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Putting the right pieces together in a COVID-19 affected world

In a ‘new normal’ world, we have done the research so you don’t have to!

There are so many ways in which electronic security products can innovatively help businesses comply with social distancing rules and create a safe environment for colleagues, contractors, customers and visitors.

You may, for example, wish to restrict the maximum number of people allowed into a room at the same time, or perhaps provide a hands-free way for people to enter or leave a restricted area. You might also want to generate an alert if someone is suspected of having a fever or detect if a person is not wearing a face mask.

Expert advice

Whatever your requirements, you can be assured Smart R Distribution will be able to provide expert advice on which products will help you achieve the job in hand, and that these products will continue to offer value over and above the immediate need to deal with the consequences of COVID-19.

Working closely with installers and system integrators, Smart R Distribution are able to supply and support a wide range of products from manufacturers such as ACT, Authenticard, Comelit, Dahua Farpointe Data, Hikvision, HID, Intratone and Vanderbilt. Although initially developed for security purposes, these products can be applied to meet the challenges of operating in a COVID-19 affected world.

Many of the available COVID-19 solutions can be implemented by way of an upgrade of an existing Access Control or CCTV system. Others might necessitate a new installation. However, all can be deployed with minimum disruption and in many cases, integrated with each other to meet an individual end-user’s operational requirements. 

Contactless Access Control

There are a number of products readily available from Smart R which negate the need for office-based workers and visitors having to make contact with door furniture, including solutions manufactured by Comelit and Virdi/U-bio, which utilise face recognition technology.

In addition, the availability of contactless exit buttons originally designed as a hygiene solution for food preparation areas, laboratories, etc. which can easily be retrofitted to an existing access control or video door entry system and the ability to use Bluetooth enabled smartphones as mobile access credentials, should not be underestimated in terms of reducing the risk of the virus being spread. This also applies to the use of proximity access control cards and readers which, in the current circumstances, we recommend should be used in place of, or alongside PIN code or biometric fingerprint readers.

There is some particularly interesting functionality available with access control solutions developed by manufacturers such as Intratone. Instead of having to touch a keypad or reader to gain entry, a resident can simply use their mobile to call an entry panel. Access will be automatically granted, provided their phone number has been added to a white list stored in the device’s memory. ­­­­­

You may also wish to consider installing a Door Detective. This compact device which can be installed either side of a door, detects tailgating and as such, will help restrict the number of people allowed to enter a room at the same time. The device’s closed contact functionality can be used to control a turnstile or a beacon.

Getting people back to work

Vanderbilt has produced an excellent White Paper on how access control can help businesses meet the challenges presented by COVID-19. The paper explores best practices for protecting employees and visitors and sets out a number of ways in which a safe environment can be created. All of the solutions highlighted In the White Paper are available from Smart R.

Download the White Paper here

Remotely Managed Access Control Systems

Even before the onset of COVID-19, we saw remotely managed access control systems for residential apartment blocks gaining popularity among budget conscious local authorities and housing associations, as well as private property companies. This is perhaps not surprising, as they offer an opportunity to reduce the ongoing operational costs of managing access to buildings by minimising the number of site visits apartment block managers have to make.

There are a number of manufacturers who have developed remotely managed access control systems which are able to reliably and effectively meet the requirements of the residential sector. Although they have different approaches in terms of the technology utilised, we have found them all to be equally effective.

It is very much a case of ‘horses for courses’, which is why Smart R Distribution works closely with customers to ensure they have the information they need to choose a solution which best matches the requirements of a particular building. 

People Counting and Occupancy Monitoring

There is certainly no shortage of manufactures offering people counting solutions which can help pubs and restaurants, art galleries and museums, places of worship and shops, safely re-open to the public. 

Most of these solutions are highly effective in terms of simultaneously counting people who enter and leave an area and they will generate an alert if the specified maximum number allowed, is exceeded. These are edge-based solutions which operate onboard open-platform cameras in the same way Apps run onboard smartphones.

At Smart R, we rank the Hanwha Techwin and Vivotek people counting applications among the best, but we are just one phone call away if you require objective advice on the solutions offered by other manufacturers. Remember; we have done the research so  you don’t have to!

People counting utilising access control technology

Access control based counting solutions can be equally effective to people counting application running onboard cameras. The decision as to what to use to control occupancy levels will depend on a variety of factors, including whether a building has just one or multiple doors and what other electronic security systems the end-user has already invested in.

Users of the  ACT Enterprise Pro access control platform can take advantage of its rules engine to implement social distancing measures by, for example, limiting the maximum number of people who are able to enter a building’s toilet facilities at the same time. Setting up an easy to configure people counting rule and linking it to an input/output module, light beams, card readers or other contactless devices installed on both sides of a door, will turn on a beacon’s red light when the total number of people allowed into an area has been reached. With no human intervention necessary, it will also keep a door locked, leaving staff free to complete their normal tasks.

In a similar way, it is a simple matter to configure a rule which by counting the number of times a  piece of shared equipment has been used or a commonly used door has been opened, will notify facilities management personnel that the equipment, door or the area inside it, needs to be cleaned.

Smart R provides both of these easy to implement counting solutions as stand-alone modules or as part of a larger system.    

Fever Screening Solutions

One of the key symptoms of COVID-19 is increased body temperature or fever. Not surprisingly, the need to detect people with these conditions has resulted in a dramatic increase in demand for thermal cameras which are capable of identifying people who may need to self-isolate to prevent them spreading the virus.

There has been some concern expressed recently via the trade press as to the effectiveness of some of the solutions on offer and it would appear to very much be the case of ‘you get what you pay for’. Our advice would be to ask your chosen manufacturer for a live demonstration or suggest they refer you to existing, satisfied customers who are operating in a similar environment.

Smart R is able to provide fever screening solutions from Comelit, Dahua, Hanwha Techwin, Hikvision and Uniview, all of which utilise thermal cameras supported by what is known as blackbody radiation technology which it is claimed measures skin temperature to 0.3 degree accuracy. We are also able to supply the Comelit fever screening tablet which monitors the temperature of a person’s wrist, as well as a solution from FLIR which generates an alert if the temperature within a person’s tear ducts is too high.

Face Mask Detection

Wearing a face mask to stop the spread of COVID-19 has already been adopted as a safety measure in many parts of the world and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently recommended the use of face masks wherever social distancing is difficult. The UK government has also made it compulsory to wear face masks when visiting or working within healthcare facilities and when using public transport.

Fortunately, in terms of organisations complying with these additional social distancing rules, technology has yet again come to the rescue in the form of Face Mask Detection applications. These run onboard cameras to generate an alert if a person entering an area is not wearing a mask. Hanwha Techwin is, for example, offering an application which has been developed by its technology partner, a2, which triggers the playing of a ‘please wear a face mask’ audio message and it has an alarm output function which can be used to turn on a device, such as a warning beacon.

Face Mask Detection over the coming months is likely to present a huge opportunity for installers to generate new business, whilst delivering a highly effective solution which will make a significant contribution to the fightback against COVID-19. 


Remember - Our knowledgeable pre-sales and technical teams are just one phone call away when you need expert and objective advice on how to put the right pieces together. 

Call 01440 704 387 or email today

Date : 16-06-2020

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