After Covid, What's Changed?


COVID-19 will stand out as one of the most influential factors in changing personal behaviors and corporate protocols

John L MossBy John L. Moss

John L. Moss is Chief Product Officer of LenelS2


There is no reference for comparison in living memory for the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to how the pandemic affects individuals and organizations, COVID-19 will stand out as one of the most infl uential factors in changing personal behaviors and corporate protocols.

At LenelS2, we’ve been receiving requests from our users and integrators asking about how technology can play a part in adhering to intelligent practices as local government entities allow employees to return to the workplace. These conversations, combined with our parent company Carrier’s Healthy Buildings Initiative, led us to create teams in product development and client services to focus on the issue.

As of this writing, our Custom Solutions group is at work on new reports to assist in contact tracing, region occupancy and other topics relevant to the current environment. Product teams have been working on enhanced entry control solutions to include external skin temperature detection and face-covering compliance detection, among other items. And, integration with automatic door operators and our BlueDiamond products can provide a touchless access experience.

I’d argue that the COVID-19 experience – still underway and, until a vaccine is available, still a threat – will change how we do business and how we secure facilities in fundamental ways for a long time.

Some changes will be temporary. Inconveniences and extra operating costs for users will eventually be trimmed. Once we have a vaccine for the current virus, for example, it’s likely that enthusiasm for screening based on skin temperature or mask presence will decline. With budgets certain to be under increasing pressure, our users will want to deploy extra staff positions to more productive uses.

But some changes will probably be long-lived. At an individual level, COVID-19 taught us not to touch common surfaces we would not have thought about in the past. This will drive the market away from physical credentials, keypads and doors with handles toward virtual credentials, mobile devices and mechanized openings. We’ll be wanting truly touchless access control.

Because of the duration of the pandemic, we’ve had to adapt to working from home. Once thought by many to be a drag on productivity, working remotely and meeting virtually have turned out to be much more effective than we may have feared. Between an increased acceptance of remote work and the need for social distancing as we go back to the office, workplaces will be more thinly staffed.

Reducing building occupancy will move us away from badging offices and physical IDs toward virtual IDs and completely electronic ID management. Once we’ve virtualized badge production and management, it will be hard to imagine returning to the physical models of the past.

Long after we’ve put away the masks and pulled the tape markers off the carpet, a new approach to security systems, credentials and access control overall will thrive. It will require less physical interaction between the user and the environment and will demand less administrative management. And, in its way, it will be part of the complex legacy of COVID-19.

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