Tips for Selecting the Best Visitor Management System

Visitor management systems are
a fundamental component of any
security plan.

They allow one to process and control guests and issue temporary credentials allowing contractors, visitors and delivery people access into or out of a site. A VMS may also involve data capture and the registration or logging of these visitors. Typical sites requiring this form of gate control include residential estates, apartment buildings, government properties and corporate office towers.

Here are 10 product features one should look out for when choosing your ideal visitor system.

These include:

  1. Availability in cloud and on premise versions. Cloud systems are best for those clients wanting to control and monitor systems remotely, however onsite server installations have a place and would be required for high security or government sites.
  2. Open Architecture Structure. This would allow one to interface the visitor system to other access control hardware or software.
  3. Support for document OCR. ID, passport or drivers license scanning speeds up visitor processing and reduces user data entry issues.
  4. Support for multiple access control credential types such as pin, face, numberplate, QR code and RFID. Many sites need different credential types depending on the access control point or the type of visitors one needs to process.
  5. Host approval. A feature like this serves as double verification of visitor permission to access the site as well as direct notification to the host of the guest arrival.
  6. Data privacy. It is very important the company you choose has a robust data protection policy to prevent abuse of captured visitor data. Encrypted communication between devices is also important.
  7. Wide Hardware Support Range. The software solution should be supported on multiple hardware devices allowing easy migration as and when required.
  8. User Restrictions. Some products limit by version the amount of visitors, limit the daily transactions or limit the amount of system users. This is important to consider in terms of budget when your system grows.
  9. Web browser interface. Systems that do not require the installation of client applications and that can be used to through a standard web browser are best. This reduces PC compatibility and upgrade issues.
  10. Offline data capture. Many temporary sites such as construction projects or special events may have intermittent data transmission. A visitor system which can queue and store data offline and then transmit again when the data link is restored would be best.

Conclusion:

All in all you need to be comfortable that the proposed visitor system you select has a strong focus on security, has innovative features and meets your organization’s goals and budget.

Access Control Predictions For 2021

2021 is set to be an interesting year for the access control industry with many new trends emerging.

Here are some of our predictions in terms of access control technology and systems in the year ahead.

These include:

  1. Increased Use of Facial Biometric Readers. These are now available from many of the mainstream access control hardware manufacturers such as Idemia, Suprema, Hikvision, Dahua and Tyco. Technology is improving all the time but some concerns still remain around spoofing.
  2. A decrease in the use of temperature screening devices as professionals and organisations realise this is almost completely ineffective in ‘detecting’ individuals with COVID-19, especially when some manufacturers manipulate results.
  3. Proof of COVID Vaccine as Part of Visitor Access Control Processing at sites. The could include the scanning of a ‘COVID Vaccine Type Passport’ such as a Yellow Fever Travel Card. This will most likely also form part of the onboarding process for permanent access control users.
  4. Mobile access control credentials such as those operating via BLE and NFC will continue to gain in popularity with some established role players such as 2N, HID & Assa Abloy providing wireless credential readers. However many end-users are already suffering from app fatigue and may not be inclined to have to install another smartphone application.
  5. Further increase in the use of ‘on the edge’ IP PoE Powered access control readers. Companies like 2N and Axis and are well-positioned to capture this market.
  6. New building projects will be specified with automated door openers and sliding doors in order to reduce physical contact with ironmongery door handles and door push plates. Contact door release buttons will also disappear almost completely in favour of contactless or ‘wave’ proximity door release buttons (REX devices). Same can be said for parking ticket dispensers.
  7. The importance of data privacy will increase as individuals & corporates become more aware of data security breaches. GDPR will also move to a centre stage for the access control industry.
  8. The Uptake in Cloud Access Control will increase as security managers have seen the benefit of being able to remotely manage facility access control while continuing to work partially or completely from home. Some of these systems may not be software as a service subscription but rather cloud systems hosted by the relevant organisation/corporate. This will also need to support the new generation of ‘mini-satellite’ or shared offices that many corporates may move personnel to.
  9. The hospitality industry reeling from COVID will be looking at reducing labour costs and automating more of the guest access process including providing electronic curb to couch access control for Airbnb guests.
  10. The popularity of QR codes as an access control credential will continue. Some countries like China have already started using social media QR codes such as WeChat QR codes as access control credentials.

(Bonus Point)

Access control systems will start coming out with integrated data analytics. These will help security management identify trends such as the busiest access times, the most popular hosts, regular visitors and other info which will help them better manager the site.

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