Just as students are swapping paper and pencils for iPads and laptops, many schools are replacing outdated sign-in sheets and name tags with sophisticated visitor management software. Aside from the obvious benefits of improved safety and increased efficiency, these new systems offer some surprising features.
For instance, did you know visitor management systems can….
1. Run instant background checks.
While most people are aware that automated visitor management systems can simplify the sign-in process by accurately screening visitors, creating an automatic record and printing out an ID badge with a photo, date and time, many school staff are not aware that this software can also run background checks quickly and easily. The system scans a visitor’s government-issued identification and checks their identity against national registered sex offender lists and criminal records, which is nearly impossible to do manually.
Like it or not, the world can be a scary place for our children. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) there are over 850,000 sex offenders in the U.S. A manual sign-in system, even one that requires a photo ID, provides your staff with no information about that person’s background. On the other hand, an automated visitor management solution can protect students from these predators with minimal time and effort from your staff.
Background checks can also alert your staff to custody issues and prevent abductions. Sadly, nearly 86% of child abductions are committed by parents or other family members in custody cases, per FBI records. To keep your students safe, visitor management software allows you to input the names of banned individuals into your school’s system. You can also create a customized list of recipients to notify via text or email if such a person attempts to enter the building.
2. Be customized to your school’s unique needs.
In addition to adding the names of banned individuals from custody orders, automated visitor management software allows you to customize the system to meet your school’s individual needs. For example, many systems offer visitor kiosks to fit any environment or budget, including touchscreens, as well as audio and visual prompts. Or, if you have your own equipment, the software can be purchased separately. In fact, you can turn your tablet or PC into a free-standing kiosk.
If you have several locations, most systems can network multiple kiosks. You can also customize your workflow, by creating “visitor types” – guest, employee, contractor, delivery driver, parent, student, volunteer, faculty, etc. The software enables you to create specific questions for each type of visitor, as well as providing options for viewing visitor data and creating reports.
Another adaptable feature is multilingual support. Visitors can sign in and out in several languages, including Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), English (UK), French (France), French (Canada), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), Hindi, Kannada, Japanese, and, of course, English (US).
Finally, frequent visitors to your school can purchase special key tags, which reduce sign-in time by more than 60%. Not only are these key tags convenient, they have helped hundreds of schools raise money!
3. Import data from your Student Information System.
Not only will an automated visitor management system track everyone who enters your building and stop threats at the door, these solutions make it easy to track data, such as sign-in and out times, reason for visit, who was visited and more, providing a good accounting system of who enters and exits the building.
This ability also comes in handy for keeping track of when students arrive late or leave early. With automated visitor management software, this information is not only recorded accurately, multiple export options make it easy to import this data into your Student Information System, reducing the amount of time and labor required.
Another advantage of using a “cloud-based” system is that information can be retrieved from any internet connection, which may be vital in an emergency when the school computer cannot be accessed. And, since these systems are maintained by the service provider, you don’t have to worry about managing the technology.
The bottom line is you get better records with less work.
4. Use a phone app to allow visitors to sign in.
It seems there is an app for everything these days – including visitor management systems. Some software enables secure sign-ins directly from a visitor’s phone, with no need to interact with the kiosk. Visitors simply complete your custom sign-in process, including instant background checks, ID scanning and badge printing, form any Android or Apple smartphone. Because this reduces time by bypassing the kiosk, it’s perfect for special events or high-traffic times.
Apps offer convenience without sacrificing security.
Isn’t it time to update and simplify your school’s visitor management? These automated systems are simple yet powerful solutions that streamline the visitor sign-in process, increase security and improve record keeping. They also send a message to parents, staff, students and the community that safety is a top priority for your school.
If you’d like to explore your options for the latest in visitor management systems, call LobbyGuard at 1-866-905-6229 or visit us at lobbyguard.com. We offer free consultations and product demonstrations.