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Unlock the Future: Seamless Access Control is More Important than Ever

With 2020 impacting almost every industry in one way or another, access control is no exception. As businesses and institutions continue to adapt to the challenges of balancing COVID-19 guidance with building security, seamless access control is more important than ever.

Perimeter to Interior
Access control historically referred primarily to perimeter security. As the first line of defense, perimeter security is critical for any commercial building, multifamily property, university, or healthcare facility. The focus recently, however, has expanded from exterior to interior doors—which means there are approximately 10 to 15 times more openings to secure and more opportunities to create a better experience, while increasing operational efficiencies throughout the facility.

Tech Adoption
To create seamless experiences throughout a building or campus requires an organization to be creative with security technology, moving toward a more sophisticated form of access control like mobile credentials.

The shift from physical keys and fobs to cards and mobile credentials can be seen in the multifamily market. The industry has been neglected by technology developments in the past. Often, security solutions were adopted from single-family or hospitality applications to create provisional solutions.

For multifamily buildings, access control needs to be seamless. Mobile credentials make this possible. Residents already depend on their devices to stay connected, order food, and schedule walks for their dogs. Using a mobile credential is secure and convenient for residents. And there are benefits for property managers too, because mobile credentials are easier to distribute and eliminate rekeying costs.

Colleges like the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are delivering a more secure and convenient campus experience to their students by using mobile credentials. The benefits of a mobile student ID are significant. Because mobile credentials can be issued digitally, the remote distribution reduces the number of students who need to pick up replacement cards in person. Since mobile credentials are contactless, transactions and secure access can occur without an additional physical interaction.

Openness and Interoperability
While mobile credentials empower businesses to create unique experiences beyond just opening a door, the ecosystem of technology partnerships is what unifies these individual actions into one experience of seamless access.
To make this possible, the ecosystem needs to integrate easily—which is why interoperability is important. Interoperability provides the freedom of choice for the customer and an uninterrupted experience for the end user. An open architecture system also promotes financial independence. Because proprietary technology limits choices to only a select few vendors, costs are controlled—and potentially higher. A wider selection means organizations can shop around to find the best solutions for them at the best price.

Healthy Buildings
Holistic, seamless access experiences are better when they support a healthy environment. Successful organizations will be at the forefront of delivering custom solutions to new challenges, including the current need to create and maintain healthy buildings. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including by leveraging touchless security solutions, anti-microbial surfaces, and sustainable materials.

To be successful in 2021, organizations will need to balance security and technology with user lifestyle and experience. Future-proofing credentials and access control solutions will be key to making technology evolutions both effective and simple for organizations and end users.

Tom Welham is PACS business leader at Allegion.