Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, 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.
February 17, 2021

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Healthy buildings

‘Healthy buildings’ are now a priority. So, what role will security systems play?

With the disruption caused by the coronavirus, Chubb Fire & Security’s Customer Solutions and Innovation Director, Frédéric Peyrot, believes that ‘healthy buildings’ are set to become the priority for facilities and building management staff. We discuss the key role security systems will play in this new approach.   

What is Chubb’s perception of healthy buildings?

Our role at Chubb has always been to keep people and buildings safe. The pandemic led us to developing a new programme of services focused on simultaneously maintaining the health and security of a building and its people. It was essential for us to respond quickly to the health crisis, yet remain close to our customers to understand their specific challenges and needs across a variety of sectors. Businesses of all kinds have had to adapt their environment to a new way of working. Our services support our customers’ priorities of keeping people safe, simplifying internal processes, and generating more value from security solutions. Access control solutions, remote services and increasing use of video analytics all support this strategy.

What was the impact of the coronavirus on Chubb and its customers in 2020?

At Chubb, we quickly adapted and despite many buildings being empty, security continues to be a crucial factor in ensuring business continuity. Facility managers and other decision-makers have been increasingly interested in remote service capabilities, allowing them to maintain their usual high standards of security while limiting contact. Solutions like facial recognition or touchless access control, previously considered niche in many offices and other buildings, are becoming necessary operational tools for businesses to keep employees and assets safe.

We also committed to investing in training and protection for our own field employees to guarantee business continuity for our customers, while ensuring their personal safety. This is particularly important for our essential technicians who operate systems in high-risk environments, like care homes and hospitals.

What are some of the key security considerations for customers during times of disruption?

The shift to home working or at least flexible working has added a new layer of complexity when it comes to building an effective security management system. Restrictions imposed by governments across the globe have meant that office buildings and other workplaces must remain virtually empty but having so few people inside can have negative implications for the safety of company assets. Not having a clear idea of the number of employees on site also poses the question of how to adapt security resources quickly and, for our customers, how to approach budgeting appropriately given the changing landscape.

From a threat prevention perspective, access control solutions allow facility managers to maintain a small number of onsite guards while still being able to monitor access throughout the building and at key checkpoints. These have the added benefit of limiting contact when employees and other third-party suppliers or service providers need to enter the building for essential reasons.

How can a security company like Chubb contribute to the reduction in disease spread and therefore business disruption?

Chubb provides solutions that are vital to keeping building occupants protected, helping to reduce the spread of disease. We offer a wide range of remote services, including the maintenance of key systems, to maintain a business’ responsiveness and safety. Remote video guarding has also grown in importance throughout the pandemic to ease the cost of onsite guards and maintain 24/7 security.

Chubb-MobileAccess-21

What are your expectations for 2021 and the development of healthy buildings as a concept?

In the long term, we expect that businesses will look to improve the health of buildings using smarter technologies to keep employees and assets safe. The past 10 years has seen a focus on “green buildings” and “smart buildings” but, given the disruption caused by the virus and the ways it has changed our approach to working and living, we will likely see decision-makers adding or prioritising “healthy buildings” in order to build trust with employees, visitors and other stakeholders. In 2021, the “new normal” will require businesses to manage buildings differently to balance employee wellbeing with reducing costs to offset the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19. The fire and security industries will need to continue to invest in innovative, cost-effective solutions that prioritise employee and other personnel’s health, and enable businesses to cope with changing restrictions and working practices.

Keep up with the wireless access control market

Download this free report to find out more about:

  • The current state of wireless access control solutions in the market
  • The developing ‘move to mobile access control’ trend
  • Views on open architecture and integration
  • The growing use of the cloud and ACaaS to manage access systems
  • How important is sustainability to the industry?

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