COVID-19 has posed a wide variety of problems to businesses of all kinds, from hospitals and grocery stores to cannabis dispensaries and schools. While security technology has always been an important investment for businesses to make, during the pandemic, the use of security technology has become more vital than ever, and has provided businesses with solutions to some of their pandemic problems.
COVID-19 has helped business owners realize that their security systems have a far larger function and versatility than strictly traditional loss prevention. While many have traditionally viewed them as ways to prevent theft, such as shoplifting, or protect their employees and buildings, business owners are now being exposed to the true capabilities of their security systems.
One of the most common technology services currently being requested by businesses of all kinds is the installation of thermal cameras. End users are requesting thermal cameras so they can better understand who is entering their business and if they pose a potential risk to other people around them. These thermal cameras help business owners check the temperature of customers, indicating whether they have a fever, and can even be programmed with analytics to detect and deny entry to those who aren’t wearing a mask. This controllability is providing business owners with the opportunity to more safely regulate who is coming in and out of there business, and helps them mitigate a potential COVID-19 threat before it even enters their business.
Another service that has been popular with end users has been the increased use of analytics software. This software can be used to upgrade existing security technology and can provide owners with timely data, such as how many people are in their store and even how many are in a certain area. With this information, owners are able to control how many people can be allowed in the store at once, which greatly assists them with following capacity guidelines put into place by local government health agencies, and also reduces the need for them to hire an employee and have someone monitor the front door to maintain the proper guest count. If the analytics system is integrated with a no-touch access system at the front door, owners will have complete control over who enters their store - and when - which helps ensure customer safety while in the store.
Analytical software also assists with contact tracing – a major factor in helping decrease the spread of COVID-19. Analytical software can help business owners review video footage and can even allow them to search for specific features (height, clothing color, etc.) to help identify where person infected with COVID-19 was throughout a store, hospital, school, etc. Not only does analytical software figure out where an infected person has been, it also helps business owners figure out who they were around and who they spoke with.
Accessibility has been another major focus for many businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. When the United States originally began reopening back in late June and early July, businesses owners of all kinds were faced with a dilemma: how do they safely bring workers back and minimize touch points? One of the most commonly touched features in any kind of building is a door handle. In large buildings, thousands of people may touch the same door handle every single day, which means it is a hot spot for possible COVID-19 transmission. It isn’t feasible for building managers or janitorial staff to sanitize the door handle every time a person touches it, so how were facility managers going to solve this problem? The answer? No-touch access controls. Businesses such as apartment complexes, hospitals, and manufacturing businesses are benefiting from no-touch access control systems that utilize Bluetooth technology. These Bluetooth systems decrease high frequency touch points throughout buildings and also can help control pedestrian circulation so that building managers can control where tenants walk and prevent cross-circulation. Many guidelines suggest that people enter a building through one door and exit through an alternative door so that there isn’t cross contamination of tenants passing each other, and Bluetooth no-touch access controls help solve this problem for building managers.
The medical cannabis industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in business. In addition to dealing with the constantly changing regulations in the industry, our cannabis clients also had to adapt their operations to fit new guidelines after being declared an essential business. In some circumstances, this has required cannabis businesses to become drive-thru compatible, which has been greatly aided by the use of security technology to make the transition easier. Not only has security technology helped end users create a safe experience for both employees and customers, but it has also provided customers with a more convenient shopping experience.
One benefit that many people don’t think of when it comes to security technology is the decreased need for manpower to handle certain tasks, and the associated cost savings and operational efficiency that security technology can deliver. During these times, end users are searching for ways to monitor building entrances to ensure customers are abiding by social distancing guidelines, but aren’t able to hire the necessary manpower to handle this task. Video analytics and no-touch access controls are able to help mitigate such risks. Some managers are using analytics to see how many people are in their store and then using their no-touch access control system to grant access to a new customer whenever someone leaves the store, while some building managers have given Bluetooth access controls to their tenants to completely eliminate the need for someone to monitor the front door.
An additional benefit is the visibility aspect. Many businesses that previously didn’t have a need for security technology are now utilizing it to showcase to their customers how they are keeping them safe. It is one thing to tell customers and employees that you are keeping them safe, but being able to show them how by taking temperatures at the door or implementing no-touch access features helps put them at ease. Covid-19 has caused a shift in the customer mindset, so for a business to be able to show the steps and precautions they are taking to protect customers, helps put their minds at ease and makes them more comfortable.
As businesses continue to search for ways to adapt their operations to the ever-shifting business landscape caused by COVID-19, it is clear that security technology will provide solutions for businesses of all kinds and sizes. Throughout the pandemic, we have seen demand grow for a wide variety of security technology, not just to keep people safe, but to help businesses adjust their operations so their concepts can be more successful in these uncertain times. Our industry has always been stable, and it will continue to grow as businesses realize the versatility and utility that their security technology can provide them with.