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COVID-19 highlights importance of visitor management systems

COVID-19 highlights importance of visitor management systems
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased awareness and highlighted the importance of deploying a good visitor management system.
Visitor management systems (VMS) have transformed from a nonessential to an essential solution amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes in demand are opening up new opportunities for VMS developers, and highlighting its usefulness to new industries.

“Initially we saw demand fall overnight, as the shock of COVID-19 reverberated around the globe. Companies quickly needed to understand their landscape and if their business models were even viable, so adding a visitor management system was certainly pushed to the back of the queue,” explained Hadleigh Ford, CEO of SwipedOn. “However, as the dust has settled that mindset has changed significantly.”

Now, VMS companies are faced with the exciting challenge of building products that will play a key role in helping people return to their offices, said Matt Harris, Head of Workplace Technology at Envoy.

VMS not just for visitors

Hadleigh Ford SwipedOn
Hadleigh Ford, CEO, SwipedOn
The current crisis has undeniably increased awareness of the importance of welcoming visitors and contractors to any business location in a safe and efficient way.

The primary concern for building managers will be ensuring that everyone entering is entering a safe workplace, one where there’s no risk of contracting coronavirus. This will require keeping meticulous records of people coming in and out of the office, which can be achieved with VMS.

One major change in demand will be driven by a shift to now track employees entering the workspace, not just visitors and contractors. Harris noted that for many companies expanding their VMS for employee use will change the way they think about what a VMS is, and what it means for maintaining a safe workspace.

The “new norm”

Gregory Blondeau Proxyclick
Gregory Blondeau, CEO, Proxyclick
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, visitor management systems were a topic of interest but not a necessity — it was convenience first, safety second. That has changed. From now on building managers will have to look to safety first, then convenience.

Now, businesses must plan for what is the “new norm,” according to Ford, which should include VMS as a business’ “first line of defense.”

“To get back to work in the near term and to remain working without grave interruptions in our new reality, businesses must perceive visitors and employees as one universal risk management challenge, which has driven a huge demand for enterprise-class visitor management systems that can adapt according to the government regulations,” said Brian Phillips, Director of Global Security Strategy at Traction Guest.

Gregory Blondeau, CEO of Proxyclick, pointed to a recent roundtable discussion his company hosted that revealed going forward most organizations will screen their visitors in advance of any business meetings.

Additionally, because of the need to know exactly who’s been on-site at all times, many organizations are also requiring regular reporting of visitor data — not only for insurance purposes but also if there’s a need to send mass notifications to visitors who may need following up with, Blondeau added. In planning for the future, Ian Lowe, Director of Product Marketing for Identity and Access Management Solutions at HID Global, believes the pandemic will reinforce the need to have a comprehensive solution for managing visitors as part of any infection response playbook.

Opportunities for VMS vendors

More and more global enterprises are looking toward proactively anticipating the recovery phases of their business continuity plans and seeing how a visitor management solution will fit into those plans. With more pressure than ever to safely monitor those entering the workplace, there is ample opportunity for VMS vendors to innovate and further develop visitor management products.

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