How dealers and integrators benefit from visitor management

How dealers and integrators benefit from visitor management

Many security dealers and integrators overlook visitor management. It doesn't often carry the high system sales cost of access control or CCTV systems. But the fact is that a modern, professional visitor management system can add substantial value in improved security and operational efficiency as well as enhance the professionalism of organizations that previously used paper-based solutions.

By integrating with an access control system, integrators and dealers are able to provide complete, integrated security solutions for employees, intruders, unwanted guests, and temporary visitors. Visitor management is also needed by virtually every type of industry and vertical market, allowing dealers to address a wide audience.

Although many view a paper method of visitor sign-in to be quick and easy, this approach can introduce significant risk to an organization. Paper logs expose visitor names for anyone to see, and they diminish the perceived professionalism of an organization. Frequently, the visitor sign-in names are either illegible or false. In an emergency such as a fire, it would be very difficult to quickly determine who's still in the building, since names can be hard to read and check out times are not always required or enforced.

Visitor management systems typically reside on a PC at the reception desk or other points of entry, and automate the entire process, from registering a visitor to using badge maker software to create and print visitor ID badges. There are a number of key components. The first is a scanner for capturing visitor ID information, which can be a driver's license, business card, passport, government or military ID, or other form of identification. The ID information can be captured either with an optical character recognition (OCR) scanner, or with a scanning device that can read the magnetic stripe or 2-D barcode on the back of a driver's license. Ideally, the user should have the ability to scan multiple types of credentials. Optical scanners offer the advantage of capturing the visitor's photo in addition to name and other information, so it can be included on the visitor ID badge.

Next, the system must capture other information that can't be gleaned from the ID scan, such as the person that the visitor will be seeing, the reason for the visit, and whether the visitor is a contractor or other special category of guest. For optimal accuracy and convenience, the visitor software should include drop-down menus or check boxes to facility data entry. Users may also want to have visitors acknowledge a document such as a non-disclosure agreement by capturing a signature with a signature pad or taking a photo with a web camera.

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