How can entrance control improve visitor experiences?

June 10, 2022


Being able to monitor and control who can access your building is a fundamental element of physical security, writes Tony Smith, Major Accounts and Marketing Manager, IDL.

Successful security systems should provide users with confidence that a threat will be thwarted, but they shouldn’t prohibit the free movement of authorised individuals around a building.

However, as well as providing security for the building, entrance control can actually be used to improve and enhance the overall experience for visitors too.

Minimising inconvenience

When it comes to pedestrian entrance control, the security process needs to be as easy and simple to use as possible. But have you considered how integration with other technologies can improve the overall visitor experience?

For example, integration with biometric and analytical technologies – including facial recognition and body behaviour analytics – can provide high security entrance control without users having to look for misplaced ID cards and tokens. Access can be granted using their retina, fingerprint or even their gait.

Another integration which improves traffic flow and helps users, is pairing the individual’s profile with the floor they work or live on.

Vertical transportation systems (VTS) and destination control systems (DCS) integration means that when an individual presents their card or biometric credentials to a turnstile, a lift is automatically called from the bank and the individual is guided to the car which is going to deliver the quickest journey.

If you’re able to inform the lift of the user’s expected destination before they get into the lift car, we can direct the passenger to the most suitable lift, shortening wait time and resulting in a quicker journey – as well as lowering energy costs for building managers.

This was the solution chosen for an installation project IDL supported for a luxury multi-tenant office located in the City of London.  Here, one of our key installation partners specified our Fastlane Glassgate 250 turnstiles, integrated with the Forge Bluepoint visitor management system, Inner Range access control and Kone lifts, to provide the most efficient user experience whilst facilitating both high level visitor management and destination control.  

Providing 24/7 security

For some facilities, such as university campuses and gyms, there may be a requirement for ‘out of hours’ access whereby members or students can enter the premises after the reception has officially closed.

It is vital then that for these buildings, the entrance control system allows ease of access at any time of day, whilst continuing to provide a safe environment, with security managers confident that it isn’t going to fail when there are limited security staff on-site.

When integrated with an access control and CCTV system, in the event of a breach, cameras will capture images of the situation which can be reviewed by security personnel remotely to identify the people involved.

Safe and secure access outside of normal operating hours was a key requirement for the University of Sunderland when they looking to improve security at their campus library. With the facility being accessible 24 hours a day by students, they needed a solution that would be secure yet flexible to the needs of users. An integrated approach with Fastlane turnstiles, together with library management software from Telepen, enabled library staff to capture and analyse data allowing them to make plans around when to open the library based on its usage.

Benefits for members

Entrance control systems can do more than just let someone into a building. When integrated with a visitor management system, they can allow access at a specific time or indicate where the user needs to go once they have gained entry.

For example, this was used in good effect across 23 leisure centres managed by Edinburgh Leisure. Here, Fastlane’s Glassgate 150 turnstiles worked alongside a leisure management software system from Gladstone Software as part of an install project that aimed to improve the overall user experience at each site.

Each of the turnstiles were custom fitted with RFID readers and touchscreens that would allow members to pass through the turnstiles by scanning their membership wristbands or access tokens. Centre members could also book activities remotely via the website or app and then gain easy access to the centre when their membership credentials were presented.

The RFID technology used by Gladstone Software also integrated with other systems around the leisure centre including gym equipment, which created a contactless membership experience for users.

Safety considerations

It is a sad reality of today’s world that terror threats, knife and gun crimes are fast-moving incidents that every security or facilities manager needs to give high priority to in their building security plans.

For visitors, knowing that the building they are entering can adapt quickly to allow quick and safe egress in the event of an emergency might not be a determining factor whether they enter or not, but it is an inherent benefit that entrance control can bring.

In the event that a hostile individual has already gained access to the building, one way to minimise the threat and the damage caused is to isolate that individual. This not only helps to prevent the threat from moving through a building or the perpetrator hiding, it also makes it easier to direct the police or other first responders to the area where that person is located.

For example, when connected to an access control system, Fastlane’s Door Detective solution can be controlled remotely from a central location, enabling administrators to lock internal, access-controlled doors to prevent free movement, even if a user had the right access permissions. This allows for the immediate securing of a building using the products web pages, preventing the threat from leaving the building or from accessing other areas of it.

As well as preventing unauthorised pedestrian access, Fastlane turnstiles (and Door Detective Plus) can provide real time monitoring of your entrance control, with entry and exit count data provided to administrators via Fastlane Connect.

Authorised personnel can view the traffic flow of each set of turnstiles and keep track of how many people are in which areas of a building. Should an emergency situation arise, building counts could be generated from a data file for specific regions of a facility, providing crucial information to help direct the first responders to the most critical areas.

Whilst we have covered a number of applications in which entrance control can help to improve the visitor experience, it’s important to remember that every environment is unique and therefore a tailored security strategy should be developed for each situation.

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This article was originally published in the June 2022 edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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