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How the pandemic will change ACS technologies

Mohammed Ihsan, sales & marketing representative sheds light on how the global Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the security market, requiring it to adapt to the new reality

How the pandemic will change ACS technologies

In just a few months, the coronavirus drastically changed the way we live and operate globally, and these changes have impacted the security market as well. A lot of solutions and technologies, such as identification methods and blocking devices, require adaptation to match the requirements of the new reality.

Access with contactless cards has been the most popular identification method until now. Even in the present global situation, this type of identifiers is relatively safe if used as an office pass where each employee has a personal card.

However, in places of mass presence, with the same access card issued to dozens, or maybe hundreds of individuals, there is a significant risk of virus transmission. These places with a large number of visitors include transport facilities, educational institutions, medical or business centres and sports complexes. These days, such identification methods as smartphone or barcode access as well as face recognition are becoming more popular. These solutions do not require a visitor to visitor transfer of passes or any physical contact at issuance.

Smartphone access

When using a smartphone as an access device to the facility, it is enough to transfer the unique smartphone identifier to the system; this identifier will be checked every time the phone is near the reader. For Android smartphones with NFC, you need to install a free application and run it. You don’t need such app for iPhones, as Token linked to bank cards added to your phone is transferred to the system as an identifier. With this identification method, it is possible to “issue” and “seize” virtual passes remotely.

When using both Android smartphones or iPhones, a specifically generated identifier is transmitted to the system, any other sensitive information on your phone, including user data or bank cards details, remains private.

Barcode access

Barcode access is another convenient solution for crowded places. Visitors to sports, entertainment or cultural facilities purchase tickets with a printed barcode, all they need to do when they pass is to open the barcode on their smartphones and bring it to the reader.

This is a popular access solution for business centres, where the barcode can be used as a guest identifier. In this case, the barcode is sent to the visitor’s messenger or email during the passage.

Face recognition

Face recognition is a safe touchless identification solution. A special terminal for this supplements the blocking devices. The face recognition terminal and the security system interact online. Biometric data of visitors can be quickly added to the system as a primary or secondary identifier. Some face recognition terminals can recognise masked faces and measure body temperature.

At the airports, the face image obtained by the terminal is compared with the image in the passport. In the Moscow metro, the turnstiles were equipped with CCTV cameras – a face recognition fare control system is tested there, it will be further used when paying for travel. Meanwhile, the future has already come to China. For more than a year, face recognition has been used to pay for rides at one of the Shenzhen subways stations. To access the station, the passenger approaches a special face-scanning screen, and the fare is automatically deducted from his account.

The face recognition system can work in conjunction with the ticketing service at large sports and entertainment facilities, for example, stadiums, water parks or ski centres. A visitor’s face is automatically photographed with ticket purchase and is scanned for access during the passage.

When using online services, a ticketing website or application, you can use a selfie for identification. This approach allows to minimise the physical contact, prevents the fake tickets sales and reduces access of aggressive fans flagged in the database to sports events.

Contactless passages

The need to minimise physical contact affected the blocking devices market trends, turnstiles in particular. The most popular turnstiles for crowded places now are speed gates with swing or sliding panels. You do not need to touch the device when you pass through the turnstile; the doors will open automatically. Optical sensors determine the operation of the panels, and their main task is to prevent the simultaneous passage of two individuals. The number of optical sensors is directly proportional to the cost – the more sensors, the more expensive the device.

A large number of sensors ensure a better level of analysis of a person’s presence in a controlled area, providing a safe passage for children and animals at the same time. Speed gates have a maximum throughput rate. Such integrated solutions as turnstiles with barcode scanners or face recognition modules are popular at the airports.

In such cases, access of passengers to the boarding area is granted without airport employees but with simultaneous scanning of the boarding pass and the passenger’s face.

To minimise contact with airport employees, a boarding pass can be printed at home or scanned from a smartphone screen. At large industrial enterprises, speed gates are supplemented by breathalysers, providing a contactless check and access to the territory.

Automatic swing gates are another popular solution for crowded places. They are often used in passport control areas of airports and train stations as they open automatically on receiving a signal. Automatic swing gates allow organising passages for people with reduced mobility. In case of an emergency, they provide an additional emergency exit.

In the new reality, all industry sectors are being impacted, including the security market, since security is of the highest priority these days.

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