Facility managers have often faced what appear to be mutually exclusive demands. Now they also have to cope with a whole new employment paradigm: hybrid-remote working, which is making the workplace significantly more dynamic, fluid and complex.
Pre-pandemic, the norm was for most employees to work on-site. It was therefore easier to offer access to a building and forecast its utilisation. Today, employees are in and out all the time and work remotely. Thus facilities managers now need efficient and easy ways of managing building access whilst grappling with today’s more strategic challenges such as delivering against environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals – Facilities Management Journal points out.
The transition away from using plastic cards
The role of access control has changed in recent years. As technology has evolved, it is playing a far greater part to enhance the operational engineering, maintenance and functioning of buildings. A key enabler of this change is the option to transition away from using physical plastic access cards – which utilise RFID technology – to smartphone-based solutions, along with wearables like smartwatches. These then leverage virtual credential technology connecting to mobile-enabled door readers to allow people to enter.
A raft of benefits can be gained from these mobile access solutions, unlocking the potential for smarter, greener and more efficient buildings.
Mobile has key advantages
Mobile access solutions make life easy for time-pressed facility managers as they’re much simpler and more efficient to manage and use. Any iOS or Android device can be used, with software-based management running in the cloud making it straightforward to then deal with the licencing, allocation of virtual credentials, setting of building access rights, validating or revoking of IDs remotely and dealing with visitors or contractors.
The door readers installed need to be checked as the latest models support mobile access out-of-the-box. Others can be upgraded, only really old ones have to be replaced. It’s then just a case of obtaining and installing the mobile access solution – a smartphone app and server-side tools – integrated with whatever building management or security systems are in place.
Users take far more care looking after their smartphones
It is estimated that more than 550 million PVC access cards are made and sold annually each year, 17 % of which are lost or mislaid creating security risks each time it happens. This amount creates 2,700 tons of plastic waste and emits 11,400 tons of carbon emissions. It is a significant amount especially as so many cards have to be replaced regularly – FMJ.co.uk highlights.
Whereas, users take far more care looking after their expensive smartphones compared to plastic access cards. If someone loses their smartphone, they’ll lock just quickly with their digital credential. This remote management capability with mobile access is fundamentally an important advantage.
Mobile access in new Polish skyscraper
Skyliner skyscraper in Warsaw, Poland is one of the tallest buildings in the capital with 42 stories at 195 metres high.
In terms of physical access control, the strategy has been to segment the building and create various zones based on usage: office space for tenants, free access areas for the public, along with underground parking. To meet security protocols, people are prevented from going directly from the garage to the office floors and are routed to the lobby area first – Smart Buildings magazine reports.
The developer’s key goal was to introduce touchless entry as people pass the turnstiles in reception, with a lift automatically called to take them to the correct level. They wanted to keep everything as simple as possible for people who work and visit the building. To achieve this and add value to tenants, Karimpol Group has installed a feature-rich workplace platform developed by Hellopark—the SkylinerAPP.
The SkylinerAPP provides a range of functionality for each tenant and their staff: the ability to reserve car parking places, book desks and conference rooms, as well as receive information and news about the building or events going on within it. It is also a tool to log any maintenance requirements: the building’s facility managers are informed about them via the system so they can be dealt with promptly.
An HID Mobile Access solution has been integrated with the SkylinerAPP to allow physical access to the building, with both Apple iOS and Android-based smartphones supported. To date, 1,600 users are registered in the SkylinerAPP.