As the success of the vaccination programmes across Europe bring the full relaxation to pandemic-related restrictions ever closer, hospitality managers will be watching closely to see how a rise in variants might alter their respective governments’ plans. It is becoming obvious that treading carefully holds the key to moving forward if mask wearing and social distancing regulations are to become a thing of the past.
Hospitality industries have much to consider in order to help safeguard freedoms in the longer term. Advancements in technology can play a significant role. Cloud-enabled physical security solutions, video surveillance as-a-service (VSaaS) and access control as-a-service (ACaaS), can unlock powerful data-driven intelligence with many benefits from a health and safety, operations and security perspective.
Safer people management
While a self-serve check-in process is increasingly the norm within hotels, venues and other establishments, the addition of frictionless access control mechanisms at entrance points and rooms negates the need for physical contact. This enables a totally hands-free experience which allows those attempting entry to present a QR code on a mobile phone, or swipe an ID card, removing the cross-contamination risks associated with touching shared surfaces such as keypads.
While free and easy movement improves the experience for those using the facilities, it’s also important to be prepared for any potential increase in the COVID-19 reproduction (R) number, which could mean a reintroduction of restrictions. For example, surveillance cameras can be used to count people entering a site, enabling safe occupancy thresholds to be set, maintained and controlled as required.
Efficiency of operations
Across Europe, hospitality venues will have suffered a considerable financial downturn as a result of various periods of lockdown, leading managers to look for ways to generate revenue wherever possible. VSaaS and ACaaS can help to improve existing operations and unlock significant cost savings. The above-mentioned frictionless access control is not only safer and more secure, but also frees up staff to turn their attention to other duties, with obvious cost benefits associated with improving productivity.
Elsewhere, sensors, able to detect when certain parts of the building are unattended for long periods, can relay data to automatically reduce energy consumption, switching off lighting in corridors or stairwells, or turning down heating in restaurant areas when unoccupied. These sensors can be positioned top-down to provide an overview of movement within any given area of the premises, without identifying individuals. This means that the use of such technology does not contravene the GDPR.
The simple and fast placement of multiple cameras, sensors and access control devices on an existing IT network means that VSaaS and ACaaS can offer high levels of physical security, both inside and outside a site. Any unauthorised attempt at access can trigger an alert, either to an alarm receiving centre (ARC), security personnel or the Police, providing peace of mind for management and staff alike.
One of the key benefits of implementing VSaaS and ACaaS within hospitality is its ability to facilitate simple customisation and provide a flexible, scalable solution to meet evolving requirements. VSaaS and ACaaS are offered ‘as-a-service’, meaning a move toward an operational expenditure model, including all-inclusive software updates and firmware upgrades, for a convenient monthly payment rather than one based on upfront capital outlay.
With summer upon us, people are now eager to take advantage of all that our hospitality industries can offer. As we continue to take small steps toward greater freedom in the new normal, factoring in VSaaS and ACaaS will help safeguard our environment and streamline operations while improving security. Successful establishments and teams will be those willing to utilise technology to help them keep the doors open to welcome customers and guarantee those freedoms in the longer term.