Category: Pandemic management

4 minutes read time

Learnings from Facilities Integrate

Just before the Christmas break, our sales executive James attended Facilities Integrate in Auckland, New Zealand. With most trade shows across the world canceled or postponed in 2020, we felt incredibly lucky to have an opportunity to attend a non-virtual event.

It was fantastic to meet with customers (both existing and prospective) in person, and catch up on the impact such a turbulent year has had on your businesses. 

We noticed a few common themes in the conversations we were having with attendees. In the midst of a pandemic, processes have had to change. We caught up with James to hear what his key takeaways from the event were.

Facilities Integrate

James, first off, can you tell us a little more about Facilities Integrate?

Facilities Integrate is a trade event specifically for facilities managers. It’s a great opportunity to network with peers in the same industry, try out the latest equipment and technologies, source the best suppliers and generally keep on top of what’s happening in the facilities space. I feel very lucky to have been able to talk to our customers in person again!

I’ll bet. When talking to the attendees, what did you notice was the biggest challenge facing facilities managers during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Contact tracing came up a lot. More specifically, facilities managers were looking for flexible solutions to make signing in as easy as possible for everyone. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of our customers understood the importance of signing in visitors. However, it was generally the high security or hazardous sites that were concerned with signing in employees and contractors, too. With the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s all changed. 

Now, every workplace has a responsibility to protect the health of those working in its duty of care. One of the most crucial ways to do this is through contact tracing. This means signing everyone in each day is more important than ever. Lots of the facilities managers were looking for easy ways to turn signing in and out into a habit for employees. 

How can WhosOnLocation help with that? 

WhosOnLocation offers an incredibly flexible platform with 12 different ways to sign in – so there’s something for every workplace, and every employee. We often find our customers will use a few different methods at one site, to make it as easy as possible for employees to remember to sign in. 

Which methods are the most popular?

Some employees prefer to download the WolMobile app on their smartphone and use the auto sign in/out feature. This is the most foolproof way of ensuring everyone on-site is accounted for. It uses geofencing technology to update on-site status. Employees and contractors don’t even need to lift a finger.

Others might prefer to sign in using a touch screen kiosk in reception. Or scan a card to sign in with one simple step. Or even just provide their name to the front of house staff. 

Offering a variety of methods makes it easier to sign everyone in. So you can be safe in the knowledge your contact tracing processes are as robust as possible. 

Is there a method that’s preferred by customers? 

The kiosk (using an iPad or tablet) is the most common way to sign in. This is especially the case now we have released our touchless kiosk feature. By setting your kiosk to touchless mode, you can now present a QR code on the screen. Guests scan the code to sign in from their own smartphone. 

Employees, contractors and visitors simply scan the code to see the entire kiosk experience replicated in their browser. It’s been a game-changer during COVID, as customers looked for a more hygienic, hands-free alternative to the sign-in kiosk. 

Did QR code posters come up in conversation at the event at all? 

Great question – it was really exciting to demo QR code posters for the first time at the event. These posters are an easy, low-cost way to deploy WhosOnLocation, as no expensive kiosk hardware is required.  

They’re also a great way to make your sign-in process more robust. If you have multiple doors, you can use posters at each access point. This helps to capture any employees or contractors who use side entrances to enter or leave.

New to WhosOnLocation? 

All features mentioned are available in a single subscription cost. Start your free trial today – no credit card required. 

4 minutes read time

9/11 and Pandemic. What can we learn?

Guest post from Lee Odess

I found myself in a conversation last week with a group of security consultants, and we were discussing: What technology and learnings can we glean on the impact of COVID-19 on the commercial/office real estate and technology market by looking at what happened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks? What stuck and went away?

It was fascinating.

Here are some of the increased security practices and products they said stuck:

    • The use of metal detectors
    • Increased physical barriers
    • The check-in process at buildings for meetings went from business cards to using driver licenses or passports as identification.
    • Camera and surveillance technology, such as license plate technology, took off.
    • Aerial drones
    • A higher level of investment into artificial intelligence
    • Biometrics
    • Motion sensors
    • Thermal imaging

All true and most of the examples are technology applications. I found one area the most interesting: government funds propping up the real estate and commercial office industry.

After 9/11, New York City and other densely populated cities saw companies and tenants relocate. For some, it was necessary to rebuild, but in general, the fear of another attack on a densely populated area drove some to leave and move to the suburbs. In some respect, although caused by different events, we see similarities to the behavior now: a horrific event happens, and fear causes people and companies to rethink how and where they work and live.

What we saw the government do after 9/11 is where things get interesting. After 9/11, the local, state, and federal government opened up their checkbooks and started funding improvement projects and construction in those markets to help with the rebuilding. They used attraction and retention grants and subsidy programs to spark and drive construction projects for new commercial office space, restaurants, multifamily housing, and retail.

You can start to imagine the same response happening to counter the impacts of the pandemic.

As more and more companies publicize their moves to work from home, enterprises downsize office space, and individuals migrate to the suburbs, there will be a direct path to local, state, and federal offices. Why? For example, in the United States of America, and there are parallels worldwide, the short answer is that the commercial real estate industry is too vital to the economy and even more important to many who work in politics and around Capitol Hill.

Real estate donates a lot to political candidates and has a depth of lobbyists. There is a long history of this being true.

The #3 industry that mints billionaires? Real Estate.

A large amount of state and local tax revenue comes from corporate taxes and real estate taxes.

They will not allow cities and the economy to be destroyed.

What impacts do I think this will have?

I believe it will impact the retrofit and aftermarket more than new construction. The fit-out and updating of buildings with technology that instills trust and safety will be where the money flows. It will come with a message about “wellness.” The results will be a boom for HVAC (indoor air quality) and Security (access control and visitor management).

Note: Although historically sectors within real estate, like multifamily, rebound quicker coming out of recessions, real estate as a whole responds quickly to significant events. And government subsidies play a big part in why.

I believe that will be the most significant relatable trend from 9/11 that we can apply to how we might see the markets respond as we come out of this pandemic.

Lee Odess is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable Building Access experts in the world.  He is the Founder of E+L+C, and former executive of Allegion, a billion-dollar manufacturer in the lock and access control industry. He also served as an Executive of Unikey, a start-up that pioneered the IoT/smart lock/smart physical access control industry and began his career as an Executive with the first cloud-based physical access control manufacturer, Brivo.

Currently, Lee is the founder of www.InsideAccessControl.com and www.InsideVisitorManagement.com, a media and blogging platform focused on the physical access control and visitor management industry, and Group337, a Growth Studio focused on business creation in the commercial real estate, proptech, and smart home markets for small to large companies in the security, access control, and IoT industry.

4 minutes read time

Health screening at every access point

Our latest feature release has made health screening even easier for your organization. You can now print and display QR code posters at every entry and exit point for quick and easy sign in/out. 

What is health screening? 

Health screening is a common practice in the current climate. It’s a way for organizations to check in with employees, contractors and visitors to understand if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms before they enter a facility. 

The most foolproof way to carry out health screening is to automate the process. By using a people presence solution like WhosOnLocation, you can set up custom questions that are asked every time someone signs into your facility.

Health screening at every access point  

Placing a self-serve, sign-in kiosk in your main reception is a fantastic way to trace who’s moving through your site. Especially if you set it to touchless mode, for hygienic sign in/out. Not only does this create a slick, professional experience for your guests, but it also allows you to print ID badges with ease. 

But what about facilities with multiple entry and exit points? It’s often not feasible to place and maintain sophisticated hardware at every side entrance, gate or warehouse. That’s where QR code posters come in… 

How do posters differ from kiosks?

Similar to touchless kiosks, our new posters display a QR code that can be scanned on the guests’ smartphone. Once scanned, the employee, visitor or contractor is asked to enter their information and answer any health screening questions. 

By removing the need to buy expensive hardware, these posters are great for outdoor locations, or for placing at every access point in a larger facility. 

However, it’s worth noting these posters don’t have the ability to print badge passes. We would still recommend using an online kiosk at your main reception, especially if you’re signing in visitors. 

QR code poster

No app download required

To make it as easy as possible to screen everyone on-site, we’ve ensured our QR codes open in the guest’s browser. This is particularly great for visitors – no one wants to download an app for a one-off visit!

Get specific with contact tracing

The brilliant thing about QR code posters is that they can also be used to zone your facility. This can be really helpful should you need to carry out contact tracing in your facility. 

By splitting your facility into zones, you can assign your employees and contractors to each zone depending on their role. For example, if your accounts team sits on the top floor of your building, you can zone this area off and create a QR code for this floor. 

This makes it much easier to trace who has come into close contact with an affected individual, and which areas of your facility may require additional cleaning in the case of an outbreak of COVID-19. 

Security and best practice

Unlike our online kiosks, QR code posters can only be refreshed manually. This is achieved by printing a new poster. 

To ensure your QR codes are used only as intended, and to minimize the risk of mis-use, we recommend printing a new QR code poster once a month.

Ready to get started with health screening and QR code posters? 

All of the features mentioned are available today, and included in your WhosOnLocation subscription. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on enabling QR code posters. 

New to WhosOnlocation? 

Get started with a FREE 30 day trial today. No credit card required. 

5 minutes read time

Is my employer spying on me?

As many of us work from home under some form of COVID-19 restrictions, you may have wondered “Is my employer spying on me?”. 

Huge numbers of employees have been asked to download apps like Zoom and WolMobile. So it begs the question – can employers use this software to spy on us? 

How do I know if my employer is spying on me?

You may have heard rumours of employers using software to keep track of productivity and the use of company equipment. Let’s take a look at some of the common beliefs around employee privacy to see if they’re true. 

Employers have the right to carry out surveillance. True, sort of…

It’s true that some degree of employee surveillance is permitted – but this is usually only in the ways you would expect.

Generally speaking, an employer can monitor your activity at work so long as they have a valid business reason. This reason has to outweigh the employee’s right to privacy. 

For example, an employer wouldn’t be able to place a camera in a locker room, but they could justifiably record a phone conversation between yourself and a customer.

My employer can read my emails. True.  

Yes, an employer can access your business email and monitor the communication you send. However, this doesn’t mean your boss is scanning your emails every week. Or ever, for that matter. 

As you might expect, an employer is likely to access your emails only when they have a valid reason to. For example, when looking for evidence in support of a complaint such as workplace harassment or other gross misconduct. 

After all, business email is for business communications, so keep your private conversations to your personal accounts. 

My employer can track my location at all times with WolMobile. Not true. 

Customers often ask us if their employer can track their location at all times when using WolMobile to stay safe at work. In short, the answer is no. 

WolMobile uses location services for two key features: 

  1. Auto sign in/out – to automatically sign you in when you approach your workplace, and sign you out again as you leave. 
  2. When using the follow me feature – This feature is designed to protect those working remotely and at risk if your work requires it. Imagine a utilities contractor travelling alone between remote wind farms to perform repair work. Their location might be tracked for safety reasons, to ensure help can be provided quickly and easily in the case of an emergency. 

Although the WolMobile app has local access to your device’s location at all times, that information stays on your device. The WolMobile app only sends this information to your employer’s WhosOnLocation account when follow me is enabled (which requires you to be signed in for work), or when you enter or leave a geofence and sign in/out. 

Once you leave for the day, your location isn’t reported on in WhosOnLocation, so your employer has no way to access this information. 

Zoom has lots of privacy and security problems. Not necessarily true.

As organizations closed their offices, downloads of the Zoom app skyrocketed as we kept our team meetings going virtually. Although not considered a method of employer spying, Zoom did come in for some bad press earlier this year, leading many of us to question whether it was putting our privacy at risk. On closer inspection, many of the claims were exaggerated and designed to grab headlines: 

Zoom conversations can be found online. 

This isn’t a zoom issue, but rather a simple fact that a meeting host could record a conversation and make it publicly accessible online. The same could be said of any application.

Hackers will Zoombomb your meeting. 

Zoom has password and security settings available to prevent this from happening. Just don’t turn them off. 

Zoom’s end-to-end encryption doesn’t work.

This headline is more about a discrepancy between the commonly accepted definition of end-to-end encryption and how Zoom was using it. Although certainly misleading, this isn’t a bug. It’s worth noting end-to-end encryption isn’t widely available in the video conferencing market yet. 

So, is my employer spying on me?

Your employer might be carrying out a degree of surveillance, but only for justifiable business reasons. If your employer has reason to investigate your business communications, they are quite within their rights to do so. So remember to keep your personal or private communication to your personal devices and accounts. 

In the case of your employer spying on your whereabouts using WolMobile, rest assured this isn’t the case. If you’re not at work, your employer can’t access your location information. Remember when you are at work, your employer can only track your location around a site if you’re using the follow me feature for your own safety.

4 minutes read time

It is Time to (Re)Welcome Versus (Re)Open

Guest post from Lee Odess.

Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that average employee tenure in 2018 was roughly four years. With the worldwide shut down due to the pandemic and the recent start of getting back to work, we are embarking on a highly unusual circumstance: a new opportunity to create a first impression. Though onboarding has typically been reserved for new hires, has there been a time when this first impression has had more importance? 

This first impression is essential because of the need to create trust. 

The majority of employees are worried. They are concerned that returning to their workplace increases their chances of getting sick. And their potential infection has a ripple effect to the rest of their lives – their concern isn’t singularly for their own well being, but what could happen if they bring the sickness home and infect their loved ones.  A recent Edelman Trust Barometer special report called “Workplace Trust and the Coronavirus,” captured that just 14% of employees trust CEOs or senior managers to lead the return to work. Only half believe their offices are safe. I read that as “we have much work to do, and we need to do it right.” 

After a recent talk with WhosOnLocation, they used a phrase that stuck with me and inspired this article. I noticed they were using the word “re-welcome” versus “reopen.” In a time and place like now, when words and rhetoric matter, the stakes are so high and we need to be empathetic to build trust with our employees. Framing and treating this as a “re-welcome” versus a “reopen” makes a ton of sense to me. 

Reopening is very transactional. Re-welcoming shows compassion. 

So what are some ways you can re-welcome your employees back? There are quite a few well-documented strategies starting to appear on the web, here are some that I see start to get implemented by companies that prioritize their employees trust at the center of their re-welcome back plan: 

  1. Bring in or create a seat at the table for people that understand behavioral sciences. It is OK to admit that you and your peers at the leadership table may not be the experts that are needed right now when it comes to what to do. Be the leader who recognizes, uses excellent self-awareness, and reaches out for help. 
  2. Have the right balance of tools and processes in place with human interactions. The tools and processes can help deliver a consistent experience, which is critical in building trust.
  3. When selecting technology partners, ask questions to get to know them beyond the technical specs. Find out if they share or complement the vision you have for what it will take to bolster trust with your employees.
  4. Speak frequently and with transparency. As a company grows, this one becomes more challenging. There is typically a desire by communications departments to get involved, slowing down the speed of which you communicate to your employees and, in some cases watering it down so much you lose the crux of the message. Find that balance and challenge yourself to be authentic in times of uncertainty. 

Right now, in times of uncertainty, where would you want to go back to work? One that is “reopening” one that is “re-welcoming” you back? I want to be re-welcomed.  

Lee Odess is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable Building Access experts in the world.  He is the Founder of E+L+C, and former executive of Allegion, a billion-dollar manufacturer in the lock and access control industry. He also served as an Executive of Unikey, a start-up that pioneered the IoT/smart lock/smart physical access control industry and began his career as an Executive with the first cloud-based physical access control manufacturer, Brivo.

Currently, Lee is the founder of www.InsideAccessControl.com and www.InsideVisitorManagement.com, a media and blogging platform focused on the physical access control and visitor management industry, and Group337, a Growth Studio focused on business creation in the commercial real estate, proptech, and smart home markets for small to large companies in the security, access control, and IoT industry.

3 minutes read time

The Humble QR Code

Is the humble QR code now an integral part of our day to day lives?

Nothing new

While we have seen a heightened use of QR codes recently, they are by no means new. They were born out of the barcode which was first developed by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, back in the 1960’s. Japan had entered its highest economic growth period which meant cash registers were ringing. As cashiers entered prices manually the boom was starting to cause them injuries such as  numbness and carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive task.

The invention of barcodes provided a solution to this problem. Yet as the use of barcodes spread their limitations became clear. The biggest was that barcode can only hold 20 alphanumeric characters of information. The QR code could not only hold more information, but it could also be read more than 10 times faster. The QR code was first used in the auto industry and contributed to efficiencies across a wide range of tasks from product to shipping

Those who developed the QR code were unsure if it would gain market traction (little did they know). It is hard to find much information about the QR code until the early 2000s. At this time it became used in Japan for things like opening subway gates and banking

It’s everywhere

Since the early 2000’s the use of QR codes has grown. Not only amongst the Japanese public but globally. First taking off as a marketing tool now QR codes are now part of our daily lives, used for many things. Here’s a few examples:

  • electronic ticketing 
  • flight check-in 
  • food tracing 
  • joining a wifi network
  • loyalty programs
  • coupons

Keeping us safe in 2020

Many years have passed since the QR code was first invented. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us this year, with a greater focus on tracking our own movement. This extends to organizations and the need to be able to track who is entering their locations. QR codes are a simple and easy way to keep us safe.

People presence & QR codes

Using QR codes within WhosOnLocation is not new, we’ve offered  them as an alternative way to sign in for many years. Recently, we’ve made some enhancements to our features incorporating the use of QR codes. Making them simple and easy to use. Including:

  • WolMobile is our most innovative mobile app. Employees and Service Providers can use the inbuilt QR code to sign in/out as an alternative or replacement for an ID card. 
  • Our touchless kiosk removes the need to touch your kiosk creating an easy and touch free sign in and out experience.  
  • Print QR codes on the back of your visitor badges for easy access into and around your organization. 
  • A WolPass can be sent to pre-registered guests with details of the meeting, it also includes a QR code that can be scanned on arrival for ease of signing in. 

Does this mean the humble QR code is now the sweetheart of this pandemic, tech, and our day-to-day lives?  

4 minutes read time

Are you asking the right custom sign-in questions?

Updated September 2020

Before you allow employees, contractors and visitors to enter your facilities, what kinds of questions do you ask? How about as they leave? Asking custom sign in/out questions, tailored to your organization’s needs, can give you valuable information about who’s coming on-site. Getting specific with your questions can also help you maintain security in your facility.

Custom sign-in questions

Our latest update has rolled out our popular kiosk custom questions across two new sign in/out methods: 

  • The Sign In/Out Manager – for use by your front of house team
  • WolMobile – so employees and contractors can self screen

With this new update, you’ll be able to fully customise your questions, creating different questionnaires by: 

  • People type, e.g. employees / service providers / visitors
  • Signing in vs signing out
  • Sign in method – e.g. kiosk / Sign In/Out Manager / WolMobile 
  • Conditional questions – e.g. ask a question based on a response 

Let’s take a look at the types of questions you could (or should) be asking.

Custom questions for health screening

Depending on your organization’s circumstances, you may have specific needs when it comes to employee health screening. For example, for food manufacturing, the list of questions will be far more extensive. Here’s a good starting point for those wanting to carry out pandemic screening: 

  1. Have you recently returned from overseas? This is particularly important if you’re based in a country where borders remain open, and managed isolation isn’t enforced.
  2. In the past 14 days, have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a test confirming you have the virus?
  3. Do you live in the same household as, or have you had close contact with, someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  4. Do you live in the same household as someone who is currently self-isolating due to exposure to COVID-19?
  5. Have you experienced cold, flu, or diarrhea symptoms in the past 14 days?
  6. Do you have your own mask or face covering to wear during your visit? 

With WhosOnLocation, you can set automated rules which alert you when someone attempts to sign in outside of your health policy. 

Thermal imaging

Thermal cameras are a hot topic, with many organizations looking to screen the temperature of employees, contractors and visitors as they enter their sites.

Wello offers a no-contact, self service thermometer that is clinically tested and FDA cleared as a Class II medical device. We recommend you add Wello as an additional step before guests begin the sign in process with WhosOnLocation, to pre-screen anyone with a fever.

On-site safety

Those working in high risk environments, e.g. construction, utilities, manufacturing and health, can use the custom questions to ask important questions about kit and PPE. Custom questions can be tailored to the safety requirements of specific ‘zones’ within your facility, too. 

  1. Are you wearing a high vis vest and hard hat? 
  2. Have you collected your PPE prior to entering this facility? 
  3. Have you checked in with your safety operator? 
  4. You are about to move into a heavy machinery zone. Are you wearing steel toe cap boots? 

Custom questions aren’t only designed for use when signing in. They can be equally powerful when signing out, too: 

Protecting intellectual property

  1. Do you need to report an incident? 
  2. Did you see anyone on-site today who wasn’t wearing PPE? 
  3. Are there any new hazards to log? 
  4. Did you experience a near-miss whilst on-site today? 

Another common use case for our custom questions feature is to upload an NDA. You can ask visitors to acknowledge they’ve read your agreement, and use digital signature capture as a record they’ve agreed to your terms of entry. 

Visitor amenities

Custom questions aren’t just for the safety conscious. You can even use them to ensure you make a great first impression with your visitors. Here are a few examples: 

  1. Would you like a hot drink? Please select from the options below.
  2. Will you require a guest WiFi code today? 
  3. Can we validate your parking? 

Ready to get started? 

The WhosOnLocation custom questions feature is available now, and included in your subscription. Visit our Help Center to get started. 

New to WhosOnLocation? 

Sign up for a free 30 day trial today. 

5 minutes read time

Choosing a touchless sign in solution

Organizations are looking for ways to protect their people like never before. As we consider returning to work or opening our doors to visitors again, we all need to review our processes. How do we mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace? Choosing a touchless sign in solution is a great place to start.

How to return to work safely

There’s a lot to consider when re-opening our facilities. We recently put together this handy white paper to help guide the process. 

When it comes to the essentials of safety, there are two main questions you’ll need to ask yourself. In the face of an outbreak of COVID-19 within your organization, how will you: 

  1. Trace everyone who came into contact with affected individuals?
  2. Log everyone coming on-site in a hygienic, touch-free way?

Why do I need contact tracing software?

As a business owner, you might assume you can alert all staff of an outbreak of the virus and be done. But what about the visitors who came on-site during the incubation period? What about the contractors who passed through last Wednesday afternoon? 

By formalizing your process for recording who’s on or off-site, you ensure you’re able to account for everyone who was exposed to risk whilst working in your duty of care. 

Choosing a touchless sign in solution

For organizations, a visitor management system is the most robust way to carry out contact tracing. The majority of these systems were originally built for a self-serve, touch screen kiosk. These are no longer viable as we look for hygienic solutions.

Enter: touchless sign in. The market has adapted quickly to the needs of businesses, and many providers now offer a touchless sign in solution. However, the speed to market meant not all solutions were created equal. There are a few questions to consider when choosing a touchless sign in solution… 

Does it service walk-in visitors? 

The majority of touchless sign in solutions on the market today are designed for pre-registered visitors only. They require all meetings to be booked in advance, and for the visitor to fill out their sign in details prior to arriving on-site. 

But what about visitors who turn up unannounced? Contractors, who arrive a day early? Meetings you forgot to register with the front-of-house team? If we’re really going to mitigate risk and account for everyone on-site, we need to be prepared for the unexpected. 

WhosOnLocation’s touchless solution allows for walk-in visitors to scan a QR code and sign in from their smartphone – no pre-registration required. 

Will my visitors need to download an app? 

Keep an eye out for providers who’s touchless sign in solution requires visitors to download a smartphone app – this can cause friction.

When choosing a touchless sign in solution, think about your one-off visitors. Walk in visitors may experience frustration at the need to download and grant permissions to an app on their personal smartphone, and those who aren’t tech savvy won’t be able to sign in with ease.

WhosOnLocation has kept the process as simple as possible, with browser-based sign in

What about employees and service providers? 

Contact tracing doesn’t begin and end with visitors. You’ll need to ensure your solution allows everyone coming on-site to sign in hygienically. That’s why WhosOnLocation’s touchless feature allows visitors, service providers and employees to sign in, and delivery drivers to register packages touch-free, too.

Can I screen who comes on-site?

Aside from contact tracing, a touchless sign in solution can also help you prevent access to those displaying symptoms before they come on-site. Check your provider supports custom questions, so you can tailor the sign in process to your own pandemic policy. 

With WhosOnLocation, you can set up automated rules (triggers) to deny access to those who pose a risk, and notify the appropriate person on-site. 

How secure is it? 

Giving visitors the ability to scan a QR code and sign in from their smartphones poses a new set of security concerns for businesses. What if someone maliciously distributed the QR code for bogus sign ins?

As an ISO 27001 accredited company, WhosOnLocation has ensured touchless sign in is only used as intended. The QR code is automatically refreshed after each use to ensure the person signing is in really on-site. Once signed in, guests only have access to the sign out page, and there’s a limit to the number of times a guest can search for employees to visit.

Does it include all the functionality I’d expect? 

For the most part, touchless visitor management features don’t currently support all the features you get in the standard, touch-screen format. For example, you might find visitor photo capture is available on the kiosk, but not for touchless.

WhosOnLocation has delivered a solution which 100% replicates the function of the kiosk, including:

  • Badge pass printing
  • Multi language support
  • Photo capture
  • Custom questions
  • Signature capture for NDAs
  • Acknowledgment notices

New to WhosOnLocation?

Try it for free with a 30 day trial. No credit card required. 

5 minutes read time

How to make visitors feel welcome (and safe) again

When COVID-19 hit the headlines earlier this year, businesses slowly started to change their operations. Travel plans were the first to be abandoned – as conferences and industry events were postponed or cancelled. Next, it was the turn of visitors, as external meetings were carried out over the phone rather than in person. Finally, we saw facilities closing their doors altogether, taking their business online wherever possible. 

Visitors haven’t been welcomed into facilities for a very long time, and the general consensus is that opening doors to guests again puts everyone in a vulnerable position.

However, as we return to the workplace, we must eventually invite our clients, customers and business partners inside again. The question is – how do we make them feel welcome? How do we make them feel safe? 

Start with employee and service provider safety

For many countries, including much of the US and the UK, the majority of organizations are yet to open up their facilities to employees and service providers again. 

Before we can think about visitors, it’s important to get things up and running as safely as possible for our employees and contractors. There are a number of steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those in your duty of care during a pandemic, including: 

  • Ensuring physical distancing is possible
  • Preventing those who pose a risk from entering
  • Implementing contact tracing 
  • Accommodating flexible work schedules
  • Giving staff the time and space to get back up to speed
  • Being mindful of individual circumstances – ensuring employees aren’t putting themselves, or those they care for, at risk

You can read more tips for getting back to work post COVID-19 in our latest white paper.

Opening your doors to visitors

When it comes to welcoming visitors, there are a number of ways you can minimize risk and reassure guests and employees that their safety is a priority. 

Reach out in advance

Taking the time to send visitors an email in advance of their visit can provide some much needed peace of mind. Use this opportunity to lay out your pandemic policy, ask they rearrange their meeting if they begin to feel unwell and explain the measures you’re taking to ensure their safety whilst on-site.

WolPass can completely automate this process for you. When employees send calendar invites to external guests, WhosOnLocation’s calendar integration can pre-register the visitor in the system and automatically generate a customizable email. This WolPass contains all your arrival instructions, including a QR or barcode that can be used for fast-track sign in. 

Make your sign in process safe

If you’re signing visitors in with your front of house team, you’ll need to ensure your staff are protected, and visitors are adhering to physical distancing during the sign in process.

If you’re using a self-serve kiosk to sign guests in, it’s worth noting the average sign-in process involves touching the screen around 35 times. Considering COVID-19 is spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, this isn’t ideal. You’ll need to ensure you keep a bottle of hand sanitizer next to the kiosk and remember to clean the screen frequently.

There is an easier way: our enhanced touchless sign in feature makes the process much safer.

Sign in from your smartphone's browser

We already supported touchless sign in for pre-registered visitors, but our most recent product update means even walk-in visitors are able to register themselves on-site safely. Visitors simply scan the QR code on the kiosk and complete sign in using their own smartphone.  

By making the sign in process touchless and compliant with your pandemic policy, your visitors will feel reassured that you’ve taken steps to protect their health during the visit. 

Tailor your welcome message

If you’re using a self serve kiosk or touchless solution, a few simple tweaks to your summary screen message can go a long way towards making your visitors feel welcome. Try something like: 

“Welcome back. We’ve asked our employees to maintain a 2 meter distance from visitors for your safety, and provided hand sanitizer throughout the facility – please help yourself. It’s good to see you again.”

Create a comfortable waiting environment

If your reception waiting area is scruffy, cluttered and anything short of spotlessly clean, your visitors are likely to feel uncomfortable as they wait. Regular cleaning is always important, but your visitors are more likely than ever to pick up on dirt and dust in the wake of COVID-19. 

A sparkling clean facility shows you’re taking the pandemic, and the health of your people, seriously. Similarly, if you’re using a touchless sign in solution, continue to send the right message by removing any shared reading materials or drink stations – which leads us on to… 

Contactless refreshments

Offering your guests a drink is visitor etiquette 101. However, this simple act requires some extra thought in light of COVID-19. Arranging a contactless method for serving drinks and ensuring your front of house team wash their hands between cups of tea and coffee will mean your safe sign in procedures weren’t carried out in vain.  

Already a customer?

The features discussed in this blog post are available with all subscriptions. Get started with touchless sign in today. 

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4 minutes read time

Your sign in process just went fully touchless

Our most anticipated feature of the year has landed – fully touchless sign in is now available in your account. So what does that mean for customers, and how can you get started? We’ve covered everything you need to know in this blog post, so you can create a touchless kiosk today. 

What is touchless sign in? 

Touchless sign in is a hygienic way to allow visitors, service providers and employees to mark themselves as on or off-site. 

There are many ways to sign in using WhosOnLocation, but the most common is to use a touch screen kiosk. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, we all became more aware of the ways viruses and bacteria are spread – and for many, a touchless kiosk became a requirement.

A touchless kiosk

Although we already offered touchless sign in for pre-registered visitors, and auto sign in/out via our WolMobile app, there are a number of great WhosOnLocation features which couldn’t be used in tandem with these options. 

Our latest enhancement utilises the kiosk and all of the great features which accompany it, so you can get the full WhosOnLocation experience touch-free. 

How does it work? 

Our touchless sign in solution uses a QR code to enable visitors, service providers and employees to scan and sign in on their smartphone. Here’s how it works in four simple steps: 

How touchless sign in works - WhosOnLocation

Same great kiosk experience 

Touchless kiosks are easy to set up, and will carry over all your existing kiosk settings. Touchless kiosks work seamlessly with your favorite WhosOnLocation features, including: 

  • Custom questions
  • Photo capture
  • Badge pass printing
  • Multi-language sign in
  • Acknowledgment notices
  • Signature capture for NDAs and waivers

Security first 

As an ISO 27001 accredited company, you know you’re in safe hands with WhosOnLocation. We’ve taken a number of measures to ensure touchless kiosks are secure. 

How we’re keeping your facility secure

Auto-refresh QR codes

QR codes immediately refresh after every use, so no one can sign in to your facility unless they are actually on-site. In the unlikely event a group scans the code at the same time and attempts to sign in together, the code will only be valid for the first five people who follow the link. 

Manual codes

For those who aren’t able to scan QR codes, we also offer the option to input a code manually. These manual codes update whenever the QR code refreshes, and there is a limit to the number of times a device can input a code. 

Time limits

To ensure touchless sign in only used as intended, we’ve imposed a number of time restraints. For example, once a QR code has been scanned, the user must start signing in within 5 minutes. Once started, they must complete sign in within an hour. 

Once signed in, they will only have access to the sign out page, and won’t be able to navigate back to the kiosk questions. The sign out page will time out if not used within 24 hours. 

Suggested settings for you

When you enable your touchless kiosk, there are a number of settings we suggest you review. They include:

Search result drop downs

To protect the data of your visitors, service providers and employees, we suggest you disable the returning visitor search function, and require an exact match when searching for names. This will prevent guests capturing names in your database on their smartphone. 

Triggers

Does your facility use triggers to unlock doors when someone signs in? Unlike a visitor signing in at a fixed kiosk, with touchless, the visitor does not need to be physically next to your door to sign in. If your facility has strict security needs, and you feel uncomfortable with doors unlocking remotely, you may wish to review your current process.  

Photo capture

Finally, you may want to make photo capture optional rather than required, to enhance the visitor experience. It isn’t uncommon for visitors to have restrictive camera settings for their smartphone, and feel uncomfortable about granting permission to access their phone’s apps. We recommend you give your guests the chance to skip this step.

Downloaded our handy poster

Place this poster next to your kiosk and help guide your visitors through the touchless sign-in process. 

What’s next?

The hard work doesn’t end there – we’ll be bringing custom questions to WolMobile and the front-of-house sign in/out manager soon. Watch this space… 

Ready to get started? 

Enabling touchless sign in is easy. This article will walk you through it in no time. 

4 minutes read time

Listening to your feedback with touchless sign in

COVID-19 has thrown the entire world a curveball. As everything from travel plans to major global events have been cancelled or put on hold, individuals and businesses all over the world have received a masterclass in flexibility. 

Like the majority of businesses, at WhosOnLocation we’ve had to pivot our thinking, re-work our plans and become more reactive to the changing needs of our customers. That’s where our touchless solution comes in. 

How can WhosOnLocation help in a pandemic?

We’ve been asked this question a lot in recent months. As experts in people presence software, it’s our mission to help customers mitigate risks to their visitors, employees and service providers through constant innovation. 

Before COVID-19 hit the news, WhosOnLocation already had a robust feature set that could help customers reduce the risk of spreading a virus within their facilities, including: 

  • Pandemic screening and alerts when an at-risk person signs in
  • Contact tracing with a digital record of everyone on-site / in contact with an affected individual
  • Maximum occupancy rules to adhere to social distancing
  • ‘Zoning’ to assign workers an area and minimise exposure
  • Acknowledgment notices to communicate your entry policy

However, more was required. A global pandemic like COVID-19 puts every single customer at risk, and ensuring we had ways to mitigate these risks became our top priority. 

Having your say

When the world went into lockdown earlier this year, we started reaching out to our customers from all sectors to ask about their business needs, and how WhosOnLocation could help. 

From picking up the phone and having a good old chat, we identified a few key areas that needed addressing. These included:

  1. A way to keep track of teams who were working remotely and from home.
  2. A touchless solution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when signing in at a kiosk.

Working remotely

First off, we got straight into a working remotely solution in response to businesses closing their physical facilities throughout the world. 

Released back in April, working remotely allows employees and service providers to sign in for work from their homes (or anywhere!). In doing so, our customers have a clear record of everyone who is working in their duty of care at any one time, regardless of where they are. 

This feature really comes into its own when used in the WolMobile application. Those who are signed in for work remotely will be able to view important safety notices in-app, receive instant messages from their employer and send their location to a nominated safety operator in the event of an emergency. 

Touchless sign in 

Before we’d even heard the word COVID-19, WhosOnLocation already accommodated a number of ways to sign in hands free, including: 

  • Scanning a token
  • WolMobile app
  • Brivo integration using Onair app
  • With the sign-in/out manager
  • For pre-registered visitors using WolPass

However, from our conversations with customers, we realised a more seamless solution is required during a pandemic, and beyond. 

To get a deeper understanding of your needs, we carried out an in-depth survey.

Touchless – The results are in

So when it comes to a touchless solution, what was the verdict? 

We drilled deep asking a number of questions to help guide our solution. Here are the headlines: 

77% of those surveyed* said they’d rather use a touchless, self service kiosk than sign visitors in with their front of house team. 

76% would rather keep things digital, using a touchless kiosk to display a QR code, rather than a printable poster. 

64% would rather tailor the sign in questions they ask for visitors, than for employees or service providers. 

69% didn’t require a touchless solution for deliveries. 

*Of a survey of 240 customers with varying role types.

So what’s next? 

Our brand new, touchless solution will be released in the coming weeks, offering you a way to sign in all visitor types, and integrate with all the best parts of WhosOnLocation.

Our touchless solution will allow visitors, employees and service providers to register themselves as on-site using their own devices, for a simple, safer, sign-in experience. 

More information to come very soon, watch this space!

New to WhosOnLocation? 

Take a free 30 day trial today.