Category: People presence management

3 minutes read time

Inclusive Technology: WhosOnLocation accessibility kiosk

In the past two decades, rapidly changing digital technology has become an integral part of our life. The tools, systems, and devices allow us to manage our day-to-day life efficiently. Workplaces rely on technology to make communication quicker, drive productivity, and improve on-site safety. Therefore, it is critical for employers to ensure that digital tools are accessible and straightforward to use for their employees, contractors, and visitors rather than becoming a barrier for those with disabilities.

Accessibility, in relation to technology, refers to digital content that can be successfully used by as many people as possible, including those with disabilities. More companies are committing to developing digital products that consider everyone’s needs. In practice, accessible technology offers built-in customizable features, for example, screen contrast and text size choice or screen reader capabilities.

Modern: a new theme for the sign-in kiosk

We are pleased to introduce modern, a new default theme for our kiosk that is accessible and easier to navigate for all users, including those with disabilities.

Why are we making the improvements?

WhosOnLocation believes that technology should be inclusive and consider everyone’s needs. We are committed to improving our product to ensure it’s easy to navigate for all users and meets global accessibility standards. Our new modern theme is an important step in our journey to have our kiosk fully compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) over the coming months.

What is the kiosk’s modern theme?

A kiosk using our modern theme offers simplified design, increased font size, and enhanced color contrast. Also, the interactive elements are designed in a more prominent and visible way. These improvements allow easier and more straightforward navigation through the sign-in process also for people who are visually impaired, color blind, or contrast impaired.

What are the next steps?

The modern theme is an essential step in our kiosk becoming fully compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The next phase will include further design enhancements, ensuring that all interactive elements across the kiosk are configured to be navigated by a keyboard or screen reader alone. We will also improve the relationship between labels and the elements they describe to ensure the attributes for screen readers are present and helpful.

Ready to get started? 

Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on getting started.

New to WhosOnLocation?

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

5 minutes read time

Survey Finds Majority of Professionals Expect to Be Back in Office Full Time by Q4, Confirms Heightened Health and Safety Concerns

Worries regarding return to work include office hygiene, occupancy, commute exposure, and reliable contact tracing

BETHESDA, MD., May 13, 2021, 9:00 a.m. ET – According to the 2021 Return to the Office Survey published today by Brivo, the global leader in cloud access control and related technologies, and WhosOnLocation, a provider of people presence management software, 53% of workers expect to be back in a physical office full-time within the next six months. However, 59% of respondents have expressed health and safety concerns about returning, with the highest levels of anxiety emerging from personnel in professional services, such as finance, IT, recruitment/HR (72%), and creative services, including voluntary/charity workers, marketing/PR, arts & design (62%).

According to respondents, the biggest concerns about returning to work are:

  • Office hygiene and protective measures
  • Proximity to other workers
  • Exposure during commuting
  • Effectiveness of contact tracing

As outlined on Brivo’s Commercial Reopening Index, 58% of the U.S. is reopened with agriculture/forestry/fishing, construction, and retail as the top three reopened industries.

“As COVID vaccines roll out, organizations that have been operating remotely or at lower capacities are now planning for a return to offices and other workplaces. While some may remain remote permanently, those who are returning need to address health and safety,” said Steve Van Till, CEO, and founder of Brivo. “People need simple, practical ways to enforce contact tracing, social distancing, and healthy building requirements.”

Darren Whitaker-Barnett, CEO of WhosOnLocation, added, “Despite the shift to remote and hybrid work arrangements during the pandemic, it’s clear that the office still plays an integral role in driving culture and collaboration. Flexible technology will help organizations welcome employees back to the office while ensuring the health and wellbeing of everyone on site.”

When asked which solutions would give them the most confidence in returning, the results showed that 49% prefer temperature scanning as the main solution, with limiting the number of people on site (39%), touchless door entry (34%), and mask detection (32%) close behind. Touch-free sign-in and sign-out for contact tracing and social distancing measures were also highlighted, at 30% and 29% respectively.

For workers who remained in offices throughout the pandemic, the vast majority have been satisfied with the practices, protocols, and technologies that their organizations have implemented to protect them against COVID-19. The most common protective measures include providing masks, hand sanitizer, or other gear (73%); increasing cleaning protocols (59%); enforcing physical distancing (55%); and requiring temperature checks or thermal scanning for on-site access (48%).

Brivo and WhosOnLocation provide technology solutions to help businesses protect the health and safety of their employees, customers, contractors, visitors, students, and residents as they re-enter facilities. Organizations can leverage the Brivo Facility Safety Features and WhosOnLocation’s presence management solutions to protect everyone in their buildings and improve access control and on-site safety and security in the ‘new normal.’ Tools include occupancy tracking, contact reporting, personnel control, visitor management and reporting, touchless sign-in and mobile self-screening.

Complete Results

Complete results are available via the Brivo website in the 2021 Brivo Return to Work Report: Transitioning Back to The Office After COVID, which details why businesses are returning to the office, how COVID has changed employee needs and ways employers can address workplace concerns through touchless technology and access control.

Methodology

This survey was conducted via email in March 2021, using an audience of Survey Monkey users as respondents. Five hundred thirty-eight people took the survey. Responses came from all U.S. states except Vermont and Wyoming, with the highest numbers coming from California, Florida, New York, and Texas. Twenty-five industries were represented with the highest percentages from healthcare, IT/computing, retail, and education. A plurality of respondents occupied the staff level (44.2%), followed by manager (26%), administrator/associate (16%), director (6%), C-suite (6%), and vice president (1.38%). Slightly more males than females (52% to 49%) participated. Age brackets broke down as follows: 45-60: 33%; 30-44: 31% 18-29: 22%; 60 and older: 14%. 

About Brivo

Brivo is the global leader in mobile, cloud-based access control for commercial real estate, multifamily residential, and large distributed enterprises. Our comprehensive product ecosystem and open API provide businesses with powerful digital tools to increase security automation, elevate employee and tenant experience, and improve the safety of all people and assets in the built environment. Having created the category over twenty years ago, our building access platform is now the digital foundation for the largest collection of customer facilities in the world, trusted by more than 25 million users occupying over 300M square feet of secured space in 42 countries.

Our dedication to simply better security means providing the best technology and support to property owners, managers, and tenants as they look for more from buildings where they live, work, and play. Our comprehensive product suite includes access control, smart readers, touchless mobile credentials, visitor management, occupancy monitoring, health and safety features, and integrated video surveillance, smart locks, and intercoms. Valued for its simple installation, high-reliability backbone, and rich API partner network, Brivo also has the longest track record of cybersecurity audits and privacy protections in the industry.

Brivo is privately held and headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. Learn more at www.Brivo.com 

About WhosOnLocation

WhosOnLocation, an MRI Software company, provides people presence management software to monitor the safe and secure movement of people through buildings and work sites. Our powerful, cloud-based solution unites visitor, contractor, employee, and emergency management, enabling organizations to secure their facilities and ensure the safety of every person on-site. Armed with a rich, unified source of people presence information, our users are empowered to make more strategic, data-driven decisions that mitigate risk, reduce overhead costs, and streamline operations. Compliant with ISO:27001 2013 for Information Security Management. WhosOnLocation serves organizations in 42 countries around the world and manages over 60 million secure movements through thousands of locations each year.

For more information, visit www.whosonlocation.com.

3 minutes read time

Tighten up your on-site security with WolScan

WolScan adds a further layer of security to your on-site visitor management. Our recent user interface update makes the scanning process simple and quick. Learn more about how to make your visitors’ registrations more efficient by using WolScan.

What is WolScan?

WolScan is an iPhone/iPad app that allows you to quickly and securely capture and register your visitor’s identity by scanning their photo ID. The information is automatically uploaded to your WhosOnLocation account, to either sign in as a new visitor or update an existing/pre-registered profile. There is no need to enter the details manually which speeds up the process for your front-of-house team.

Why use it?

For any organization that is security conscious, it is critical to ensure that only those with permission have gained on-site access.

By scanning your visitor’s photo ID you validate their identity and reduce the risk of unauthorized entry, making sure that your company property, information, and employees are protected. 

Imagine a scenario where a file with sensitive information went missing or intentional damage was discovered on site. WolScan allows you to keep a verified record of who has had access to your premises.  It is also an excellent way to reassure your auditors and insurance providers that you have a valid visitor management process in place and you have done all that is necessary to mitigate risks.

How does it work?

To verify and register visitors simply scan their photo ID using the WolScan app on your iPhone or iPad with iOS 10 or higher. Once ready, the information is automatically uploaded and saved to your WhosOnLocation account. Simple, fast, and secure!

Which documents are compatible?

WolScan allows you to automatically upload the information from all passports. It also supports driver’s licenses from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

You can also scan generic photo IDs. The photo will be stored in your WhosOnLocation account, and you have the option to enter any other details from the photo ID that need to be retained.

How do I know the data is securely stored?

We take data privacy and security seriously. We are ISO 27001 certified and GDPR compliant. When using WolScan, the visitor information, including captured images, is sent directly to the WhosOnLocation server. No data is processed by a third party. You can also decide how long the visitor’s information is retained and set an automatic data deletion after a set period of time.

Ready to get started? 

WolScan is available to enable in your account today and is priced per device. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on getting started. 

New to WhosOnLocation?

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

4 minutes read time

Safety trends in the construction industry

In November of last year, our sales executive James attended Facilities Integrate in Auckland, New Zealand. He had some interesting conversations with facilities managers – see this blog here – but he also caught up with those attending Build NZ to hear about construction safety trends. 

Construction safety trends

James, can you tell us a little more about the event? 

Sure. Our stand was at Facilities Integrate, but we neighboured the Build NZ show. Build NZ is the leading trade event for the build, construction and design industries. Both Build NZ and Facilities Integrate provide a great opportunity to network with peers in the same industry, try out the latest equipment and technologies and source the best suppliers. 

It was great to attend a non-virtual event and catch up with new and prospective customers in person! Especially after such a turbulent year. 

Did you notice any construction safety trends? 

There were a number of construction safety trends. First off, similar to the facilities managers I spoke to, there seems to be a real need for a flexible sign-in solution. I also had plenty of conversations around contractor management, and in particular, using software to strengthen safety processes. 

Could you tell us a little more about your conversations on a flexible sign-in solution? 

In the construction industry, one organization is likely to have a number of sites, all with different needs and requirements. Some sites might have great wifi, while others only have cell signal. Some could be outdoors and remote, while others are in high traffic areas. From my conversations at the event, customers need multiple ways to sign in across these locations. Sometimes, they even need multiple processes at one site. 

How can WhosOnLocation help with that? 

WhosOnLocation has 12 different ways to sign in – so there’s an option for every organization and every employee/contractor. From a smartphone app to a PC.

Which sign in methods are the most popular for construction sites? 

Our WolMobile app was built with construction sites in mind and is great for outdoor sites. Both employees and contractors can download this app to easily sign in and out, and view important site safety information. Using geofencing technology, you can even set the app to automatically sign everyone in and out. So there’s no longer a need to track down those who forgot to sign out.

Alternatively, a kiosk that includes a scanner is also a popular choice. Our customers often issue employees and contractors with access cards that can be scanned at the kiosk for quick and easy sign in. With WhosOnlocation, anything with a barcode can be used for this – loyalty cards, driving licenses, etc, for quick and easy implementation. 

You also mentioned software for safety came up a lot, can WolMobile help with that? 

Absolutely. For remote or hazardous work, employees and contractors can enable geolocation services within the app. This helps responders to locate them in an emergency. 

To make this feature even more powerful, we also offer an SOS alert function. This sends an instant alert to a designated safety contact within the organization. The alert includes contact details and the whereabouts of the individual who raised the alarm. 

Customers can also broadcast safety updates via instant messages. They can even ask employees and contractors to acknowledge safety notices before they sign into a location. 

You mentioned that contractor management was one of the key construction safety trends. Are there any other features besides WolMobile that can help with this? 

One of the construction security trends is around keeping contractors safe. The WhosOnLocation application boasts a whole range of contractor features. The most notable is our service provider portal. This is a game-changer for many customers. It allows contractor organizations to upload and maintain their own documentation, cutting down on serious admin time. 

Insurances, qualifications and inductions can all be uploaded to the portal. Customers can then enable alerts to remind them (and the contractor in question) if any of their documentation is expiring or up for renewal. 

To make these features even more powerful, customers can also configure their account to deny site access to anyone with expired or incomplete documentation. An alert is then sent to the relevant person to notify that a contractor has attempted to enter a site without the correct insurances/qualifications/inductions. 

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

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

Start the year right – a software update checklist

The start of a new year is a great time to tackle some admin. It’s time to put our minds to all those jobs we’ve been putting off until ‘after Christmas’ and start the year as we mean to go on. One of the job’s on your list is likely to involve updating your IT systems and carrying out a software update – ensuring you have the correct team contact information in your accounts, you’re running on the most updated versions, and your processes are all up-to-date.  

Keep on top of changes

Aside from the usual system and software update, there are a number of other things to check.  If you’ve had members of your team move to new roles or change companies in recent months, it’s likely you’ll have some tidying up to do. Health and safety software relies on up-to-date information to ensure the right people are on hand in an emergency, and your data is correct and ready for auditing. WhosOnLocation is no different.

WhosOnLocation has also released some great new features, and is discontinuing WolMobile Legacy, so now’s a great opportunity to check you’re getting the most out of your subscription. Get started with this handy checklist:

Remove access

Once a team member has switched roles, it’s important to review their system access. We’re all in the habit of closing email addresses and revoking badge passes, but what about the other systems they’ve been using? 

If out of date contact details are listed in your account, important information could be going to the wrong people. Take some time to review who’s listed as an admin or account owner, and ensure your safety processes are foolproof. 

Review your triggers

Similarly, it’s important to review who is listed as a point of contact for the automated processes in your account. Triggers can be used for all sorts of alerts. You can receive a notification if a contractor has an expired safety induction, or if someone signs in against your health policy. Review the contacts you have listed to receive these alerts to ensure your procedures are robust. 

Update to the latest versions

We’re all guilty of putting off a system and software update until the last minute. This can have a real impact on productivity and performance in the long run. 

At WhosOnLocation, we released a much-improved version of WolMobile around this time last year. Check you’re on the latest version to make the most of new and improved safety features. Start your migration and ensure a smooth transition once the old app is turned off. Here are five reasons to migrate today. 

Tidy up your employee profile information

One of our more recent updates gives you a great excuse to revisit the information you store against your employee and contractor profiles in WhosOnLocation. Custom Fields gives you the ability to tailor the information you store, so you can get as specific as you need. Need to record an employee’s eligibility to work? Or log your contractors’ vehicle registrations? Create the fields you need and edit as you go. 

Automatically erase old records

We recently improved our automatic erase feature to include employees and service providers as well as visitors. It’s likely you’ll have a huge amount of sign in/out data stored in your account. Tidy up your records and strengthen your privacy measures by automatically erasing records after a set amount of time.

Move on from Internet Explorer

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft will be ending support for Internet Explorer from August 2020. Microsoft is encouraging all users to move to Microsoft Edge instead. WhosOnLocation will be following suit, so make sure your kiosks are running on a supported browser.

5 minutes read time

2020 wrap-up: the year that didn’t go to plan

2020 has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at all of us. At WhosOnLocation, we count ourselves very lucky to have been in a position to keep business running, with our team working remotely as required. Our main focus has been to help our customers keep their people safe, and that’s led to a lot of new features! In fact, there’s been so much development going on, we caught up with UX designer Karl Weber for our 2020 wrap-up. 

2020 wrap-up

We started the year with some improvements to our geolocation report, with a cleaner design and the ability to view historical records.

In March, we scrapped the rest of our carefully made plans, threw the roadmap out of the window and began reacting to our customer’s needs. 

First, we tackled working remotely, allowing customers to know who was working, even as offices and facilities closed. This was soon followed by hygienic touchless kiosks, QR code posters and the ability to ask custom health screening questions in WolMobile and with the sign-in/out manager. 

We finished the year with custom fields, an integration with Amazon’s Alexa and 8 new languages. Phew!

The highlights

With so many fantastic releases this year, we caught up with our UX designer Karl to uncover his favorites for our 2020 wrap-up.

It’s been a busy year for the dev team – which of the new features do you think is the biggest game-changer?

That’s a tough call – there have been some big changes this year. The new touchless functionality with QR code posters and more widespread custom question support is the most visible and obvious improvement, but I think custom fields has the potential to really shake things up. 

Being able to completely customize employee and service provider profiles with any information makes the whole system much more flexible. From a design standpoint, the drag-and-drop field creation workflow has a lot of potential to improve the rest of the application, too.

Nice – so what led us to develop custom fields?

Customer requests (so many)! Custom fields may seem a relatively niche feature on the surface, but for the customers who need them, it makes a big difference. We had many requests to add specific fields over the years, as well as some large enterprise customers who needed the flexibility of completely custom fields.

Any tips to getting the best out of custom fields? 

We’re currently working on combining custom fields with triggers, and this is where things can get really interesting. The person field, time, and phone number fields allow for some really powerful behaviors. For example, you could add a field for an employee’s teammates and then set up a trigger to notify all of them if that employee is signed into a hazardous zone (or remote work) for longer than expected. Or you could define an employee’s standard work hours and then notify them or their supervisor if they forget to sign in. 

So that’s your favorite. What about the customers? Which feature had the best uptake this year? 

Touchless kiosks, without a doubt. 32% of all customers are using touchless kiosks, which is a huge uptake in a short space of time. This all comes down to hygiene and contact tracing. It’s been a very difficult year for everyone, and as lockdowns are lifted and people go back to work, COVID-19 has brought some unique challenges for organizations to be able to operate in a safe and responsible way. 

Touchless kiosks allow our customers to keep accurate records of who has been on-site for contact tracing while maintaining social-distancing. 

So on the other side of the coin, which feature would get the award for ‘unsung hero’? 

The Alexa integration! We’ve been playing with it in the office and it’s already really useful. Being able to have Alexa greet visitors by name and tell them where to go, announce to the office that a delivery has arrived and say who it is for, or remind the last person on-site to check the balcony door and turn off the lights is a game-changer. It’s only in its infancy, but the ability to connect to the internet-of-things and interact with people in a more human way is the next step for smart-offices.

Any hints as to what we can expect to see next year? 

Lots more. I don’t want to say too much but we’re already working on a few big things. Custom Questions for pre-registered visitors is going to be interesting and will strengthen the rest of the touchless sign-in feature-set. It will allow our users to invite guests to an event, and then send them a request to complete their visitor profile. This can include any basic questions as well as custom questionnaires, so the customer can have all of the information they need, and the experience when the visitor arrives on site will be even more seamless. 

Get started

That’s it for our 2020 wrap-up. 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 all of our features. 

New to WhosOnlocation? 

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

4 minutes read time

Technology, employee experience – How it can aid your customer experience

Customer experience is rooted in the DNA of most organizations. It’s the way we welcome, onboard, grow and retain our customers. Due to this organizations are always striving to deliver the best possible customer experience and measure it as one of their key drivers for success. 

Does the delivery of an amazing customer experience happen due to magic or something else? It’s by no means magic, it’s a known fact that great customer experience is driven out of a great employee experience.  To continue to drive amazing customer experiences we need to ensure we are driving amazing employee experiences. 

What drives a great employee experience? 

A great employee experience is driven out of many things. Starting from the moment the candidate arrives for an interview. CIO magazine says it’s everything your employee encounters and undergoes as their career progresses that forms their experience as an employee. 

Does technology play a role in employee experience? Yes, it does. When we think of technology in the workplace think beyond the obvious and consider why so many organizations are rolling out smart offices. Is it for the swanky technology or to help their employees?  

What is a smart office?

Smart offices are not new, they date back as far as 1996 and are designed to improve the office environment allowing employees to work smarter, better and faster. 

A smart office uses technology to assist with tasks which in turn removes menial tasks and helps employees focus on the things they love doing. 

The smart office is a growing market and is set to hit 57.06 billion USD by 2025.  

You may even be working within a smart workplace today but not even know it. Some of the common smart office technologies are:

Meeting room booking systems consist of software for conference room scheduling and also hardware interfaces or digital signage. The software allows company employees or guests to book meetings online or through an app.

Smart sensors are network-connected sensors that detect events or physical changes in the environment. In offices, smart sensors are commonly used to measure CO2, air quality, and occupancy levels.

Guest management software that helps free up or remove the need for a receptionist. Knows when a contractor’s insurance has expired, who is allowed onsite, when, and where. Screen guests and employees to ensure they meet your health requirements before gaining access onsite – particularly helpful in the COVID-19 environment we are working in. 

Voice control makes tasks easier, announcing a guest has arrived onsite, booking a conference room, starting a phone call or sending an email, Alexa for business performs all these things using voice commands. 

Access control improves efficiencies and helps ensure people, assets, and resources are secure and protected. Allowing only those with the right access to enter your organization. 

The benefits of using these types of technology is increased employee productivity, improved retention, simplified work scheduling, improved relationships, along with safer and secure work environments. 

With a smart office do we have new security threats?

Anything connected to the internet brings a possible security threat. But like all threats, they can be managed. 

When using a visitor management tool like WhosOnLocation, ensure they follow the highest security standards including ISO: 27001, PCI/DSS Service Provider Level1 and/or SOC II compliance. 

If using voice-controlled devices, turn on the mute button so recording does not happen. If using the likes of Alexa AWS shares a number of key steps to take to ensure your company information is safe. 

How to smart office with WhosOnLocation 

As a WhosOnLocation customer, you are already using smart technology to manage your guest, employee, and evacuation management. 

We offer a number of integrations you can connect to for your smart office like Alexa for voice services, Brivo for access control, or webhooks to turn your lights off when the last person has left the office for the day. The options are endless!

Back to our original question can smart offices help customer and employee experience? We believe they can if well managed to create a win-win for customers, employees, and employers. Will you be implementing smart office technology in your workplace?  

Not a WhosOnLocation customer? Take a free 30-day no-obligation trial and see how you can smarten up your office. 

4 minutes read time

Busy front of house? A virtual receptionist can help.

WhosOnLocation’s latest integration brings us one step closer to a fully virtual receptionist. Introducing Alexa for Business by WhosOnLocation. Welcome to the future!

What is a virtual receptionist? 

When we think about virtual receptionists, two different scenarios spring to mind. There are teams of remote receptionists who are contracted to take calls for a number of businesses. And then there is the futuristic type – AI fuelled robots who automate the entire process for you. 

Fully functioning robots aren’t widely available just yet. However, there are a number of technologies that can automate tasks and take the strain off under-resourced teams. 

  • Visitor management software can automate the sign-in process. WhosOnLocation allows visitors to sign themselves in, presents instructions on where to wait, and automatically notifies their host. These self-serve kiosks are even available in a touchless, hygienic format. 
  • Voice-activated assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa for Business, can further personalize this process. By integrating with visitor management software, we can take our virtual receptionists up a gear; audibly welcoming guests and announcing arrivals.

Benefits of a virtual receptionist

We’ve already hinted at a few of the benefits, but let’s take a closer look at why you might need a virtual receptionist. 

Your front of house team is busy

Small businesses can still make a big impact when their visitors arrive. Rather than scrambling to unlock a door or locate a visitor’s host, let a virtual receptionist take on some of the load. 

With visitor admin largely taken care of, your front of house team can use their time more wisely. They’ll also be able to run errands and take breaks in the knowledge the front desk is always ‘manned.’

You have a large facility with multiple access points

How do you cover every access point to ensure employees and contractors are always signing in? Whether you need to carry out health screening, contact tracing, or simply know who’s on-site for health and safety reasons, virtual receptionists can ensure no one slips through the cracks. 

Your facility contains a number of hazardous zones

Think of this less like a virtual receptionist, and more like a virtual health and safety assistant. By placing sign-in kiosks or QR code posters at the entrance to each of your hazardous zones, you can ensure your employees and contractors have the information they need. Check out this blog for more details. 

Alexa for Business integration 

WhosOnLocation’s latest integration with Alexa for Business enhances the way you use your subscription. Here are some possible use cases to get the creative juices flowing… 

Welcome your visitors

Have a spiel you need to communicate to all visitors? Whether it’s ‘please keep your visitor pass visible’ or ‘ensure you wear a mask’, have Alexa automate the process for you. Once a guest has finished signing in at your kiosk, Alexa can verbally welcome them, and pass on any important information they might need to know. 

Alex for Business Integration

Announce an arrival

Meanwhile, inside your facility, you can keep an Alexa device close to your employee workstations to act as a doorbell. Alexa can announce when a visitor or contractor has signed in and is waiting to be collected from reception. This announcement can include their name and who they are visiting. 

Deny employee entry

Currently, carrying out health screening or imposing maximum occupancy to adhere to social distancing? Whatever your reason for denying an employee entry to your facility, create a trigger in WhosOnLocation to automatically prevent sign in, and have Alexa communicate the reason why. 

Remind contractors of expiring documentation

Whether it’s a safety induction, insurances or a qualification in need of renewal, have Alexa verbally remind your contractors of expiring documentation when they sign in. 

From visitor management software to voice-activated assistants, we are certainly edging ever closer to a truly useful virtual receptionist.

Ready to get started? 

To get started you’ll need an AWS enterprise account and a WhosOnLocation subscription. Visit our Help Center for step-by-step instructions on enabling the Alexa for Business integration. 

New to WhosOnLocation? 

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

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.