Contactless Access and Control
Though the numbers vary and are continuing to change as our understanding evolves, it has been reported that COVID-19 can survive on a variety of surfaces for up to 72 hours. Door handles, keypads, door surfaces, light switches, and other potential shared touch hotspots could increase the risk of infection. As a result, Bluetooth® access control solutions, such as door locks that can be unlocked via Bluetooth badges and smartphone-based entry systems that minimize these risks, are likely to see a rise in implementation across enterprise and hospitality environments.
These solutions can also fit into wider RTLS deployments and COVID-19 responses, whether that’s restricting access to avoid large gatherings or limiting building access to prevent personnel on different shifts from mixing together. With these use cases in mind, ABI Research forecasts that Bluetooth® enabled access-control-reader and field-panel shipments are expected to reach nearly 16 million annual shipments by 2026, a dramatic increase from the less than 250,000 in use today. That is a CAGR of 102 percent between 2021 and 2026.
But the benefits of contactless access control do not stop with COVID-19. According to Youngji Kim, Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) market research program manager, geofencing is another prime use case for using Bluetooth® technology as a means of access control (using the smartphone as a mechanism for locking/unlocking). “Industrial complexes can use the phone as a way of identifying individuals to restrict access to hazardous areas,” said Kim.
Security in industrial facilities, such as warehouses, factory floors, and chemical plants, that need to prohibit employees without proper training from accessing hazardous areas can harvest tremendous benefit from access control solutions. With the added value of location-based services, alerts can be sent to facility managers should an employee or visitor wander close to or enter a hazardous area, enhancing safety for all. And, should an emergency happen, first responders can locate and get to individuals quicker if they know their exact position and status in a facility.
Bluetooth® technology can support higher accuracy and reliable location services across multiple vertical markets. Each year, more and more case studies publish that prove the viability of using Bluetooth technology, even in the harshest environments. And the benefits expand well beyond the need for better safe return solutions. Once implemented within a facility, RTLS-based technology can be extended to help improve entire operations and provide numerous efficiencies post COVID-19 and beyond.
To learn more about how Bluetooth® location services solutions can improve ROI and expand operational efficiencies post pandemic, check out the market research report: How Bluetooth® Technology is Enabling Safe Return Strategies in a COVID-19 Era.