Top 4 trends for access-control solutions

In the high-tech world of security systems, stunningly-sharp video commands the spotlight. High-quality security cameras can record crystal-clear images with 4K resolution, and they appear to magically illuminate nighttime activity.

But the real workhorse of any access-control system is literally at the front door. The hardware installed at building entrances—from card readers to magnetic locks–-serves as both the facility’s welcome mat and front-line defense.

For most businesses, keeping their company safe is the utmost priority. Placing access-control hardware on interior doors adds another layer of security and opportunities to track visitors, reduce theft, and even reduce energy bills, for example.

Tech trends for next-generation solutions

What should building owners, architects, facility managers, and general contractors be paying attention to when it comes to the design and deployment of access-control systems? The following four trends are influencing next-generation security solutions for commercial environments:

  1. Increasing use of mobile. By the year 2020, there will be almost 3 billion smartphone users worldwide—that’s just about 40 percent of the worldwide population in December 2017, and nearly double the number of smartphone users in 2014 ( TECH TIP: Many organizations still use security fobs or cards, but these tools are being replaced by Bluetooth or smartphone apps. Using a smartphone for access control is often more convenient for employees and customers as well as for IT staff who don’t have to track, reprogram, and replace fobs and keycards.

  2. Adoption of biometrics. Thanks to the mass use of smartphones, biometric technologies have grown exponentially and become within reach from a cost perspective for many small- to mid-size businesses. The applications go beyond fingerprints used to unlock the home screen or facial scans for security or interactive apps. Current biometric technology includes scans of the eye/iris, hands, face, gait, and even the shape of ears and veins (Buildings, March 2018). TECH TIP: The challenge for any biometric system is to ensure precise identification. For example, when used at a gym, the person’s post-workout sweat, dirt, and changes to veins may affect the accuracy of their scan. Security of data is paramount. Given the challenges of changes in body temperature or atmospheric changes, this type of reader is best used on interior doors. Biometric system designs must ensure data is securely transmitted from the reader to a server, and is encrypted.

  3. Rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). Technology applications that originate for home use often develop and grow into commercial applications, including the Internet of Things (IoT). As consumers have become accustomed to using connected devices at home (e.g., lighting, door controls, HVAC settings), they naturally expect and seek ways to gain the same benefits at work, such as cost savings, data access, and energy efficiency. TECH TIP: In commercial settings, it is critical to issue unique digital identifications (also known as an RFID tag) for devices like printers, cameras, tablets, and building automation systems in order to create trust and ensure network security (Security Sales & Integration January 2018). Cloud management solutions for hosting the security network often decreases hardware costs while increasing the ability to update, scale, and integrate the security solution with other platforms (“3 Access Control Trends to Watch,” Security Today, November 2017).

  4. Greater functionality across manufacturers. In order to ensure seamless operation, many technology systems require that all the components be made by the same manufacturer. Proposed changes in industry standards may lead to greater interoperability across devices, regardless of manufacturer. For example, the Security Industry Association supports the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), which is intended to increase the security of communication to/from devices (Security Today, November 2017). TECH TIP: Plan ahead and do your research before investing in a new access-control system. Determine if you can add or upgrade your existing systems instead of replacing it entirely.

Persistent challenge

When building a new facility or considering upgrades to security solutions at an existing building, access control is always a challenge to coordinate because there are so many vendors involved at various stages of construction.

On a typical project, the general contractor installs the door; the electrician wires it for power; a door hardware vendor adds the chosen tools; and a security vendor ties in additional hardware, cameras, and network programming.

Most problems arise from poor planning during the design and integration phase (“How to Optimize Your Building With Biometrics,” Buildings, March 2018). For example, if the contractor closes up the pathway for power and connectivity before the electrical work is completed, it can become a costly change order to reopen the ceiling or wall.

The key to a seamless installation is to develop a clear plan of action at the design phase of the project with all of the key providers. Coordinating the construction schedule and solving challenges early will help avoid project delays, cost overruns, and gaps in functionality.

Schedule a free, on-site security assessment

Integrated Building Systems will help you select and deploy the security solutions that are most appropriate for your organization’s needs and budget. With over 20 years' experience in designing and installing security and access-control systems, our team understands the demands and challenges that are unique to retail, education, nonprofit, healthcare, and corporate environments.

A security master plan from Integrated Building Systems will include a detailed budget, equipment list, recommendations for future growth and changes, and insights into best-practices for managing security solutions within existing networks.

Contact us to schedule a free, on-site security risk assessment.