I remember 10 years ago when this journey first began, signing into a building was done with a visitor book, you would write your name, the name of the host and maybe the time and date, the only way you could sign in a visitor with an electronic visitor management system was on the PC by the reception staff, how much has changed in the past 10 years. Some customers still today have multiple sign in books, 1 for visitors, 1 for contractors, 1 for employees and I have also seen 1 for visiting employees.
10 years ago iPads did not exist, iPads were first release in 2010
10 years ago Uber did not exist, Uber was invented in 2009
The iPhone was only released in 2007, 11 years ago.
The 10 ways to sign into an electronic visitor management system today
1 – Receptionist
The traditional way to sign in a visitor is with the reception staff signing you in on your arrival at the PC, today this is still a common practice especially with buildings running a concierge with multiple tenants.
2 – Visitor Kiosk Sign in / Sign out
The kiosk quickly followed, this was still before iPads were invented, windows based PC’s were used for a visitor to sign in through a self serve kiosk initially with keyboard and mouse before touch screens became mainstream. Visitor sign in was ahead of the game, now you self serve with touch screen kiosks in shopping centres, getting petrol and much more through self serve kiosks.
3 – Visitor Kiosk – bar code or QR code scan
With the release of iPads in 2008 it was going to get even easier to sign people in and out of a building, bar codes (invented 1974) and QR codes (invented in 1994) allowed people to walk up to a self serve kiosk and scan in using a bar code sent to the visitor through a pre registration process where the visitor is pre registered using your calendar, once pre registered the visitor can be sent an email that includes the bar code or QR code to sign in.
4 – Access Control Card
Using an existing access control card that is programmed to a RFID reader connected to a windows based PC will allow employees to tap in and out their presence on site for evacuation purposes. Many customers ask to connect the access control data into the visitor management software however the data is not reliable unless you have turnstiles or speed gates in position forcing single file into and out of the building.
5 – API
The inbuilt API is used by many companies to get employee data into the visitor management software to take advantage of the evacuation module. With employee data coming into the visitor management system to join the visitor and contractor data the evacuation management modules work effectively. The most common place the employee data comes from is with a Time and Attendance System. One of the popular integrations available in the visitor management software is Deputy
6 – QR code printed onto access control card or photo ID card or simply stuck on the back of your phone
QR codes while invented way back in 1994 really became an easier option for visitor management systems with the release of the iPad, the iPad camera and the visitor management system app. Customers today are sticking a QR code on the back of a contractors mobile phone for thousands of contractors as a low cost option. The Visitor Management System has a module that allows you to print a photo ID card that includes a QR code, perfect for regular employees and contractors.
7 – Mobile Phone sign in / sign out
Another popular method for employees and contractors to sign in is with their own mobile phone. An app allows employees and contractors to sign in and sign out plus take the GPS position of where they are standing to put onto a map for visibility. Perfect for contractors who work across multiple locations.
8 – Drivers Licence Scan
Scanning a drivers licence or passport is generally required in higher security locations, businesses that need to keep secrets secret or government organisations are the most common that require a drivers licences read. Bonded warehouses are another example of where you are required to hand over your drivers licence or passport before you can pick up your parcels.
9 – On the computer
Employees can sign in and sign out on their own PC adding their presence on site to the evacuation list.
10 – Mobile Phone – Geo Fencing
As phones developed, maps got better and data streamed faster it soon became an option to sign in and sign out simply by walking into or out of a geo fence. A Geo Fence is a line on a map that you determine that once set allows employees and contractors who walk through the Geo line are automatically signed in and signed out of the location.
Whats coming in the future? What ideas are around the corner to take signing in your presence into a building to the next level?
I believe while still in early stages facial recognition will take the signing in and signing out of people to the next level, the cost of the hardware is coming down every year. Facial recognition gives the ability to read dozens of faces in seconds speeding up the sign in and sign out process significantly.