Solutions that have emerged to fight the pandemic will probably stick around
By Neil Sutton
If you’re anything like me, you have probably come to accept this COVID version of reality and are now governing yourself accordingly.
When you leave the house, you grab your wallet, keys, phone and mask. You probably glance down occasionally in the grocery store without even thinking about it, just to make sure you’re following the arrows stuck to the floor. And your scheduled meetings are most likely conducted via webcam, so you know when to don your business casual attire.
When the pandemic first started, I received a trickle of press releases from security companies that had configured software or services to address the sudden need to manage social distancing or temperature checks. Now, five months into it, I’m hard-pressed to think of a major security provider that hasn’t adopted the ability to offer these kind of services, either by adjusting their own technology or partnering with another company that can.
People and companies adapt. The security industry has adjusted quickly to meet these new, but now commonplace, challenges. In a very real sense, this is a continuation of the path the industry was already headed down — providing solutions and services that do more than meet a client’s security requirements. Operationally, many these companies were already tackling issues like queue management and room occupancy, so adapting analytics for mask detection or social distancing is a logical next step. Flexibility is everything during these strange days and the industry has more than demonstrated the ability to think on its feet.
Much of this issue of SP&T is devoted to assessing the impact of the pandemic, both in terms of how it has affected the bottom line for security service providers as well as the opportunities that have arisen.
Based on the results of the business survey conducted by SP&T News and CANASA, few security businesses have escaped the severe economic effects of pandemic with most indicating a drop in revenue and staff layoffs or furloughs. However, many of these companies have also indicated that some areas of their business have grown during the pandemic, including guarding, surveillance, remote monitoring, touchless access and the aforementioned temperature monitoring stations.
Our two other feature stories are devoted to the last two of these. Elevated body temperature devices are helping to address today’s needs, but touchless, or near touchless, access control devices are likely to stick around long after the pandemic. The investments in touchless are being made now, particularly as organizations gear up for back-to-work or back-to-school — that may signal a long-term preference as users become ever more cognizant of their immediate environment and its potential impact on their personal health.
Hopefully, the pandemic will soon be a shared memory rather than shared reality, but its lessons will persist long into the future. The innovation that is occurring now in the security industry will no doubt help avert, or manage, future health crises.