Kiosks Prove Valuable As Part of Comprehensive Visitor Management
Visitor Management Kiosks Prove to be a Valuable Part of a Comprehensive Visitor Management System
An important element to the success of a Visitor Management Program is the temporary ID badge that visitors wear while they’re at a facility that requires them to identify themselves, the contractor or vendor they represent, the name of the company that granted their access and a photo (which is taken just seconds before the badge is printed).
The point is to allow businesses and institutions to keep track of visitors while they’re in the building so that staff knows who they are, and if they’ve wandered out of the approved area to which they were granted access. It’s an important security measure for facilities that receive a lot of visitors who simply can’t be allowed to wander around in sensitive areas where staff, information and belongings are vulnerable.
Self-Badging Kiosks are a real time-saver for both business owners and visitors, who can simply insert their driver’s license into the freestanding kiosk’s card reader and enter the business or area of the building they would like approval to visit. The Kiosk then snaps a picture of the visitor and prints out a temporary visitation badge that the visitor is supposed to wear visibly while he or she is in the building.
As concerns about security escalate among companies and institutions nationwide, Visitor Management kiosks represent a great technological tool for streamlining visitor authorizations, since the kiosk is able to obtain each guest’s basic identifying information in a matter of seconds, and staff can feel secure that the right visitors are in the right area of their office buildings.
However, one such kiosk distributor says that organizations using Visitor Management kiosks need to be aware of visitors who lose their temporary badges or decide to skip the process altogether, effectively diminishing the system’s major enforcement tool.
Case in point: the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, otherwise known as “Mission Control,” is the home base of the U. S. astronaut corps that trains astronauts from the U.S. other counties. Mission Control is made up of about 200 buildings spread across 1,620 acres, and employs roughly 3,200 civil servants, including 85 astronauts. Another 11,000+ Mission Control contract workers perform their work for the Space Center onsite or at nearby facilities.
In an effort to ensure that only authorized personnel are allowed access to the Johnson Space Center, security officials require that everyone entering the facility’s gate display their ID badge, which they are supposed to print up at a kiosk positioned in front of the base’s entrance gate. In this case, workers insert their driver’s licenses into the kiosk’s card reader, the card reader compares the driver’s license information with the worker’s information in the Space Center’s database, and the kiosk snaps their photo and prints a temporary ID bade for them to wear while they’re working on base.
A few years back, the chief of the Protective Services Division at Johnson Space Center admitted that a number of people were working on base daily who were not wearing the permanent ID badges they had been issued, claiming they were forgotten at home. Rather than deal with the department that provides permanent security ID badges, the decision was made to automate the process, and Johnson Space Center became the first NASA facility to make use of a visitor management kiosk to issue temporary ID badges for existing employees, retired employees, retired astronauts and other staff members who are in good standing at the facility, but couldn’t remember to wear their permanent ID badges.
The visitor management self-badging kiosk is a robust self-service solution for security-based visitor registration that offers a variety of functions for businesses and organizations that require access control for guests and employees in their workplaces. The temporary badges take about 20 seconds to print, and the worker or visitor is good to go.
Many companies demand that visitors wear the ID badges so they can identify the people who are in the building, and make it a necessity to gain access. Fear of company records thefts in today’s competitive corporate world, or unauthorized access to medical records in hospitals are both big motivators for businesses owners and hospitals to establish visitor management programs at their workplace.
Some visitor management kiosks can even be programmed to have visitors electronically sign a nondisclosure agreement to be issued an ID badge, or read safety information before being granted access. Of course, there are many reasons that business and organizations establish visitor management programs at their workplaces, and for their security needs, a hand written sign-in ledger just won’t cut it.
There is also the question of the company being visited taking responsibility for the behavior of a visitor in the facility, so it behooves them to know who is accessing their offices or building. Many business owners have found that the kiosks help them avoid dangerous situations through technology that:
- Provides more accurate screening of visitors
- Costs them less because the kiosks allows them to eliminate physical reception staff
- Offers a streamlined check-in process, delivering a printed badge in less than 20 seconds after scanning their driver’s license
- Provides detailed visitor information captured quickly and accurately
- Delivers professional-looking, full-color, customized badges suitable for printing
- Delivers to the visitor an emergency evacuation report, and provides a list of who is in the building at any given time that can be given to emergency response personnel
- Delivers multiple programmable security alerts and automated online denied-party and sex-offender screening for tighter security
- Offers Pre-registration of visitors over the intranet/Internet to better control who is authorized to enter
Visitor management kiosks also ensure privacy to both the visitor and the business they’re going visit, making the kiosks an excellent option for secure visitor management protocols.
Business owners who utilize the kiosks do so because they feel it’s getting more difficult to prove they’re taking all the steps available to provide their employees with a safe working environment, and they want to know who is visiting their buildings at all times.
Going back to the lost or forgotten ID badge issue at the Johnson Space Center, it turns out that the Center was responsible for replacing them, and so the decision was made to make new permanent badges so Space Center employees could have no more excuses for not wearing them. The chief of the Protective Services Division at Johnson Space Center said that the security badge kiosk is still part of a their well-managed visitor management program, as it provides the system needed authorize visitors and vendors.
The Visitor Management kiosks have taken hold on college campuses as well. Campus kiosks are designed to be able to quickly replace a lost student identification card, using a combination of the student’s school ID number and facial recognition capabilities incorporated into the kiosk.