart city. While many smart structures are new constructions, not every building needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Older buildings can be retrofitted in important ways to improve building efficiency, increase productivity, and improve use of resources. An unexpecting area for improvement is visitor management. Commercial and residential buildings handle a lot of traffic daily. Implementing a better visitor management system can go a long way to ensure financial sustainability and increase operational efficiency – among other smart building goals.
Office managers need a secure way to grant access to visitors, maintenance personnel, and cleaning crews. Traditional visitor management entails using doormen or front office staff. Visitors are required to fill forms capturing their personal information and their purpose of visit. This approach is not just expensive but also creates a security loophole that intruders can use.
Smart buildings need a practical and efficient visitor management solution. Today’s electronic systems enhance safety and make your office smart. The system keeps track of all visitors who accessed the building, and at what time. This information is accessible by admins as raw data or customized reports. It provides valuable insights and helps draw meaningful and accurate conclusions. Managers can analyze data at particular sites or during specific durations of time, enabling them to find patterns. The audit track also serves as a valuable tool for investigations in case of anomalies. Potential risks and threats are eliminated because undesirable guests are deterred on a 24/7 basis. Many of these systems also support real time integration with external systems such as access control.
Traditional visitor management is extremely inefficient. The receptionist is often stuck with several visitors at the same time. This means visitors who are already at your entry point have to wait to get in. Meetings may need to be pushed back and visitor morale may suffer. Modern visitor management systems make life easier for everyone. Visitors are registered and granted access seamlessly and employees are free to engage in more productive activities. Building managers can use the office intercom system to verify that a visitor who shows up at your entry point is who they say they are.
Modern security challenges call for better security solutions in both residential and commercial buildings. Your building’s lobby plays an important role in maintaining security. Automated visitor management keeps vagabonds, trespassers, and malicious intruders away at all times. The system also helps address challenges related to visitor privacy, information & data security, as well as emergency evacuation plans. Unlike a receptionist – who may be deceived into allowing the wrong person in – the system provides a security guarantee. Only visitors who have been pre-approved or visually identified will be authorized. Furthermore, your employees will perform better in an environment where they have peace of mind that adequate security is provided.
First impressions can mean a lot for your brand image. A video intercom system will set the right tone for your important clients and highly valuable visitors. It shows that your company is serious about security and is keen on improving the user experience for visitors. This is more so important for businesses that are committed to maintaining a memorable interaction. Video intercom systems and other visitor management hardware initiate an unexpecting first impression about the business and where it places its values.
Manual visitor management is expensive. Busy offices need to dedicate one or more receptions to the task of collecting visitors’ information. There is also the additional cost of procuring and storing the physical processing forms. Office intercom systems for visitor management ensure that visitor registration is automated. The cost of processing each visitor is reduced. Over time, this can result in significant savings. Furthermore, the system also prevents possible costs related to security breaches or liabilities.
Office managers need to grant secure access to contractors and maintenance crews. An intercom system for offices simplifies this process to ensure both convenience and security. The system can be set up so that contractors are allowed in at specific dates or times, or at particular locations. Some office intercom solutions support one-time-pins for secure contractor access. Real time access enables office admins to see who is in the building and at what time.
Automated visitor management can help comply with health, legal, safety, and GDPR compliance. The system ensures that you provide adequate security in your establishment while also protecting visitor data from unauthorized access. Only admins who have the requisite permission levels can access visitor information. The system maintains a written record of anyone who has ever visited your business. This can be used as a digital reference to respond to any incidents. To further prevent liabilities, some companies will require visitors to sign a Terms & Conditions or electronic NDA before they are fully checked in.
Electronic visitor management also supports pre-registration of visitors. Once a meeting date has been scheduled, a confirmation email will be sent to the user, along with the meeting details which include building access. Once they get to your entry point, the visitor can then seamlessly gain access to the building.
Traditional visitor management approaches lack flexibility and scalability. As the number of visitors coming to your building increases, you need to hire more receptionists and process more forms. An electronic visitor management and intercom system for offices removes this kind of expensive overhead. The system can be easily customized and set up to meet your evolving needs. Even for companies that have multiple locations, visitor management and tracking is centralized via a single management dashboard.
As the guest experience and security requirements have evolved, so have the visitor management tools currently available in the market. If you are unfamiliar with these solutions, choosing the right office intercom system can seem like a daunting task. Start by clearly outlining your guest management responsibilities. The right system should meet all your requirements at a bare minimum. But there’s more to it. You need a robust solution that operates reliably and seamlessly to increase safety and improve the visitor experience. Below are some key considerations to help:
- Simplicity – simpler systems tend to be more efficient. Office and facility managers should be able to use the system consistently right from day one. Before you settle on a specific tool, ask for a free quote or demo.
- Cloud-based – basic on-premise intercom systems need to be operated by at least one receptionist. Cloud-based visitor management systems – on the other hand – allow for remote management from any device or location in the world. Furthermore, security updates are implemented automatically for cloud based systems (thus eliminating maintenance overheads).
- Scalability – needs are constantly changing to respond to the evolving landscape. The right system should be flexible enough to keep up with your visitor management demands. For instance, it should support multiple locations and easily handle an increasing number of guests.
- High security – different businesses have unique security challenges. A good visitor management system should ensure adequate security at your site. Higher security may be possible through features such as facial recognition and mobile unlock.
- Reports – data reports give you a visual depiction of the situation on the ground to help you make better decisions. A good visitor management intercom system should generate reports, including real time data, in an easy to understand format.
Setting objectives is the first step towards realizing a smarter building. With the right, future-proof tools, you can leverage smart data, enhance security, increase asset value, reduce operational costs, and enable real-time action. Office designers often include visitor management systems, along with sensors and other technologies, in the planning stage. But older buildings can also be retrofitted to achieve the same vision.
Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash