Why Optical Turnstiles?

After the tragic events of September, 2001 Class A high-rise buildings in large cities and global corporations moved to increase security for their tenants and employees. Security measures include many things, such as visitor verification, package inspection, and video surveillance, and one of the first lines of defense is the building lobby. Securing the primary means of entering the building to ensure only authorized persons are in the building is critical to overall building security.

There are three primary options for securing a building lobby:

  • Security officers – stationing security officers at a desk in the lobby and/or having them check IDs of all who pass into the building.
  • Revolving doors with access control – revolving doors can be on the exterior of the building or on interior lobby walls that funnel all entrants through them.
  • Optical turnstiles – optical turnstiles stationed ahead of elevators or hallways leading further into the building can verify all entrants and help stop tailgaters.

Security officers sitting behind a desk is suitable only for smaller buildings as they can know the daily workers and notice people who don’t belong or are trying to sneak in. For higher traffic environments, security staff must be positioned to check badges or ensure badges are scanned by workers at the point of entry beyond the lobby. Staffing costs are high in this scenario and officers can be distracted or make mistakes which allow unauthorized entries.

Revolving doors as a method of entry control are an expensive option, not often practical, and limit aesthetics. Exterior revolving doors can’t properly handle all building visitors for larger, more trafficked buildings. Many building owners like to have wide open lobbies with high ceilings and having walls with interior revolving doors on them interferes with this architectural vision. Revolving doors also require significant architectural modifications to use with an existing structure.

Benefits of Optical Turnstiles

Optical turnstiles are generally the best option for securing a building lobby for a variety of reasons. (To be clear, with revolving doors and turnstiles, a building will still want security staff, but it won't need as many security officers.)

Financial savings
Security officer costs (operational expense) add up and increase year after year while turnstiles are a one-time cost (capital expense) and Fastlane turnstiles are built to last 10 years or more. Thus, turnstiles reduce monthly expenditures on guards and have a high ROI by comparison. They also have significantly lower maintenance and repair costs than revolving doors.

Highest security level
Optical turnstiles force everyone to present authorization and alarm tailgaters and piggybackers who try to circumvent security. They also automate the access control and don’t allow expired badges as a security officer might do. Turnstiles are machines that don’t get tired or distracted as happens with Security officers. Revolving doors can provide a similar level of security but not all offer tailgate detection.

Fastest entry for workers
Workers don’t want to be slowed down by security and optical turnstiles offer the fastest entry into the building. Fastlane turnstiles can process up to 60 people per second which is double what revolving doors can do and much faster than having a person check credentials. Other technologies, such as elevator destination control, can be integrated into optical turnstiles to further streamline building access. Fast entry leads to increased productivity by allowing more time for work and boosting morale.

Superior aesthetics
Optical turnstiles can be selected or designed in concert with the aesthetics of the building, using materials such as stone, glass, metal, or wood. Fastlane offers a wide selection of styles with options and full customization services. Optical turnstiles are a high-tech, modern solution that appears more sophisticated than a team of security officers. Revolving doors limit architectural design significantly.

More than a decade beyond 9/11, more buildings and buildings in smaller metro areas are bolstering security. In nearly all instances, properly securing a building lobby not only reduces loss, theft and vandalism, but also can lower insurance rates and positively affect leasing for multi-tenant buildings. Furthermore, a safe worker and one who feels safe is a more productive worker. Securing the building lobby against unwanted intrusions is a compelling idea, and optical turnstiles are likely the best option. Learn more on our web site about the Fastlane advantage.