Two priorities are front of mind for businesses as they continue to adapt their reopening plans: protecting the health and safety of their people and identifying operational efficiencies that can drive cost savings. 

Historically, these two objectives have existed independently, often being managed by different departments within a business. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the convergence of business priorities, and an unlikely industry has emerged as a potential solution for both. 

For years, the access technologies industry has helped businesses ensure their facilities function at optimal efficiency, and innovations in the space are opening the door to even greater business benefits. 


Using Smart Technology to Reduce Costs 

The economic impact of the pandemic has affected each business differently, and many are delivering results above expectations. Smart investments such as increased digitization and careful control of costs have enabled leaders to pivot and grow their businesses in 2021. For growth to continue in 2022 and beyond, however, companies will need to uncover even more efficiencies.

Many businesses are just beginning to understand the cost-savings potential hidden within their existing access and security infrastructure. 

Take automatic exterior doors, for example. Every hour a large door is held open at a facility, such as a retail store, it costs the business on average $17 per hour in energy expenses. STANLEY Access Technologies estimates this figure based on the average kilowatt-hour per square foot.

For businesses that operate thousands of locations with tens of thousands of doors, that could amount to millions of dollars in expenses over a single year. In the case that a door malfunctions, it’s critical for a business to have reliable solutions to quickly assess and fix the problem so that business can resume and cost implications can be minimized. 

For the industry, this means developing innovations in access technologies that connect door hardware and smart software to deliver a predictive IoT solution. This solution can help businesses proactively solve maintenance issues and eliminate costs associated with infrastructure.

Smart technology embedded into the door controller can collect performance data, remotely helping technicians diagnose and troubleshoot issues – sometimes before the business is even aware a problem exists.  

Aside from maintenance and sustainability enhancements, this type of solution can help ensure that businesses are within compliance when it comes to smoke, fire and other regulations. 


 Enhancing Health and Hygiene for Employees and Customers

The pandemic has increased public consciousness of the risk of spreading germs and has highlighted opportunities for businesses to improve the health and safety of those who enter their facilities. One key area of focus is eliminating unnecessary contact with high-touch surfaces, such as doors.

Automated interior doors are particularly important, as researchers at the University of Arizona found that traces of a simulated virus that were placed on doorknobs were picked up by 40%-60% of workers and visitors within two to four hours. 

This has resulted in many businesses converting manual doors to touchless automatic doors to eliminate the need for contact with door handles, bars, and plates. 

As businesses continue to return to physical workplaces, whether full-time or in a hybrid working model, re-examining and reconfiguring their facilities will be critical to their success. 

Leveraging access technologies will be vital in helping them create safer, healthier, and more efficient environments that not only help protect their people but provide operational efficiencies and cost savings as well. 

This article originally ran in Security, a twice-monthly security-focused eNewsletter for security end users, brought to you by Security Magazine. Subscribe here.