Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
September 3, 2020


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Touchless access control

Touchless access control – improving both security and safety

Pat Jefferies, Commercial Director at Abloy UK, highlights the importance of hands-free access control solutions and their significance in securing buildings, reducing the potential transfer of infection and increasing the public’s confidence in leaving the comforts of their home, to help restart the economy.


Pat Jeffries, Commercial Director, Abloy UK

Prior to 2020, hands-free solutions were already on the radar to be the future of innovation in security technology, but with recent events the importance of bringing hands-free to today’s society is greater than ever.

With the public’s lack of confidence and the need for businesses to become operational, there is a fine balance between health and the economy. Normally, the need to change is met with reluctance, however people and business are showing great resilience and willingness to adapt in these circumstances.

To get businesses back into operation, social distancing, controlled access and sanitary stations have all been introduced as standard safety measures. The security industry has the opportunity to build confidence with innovative hands-free solutions and help to create the safest conditions possible, so how can we adapt and meet the new demands with the new procedures in mind?

A hands-free solution

The answer is to turn to a mix of access control technologies – old and new – to enhance safety measures such as social distancing, sanitary stations and controlled access.

Though automated access has existed for a long time, it’s never been more important or in demand. It’s a simple measure that businesses can introduce to help protect their customers and employees.

Likewise, contactless entry combines the benefits of door automation and access control. Presenting a digital key or card to a reader not only signals for it to open but will also notify you when the door is once again secure. This can be installed to fulfil compliance requirements and generate an audit trail.

Smartphones also work well as keys, preventing cross-contamination as people don’t need to touch anything other than their own device. The key revolution to use smartphones looked like the solution of the future, but its importance now is clearer than at any other time.


In addition, dynamic lockdown technology, which is usually only implemented in emergency situations, can be repurposed to monitor capacity and reduce overcrowding. This can prevent ingress once a certain capacity is met, while still allowing egress with the automatic door system.

Security leading the way

As a sector, we should actively promote solutions that will help organisations to operate as ‘normally’ as possible while helping to reduce the risk of infection. We don’t know what the next few months will bring, so implementing hands-free access will allow you to prepare and respond to any future safety measures.

The security industry has been developing and offering these solutions for some time, but 2020 has been the catalyst to implement these solutions today. Combining door automation and access control allows us to utilise hands-free entry. A contactless interaction with the door operator would initiate a sequence to open the door and then secure the access point after entry.

It’s important to consider that despite numerous other pressing priorities, many solutions must be compliant.

Compliance needs to be integral to all panic and escape door solutions. Hands-free escape doors would still require a compliant escape handle for emergency situations and fire doors would need to meet fire testing and ironmongery compliance.

While remaining open to supply essential markets in the Republic of Ireland, RSPL recognised the urgent need to implement new safety measures to protect customers and staff.

RSPL approached Abloy UK to supply automatic door operators to give visitors hands free access and egress. The specification links with the building’s access control and door entry system to ensure that staff and visitors can access the building and collect supplies safely.

The automated doors work in conjunction with face recognition technology, temperature screening cameras, a visitor density control system, and ‘no-touch’ door releases.

Read the case study in more detail, here.

Suitable solutions

The components of EDS with BS EN 13637 compliance can be used to create controlled entry, with limits to the number of people allowed in a building or area at any time. What’s more, with read in, read out hands-free access, the risk of transmitting infection from the door opening system is minimised.

Businesses needs are individual, as their operations and buildings layouts will never be exactly the same. Discussing your business’s needs with an Abloy affiliated locksmith or a business development manager will help you to find a bespoke system to create the safest, most operationally efficient and compliant solution.

Find out more from Abloy.

Keep up with the access control market

The physical access control market is moving fast. Find out where you stand with the latest edition of IFSEC Insider's comprehensive 2022 State of Physical Access Control trend report, covering all the latest developments within the market. We assess the current technology in use, upgrade plans and challenges, and major trends on the horizon after receiving the views of over 1000 security, facilities and IT professionals.

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