From client meetings, to on-site vendors, to after-hours maintenance, commercial buildings play host a rotating roster of visitors. And yet, many buildings are still relying on outdated visitor management systems to keep track of who’s there, why, and when—and it’s a serious security concern. Reception areas need to be staffed at all hours to accommodate guests, and paper sign-in sheets are not only cumbersome and inconvenient, they also lack an electronic record and are constantly missing information. Guest badges and key cards can also prove to be a security pitfall, with administrative staff constantly having to chase down guests who forget to turn in a badge before leaving. Even newer technology, like using a shared tablet to check in visitors, can cause choke points in busy reception areas.

A more modern solution is to go with a completely touchless visitor management system. Not only do these contactless visitor check in systems reduce the spread of germs in lobbies and reception areas, they also offer better security and an improved visitor experience. As touchless technology becomes an essential amenity in commercial spaces and offices, contactless kiosks and digital check-in systems are a smart investment to future-proof the visitor experience, as well as enhance perimeter security..

Why Touchless?

Touchless visitor management systems offer the best of both worlds: convenience and security. With a touchless guest check-in system, you can keep a detailed log of all visitor activity, and give guests more peace of mind. By allowing guests to use their own mobile device to register for access, check in, and unlock doors, there’s no need for a receptionist to be on-site for off-hours requests or to manage a stack of visitor badges. While you may think that fewer people present to accommodate capacity limits or social distancing would reduce security, touchless, mobile visitor platforms actually improve asset protection when following the best practices outlined in this guide.

One security benefit of touchless visitor management systems is that they allow for greater customization of visitor credentials, keeping guests relegated to only the spaces they should have access to, at the times set by administrators. If the visitor tries to open a door they haven’t been given permission to open, it simply won’t unlock—and system admins will be able to see the unauthorized attempt as soon as it happens.

In addition to enhanced perimeter protection, touchless guest check-in systems are more convenient. Badges and sign-in sheets are cumbersome and outdated, giving the impression of a disorderly, old-fashioned organization. A touchless office building check-in is often easier and faster to use, and offers a better guest experience that’s also germ-free.

Types of touchless visitor check-in

Though touchless technology is fairly new, there are a few different types of touchless visitor check-in systems. Choosing the right technology depends on the number of visitors to the building, and the amount of security required at the site.

  • Gesture recognition and sensing: This kind of technology uses movement and proximity to function. A good example of gesture recognition is Openpath’s Wave to Unlock feature. When a credentialed user approaches an Openpath door reader, the system uses gesture recognition to “see” when a user waves their hand in front of the reader to unlock the door. It’s totally touchless, but still secure since only showing intent (waving your hand) will trigger the unlock action.
  • Facial recognition: Especially for high-security deployments, facial recognition is a popular option for touchless visitor check-in. This type of technology requires video or camera hardware to verify visitors’ identities. Some touchless visitor kiosk systems have built-in cameras that can use facial recognition software to confirm a guest’s identity and automate the check-in process.
  • Smartphone apps: A great way to enable contactless visitor check-in is to leverage the technology available on smartphones. From mobile access control with touchless entry, Cloud Key guest credentials that can be sent via text or email, and QR codes that users can scan at kiosks, there are many options for businesses to choose from that are both convenient and cost-effective. Smartphone apps also enable businesses to instate completely touchless registration and check-in with digital platforms that can automatically sync with directory tools and visitor management systems.

Best practices for contactless visitor management systems

  1. Have visitors pre-register via app or email

    One of the best ways to go touchless with your visitor check-in system is to use a digital or web-based platform for guests to register ahead of time. Not only will this ensure on-site teams are notified and prepared to welcome visitors, it also means there’s a record of who registers for access and how often, which can help optimize guest experiences over time.

    A digital pre-registration form for visitors can include all the basic information, such as name, reason for visiting, and expected time and date of the visit. An added benefit of a contactless visitor management platform is that registration can also include custom forms for health verification or legal consent, and a digital copy is easily available without having to dig through piles of paper. The digital platform also makes it easier to automate follow-up for important day-of information to the visitor once their registration is approved, like sending directions, parking details, and check-in instructions.

  2. Facilitate touchless check-in experiences

    Once visitors arrive at your building, a self-service touchless guest check-in system is a great way to offer them greater peace of mind, convenience, and more personalized experiences. If you want to use a completely contactless method, app and web-based check-in on their smartphone is both easy to configure and use. With Splan’s touchless visitor check-in system, guests scan a QR code with their phone to start the process, which can be customized for walk-in or pre-registered visitors, require specific fields, and facilitate on-site health questionnaires.

    The touchless visitor kiosk systems also have technology to support ID scanning, facial recognition, and temporary badge distribution, automating many of the tedious tasks that drain administrative resources. The kiosks can also send notifications to on-site staff to keep them updated on visitor status. The result is a faster, more convenient visitor check-in experience that’s still secure and safe.

  3. Integrate with mobile access control

    To further enhance visitor experiences, integrate your visitor management system with your building’s access control. A cloud-based, open architecture platform like Openpath provides a highly configurable solution with custom permissions, and automatically issues Cloud Key credentials at check-in. This means that once visitors successfully complete their registration and check-in, they’ll receive a code via text or email that allows them to gain access to entries throughout the property, as defined by the administrator. The process is automated, efficient, and completely touchless thanks to Openpath’s mobile technology.

    Integrating Splan Visitor and Openpath offers additional flexibility with custom attribute mapping and definable area access for lobbies and public spaces. This allows multi-tenant office buildings to support visitor access both at the lobby level, and for individual offices. This integration also supports both auto-generated mobile Cloud Key credentials, as well as proximity key cards or fobs for offices that may prefer a physical security credential.

  4. Use mobile credentialing for recurring visitors

    In some cases, contractors or returning vendors may not want to have to register for access every time they come to the building. With a mobile access control system, it’s easy to provision mobile credentials to these longer-term visitors, without compromising security. Granular and site-specific permissions ensure contractors and visitors only have access to the spaces they’re assigned to. Openpath also features unique mobile badging, which generates a digital ID badge right in the app. Since the credentials are on their phones, contractors and vendors don’t have to worry about remembering an ID badge—they can flash their digital badge and unlock entries all on their smartphone. Plus, with Openpath’s cloud-based management platform, issuing or revoking access is both instant and easy, and out-of-the-box integrations with the leading user directory tools means user information is always synced across platforms.

  5. Automate with your calendar apps and directory tools

    For further automation, use a touchless visitor management system that can sync with your calendar and directory software. For example, Splan Visitor integrates with Outlook to automatically detect whether a calendar invite contains an email address from outside the organization, and then prompts to create visitor credentials. This makes provisioning for visitors quicker and more efficient, eliminating last-minute visitor registrations and reducing the burden on reception or administrative teams.

  6. Give temporary access with mobile credentials

    Not all visitors are going to qualify for pre-registration. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t also benefit from a touchless check-in experience. For walk-in visitors, deliveries, and maintenance, a touchless building check-in system can make it easier and faster to give temporary access. Features like Openpath’s digital Guest Pass give authorized users the ability to create and send a temporary visitor credential in just a few clicks, without having to be on site. The Cloud Key guest pass is easily scanned at Openpath readers for touchless entry. Guest Pass is great for allowing maintenance teams access to an office, as they don’t need to download an app or go through a lengthy registration process, and their access activity is still tracked for auditing purposes.

    A touchless office building check-in system can help expedite deliveries and walk-in visitors with custom workflows. Voice-activated kiosks and intercom systems can help route visitors to the correct person, who can remotely unlock the door for the visitor. With touchless kiosk features like ID scanning, it’s easy to track visitor activity and quickly gather vital identifying information, without requiring extra interactions from on-site personnel.

Future-proofing your space with a touchless office check-in system

Incorporating a touchless guest check-in system is a great way to make offices safer right now and give peace of mind to everyone entering the building. But this technology has many long-term benefits, too. Thanks to cloud-managed platforms and open system architecture, integrated visitor management and mobile access control solutions are more powerful than ever. With the ability to automate registration and visitor check-in procedures, offices can reduce overhead costs and facilitate a more flexible, agile working environment that adapts to meet changing business needs. Seamless touchless visitor check-in systems and mobile credentials offer greater convenience, all while strengthening building security and future-proofing the office environment for all tenants. Talk to our technology experts today to see if Splan Visitor and Openpath are a good fit for your building

For more information on installing visitor management software and integrating with your current access control system, please contact Splan at sales@splan.com. We can also refer you to one of our industry leading security integrator or dealer partners.