By Blake Kozak
The access control industry is beginning to propel itself into innovation and technological advancement through integration. Open standards, convergence of access control and video, and partnerships with non-security related companies (and non-access control companies such video surveillance providers) are the focus of the industry. It is safe to say that access control providers, integrators, facility managers, and building IT managers are no longer hesitant to implement access control to its fullest capacity. Integrating access control with video allows for forensics and more seamless security. While video recording at the door is not an entirely new concept, many providers are looking to develop software and user interfaces which unify the two solutions. Additionally, ease of use and convenience are helping to drive the industry as well. Access control does not always need to be used for only hardened security applications. Using social media and applications/ hardware in conjunction with access control could help open the market to new opportunities since interacting with the access control devices is becoming increasingly popular. NFC (near field communication) and BLE (Bluetooth low energy) are also trending and will allow more options for end-users in the medium term who wish to replace physical credentials with mobile credentials. Additionally, open standards and interoperability standards may also begin to change the face of the industry over the next 12-36 months. ONVIF Profile C and Physical-Logical Access Interoperability (PLAI) may look to lead this movement. In addition to open standards, integration with hardware and software that is neither security related nor BMS related could also change the industry. Role-based access control is one example. Typically, access control rights today are assigned based on time schedules which often requires additional inputs from an administrator. However, there could be a trend toward using assigned roles to provide access not only to doors but to also logical access control. So the future focus could be on allowing logical domains to work with physical domains in order to increase efficiency and open doors for other possibilities in addition to automated privilege management. Lastly, travel programs within organizations could be tied to access control systems which automate access to different buildings within an organization based on a colleague booking travel. This would effectively eliminate the need for an administrator to grant each traveling colleague access rights to each building they are traveling to in a different city or country. Overall, the access control industry is no longer standing still with innovation and implementation of technology but is now firmly in the mix. The access industry is now thoroughly entrenched in wireless, IP-enabled devices, and integration beyond video surveillance. Many of the leading suppliers of access control are working to offer wide range of products and offerings which include not only enterprise but also small and medium business. One of the keys to success over the next several years will be to have an offering beyond traditional access control readers, panels, cards. and software and embrace the new position of the industry which includes things such as remote management, mobile and fixed functionality credentials, and wireless, thus reducing the administrative burden on managers and increasing efficiency and integration with human capital management software. The access control industry of tomorrow is knocking at the door.
Kozak is a senior analyst for Security and Building Technologies at IHS Inc., a global information company shaping today’s business landscape: energy, economics, geopolitical risk, sustainability and supply chain management.