Our collective consciousness of hygiene has never been higher. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed so much of our day-to-day lives, and our awareness of what we’re touching in the physical environment is just one of those things. In buildings where staff, customers, and the general public are physically present, it has never been more important to reconsider the hygiene of doors and entryways.

The risk of fomite transmission of COVID-19 (spreading of the virus via shared surfaces) is extremely low. Nevertheless, as awareness of surface hygiene has heightened over the course of the pandemic, solutions that eliminate that risk have become increasingly popular. There are a wide range of touchless security products now available which completely remove the need to make physical contact with any part of the door or doorway.

A side view of a glass entrance door to an office, with many people walking towards it, slightly blurred to show the speed of their movement

What is the benefit of touchless access control?

Imagine an office building. When an employee approaches the front door of the building, they have to take a swipe card out of their bag and present it to a reader next to the door. They then have to take hold of the door handle and use it to open the door. Inside the building, before accessing the floor where their office is, they have to type a code into a keypad. On the way out, they have to press a button to release the door lock and push the door open.

All of these processes necessitate making contact with the physical environment. Touchless access control aims to reduce or even eliminate those touchpoints. Any hygiene risk is therefore removed, along with the heightened anxiety that many people now feel when they have to touch shared surfaces.

Effortlessly improve hygiene across the board
Easy wins for building mobility and efficiency
Innovative solutions with best-in-class technology

Door Automation

Switching from a manual door to an automatic door is the most obvious step towards achieving a touchless entryway. However the door lock is controlled and triggered, if the user has to push or pull the door to open it, the touchless benefit is negated.

Automatic door solutions, such as DIGIWAY, eliminate the need for physical contact with the door. Moreover, the added benefit of better accessibility improves the building for people with reduced mobility.

Microwave sensor mounted on top of door frame to detect people for door automation safety

Automatic trigger sensors

Trigger sensors are frequently combined with automatic door operators in order to create a seamless entry experience. You will most likely have come across these in supermarkets and shopping centres, where an individual only needs to enter the sensor’s field of vision in front of the door in order to trigger the door to open.

Sensors can utilise a range of technologies, including microwaves, infrared, and lasers. Some high-tech solutions, such as the DW-FLATSCAN3D, create a volumetric curtain of lasers in front of the door, offering unprecedented detection accuracy.

Close-up of a person holding a mobile phone with the ATRIUM app open on the screen in front of an access control reader mounted on the wall behind

Mobile credentials

Traditional access control systems utilise swipe cards or fobs to identify a user. Smartphone credentials, where a signal sent from a mobile phone app is all that’s required, offer a multitude of benefits for both the user and the system.

  • No need for physical contact between the user and the reader.
  • Reduced plastic usage thanks to the removal of physical credentials.
  • Better compliance – users are much less likely to lend their phone to another user.
  • Lower risk of security breach – users are less likely to misplace or forget their phone.

Occupancy management

As well as touchless security, many buildings are now implementing systems that allow them to limit the number of people in a given area. These measures make enforcing social distancing regulations much easier, as a particular room or zone is never allowed to exceed the pre-defined safe limit of people.

The ATRIUM access control panel is equipped with a built-in counter function as standard, making capacity management easy. Users simply present their credentials on the way into the area, and again on the way out. The counter keeps track of how many people have gone in and out, and when the occupancy limit is reached, the door is automatically locked until space is freed by someone leaving.

End-to-end touchless solutions

Need some help building a contactless access control system? Download our brochure now to find some inspiration and ideas for a wide range of projects.