BUYER’S GUIDE TO VISITOR MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS AND SOFTWARE FOR 2023
Visitor management is a critical part of any building’s security and safety plan. While most organizations focus on protecting their staff and employees, visitors must also be adequately identified, managed and logged. Visitors also should enjoy a smooth and straightforward entry and exit, whether they are dropping off a delivery, coming for a job interview or attending a meeting.
Traditional methods, such as sign-in sheets or communal badges, can be time-consuming and inefficient. It could even create security risks. That’s why visitor management systems and software are becoming increasingly popular.
What is a visitor management system?
When it comes to the safety of visitors, management is an essential part of any organization’s security strategy. Visitor management refers to the process of managing, tracking and identifying people entering a building or premises. Furthermore, visitor management aims to create a secure environment for staff, visitors and customers.
Traditionally, visitor logging was done with physical sign-in sheets. But these are time-consuming, prone to mistakes or manipulation and can create a security risk if the visitor logging sheet is not secured properly.
In contrast, an efficient digital visitor management solution allows organizations to easily capture visitor data, identify them quickly and conveniently as well as ensure that only authorized guests enter the premises.
Some of the best visitor management systems and protocols also include automated reception software such as a visitor check-in system, visitor management apps, a visitor badge system, video analytics or digital signage. These features enable organizations to better manage their visitors while providing them with a seamless and efficient experience.
How a visitor management system works
Visitor management systems are software solutions that streamline the process of managing and tracking visitors to an organization. From check-in to check-out, these systems automate many of the processes related to visitor registration and identification. They also give administrators and security personnel more control over who is accessing their premises.
When a visitor arrives, the visitor tracking system identifies that someone has entered the building through the use of video security cameras, sensors or access control. Examples of visitor management systems for arrival include intercoms and kiosks, but can also extend to visitor management apps or calendar integrations. Once identified, visitors can be attended to quickly and easily with the assistance of a physical receptionist or automated software.
Visitor check-in system
Before proceeding, visitors must check in via their smartphone or a self-service kiosk with visitor check-in software, depending on the system. As part of the electronic visitor sign-in system, guests will have to provide information such as their name, the reason for their visit, who they’re visiting, contact information and any other data the organization deems relevant.
Visitor badge systems and credentials
While not always necessary, in some cases, using an employee badge system with a visitor badge system might be helpful, especially for larger organizations that have high volumes of visitors. Visitor badging systems can also be integrated with other security systems, allowing security personnel to quickly identify visitors and ensure they stay within their designated areas. If visitor badges are not ideal, there are several alternative visitor management tools that can help you secure your site, such as visitor management apps, temporary PIN codes or digital guest passes.
Receiving employee notification
Once a visitor check-in process is complete, visitor management software can send notifications to the appropriate personnel so they know someone is there to see them. Depending on the security protocols and visitor monitoring system in place, the receiving employee might have to greet the visitor in the reception area. If the visitor management software is integrated with the door locks and access system, the employee may be able to facilitate remote unlocks to let the visitor in without having to be physically present.
Visitor check-out system
At the end of their visit, visitors should check out as a best practice. Again, this can be done via a kiosk, smartphone or by a member of staff. The visitor tracking system should have recorded how much time the guest spent in the building, where they went and the time of their departure.
Visitor scheduling system
In addition to tracking visitors in real time, visitor management systems can also be used for scheduling visits in advance. This is especially useful for organizations that receive many visitors, such as schools or hospitals, or in commercial settings where on-site meetings are frequent and spaces need to be reserved in advance. Visits can be scheduled by employees or visitors, and the system can keep track of all these events, helping to ensure that no appointments overlap. A visitor scheduling system can also be integrated with company calendars and room reservation software to facilitate automatic visitor credentials.
Use cases for visitor management software systems
Visitor management systems can be used in various applications, including hospitals, schools, offices and other facilities where having detailed reports of all visitors is key to security. Some use cases based on the setting include:
Logging visitors in hospitals
In hospitals, a visitor management system can help control the flow of visitors, allowing only authorized people to enter and exit. As a result, the chances of infection spreading from an unauthorized visitor can be significantly minimized, and can help limit security incidents like theft and vandalism.
Additionally, a visitor check-in system for hospitals can be used to ensure that visitors are aware of any protocols, such as the need for masks in certain areas, or include special instructions for visiting hours, parking and maps of the premises. Plus, if the software for visitor management includes tracking capabilities, having a log of all movements can be helpful for contact tracing if an outbreak arises.
School visitor sign-in systems
In schools, visitor management systems can determine who is allowed in the building and when to conveniently provide access to the right people at the right time. For example, parent-teacher meetings can be scheduled in advance, and the system can provide real-time tracking of who is in the building at any given time.
Furthermore, a school visitor management system can be integrated with access control so that only authorized personnel can enter certain areas or classrooms equipped with readers or wireless locks. Leveraging watch lists and video security alongside visitor management is important for keeping students safe from any potential intruders or known criminals who may try to enter as a visitor, too.
Office visitor check-in software and scheduling
For offices, visitor management systems can be used for guest access for situations like on-site meetings, interviews and maintenance. By issuing temporary and time-based credentials to visitors, commercial buildings can maintain a record of all those that enter the premises, even if they don’t possess any access credentials, and can be used to track visitors’ movement to ensure they are within their designated areas.
Government building visitor management
For government buildings, visitor management systems can quickly and efficiently process visitors. In addition, security personnel can use the system to track visitors, ensuring that no unauthorized person enters or exits the building by checking against active watch lists automatically when a guest checks in. And if required, visitors badges, either physical or digital, can be used to quickly identify legitimate visitors as they navigate the building.
Ticketing for cultural institutions and event venues
For cultural institutions and event venues, visitor management systems can be used to streamline ticketing processes and enforce capacity limits. Visitors can purchase tickets in advance and then check in with a kiosk or their phones. Additionally, the system can log any irregularities, such as people tailgating ticket holders.
Why visitor tracking systems are important for security
Security for any organization is of utmost importance, and resources that adequately protect the facility and its occupants are often a large investment. While sometimes overlooked in the auditing process, visitor management is a critical component of any comprehensive security system and offers a wide range of benefits, including:
- Increased security: Visitor management solutions can help increase security by providing a record of check-in and check-out. This process alone is sometimes enough to deter unauthorized individuals from trying to access a property. In more advanced systems, visitors are authenticated against a database and their identity can be verified in real-time. In addition, visitor badging systems can restrict access to certain areas of the building, and security personnel can be alerted if any suspicious activity is detected.
- Improved compliance: Many organizations are subject to industry-specific regulations, such as HIPAA or GDPR. Visitor management security systems can help organizations comply with these regulations by providing a secure way to store and process visitor data.
- Enhanced visibility: Visitor check-in and monitoring solutions provide organizations with better visibility into who enters and leaves the facility. This can prove to be invaluable in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or other emergency situation.
- Enhanced data collection and analysis: Electronic visitor management software can collect data on visitors, such as their contact information, the duration of their visit and other relevant details. The data from visitor management software can be used to analyze trends and make more informed decisions about visitor policies, space utilization and scheduling.
- Integration with existing systems: Investing in visitor management systems that can integrate with existing security systems, such as an access control system or surveillance system, offer greater potential to streamline your operations. With integrated visitor management software, security personnel can more easily track visitors and identify potential threats, as well as combine these systems with visitor management apps and tools to automate and enforce visitor policies.
- Improved visitor experience: The latest visitor management apps can also improve the overall visitor experience by providing a streamlined check-in process. Visitors can be checked in quickly and easily without needing any physical paperwork, as processes such as signing waivers, scanning IDs and issuing a guest pass can all be done electronically. Furthermore, these apps can provide visitors with helpful resources and information, such as directions, parking information or facility maps once they complete the visitor check-in process.
- Centralized data: Visitor management systems provide organizations with centralized data about their guests and temporary staff, which can be used for reporting and analysis. This helps property owners gain insights into visitor behavior, track the performance of office security teams and highlight any trends or anomalies through the use of intelligent analytics.
- Increased cost-efficiency: While visitor badging systems are a popular option, switching to visitor management apps can eliminate the cost of purchasing and maintaining a stock of cards. Opting for check-in kiosks and reception software also has the benefit of saving time for front-desk and security staff, allowing them to focus on more important tasks than collecting visitor paperwork. A visitor management system can also improve cost efficiency by proactively preventing theft, espionage and damage to the facility. Even if the worst happens, the system can help security teams identify perpetrators quickly, saving time and allowing you to mitigate potential damages.
- Improved personnel productivity: Finally, a visitor logging and monitoring system can help improve the productivity of security personnel. The system streamlines manual processes and eliminates paperwork. As a result, staff can focus on critical tasks, such as monitoring and responding to incidents. Advanced reception software and visitor management tools also help office teams with scheduling, and can make greeting guests and granting visitor access more efficient.
Challenges and considerations for visitor management
When considering how to create a visitor management system and implement it, it’s essential to consider the following challenges:
- Compatibility: It’s crucial to ensure that the visitor management system is compatible with existing systems, such as commercial access control and video surveillance systems. Otherwise, data can become siloed and challenging to access, leading to redundancies and productivity loss. It should also be noted that, depending on the existing security systems, integrating a visitor management app might be complex and require the assistance of a professional integrator.
- Data privacy: Personal data is often subject to strict regulations, depending on the industry and location. As a result, any visitor management should abide by these regulations and protect data privacy. Visitor data should be stored securely and only used for the intended purpose. In the event of a breach, the organization should be able to detect it quickly and take appropriate action.
- User adoption and training: Users must be familiar with all features and functions for an organization to leverage a visitor management system effectively. If the user interface is not intuitive, it can be difficult to get people on board. As a result, it’s crucial to provide users with sufficient training and support to ensure user adoption.
- Customization: Another challenge is ensuring that the visitor management system can be customized to fit the company’s specific needs. This includes customizing access rights, workflow processes and other features.
- Maintenance and updates: Regular maintenance and updates are essential to keep the system running smoothly and ensure that it is up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Bad actors are always looking for vulnerabilities in systems, so it’s vital to stay one step ahead. The best visitor management security systems will include automatic software updates and feature roll-out to ensure you’re running the most advanced version of the visitor management system available.
- Budget: Another critical aspect is the budget when developing a visitor management system. Different options are available, ranging from open source to enterprise systems depending on the number of users and features your business requires. There are also the hardware and installation costs to consider for devices like kiosks and commercial door locks.
How visitor management systems and software integrate with existing security systems
As mentioned, the best visitor management systems can be integrated with other security systems to create a comprehensive, unified system. When implementing software for visitor management, consider how it will work alongside existing platforms, or any other systems you intend to install on the premises.
- Access control: Integrated visitor management systems can provide guests with access to specific areas with temporary credentials such as visitor badges, digital passes or visitor keypad PIN codes. The benefit of this integration is that visitor access activity will be logged alongside credentialed users, and you can customize visitor permissions.
- Video security: Organizations can connect their visitor sign-in and monitoring system with commercial video security cameras to capture images of visitors as they enter and exit the facility. The images can be used for security purposes and to verify the visitor’s identity.
- Alarm systems: Visitor management can be integrated with alarm systems to trigger alarms in the event of a security breach. This could include alarms for unauthorized visitors on your facility’s watch list, or those who have breached security protocol by entering a restricted area.
- Alert systems: Visitor management systems can also be integrated with alerts, such as email and SMS instant notifications. Security personnel or office managers can be notified, for example, if someone attempts to enter a restricted area or if a visitor has not checked out after an extended period of time.
- Reporting systems: A reporting system can also be integrated with visitor management systems to generate detailed reports and provide insights into visitor activity or the visitor management process. The data will prove invaluable for security audits and risk assessments, and help organizations be proactive in their security efforts.
Latest trends and technology in visitor management systems and software
As the demand for online solutions continues to grow, the latest trends and technology in visitor management systems are also changing.
Cloud-based visitor management solutions
Cloud-based solutions offer several benefits, including scalability, cost savings and improved security. Cloud-based visitor management systems allow organizations to store data in the cloud, reducing overhead costs.
They also help streamline operations and reduce the administrative burden of managing visitor data. Thanks to the cloud, organizations can access visitor data anytime and anywhere. And if visitors can pre-register and check in remotely with cloud-based visitor management software and apps, it helps reduce wait times.
More organizations are also turning to mobile solutions for visitor management. Instead of relying on paper forms and physical access control badges, visitors can leverage mobile credentials via their own mobile devices to access the facility through a touchless sign-in process.
A modern visitor management system enhances building security, while reducing costs and time spent manually managing visitors through a paper logbook and issuing ID cards or badges. Mobile solutions also allow organizations to easily communicate with visitors, if necessary.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI is increasingly used to help identify suspicious visitors and alert security personnel. For example, AI-enabled systems can be programmed to recognize behaviors or activities indicative of a security breach and check against active watch lists through facial recognition and analyzing visitor data for patterns.
AI also helps automate processes like check-in and visitor check-out, and can be used to automate communication with visitors.
The latest visitor management technology enables organizations to pre-register visitors remotely and check them in without needing physical contact. Touchless access control helps limit contact between visitors, security personnel and others in the facility without compromising on guest experience or security.
Visitor management systems are also being used with other technologies like biometrics and voice recognition to provide an extra layer of security. These visitor management tools and technologies help authenticate visitors and ensure that they are who they say they are, reducing the risk of unauthorized access.
It’s vital, though, for any software for visitor management to have robust encryption protocols in place to protect visitor data and ensure the safety of all parties.
Choosing a complete visitor management solution
Visitor management systems are a valuable tool for organizations looking to improve security and streamline visitor processes. The latest technology and trends in the field enable organizations to add a layer of security while automating operations, reducing the time and resources spent on managing visitors.
When using a visitor management solution, organizations should ensure they are using the best technology available and that all visitor information and data is kept secure in line with regulatory compliance. With the right visitor management system in place, organizations can reduce their risk of a breach and ensure the safety and security of everyone, while ensuring that visitor screening and visitor access is convenient and efficient.
Buyer’s guide to choosing the best visitor management system
If you’re looking for a cloud-based visitor management solution, Proxyclick is a top choice for many small, mid-size and enterprise businesses. Proxyclick helps organizations facilitate efficient visitor check-in when they arrive on-site, as well as ensures all work locations are secure and comply with necessary regulations for data and privacy.
Top Proxyclick features and benefits:
- Touchless check-in experiences plus kiosk and customized check-in flow for your brand
- Optional digital health questionnaires and waivers
- Detailed analytics and reporting, with IDMatch and watchlists support
- Easy management and credential delivery for multi-tenant properties
- Seamlessly integrate Proxyclick and Avigilon Alta access control with other workplace tech and tools
- Data protection and privacy tools to achieve compliance
- First-class support and customer service
Offering visitor and office management solutions, Envoy streamlines workflows while enhancing security and boosting productivity. Envoy offers digital tools that improve the office experience while being flexible enough to accommodate hybrid work models and prioritizing safety. For visitors, access is streamlined with convenient registration and check-in. With easy-to-use mobile and web-based software, Envoy visitor management tools help create a safer, more efficient place to work while simplifying processes.
Top Envoy features and benefits:
- Envoy Protect wellness questionnaires and safety solutions
- Customizable visitor sign-in flows with digital document signing and management
- Desk mapping with web-based room and desk booking features
- Visitor screening with on-site visitor badge printing and delivery management
- Detailed analytics and reporting for compliance
- Remote, app-based access for managers and users through Envoy mobile app
- Integrate Envoy and Avigilon Alta with a range of office software and tools for frictionless access and streamlined processes
Splan provides next-generation cloud software check-in solutions for visitors, events and schools, delivering intelligent and fully automated security solutions for small or large organizations. Cost-effective and easy to use, the enterprise-centric, web-based system allows customers to manage visitors, vendors, tenants, contractors and deliveries with feature-rich visitor capabilities to help reduce security risks and enhance visitor experience.
Top Splan features and benefits:
- Self-service kiosk for sign-in and sign-out that supports driver’s license scanning, badge printing, NDA signature, waiver forms, documents and photo capture
- Pre-registration and registration for individual guests or groups, plus event and queue management
- Convenient email, SMS, phone call and other notifications
- Track and audit policies, approvals and compliance with contractor recertification, watch list and extensive background checks
- Secure Active Directory authentication and SSO, plus security reports and intuitive dashboards
- Automatic Outlook Calendar integration and tenant visitor modules
- The Splan and Avigilon Alta integration allows for easy deployments via cloud-based or on-premise system with the SignInEasy mobile app
A simple but powerful online visitor management system, Lobbytrack makes it easy to manage end-to-end visitor workflow, including pre-registration, touchless sign-in, host notifications, security alerts, visitor monitoring and emergency evacuation. The cloud-based software is accessible through a user-friendly browser interface and native mobile apps.
Top Lobbytrack features and benefits:
- Visitor check-in and check-out via tablet or mobile device that supports QR code scanning for a touchless experience
- Visitor screening against internal and external watchlists and criminal databases
- Custom check-in flows, including wellness form screening, digital document signing, photo capture, driver’s license scanning and visitor badge printing
- Use the Lobbytrack Employee app for daily employee wellness screenings, as well as schedule visits and receive notifications when visitors arrive
- Active Directory integration for seamless user management
- Ability to set capacity limits for each location
- Lobbytrack integrates with Avigilon Alta for a seamless cloud-to-cloud platform for access control, tenant apps and building systems
The Virdee visitor management solution offers a virtual reception and check-in system to boost satisfaction for hotel guests and enterprise employees. Leveraging mobile technology, Virdee offers a streamlined hotel and hospitality visitor management experience, combining visitor check-in, identity verification, key issuance and more into one smartphone app.
Top Virdee features and benefits:
- Option to use mobile app or kiosks for visitor check-in and check-out
- Streamline payment collection at check-out and throughout hotel guest’s stay
- 24/7 remote support for visitor assistance
- Enable fully mobile and touchless entry by integrating Virdee and Avigilon Alta access control
- Partnership with CLEAR for traveler identity verification
- Supports visitor management for offices with customizable mobile SDK and enterprise-grade integrations
iLobby offers enterprise-class facility and visitor management systems to simplify typically complex screening processes through automation. Built to solve the unique challenges of mission-critical facilities and multi-site commercial infrastructure, iLobby visitor management solutions can help speed up check-in processes, automate reception tasks and ensure organizations are compliant with industry standards.
Top iLobby features and benefits:
- Optimized check-in flows for specific visitor types, such as contractors and vendors
- Pre-registration for high-traffic buildings and areas
- Unique workflows for site-specific visitor management processes
- Real-time visitor logs for all sites on a combined dashboard
- Ability to connect iLobby and Avigilon Alta for seamless access control, as well as other building management systems and business tools
Sign In Enterprise (formerly Traction Guest)
When considering the top visitor management systems, the enterprise-grade solution from Sign In Enterprise (formerly Traction Guest) is a common choice for multi-site offices and commercial buildings. The visitor management software offers a customizable mobile experience that also extends to on-site kiosks, making it simple to adjust the visitor check-in process for different buildings and locations, even in multi-tenant properties.
Top Sign In Enterprise features and benefits:
- Support for unlimited hosts, visitors and sign-in workflows
- Contactless sign-in with mobile visitor management software and QR code access
- Ability to view live and historical site visit analysis and conduct site audits
- Secure information capture to help businesses comply with data and privacy regulations
- Automatic visitor credential provisioning through enterprise-grade integrations with leading access control companies like Avigilon Alta
- Proactive emergency response with event notification tools and real-time capacity tracking
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