How we interact with buildings has vastly changed over the past few years due to concerns arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. Building occupants and users are increasingly hesitant to touch surfaces, though many lift buttons, handrails, door handles are critical to the way we interact within our buildings and indoor spaces.

It’s therefore no surprise that concerns over sanitation are fuelling the demand for remote and touchless technology within our buildings and spaces. The high-tech war against coronavirus has provided a new impetus towards touchless technology, however, interestingly some of these technologies are already built into smart buildings. Now, more than ever, we are seeing users embrace these as part of their daily routine.

Prior to the Covid -19 pandemic, smart building technology was continuously evolving especially in frictionless experience devices such as touchless interactions with access control systems, speed gates and lift control systems.

This is particularly appreciated by the user of the end of trip facilities, as it negates the need to carry a card or keys when returning to a building after jogging or walking. And although this is a great piece of innovation for the building occupants, there is still the need to replicate this experience for visitor management with technologies such as mobile apps and QR Codes.

At the Dexus technology-driven facility, 100 Mount Street in North Sydney, biometric hand scanners have been installed at the speed gates which was a first for this technology in a commercial office. Although installed as an optional feature with access cards also available, the uptake on the touchless technology has been significant with over three thousand occupants electing to be enrolled onto the system. 

Since the pandemic onset, this kind of technology has become the gold standard in the quest for healthier buildings with its non-touch functionality, as the user just passes their hand through the reading pane. The scanners convert the fingerprint profiles into a unique serial number and therefore do not save any fingerprint information, retaining privacy for the user. 

Jon Clarke, head of smart building technology at Dexus, says there are number of benefits with this technology: “In addition to the health aspect of a touchless experience, security is also front of mind. With only the enrolled user able to gain access to a building, the ability to share access cards is therefore removed.”

Dexus have also rolled this technology out at their Gateway building and incorporated multiple solutions such as the SINE Visitor Management system to provide a self-service style of access with QR Codes, lift control integration and a mobile phone app for DDA compliance. Using email invitations, the visitor can be checked in using their mobile phone or any of three tablets at the concierge which are cleaned after every use, providing a near frictionless end-to-end journey through the building.

Innovation, led by the public demand for remote and touchless operations, will continue to drive the development of new products and solutions for buildings. We will see key systems with greater integration and connectivity facilitate this requirement. 

According to Clarke, this trend for touchless technology will have a major impact in the coming years. “We expect to see more buildings incorporate this form of technology to mitigate future virus transmission risk which has a flow on effect of creating opportunities for broader implementation of touchless biometrics.”

However, in such an emerging environment Clarke cites collaboration as being critical to the success and progress within the industry, which is why you’ll see him and many other key figures at IBTech@ARBS. Clarke says “there is no other exhibition in Australia like this, it really is the perfect spring-board for anyone in the industry who is embracing the digitisation of buildings”.

This article has been contributed by ARBS.

ARBS 2022 will be held over three huge days on 16-18 August 2022 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). For further information and to register visit: www.arbs.com.au

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