The access control market has seen a huge transformation in the last decade. Modern access control systems are much more secure, and advances in hardware and software technology have unlocked the potential to do much more than simply lock and unlock doors.
What are the main hurdles companies face with access control today that are different than in the past?
Cybersecurity is a growing concern for organizations. Legacy access control systems in particular can be a point of entry for malicious actors. Customers are seeking secure access control solutions that can withstand increased security threats.
Also, end users are looking to get more from their physical security systems. As their systems aggregate more data, that information can serve other organizational departments instead of just the security teams. Previously, an access control system was primarily for physical security, but it now serves a broader purpose.
What is the best way to assess your access control system for improvement?
While an older access control system may be working “just fine,” there may be opportunities to reduce the time and money spent on maintenance while increasing cybersecurity and operational efficiency.
As legacy components reach the end of their service life, they may begin failing at an increasing rate. The costs associated with maintaining such systems and finding suitable replacement parts often increase. In addition to a possible reduction in maintenance costs, new, open-architecture systems often offer more options for system components and equipment that offer valuable benefits.
Likewise, older access control systems can be vulnerable to physical intrusion and cyber threats. Older credentials such as proximity cards, magstripes, or key fobs are still in common use at many companies. These are easily copied, whereas newer credentials are more secure.
Finally, consider the new opportunities for efficiency and improved operations that modern access control systems provide. The benefits of migrating to a modern access control system go far beyond improving security. “Smart” hardware such as electronic locks and biometric or mobile credentials capture an incredible amount of data. This data can be used to optimize everything from HVAC systems to office space, and even the layout of stores or warehouses.
When implementing a new access control system, what steps do companies need to take to ensure a smooth transition?
Understandably, migrating to a new access control system is a big project — but it pays off.
It’s important to do a proper assessment of the current system. Review what works and what doesn’t, so you know what you need to change. This also allows you to evaluate what components can be reused. An important aspect of having an open-architecture system is that, in many cases, hardware and wiring can be kept. Ultimately, this saves money in both labor and hardware
Your manufacturer and integrator can provide project management support to help your team through the migration. To ensure a seamless migration, confirm your provider is available throughout the process, from initial surveying and migration planning to system testing and support. Some manufacturers also offer additional support with onboarding, training, documentation, and troubleshooting.
To keep downtime to a minimum, you can often keep the old system running until the new system is fully functional. Likewise, the most labor-intensive part of the migration is often the process of ensuring the access control data is imported correctly. Ask if your provider offers a database conversion service to minimize errors and save you time.
What trends are you seeing in access control for the upcoming year?
We are seeing an emergence of options in access control technology. Biometrics provides a user-friendly way to manage access and a more secure option for credentials. Over the last few years, these technologies have been more refined and provide faster processing, especially for facial recognition and touchless fingerprint reading.
We also see an increase in the adoption of mobile credentials that make use of the devices that people carry on them every day. In a recent OMDIA report, the number of mobile credentials downloaded is expected to grow 62.8% from 2020 to 2025. This is more than the projected growth for any other type of access control.
The market is asking for unification between different systems to obtain information and improve business processes. Modern access control systems can do a lot more than just secure buildings. They can provide information about how spaces are used and can communicate bi-directionally with other systems. When these systems are unified, processes are streamlined and actions can be taken to improve operational efficiencies.
Senior Commercial Manager, Access Control
Despina is responsible for both product marketing and product management for access control at Genetec. She joined Genetec in January 2019 and is responsible for product messaging, go-to marketing strategies, and the positioning of these solutions to meet market needs. Prior to her start at Genetec, Despina gained more than 15 years of experience working in product and marketing management in the security and telecommunication industries.