Mobile Visitor Management Systems Can Improve Efficiency on Campus
Mobile functionality in visitor management systems allow security managers to register new visitors and connect with a central visitor management location from anywhere.
In recent years, the need to manage and monitor visitors has become a security priority at most facilities. At the same time, manual visitor enrollment systems are quickly being replaced by automated and integrated visitor management systems. These sophisticated systems help protect employees, assets and buildings by confirming a visitor’s identity, compiling relevant information about their visit and allowing real-time integration with access control and other security-related systems.
One capability that is attracting increasing interest and use is the addition of mobile functionality to visitor management systems. Let’s see why this trend is gaining a growing acceptance.
Adding Mobility Improves the Experience
What is meant by adding mobility? Unlike the BYOD trend in corporate phones and email access, where user devices are incorporated into the organization’s IT system, mobility in visitor management systems puts specific, key functionality in the hands of a mobile security team member. The equipment is typically based on a rugged hand-held or tablet computer, and normally includes visitor management software, a driver’s license and/or barcode scanner, a camera, wireless connectivity and sometimes a mobile printer as well. This combination of equipment lets security staff register new visitors, confirm the identities of expected pre-registered visitors and exchange information with the central visitor management system. When a mobile printer is present, visitor badges can even be provided from the mobile location.
The benefits of this arrangement fall into two primary areas: operational efficiency and the visitor experience.
On one side, proponents of such systems point to the operational efficiencies and flexibility that can be gained, including mobile visitor check in from any location, including remote entry gates, distributed campuses and parking entrances. They would also be ideal for outdoor events and other temporary needs. These applications can be convenient, and they have the added security advantage of moving the checkpoints outside and further away from the controlled areas. And because they are mobile and wireless, they do not require any power or communication infrastructure beyond what already exists in the facility.
The second benefit is more visible and has a greater impact on the visitors and the organizational hosts themselves; that benefit is a significantly improved visitor experience. Increasing the flexibility and efficiency of the visitor management system lets staff tailor the specific operational procedures to best match the needs of both visitors and the organization.
For example, the same idea mentioned above about moving the checkpoint farther away from the controlled area naturally results in welcoming visitors faster and earlier in their visit. This not only helps visitors confirm they are in the right place and where exactly to park and go, but also lets the host know earlier that the visitor is arriving, letting them better prepare to welcome the visitor. In another example, visitors that are denied entrance, whether from a hit on a watch list or some other reason, find out earlier and are spared the embarrassment of such a discussion in a crowded lobby. Some users are even shifting away from “behind the desk” receptionists and using “mobile greeters” to welcome visitors and sign them in as they enter facilities.
Win-Win for Both Visitors and Security Managers
Increasing security measures has, too often, become synonymous with longer lines, more bother and a decreased visitor experience. In the case of visitor management, however, implementing a mobile system to increase security can have the very positive effect of increasing the efficiency and satisfaction with the visit experience for both the visitor and the host.
Today’s best visitor management systems, by integrating with access control and watch list checking among other systems, speed up the check-in process, provide automatic access to required areas and avoid last-minute complications and disappointments. In this way, these systems can help balance the security functions that the organizations need with the appearance and feeling of welcome that builds trust and fruitful relationships.
By combining and balancing both kinds of needs, today’s visitor management systems can provide a “win-win” implementation for both security staff, visitors and their hosts.
Paul Terschuren is the CEO of STOPware, Inc.
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