Security Industry’s COVID-19 Countermeasures

June 2, 2020
Amid changing times, options go beyond touchless door operators to temperature-sensing cameras.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a life-altering event affecting the world in ways all of which are yet to be realized.

The security industry, deemed essential, has remained open, and now your customers might start to contact you for services and advice on how they can protect themselves, their families and their customers.

Because the disease is new, the pandemic is surrounded by a veil of uncertainty and mystery — and conflicting or inaccurate information.

However, at least three things are apparent to us: People are being infected, people are dying and there will be changes in our lifestyles.

Because our world has faced epidemics for perhaps longer than recorded history, there are certain measures that can be implemented quickly that can help to make people feel secure.

The Basics

By now, we’re all aware that COVID-19 is spread through the air by so-called vectors (including people) and physical contact with contaminated surfaces.

Products that eliminate or lessen the chance of infection by one of these methods have become and will continue to become common. Take masks for instance.

In my honest opinion, wearing a mask in public is a good idea, but you should know that some masks are better than others at preventing the spread of germs, according to experts.

Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a former lieutenant governor of New York. She noted in a syndicated article for Creators in April that the N95 masks for hospital and health-care workers filter out 95 percent of viral particles. Surgical masks of nonwoven polypropylene protect the wearer from 56 percent of droplets emitted by an infected person nearby.

Finally, woven cloth masks or bandanas prevent only 3 percent of viral particles from getting through unless you use multiple layers of cloth. Four layers block about 13 percent of viral droplets.

Another thing you can expect to see more of are products that eliminate the need to touch things. Doors and door hardware are objects that people touch a lot, so they can host and help to spread germs. Automatic door operators and hands-free buttons are designed to reduce contact with doors and door hardware. They’ve been around, and we can expect to see more of them.

But security manufacturers also are looking to provide more screening of people for possible disease through body-temperature monitoring.

Locksmith Ledger has identified several products that can be used as countermeasures for the spread of germs. The products presented are a sample, not a complete list. Contact Locksmith Ledger if you require any tech support or further resources.

Platinum CCTV PT-BF5421-T

As we know with COVID-19, when you have the disease but don’t display any symptoms, you’re referred to as asymptomatic. Nothing outside of a specific test can determine whether a person is asymptomatic. However, one of the symptoms is a fever. Detecting that a person has a high body temperature is one way to identify a possible “vector” and take appropriate action.

Platinum CCTV is working to deploy temperature-sensing cameras to combat COVID-19. We interviewed the CEO and founder Michael Dunteman for details about his company’s PT-BF5421-T.

LL: Tell us about the PT-BF5421-T Thermal Body Temperature Sensing Camera.

Dunteman: This camera provides the ability to recognize faces and allows the camera to find the best point on the face through AI to quickly scan people passing by and identify individuals with elevated skin temperature compared with a customizable reference temperature.

LL: What’s the blackbody?

Dunteman: The Blackbody is a reference point for the thermal camera. The Blackbody generates a specific temperature that can be adjusted — but for our camera defaults to 95 degrees Fahrenheit — and is positioned in front of the camera. By providing a reference temperature and defining the reference zone for the AI of the camera, it allows for the camera to “self-calibrate” in real time for better accuracy. When thermal cameras are used without a reference, or blackbody, their temperatures vary wildly in comparison.

LL: How sensitive is the temperature sensor? Is it effective in real-world applications?

Dunteman: The PT-BF5421-T camera uses uncooled Vox technology to provide a cost-effective solution for thermal security and temperature measurement. The sensor in this camera has high thermal sensitivity. When used with the blackbody, this camera delivers ±0.3°C accuracy (±0.54°F in body temperature). Without the blackbody, the camera delivers ±1.0°C accuracy (±1.8°F in body temperature).

LL: Can existing video surveillance systems be upgraded to detect coronavirus through heightened body temperatures?

Dunteman: No camera system can detect coronavirus or any other virus. This solution is a screening tool that businesses can use to identify individuals with elevated skin temperature compared to a customizable reference temperature on entering their premises. Thermal cameras are ONVIF-compatible, so they can be integrated into any existing NVR system for recording and integrating into existing building security. These cameras can also be used as a standalone solution, without any recording, by connecting to them by using a laptop to simply view live temperatures and video.

Dunteman says the camera is sold through a network of dealers and installers and that Platinum CCTV plans to begin virtual classes to installers.


  • 2.0-megapixel CMOS image sensor
  • 13mm lens for temperature detection up to 3 meters
  • 400 x 300 resolution thermal camera
  • IP67 rated housing
  • Power over Ethernet support

More info:

FLIR A400/A700

FLIR Systems new A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor and Thermal Image Streaming fixed cameras provide accurate, noncontact temperature monitoring across a wide range of disciplines, including product development, emissions monitoring and facilities maintenance.

FLIR says the A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor solution initially will be prioritized for those responding to COVID-19. For all applications, the series delivers multi-image streaming, edge (cloud) computing and Wi-Fi connectivity to help speed data flow and enable faster decisions, improving productivity and safety for professionals.

The sensor can be integrated into custom solutions by using the FLIR Atlas SDK or any number of common industrial protocols that FLIR cameras support.

Users design their systems by choosing the Smart Sensor or Imaging Streaming configurations, selecting either the A400 or A700 camera body based on the image resolution they want  and adding lenses and a range of optional features to fit their application.

Also, FLIR is beta-testing an automated elevated skin-temperature-screening software solution that’s integrated fully with its Food and Drug Administration-certified thermal cameras. The solution is designed to increase the accuracy, ease-of-use and speed of existing screening procedures.

FLIR A400/A700 Thermal Smart Sensor and Thermal Image Streaming cameras are available for purchase from FLIR distributor partners.

More info:

BEA MS08, MS09, MS11, MS21

BEA is a worldwide supplier of door control and locking accessories and door control products. We interviewed Jeff E. Dunham​, BEA manager of codes and standards, about BEA’s wave-to-open activation plates.

The MS08, MS09 and MS11 touchless plates use microwave technology to sense motion and operate an automatic door. The MS21 uses capacitive technology. Applications include clean rooms, low-energy doors and interlocking doors. Dunham says they wouldn’t be practical for retail establishments, such as a grocery store, or smaller, confined spaces, such as a one-person restroom.

LL: What’s the difference between capacitive and microwave technology?

Dunham: The sensing range of our capacitance is zero to four inches. The microwave has a detection range of two to 26 inches. Capacitance-sensing detects anything that is conductive, whereas microwave is exactly that: It continuously emits microwaves with a certain frequency in a defined area. These microwaves are reflected back to the sensor by objects moving within its detection field. Note: Microwave is used for activation only.

LL: Does the microwave block cellphones, Wi-Fi or other communications?

Dunham: Our microwave motion sensors comply with FCC regulations and do not interfere with cellphones, Wi-Fi or pacemakers.

LL: Are these approved for request-to-exit (REX)?

Dunham: Not typically, as they are not UL294 listed, although if permitted for the application, these touchless sensors could serve as a comparative solution to a traditional REX. When paired with our logic module, we can program an application as a “two-relay sequencer plus door position” to increase security, accessibility and function.

LL: Where is the technology headed?

Dunham: The technology is pretty much unchanged for the last 20 years. Aesthetics are being improved with designs that offer a varying-colored LED light ring around the device with an IP65 rating. We have a current option to convert any two-wire push plate to a touchless “wave to open” push plate without running new wires. This option couples a touchless wave-to-open switch with a 900-megahertz transmitter or receiver kit.

LL: Who’s buying these now, and is it because of COVID-19?

Dunham: Health care has used these for many years. However, there has been an uptick of interest since the COVID 19 pandemic: large warehouses and distribution centers, manufacturing, education, etc.

The MS09 is IP65 rated and suitable for indoor/outdoor use with no external mounting box required. The MS11, also IP65 rated, has an LED in the center that turns to green from blue when activated. The MS21 includes audio and visual alerts, including an LED ring that lights when activated. It’s IP65 rated and has a variety of faceplate design options.

More info:

Norton 700

The Norton 700 wave-to-open sensors can be used with any of Norton’s automatic door openers, including the new 6300, which includes mobile programming. It’s an easy upgrade for doors to open hands-free.

Jay Vaitkus, director of business development for Norton, notes that it’s no more costly to install the wave-to-open switch than a traditional button.

Aside from the elimination of transmission of germs from or to the door hardware, hands-free door control also:

  • Provides effortless means for moving throughout facilities.
  • Meets stringent building opening requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Provides building occupants with the feel of modern convenience.

The 700 is a capacitive opener and includes an LED ring on the faceplate that lights when activated.

Among Norton door openers, we particularly like Norton’s ADAEZ Series. As one of the world’s only regenerative-power door operators, the ADAEZ Series is certified by GreenCircle to reduce energy consumption by as much as 100 percent versus other comparable operators.

Available in wireless and plug-in versions and able to fit in the tightest of spaces, the 5800 ADAEZ is simple to install and use. Its small form factor and simplified power requirements mean that, in many cases, a single installer can install this unit.


  • Mounts on door
  • No voltage / low voltage power to opening
  • Controls doors up to 48 in. wide and 250 lbs.
  • Grade 1 heavy-duty, commercial design

More info:

ASSA ABLOY Architectural Door Accessories

ASSA ABLOY doesn’t provide only electronic hands-free door opening. Its Architectural Door Accessories series are high-tech in design but low-tech in that no computers or batteries are required.

Rockwood-brand arm and foot pulls are easy, cost-effective options for hands-free door operation in new and pre-existing wood or metal openings, such as entrances, corridors and restrooms.

The FP1230 foot pull can be used with two different movements: placing your foot on top of the sawtooth grip or hooking your foot underneath the grip to pull the door open.

The 494 door holder, mounted on the bottom of a door, has a strike that can be used as a foot pull.

Finally, a series of hands-free arm pulls in stainless steel can be mounted on doors in addition to or in place of a traditional door pull. These models, the 193, AP1 140, AP1 141 and AP1 007, are made of stainless steel and have a hook shape that allows a person to place a wrist inside the pull to allow for hands-free opening.

More info:

RCI 910TC Touchless Switch

dormakaba’s RCI branded 910TC touchless switch for the activation of automatic doors is a unique, low-profile touchless actuator plate that uses capacitive technology. Its hands-free range is 1–2 inches.

Features include an adjustable detection zone to reduce unwanted activations and an indicator light (waving hand) that turns green when the device is activated.

More info:

Ditec Wave to Open

The Wave to Open hands-free activator is another capacitive touchless option. It’s compatible with all Ditec door operators and is suited for any area where a hands-free environment is desired. The Wave to Open switch has single and double gang-face options and provides audio and visual activation cues with a dual-color (red/green) LED.

As for door operators themselves, the HA8-LP provides customer convenience and meets ADA requirements but in a lower profile where clearance might be limited. It’s suitable for new and existing installations, which permits easy access to commercial, industrial and institutional locations. It’s easy to install for new construction and retrofit applications.

More info:

Tim O’Leary is an experienced security consultant and a regular contributor to Locksmith Ledger.