How physical security can help government organisations navigate a post-COVID world

Genetec Australia Pty Ltd
By George Moawad, Country Manager ANZ, Genetec
Tuesday, 07 September, 2021


At the time of writing (mid-August 2021) NSW, Melbourne and Darwin are in lockdown with millions of Australians in the public and private sector working remotely and uncertainty lies ahead as state and federal government strive to contain the Delta variant outbreak.

Of course, it isn’t the first lockdown for the nation, but the current debate around the feasibility of achieving Covid Zero in NSW does mean that businesses and organisations must work even harder to ensure they have the right protocols in place to protect citizens and employees from Covid-related risk.

It’s absolutely necessary to have these safeguards, but it can be problematic for organisations already grappling with flatlined (or reduced) budgets and ambitious productivity mandates.

The silver lining in this, is that many physical security solutions can be used to go beyond their traditional applications to help manage today’s Covid issues, as well as continuing to play a strategic role when the pandemic is finally behind us.

Genetec has worked with our public and private sector clients across the globe over the last 18 months to adapt our existing solutions and create new ones to address emerging needs around Covid management. During this time, we’ve identified four important ways that physical security systems can help government organisations today and in the future:

Monitoring occupancy levels

This was one of the first challenges that arose when the pandemic first hit in 2020, with many entities resorting to manual counting of staff and visitors on entry. As a stop gap measure this was better than nothing, but ultimately, it’s inefficient and prone to error; not to mention ineffective as there’s no way of knowing where the people move to once they’re inside an office, venue or stadium. By contrast an occupancy management solution such as the Genetec Occupancy Management Package uses cameras already deployed in a physical security system to generate real-time data that video analytics can use in a variety of ways to monitor occupancy levels. For example, the system can be set up to deliver notifications when the occupancy in a building reaches a certain threshold, allowing the operations staff to start limiting the number of people entering. Reports can also be produced to demonstrate compliance with local measures.

Managing travel restrictions with ALPR

To better enforce travel restrictions, cities and governments across the globe are deploying automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) solutions. These types of solutions can be used to enforce interstate restrictions and ensure that only essential workers are on the roadways during a curfew.

Monitoring patients at a distance

We fervently hope that Australia’s healthcare system doesn’t become as overwhelmed as other countries have sadly been, but to help manage surging patient numbers we’ve seen innovative examples of global hospitals deploying remote patient care systems. One of our clients, a New York City hospital, has used SIP intercom-enabled cameras to allow nurses to remotely monitor and communicate with patients. From the nurse’s station, they can respond to patient requests using Genetec Sipelia™, the communications module in Security Center. This can help save time, decrease their risk of infection, and ensures hospitals save PPE for when it’s needed most.

Sharing evidence in the cloud

At the moment, the less physical content the better so for the police and those in law enforcement, physically delivering and handing over paper reports, CDs, or other digital storage media can be risky. A cloud-based evidence-based management system such as Genetec Clearance™ avoids physical hand-off and speeds up the transfer of critical information.

It’s clear that the pandemic is likely to be with us for some time and as a result both the public and private sector will continue to face challenges, but I’m optimistic that with smart planning and lateral thinking, we can work together to address the most pressing issues around managing and protecting our citizens and employees.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/ipopba

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