A Letter From Our Chairman
As cities and states across the country begin to lift stay-at-home orders, we are all about to navigate a brave new world. Some restaurants, offices and stores are slowly starting to reopen, and business owners — including myself — are trying to understand how we can resume our work while keeping our employees, customers, and partners safe. What can we do, when should we do it, and how might it happen? I write today with Kastle’s perspective on a framework that will benefit landlords, tenants and workers in this journey.
All of us in the commercial real estate business face unique challenges in reopening. High-touch surfaces — doors, counters and elevator buttons — are everywhere you look in our facilities. Significant numbers of people congregate in shared spaces, gather in lobbies and crowd into elevators. Visitors to our buildings can arrive from nearby offices or from faraway international destinations.
At Kastle, we have drawn on our experience in building security to develop a new comprehensive, integrated system, KastleSafeSpaces, designed to safeguard the health and safety of office workers and multifamily residents. KastleSafeSpaces combines existing technology already installed in many buildings with new processes and some new technologies to immediately create four major shifts within buildings:
Shift One: Everything is Touchless
Touchless controls will be the new standard throughout office and multi-family buildings. Many of our customers have used our mobile app, Kastle Presence, for years as their hands-free solution, which will become even more valuable in this new paradigm. New technologies will be rapidly introduced to enable wireless, touchless door opening, turnstiles, elevators, security card readers, visitor kiosks and parking ticket vending machines.
Shift Two: Screen in & Screen Out
Daily screenings of employees, vendors and visitors will become commonplace and can be integrated with our security access control system. This will allow us to screen out people presenting with symptoms or known to be infected. Lobbies will start to resemble airports with testing stations, screening queues, speed lanes, designated check-in times and self-check kiosks.
Shift Three: 24 x 7 Occupancy Monitoring for Contact Tracing
KastleSafeSpaces makes contact tracing — the tracking of people who later learn they were infected with Covid-19 and those who have come in contact with them — as simple as possible. By turning your access system on 24×7 and requiring exit readers as appropriate, we can monitor traffic for buildings, floors, tenant office suites and common areas, tracking users who are in close contact with one another. If someone subsequently tests positive for Covid-19, people who had been in the same spaces as the infected employee can easily and quickly be informed. Through the addition of intelligent video, we can refine the searches to an even finer degree to see who was in the closest proximity of each other.
Shift Four: Social Distancing
KastleSafeSpaces will use data and technology-led reminders to supplement physical guides to reinforce social distancing. Access control systems can be used to schedule staggered arrival times to “flatten the arrival curve,” while also enforcing any necessary visitor restrictions. In addition, we can support real-time occupancy density management by monitoring entries and exits to identify floors or common spaces that exceed thresholds. We imagine building owners will create new installations, like safeguard stations and checkpoints, that will maintain the recommended social distancing guidance as well as new floor markings will not only indicate the flow of traffic but reinforce how far employees, vendors and visitors should stand away from each other for maximum health and safety.
Fighting the novel coronavirus will require all of us to come together to take a new whole-building approach to protecting the health and well-being of our workers and building tenants. We only have one chance to reopen safely — we need to get this right on the first try.
Importantly, these forward-thinking changes in the ways we operate will help us not only in this critical moment, but also help to mitigate your risks in an uncertain future. That is why it is so important today to create the office and multi-family housing environment suitable for tomorrow.
The rallying cry for the past few months of staying at home has been “Alone Together.” We are moving toward a time when many of us will no longer be physically separated, but we must remain united in defeating this virus. All of us — in the public and private sector — need to continue to do our part.
If you are planning to reopen your office and would like to talk through how to best protect your employees and tenants, please reach out.
Please stay safe.
Chairman, Kastle Systems