Did you know that an alarming 30% of companies experienced an increase in “physical security incidents” in 2022? This staggering statistic underscores the pressing need for modern businesses to implement a robust visitor management solution as a vital component of their security measures.
Visitor management is an integral part of facility management for any organization, whether it’s a corporate office, a hospital, a school, or the government. A visitor management system (VMS) is a technology-based solution that makes it easier to keep track of visitors to a building, which improves security and efficiency.
In this article, we’ll look at what a visitor management system is, how it works, and what kinds of organizations can benefit from it.
What is a Visitor Management System?
A visitor management system is software that helps businesses track and manage the people who visit their buildings. The system is meant to improve security, improve things for visitors, and give valuable data for analysis and reporting.
A typical VMS has hardware and software parts that work together to make the check-in process automatic. The hardware part includes a tablet or kiosk where visitors can self-check in in a badge printer and a scanner to record visitor information. The software has a dashboard for managing visitor information, tracking where visitors go, and making reports.
How Does a Visitor Management System Work?
A visitor management system typically follows a four-step process: pre-registration, check-in, badging, and check-out.
During the pre-registration phase, the host organization sends the visitor an invitation via email, SMS, or a special web portal. The invitation has a link to a registration form the guest must fill out before visiting the facility. The form asks for basic visitor information like name, contact information, reason for visit, and expected length of visit.
Visitors arriving at the building are directed to a self-check-in kiosk or tablet. They enter their name or scan a QR code from their registration confirmation to start the check-in process. The VMS takes a picture of the visitor, prints a badge with the visitor’s name and picture, and notifies the host employee that the visitor has arrived.
The badge lets the visitor know they can be on the property. Depending on how much security is needed, the badge may also have the visitor’s destination, the date and time of the visit, and the name of the employee who is hosting the visitor.
When the visitor leaves the facility, they check out using the same kiosk or tablet. The VMS captures the check-out time and notifies the host employee of the visitor’s departure. This information is stored in the VMS database for analysis and reporting.
12 Features of a Modern Visitor Management System
When considering a visitor management system, one should expect several key features to ensure an efficient and secure visitor experience. Here are some essential features to look for in a visitor management system:
- Visitor Registration: The system should allow easy and streamlined visitor registration, enabling visitors to input their details accurately and efficiently.
- Check-in and Check-out: A visitor management system should provide a seamless check-in and check-out process, allowing visitors to register their arrival and departure quickly.
- ID Verification: The system should have the capability to verify visitor identification, whether through scanning government-issued IDs or capturing visitor photos.
- Badge Printing: The ability to print visitor badges with relevant details such as name, photo, and purpose of visit is crucial for identification and access control within the premises.
- Pre-registration and Pre-approval: The system should allow for pre-registration and pre-approval of visitors, simplifying the check-in process and expediting their entry.
- Notifications and Alerts: A visitor management system should provide real-time notifications and alerts to the host or concerned personnel when visitors arrive, ensuring prompt responses and improved security.
- Host Notifications: The system should notify the host or employee being visited when their guest arrives, minimizing wait times and enhancing the visitor experience.
- Customizable Workflows: It is beneficial to have a visitor management system that can be tailored to fit specific organizational workflows and requirements, allowing for flexibility and customization.
- Data Security and Compliance: Robust data security measures, such as encryption and secure data storage, should be in place to protect visitor information and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
- Reporting and Analytics: The system should offer comprehensive reporting and analytics capabilities, providing insights into visitor traffic, trends, and other relevant data for better decision-making.
- Integration with Access Control Systems: Integration with access control systems allows for seamless access management, ensuring that visitors are granted appropriate permissions based on their credentials.
- Emergency Evacuation Management: A visitor management system can assist in emergency situations by providing evacuation lists and tracking visitor’s whereabouts during evacuations.
Remember, the specific features and functionalities of visitor management systems may vary based on the software provider and organizational requirements. It is essential to evaluate the features offered by different systems to find the one that best aligns with your business needs.
Policies of a Visitor Management System
Here are some common policies related to visitor management:
- Visitor Registration Policy: This policy outlines the process and requirements for visitors to register upon arrival at the premises. It may include details such as providing identification, signing a visitor logbook, and obtaining a visitor badge or pass.
- Access Control Policy: This policy governs the access rights of visitors within the facility. It defines which areas visitors can enter and any restrictions or limitations they should adhere to.
- Escort Policy: This policy specifies whether visitors are required to be accompanied by a host or employee during their visit. It may outline situations where an escort is mandatory, such as restricted areas or high-security zones.
- Visitor Identification Policy: This policy establishes the requirement for visitors to carry identification throughout their visit. It may specify acceptable forms of identification and the process for verifying visitor credentials.
- Confidentiality Policy: This policy addresses the protection of sensitive information and intellectual property during visitor interactions. It emphasizes the need for visitors to respect confidentiality and maintain confidentiality agreements, if applicable.
- Health and Safety Policy: This policy focuses on the safety and well-being of visitors while on the premises. It may include guidelines for emergency procedures, evacuation protocols, and the reporting of accidents or incidents involving visitors.
- Visitor Conduct Policy: This policy sets expectations for visitor behavior, including adherence to code of conduct, respect for employees and property, and compliance with rules and regulations.
- Visitor Parking Policy: This policy addresses parking arrangements for visitors, including designated visitor parking areas, duration limits, and any associated fees or permits.
- Visitor Termination Policy: This policy outlines the procedure for terminating a visitor’s access to the facility. It may include circumstances under which a visitor’s access can be revoked and the steps to be taken in such situations.
Organizations need to customize these policies based on their specific needs, industry regulations, and security requirements.
Types of Visitor Management Systems
Depending on their specific needs, businesses can deploy various types of visitor management systems. Here are the most common types of VMS:
- Paper Logbooks: Paper logbooks were the traditional way to keep track of visitors, but as technology improves, they are becoming less useful. With paper logbooks, people write their names and the reason they are there. But it’s easy to change these logbooks, and information can get lost, making it hard to find information when it’s needed.
- Standalone Visitor Management Systems: Standalone VMSs use a software application installed on a computer or tablet that allows visitors to sign in and out. These systems can capture visitor data, take photos, and print badges for visitors to wear while on the premises. Standalone systems are an affordable solution for businesses that require basic visitor management.
- Cloud-Based Visitor Management Systems: Cloud-based VMSs are a more advanced solution that uses a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. These systems allow visitors to pre-register their visit and complete necessary forms, reducing wait times at reception. Cloud-based systems are also accessible from any device with an internet connection, making them ideal for businesses with multiple locations.
Visitor Management System Characteristics
The following are some of the characteristics of a robust visitor management system-
- Data Security and User Privacy: VMS gives visitor data a high level of security, ensuring all private information stays safe and secure. It uses advanced encryption methods to keep sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands.
- Notification and Communication Capability: VMS tells the host by email, SMS, or other means when a visitor arrives so the host can greet them. It also lets the guest and host talk back and forth, making it easy for them to talk quickly.
- Customizable Workflows: VMS lets organizations change their workflows to meet their needs. It can include fields, forms, and badges that meet the organization’s needs.
- Visitor Experience: VMS gives visitors a smooth, professional experience, which makes their whole time with the organization better. It makes the check-in process easier and gets rid of long lines.
- Compliance Management: VMS helps organizations follow laws and rules like privacy and data protection. It lets organizations keep track of who visits and when so that everything is clear.
- Integration Options: VMS can work with other software and systems, like access control and HR systems, to speed up processes and ensure that data is always the same.
- Reports and Insights: VMS gives data about visitors, such as the number of visitors, peak times, and the kinds of people who come. This helps organizations decide where to put their money and people and how many of them need. Also, VMS makes reports like audit trails and visitor logs for compliance purposes.
- Efficient Experience: A VMS automates the process of registering visitors, which cuts down on wait times and eliminates the need for manual data entry. This saves businesses time and money and improves the overall experience for visitors.
A visitor management system is important for businesses that want to make their buildings safer and improve their guests’ experiences. Businesses can choose the best visitor management system that fits their needs and budgets.
Modern organizations want to keep their buildings safe and decide who needs a visitor management system. Oloid is a company that makes modern access control systems. They have a secure, scalable, and easy-to-use system for managing visitors. With features like self-check-in and real-time visitor tracking, Oloid’s visitor management system makes it easier and safer for people to sign up as visitors.
What is a Visitor Management System (VMS)?
A VMS is a software platform that streamlines visitor registration, check-in, and monitoring at a building. It replaces paper logbooks with digital tools, enhancing security, improving experience, and providing valuable data insights.
What are the benefits of using a VMS?
- Enhanced security: VMS controls access by verifying visitor identities, issuing IDs, and tracking their movements.
- Improved efficiency: Pre-registration and digital check-in eliminate queues and paperwork.
- Better visitor experience: Visitors can pre-register, receive notifications, and have clear guidance for their visit.
- Data and insights: VMS gathers data on visitor trends, helping optimize workflows and resource allocation.
- Compliance with regulations: VMS helps organizations comply with data privacy and security regulations.
What are the key features of a modern VMS?
- Pre-registration: Visitors can register online, reducing check-in time.
- Self-service kiosk: Visitors can check in without needing a receptionist.
- ID verification: Scan IDs and photos for enhanced security.
- Badge printing: Issue personalized badges for visitor identification.
- Access control integration: Manage visitor access to specific areas.
- Real-time notifications: Alert hosts of arriving visitors.
- Reporting and analytics: Track visitor data and generate reports.
What types of organizations need a VMS?
Any organization that receives visitors can benefit from a VMS, including:
- Offices and corporate buildings
- Schools and universities
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities
- Government agencies
- Retail stores and shopping malls
- Event venues and conference centers
How much does a VMS cost?
VMS costs vary depending on features, vendor, and number of users. Some systems offer free basic plans, while others require monthly or annual subscriptions. Cloud-based systems are generally more affordable than on-premise solutions.