Technology

Will we control access to the office building from our phone?

A new report from HID  Global suggests that Physical Access Control Systems, or PACS, will enable commercial real estate providers to offer a modern and competitive tenant experience

Will the access to new office of the near future be controlled entirely by your phone? A new report from US access controls giant HID Global suggests the drive to improve the tenant experience in office buildings will drive adoption of this new technology.

HID Global’s report, ‘How to Leverage Physical Access Control for a Better Tenant Experience’, outlines the challenges currently facing commercial real estate (CRE) providers. Their aim is to provide safe and secure spaces, offer meaningful amenities and experiences, and improve overall return on investment.

However, post Covid-19, tenants are working differently, and their employees have a new social awareness of health and safety. Employees want to reduce physical contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. This has driven CRE providers to establish new goals to meet these new challenges.

Reducing the burden

HID Global argues that modern Physical Access Control Systems or PACS that limit physical contact and reduce the burden of having to carry physical keys or remember passwords are the way forward.

‘In a complicated hybrid world, convenience is in high demand…’

Many CRE providers are adopting cloud-based PACS which can be operated on users’ phones to create a modern access ‘ecosystem’. Mobile phones have become the command centre for many people’s lives. Modern PAC systems which integrate mobile phones therefore provide both security and convenience.

As mobile devices are tethered to the user, easily secured with a passcode and are often a central converging point for work and life, they are a natural fit in support of PACS. Mobile access alleviates much of the administrative burden associated with management of physical credentials. Individuals would no longer have to carry multiple credential checks to access different areas. Building staff and security teams would also no longer have to manage collection and delivery of access cards. Instead, credential could be delivered by email without a face-to-face interaction with the front desk.

Reduced admin burdens will lead to reduced operational costs. This could in turn lead to a reduction in rent, arguers the report. More companies would be able to afford the lease on commercial real estate properties, especially start-ups which are often strapped for cash. According to Josef Sachta, Cofounder and CEO, Sharry Europe, ‘When Apple deployed Apple Pay through the iPhone… it really proved that you don’t need a plastic credit card.’

Meeting tenant aspirations

Mobile access solutions are also eco-friendly. They address office tenants’ beliefs and aspirations. Landlords who successfully market their buildings to align with potential client sentiments will be successful at attracting new tenants. This explains the rise in supply of eco-friendly buildings and mixed-use offices. CRE providers must make their properties stand out in a competitive real estate marketplace.

The report warns that failing to provide amenities like PACS, which integrate technologies into a single interface and hence support the modern tenant experience, will lead to decreased competitiveness.

Modern tenant experience is inherently complex. Each property is used for an array of purposes with a distinct assortment of tenants, visitors  and contractors. Hybrid working post Covid-19 will only create more complexities. Therefore, the modern tenant demands a seamless experience for their employees.

PACS avoids the need to ‘download eight to 10 different applications to use the building on a day-to-day basis’. PACS will not only benefit CRE providers by giving them an edge over the competition but also provide additional value through the collection of data and information which can be used to constantly improve their properties and in the long term reduce costs.

Access control working group

The report argues that CRE providers must learn to integrate modern systems into their developments. To do this they should establish who within their organisation can explore new technologies, their implications for access control and the direct benefits to the tenants.

HID Global suggests setting up an access control working group. By bringing together the best minds of IT, cyber security, physical security and business management, CRE providers will be able to focus on performance and reliability, and develop innovative projects, again increasing their chances of attracting tenants in a highly saturated market.

Accesss HID Global’s report, ‘How to Leverage Physical Access Control for a Better Tenant Experience’, here.
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