As integration companies battle through a COVID-19-depleted market, there is much uncertainty about what the future of the integration industry holds. One feeling, however, has been consistent throughout NSCA’s countless conversations with integration firm leaders: Even when the integration market enters its reboot and recovery phase, the “new normal,” as it’s often called, will be different. Integration firm leaders must prepare to lead a different type of company under different work circumstances and address their customers’ changing needs.
NSCA’s “Future of the Integration Business” series offers insight from NSCA members and industry professionals to shed light on what the future holds. Find the continually updated series here.
Future of Employee & Guest Safety Measures
“What is my employer doing to protect me from getting the virus?”
“What are building managers doing to safeguard their tenants and occupants?”
“If I enter a building, how can I ensure my own safety?”
These questions are being asked as employees slowly shift back to in-office work – and rightfully so.
As early as mid-April, owners and managers were discussing ways to bring employees back to work safely. A June 2020 PwC survey of 330 U.S. finance executives indicates that 59% of CFOs are worried about a rise in COVID-19 infections affecting returns to work; 71% are confident that they can provide a safe working environment for employees as they return.
Here are a few ways that companies may rely on integrators to create these safe environments …
Setting Up Entrance Checkpoints
Although these checkpoints can be set up in different ways, they all essentially act as a form of access control: They would rely on personal badges or mobile credentials for each person, checking them in to make sure only authorized personnel enter the building. Additional checkpoints could be placed outside each floor, suite, and/or common area. Instead of badges or mobile credentials, checkpoints could also rely on retina scans or facial recognition, but likely not right away.
In the event of an employee being diagnosed with COVID-19, these checkpoints will also help with tracking purposes, making it simple and straightforward to determine who else was in the facility that day.
Through the use of thermometers, some facilities are already taking temperatures before letting people in. This process could become more mainstream – and supported by more reliable technology.
Cameras with built-in thermal imaging will help reduce traffic jams and eliminate lines of people while screening for higher-than-normal body temperatures. The cameras would be monitored in real time so an individual with a potential temperature could be pulled aside for questioning and further investigation.
Related: Watch “Future of Integration” Episode of NSCA’s Beer & Bull Podcast
Implementing More Automation
To limit wait times, maintain physical-distancing protocols, and minimize the opportunity for touch, buildings may be looking at integrating access control systems with elevator controls to prevent crowds from building up in vestibules and lobbies.
Installing Antimicrobial Hardware
Although it may not make sense on every door, main entrances or thoroughfares may call for antimicrobial door hardware.
These solutions are already used in some healthcare environments, but they may be making their way to corporate, education, and other markets soon to help inhibit the growth and spread of viruses and bacteria.
Integrating Occupation Monitoring & Control
To maintain social distancing, some facilities need to stay within certain occupancy parameters. By integrating video analytics (people counters, density assessments, etc.) with camera systems, building owners and managers will be able to monitor how many people are in the building – or specific parts of the building – at any given time so they can make adjustments as necessary.
These systems may also trigger alarms, automatically lock doors, and/or communicate messages to digital signage systems indicating that the building is at capacity.
How do you expect safety measures to change for your clients as they return to work? How will integrators’ roles in supporting these safety measures change? Email NSCA Director of Industry Outreach Tom LeBlanc at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts.