How will Visitor Management Shape In 2021 (And Beyond)
For 2021 and beyond, businesses of all kinds are going to learn a lesson from the tourist industry. Specifically, they are going to learn how to combine robust but discrete physical security with digital visitor-management tools. This will create an improved experience for both visitors and regular staff.
Physical security will make a good first impression
Effective physical security is the bedrock for all security measures. Traditionally, however, it has been either very expensive or very unsightly. In fact, it wasn’t unusual for it to be both. Thankfully for businesses, security companies have been catching on to the need for products which are robust but also attractive or at least discreet (or both).
For example, security gates are now available in designs which can blend in with any company’s image. If you want to be even more discrete, however, you can opt for bollards, which only become apparent when you’re approaching them in a vehicle. These are also great solutions for companies which are short on space.
Businesses are also getting more creative about how they deploy their physical security solutions. For example, companies are increasingly likely to have artists decorate security doors and shutters. This turns them from utilitarian eyesores into eye-catching displays. Security can become a marketing tool. It can even be genuine art.
In short, modern businesses will learn to treat physical security as functional decor. This will allow them to deter intruders while still remaining attractive to genuine visitors. Some physical security features can even improve the visitor experience. For example, lighting both improves security and promotes safety.
GDPR will become more relevant
GDPR has been around since May 2018. It is, however, probably going to become more relevant rather than less. There are several reasons for this. Most of them, however, are linked to the growing use of technology in security.
For example, many businesses now use CCTV, either on its own or as part of a remote monitoring solution. Some businesses already use its close relative Automatic Number Plate Recognition. This is likely to be increasingly widely adopted over the coming years, precisely because of companies leveraging technology.
Increasing remote monitoring is inevitably going to lead to more personal data being captured. This is inevitably going to lead to greater implications for data security and hence GDPR. In particular, companies should be prepared for higher numbers of data-deletion requests.
It seems reasonable to assume that many of these will come from visitors, particularly occasional ones. They can easily wind up being forced to agree to remote monitoring even if they’re not happy about it. Unlike employees, they have no need to think about the practicalities of their employment situation. In other words, they have nothing to lose by invoking GDPR.
Security guards will be more customer-focused
Over recent years, security guards have been working hard to shed their old-school “macho” image. This trend will continue and grow. As with physical security measures, security personnel need to be both effective and either welcoming or discreet (or both).
Many security personnel already take on some level of customer service. This may be informal, for example, acting as convenient sources of information for visitors. It is, however, increasingly likely for it to be a dedicated part of their role. For example, security guards may staff reception at quiet times or when the regular staff are away, e.g. for lunch or training.
Technology will bring everything together
If there’s one trend which will define visitor management in 2021 and beyond, it will be the use of technology to make life easier for everyone. This trend is already established and growing. The coming year and beyond will, however, see it develop to a whole new level.
Technology will start at the perimeter
At present, Automatic Number Plate Recognition is only really used in certain niche business sectors such as caravan parks. It will, however, steadily become more mainstream. This will allow businesses to exercise a lot of control over incoming traffic without inconveniencing drivers.
Pre-registration will become standard
Pre-registering visitors has all kinds of advantages for everyone. Many of these hinge on the fact that pre-registration can be linked with predefined processes. These can ensure that all necessary formalities are completed, possibly before the visitor even sets foot on site. What’s more, these processes can be customized to suit the type of visit.
For example, all visitors will need access to basic health-and-safety information (e.g. fire exits). This will, therefore, be included in all processes. Potentially, only a very few visitors will need to sign non-disclosure agreements. That said, it will generally be very important that they do so. With pre-registration, this can all be managed in advance.
Similarly, “VIP” visitors can be tagged in the system to ensure that they receive appropriate treatment from the moment they arrive. Per the previous comments, this can literally mean from the moment they approach the gates.
Pre-registration comes in particularly useful when you’re dealing with large groups of people. This can mean large groups of visitors. It can, however, also mean dealing with individual visitors at busy times. Pre-registration can help to ensure that visitors get the attention they need even during “rush hours”.
Visitor badges may become more important
Right now, a lot of companies are still giving visitors paper “visitor” badges. This is “cheap and cheerful”. It is, however, also massively limiting. Providing visitors with proper badges has all kinds of advantages. What’s more, with pre-registration, badges can potentially be prepared in advance. At the very least they can be prepared quickly upon arrival.
Issuing visitors proper badges with relevant access controls can make life easier for everyone. It means visitors can operate more independently. They are spared the need to find a regular member of staff any time they want to go to the bathroom or pick up a coffee from the canteen. This also lets regular staff get on with their own work.
Proper badges also provide a discreet way of monitoring a visitor’s behaviour. This is much less intrusive than the likes of CCTV. In some areas, it can also provide useful information on visitor behaviour.