Visitor Welcome: Meet, Greet and Secure
Mike Scribner remembers those sign-in books at the reception desk, but not with fondness. At Navistar, the giant holding company whose individual units provide integrated and best-in-class transportation solutions, he now has a centralized visitor management system deployable to multiple locations.
Moving to the Campus GateWhen power and fuel firm SCANA Corporation’s headquarters moved from a high-rise building to a campus with five buildings, it pushed visitor admissions to the campus entry gate. As a result, it became critical to verify visitors before they are allowed on the campus grounds. So, according to Scott Cleary, employees must pre-register people into the visitor management system.
Links to the Core BusinessMayers, Nokia’s deputy head of security for North America, believes visitor management must enable and enhance the core business. “We practice security from both a corporate cultural and operations standpoint.” The two dozen plus Nokia locations in Canada and the U.S. include many sensitive research and development facilities. Still, receptionists with a concierge feel also ask questions of a visitor and require them to provide identification to meet a host’s needs. “Everything is under security cameras but the human element still remains important. And that includes the involvement of all employees as we remind them (of visitor management). At the end of the day, an unwanted visitor could affect a host and his or her livelihood,” Mayers says.
With a trophy tenant in United Airlines and an architecturally-stunning United Building, Coronado of Jones Lang Lasalle, the property managers, sought ways to have discreet lobby security that works with and doesn’t fight the lobby’s look and feel. She went with high-definition security video (from Avigilon) working with the security director, officers who check identification and courtesy telephone calls to announce visitors. The video is NVR-archived and monitored at three separate locations.
Third-Party ServicesGrubb Ventures, which handles residential, commercial, and development properties in the Charlotte and Triangle areas of North Carolina, goes remote monitoring for its traditional building access controls through Brivo ACS WebService. Bill Burgess, Grubb’s facilities manager, added access in elevators in a newer building. In addition to real-time protection provided by the complementary access control and video surveillance systems, if tenants want to investigate an incident or request a report, Burgess and staff can comply easily and immediately.
Card Access ConnectionsFor many, some type of connection from visitor management to card access controls including turnstile and elevator links is a must have.
Visitor Badging Basics
Visitor management is a fundamental electronic and procedural security system for building management to balance two different objectives – the safety and security of the building’s occupants and the efficient management and tracking of a visitor’s whereabouts and entry/egress. These systems can be deployed as stand-alone solutions or integrated with existing systems such as access control, intercom and electronic surveillance.
Technology has elevated badging from label-based stickers to smart badging technologies that provide instant visual verification of visitor status such as TEMPbadge identification products from Brady People ID. Such badges can be engineered to expire within hours, or after a day, week or month.
Level One – Paper Label Badges: This system employs standard paper badges (basically labels) and delivers a minimum level of security. Badges can be issued either manually or electronically.
Level Two – Paper Label Badges with Color Photos: Badges with photo identification scanned from driver’s licenses or captured via an on-site camera offer a medium level of security. To further help identify visitors, these badges may also contain additional use of color, symbols and words.
Level Three – Electronic Badges: Included are proximity, magnetic strip and barcode badges, as well as those containing biometric information. These badges can be programmed for pre-determined levels of access and integrated with access control and video surveillance systems to electronically monitor activity.
Level Four – Smartcards: Time-expiring badges and indicators can be added to existing smartcards to provide instant visual verification of visitor status.
A View from the Tech SideStripped away from the hype, technology experts at electronic access control and visitor management companies have valuable insights.
According to Matt Barnette of AMAG Technology, a good visitor management system can use technologies such as driver’s license scanners, business card scanners or passport scanners. This has the added benefit of capturing facial pictures as well as a signature off of those official credentials.
Crucial Lobby ElementsAccording to Bruce Gibson of Express Entry Exit, the lobby is the single-most important security point in any building or facility where protection of personnel and property is paramount. A complete lobby system must be in place that supports security physically, electronically and procedurally. Among lobby elements:
• Accurately and quickly capture pertinent visitors’ personal ID information – everything from contact information to photos.
• Authenticate the ID or credentials.
• Perform discrete security checks using watch lists such as terrorist, sexual predators and custom lists centering on staff members facing domestic violence threats.
• Create one-time-use visitor badges with the visitor’s name, affiliation, host name and authorized areas of access, as well as the badge’s expiration time.
• Allow employees to register visitors online ahead of time and be notified electronically or by phone when a visitor arrives.