By Mohammed Murad

As people begin to return to offices, facility managers have to worry about COVID-19 testing, social distancing, personal protective equipment and disinfecting commonly used areas. Let’s take a look at some of the contactless ways to get employees into the building or critical areas within the facility.

Mobile credentialing

Mobile credentialing is a recent idea touted as a contactless access control system. It’s a great concept having people carry credentials on their smartphones, enabling them to access doors without touching any shared devices. The technology requires employees to download an app and open an email with the credential data. The need for an organization to purchase and print plastic credentials is eliminated.

However, there are still a couple of potential downsides to mobile credentialing. Recent market research estimated about 80% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. What does an employer do with the other 20%? Also, a significant number of employees feel uncomfortable using their devices for organizational business. Issuing them a company-provided smartphone is prohibitively expensive for most employers. Also, the apps used by the technology are targeted by experienced hackers to gain access to the system.


Biometrics offers a better contactless solution with employees standing a foot or two from a reader to open a door. Whether an employer is using a facial or iris-based system, there is no way workers can lose the credentials or have them stolen. And there is no longer any friction over the concept of BYOD (bring your own device).

So, is there a difference in which biometric to choose? I’m biased, but iris-based systems have consistently been shown to be the most accurate and versatile of commonly used biometric systems. There is a tiny outlier population, as almost everyone has at least one eye. The liveness detection eliminates the use of a photograph or 3-D model to spoof the system.

And, maybe most importantly, iris-based technology is not impacted by employees wearing personal protective gear (gloves, masks and goggles), a common occurrence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact us for more information on a contactless access control system capable of accommodating virtually any size employee base.

(Mohammed Murad is vice president, global sales and business development)