30 Mar 2021

Aspire Partners: How the Pandemic Changed Retail

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus presented multiple challenges to communities and businesses, in particular the retail sector.

Now the use of physical security systems has become more than a means to prevent criminal activity. Managing a location’s occupancy levels to ensure social distancing or allowing hands-free entrance is a vital part of any security system set-up.

We asked some of our key Aspire Partners for their expert views on how access control has evolved due to the pandemic, and what will it look like in the post-pandemic world.

“Before the global pandemic, there was a variety of access control systems to choose from,” says Brian Garlan, Managing Director of Fortus IRE. “Tried and tested push button and card entry systems were historically the most used. However, contact-less entry points in recent years had been gaining traction within the industry.

Driving End-User requirements

“Since the global pandemic,” Garland continues, “the traditional card and button access control systems are being replaced with contact-less entry points for infection reasons. I believe, post-pandemic, access control will be given more tasks – mainly around supplying analytics for capacity monitoring and social distancing purposes.

“Social distancing and the return-to-work agenda have created a demand for more sophisticated building occupancy and space control to reduce the risk of spreading illnesses. As many employees will be looking for either permanent home office working or only a partial return to the office, analytics will help companies understand how much their builds are being utilized, so they can reduce building occupancy, “ Garland concludes.

Frédéric MAILLE, Director of Marketing, Client & Business Development at Francofa Eurodis weighs in: “Buildings, whatever their activities are (private homes, hospitals, coworking), bring together multiple people under the same roof sharing the same areas; lobbies, halls, corridors, lifts, offices, restrooms… Landlords or leasers who manage the place must handle measures to prevent contamination within residents or employees.

“COVID-19 has enforced to apply access control health risk management as a commonplace on top of security and comfort,” MAILLE stresses. “In such a context, digital solutions become more and more fundamental to prevent, limit and manage people flows into identified areas. It saves time by monitoring access with a few clicks. 

Integrating Third-Party Systems

In conclusion, MAILLE states: “Touchless technology, for example, considerably avoids pandemic risks and eases people's lives, mostly disable people. Moreover, electronic control allows to limit or prevent access in certain time slots, add or reduce accesses in a very easy way. Technology definitely brings synergies between access control, communication, and security for people's comfort and health.”