How the Internet of Things is disrupting visitor management


4 minutes read time

July 10, 2017

With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), you can now visit a site, be welcomed at reception and sign-in all without interacting with a human.

Now imagine you’re waiting in the lobby for your host to arrive and the visitor management system asks if you’d like a coffee or tea while you wait. You input your order, and it’s sent to a coffee-making machine.

 The Internet of Things has given rise to major developments in both health and safety and the visitor management space.

The building management system (BMS) has sensed your arrival in the lobby and has adjusted the ambient light and temperature in the adjacent meeting room where you will soon join your host.

Sound like the future? It’s already possible. And these are the kind of innovations in visitor experience that our team at WhosOnLocation has on the drawing board.

A web of devices and machines

The IoT is the concept of connecting any internet-capable device to other devices or application services.

This could be everything from cellphones, headphones, lights, fridges, wearable devices, and micro-sensors inside vehicles, machinery, and building management systems (BMS).

In 2016, an analyst from Gartner predicted that by 2020, more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of the IoT.

The dark side of the IoT

Cybersecurity has become increasingly complex for the average person to monitor and keep on top of.

Not only do we need to be worried about cyber attacks on our personal computers, we have to think about all our other internet-accessible devices too.

You might think, okay well if someone hacks my coffee-machine, that’s not exactly a big deal. But there are other less obvious devices with more sinister implications.

For example, there’s the case of researcher Marie Moe, who woke up from an emergency heart operation to find out that she had a wirelessly accessible pacemaker installed inside her without her knowledge.

And though, in her instance, the functionality was not switched on, it’s entirely possible that it may have been. And Marie potentially would have been susceptible to a fatal cyber attack.

With a predicted 50 billion connected devices by 2020, the IoT is unavoidable. But with more awareness and better processes, we will be better prepared for cyber events and threats.

But… the IoT will also make us safer

While cyber threats will increase along with the expansion of the IoT, the IoT will actually make us safer in many other ways.

This will be particularly apparent in the visitor, employee and contractor management space.

Wearables will give businesses the ability to track employee and contractor movements, heart rate, location etc. and a notification will be sent to the relevant people if something seems wrong. For example, if a contractor is working alone and has overstayed their time in a particular zone, an alert will be triggered.

How WhosOnLocation is innovating

With endless possibilities, the challenge for our team here is to identify which devices and data endpoints from third-party sensors we should integrate with.

We’ve already entered the IoT world with our integration with fire alarm monitoring equipment, which monitors and receive data from fire, smoke, and heat sensors. This integration enabled us to deliver automated messaging and alerts to visitors, contractors, and employees when a sensor triggers an alarm inside a customer site.

Coupled with our evacuation roll-call mobile app, WolEvac, the IoT gives us an opportunity through innovation to increase the ROI traditional visitor, contractor, and employee time and attendance management systems have not done to date.

wol integrations

The most common adoption of the IoT is when people presence management systems share data with access control systems.

Access control systems, like Brivo, have been designed to connect to the Internet. Brivo is opening up new possibilities, such as using facial recognition and video analytics from cloud-based video surveillance services like Eagle Eye, for increased security.

This is only the beginning. What else is around the corner? Where can the IoT in the people presence space drive the value chain to another level?

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