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How firms keep sick people out of the office? App-based access systems like Openpath


The pandemic has changed office life in many ways—including how workers can enter the office in the first place. This is reflected in the growing popularity of a startup called Openpath, which offers an app-based entry system for companies and apartments.

Founded in 2016, L.A.-based Openpath initially pitched its service as a convenient alternative to fobs or swipe cards. Today, many of its customers—which include the likes of Domino’s, the Los Angeles Clippers, and large real estate companies—view Openpath, which announced a $36 million fundraising round, as a critical safety tool.

In recent months, Openpath has built APIs that integrate with temperature sensors. In practice, this means employees arriving at the office must take their temperature at a kiosk, and if they show signs of fever Openpath will deny them entry.

Companies can also use Openpath to require visitors to sign a digital attestation they are not sick. If they refuse to do so, the door won’t open.

or employees and others who are permitted to enter, they can do so in a no-touch fashion by simply by waving their hand at the doorway or in an elevator—while their phone with the Openpath app can remain in their purse or pocket.

According to cofounder James Segil, many firms made budget plans to update their access systems in 2022, but are now rushing to retrofit spaces immediately. “It was seen as a convenient next generation of access control. Now it’s become must-have,” Segil says, adding that Openpath’s cloud-based services mean companies can implement a variety of updates without needing an on-site technician.

Openpath is also pitching its service as a way for businesses to enforce occupancy levels in a given building or room. In this case, the app will track how many people enter a space and refuse admittance to anyone else if the space is at capacity.

Some of the service’s other features might make privacy advocates squirm. These include Openpath’s ability to integrate with employer software like G-Suite and Okta so as to immediately cut off access to an employee who has been terminated. Meanwhile, the company has also developed partnerships with video providers like Cisco to track which people an employee arrives or leaves with.

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