What You Need to Know About Access Control in 2020

What You Need to Know About Access Control in 2020

Mobile credentials, adoption have been anticipated for more than a decade

It is hard to believe that 2019 is coming to a close. As we look ahead to the New Year, sitting with colleagues, we reflected on the trends that impacted our industry in 2019, and predict what we can look forward to in 2020 and beyond.

2019 Reflections

This past year proved to be a significant one in the world of access control. “As an industry, we’ve been anticipating mobile credentials for over a decade,” says Peter Boriskin, chief technology officer, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Americas. “Mobile adoption has been increasing steadily over time, but 2019 was the tipping point. Growing capabilities in the residential space continued to drive customer expectations in the commercial space, and Apple’s launch of mobile student IDs also played a significant role in this shift. The mere fact that it is now proven to be possible put people’s minds at ease and removed a lot of the fear factor.”

Jim Primovic, director of Campus EAC Sales, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions Americas, has the unique vantage point of seeing access control trends as they happen on university campuses, which must meet the demands of students who expect the latest technology while also providing a safe and secure learning environment.

“In 2019, we saw many campuses getting their infrastructure up to speed to support mobile credentials,” Primovic said. “There are thousands of use cases across any given campus that are currently set up to support magnetic stripe or smartcard credentials. Campuses that had the foresight to install future-proof solutions that enable a seamless transition to mobile were prepared, but many other campuses had a significant undertaking in upgrading their infrastructure. In 2020, we will start to see broader deployment of mobile across all points of campuses.”

Another important trend was the use of analytics and intelligence to manage security.

“Today, we are able to take a more proactive approach to security threats, which enables us to prevent tragedies from occurring,” said David Corbin, director of product management – Access Control Accessories, ASSA ABLOY Electromechanical Specialties Group. “The ability to converge building information systems with other systems provides a more holistic look at the entirety of a property. With limited budgets, a curb-to-core strategy with multiple layers of security is the most effective way to predict what could go wrong in your facility and eliminate threats before they become viable.”

The Future is Already Here

While it may not seem as futuristic as it once did, we are getting closer to the high-tech capabilities that previously only seemed possible on television. For example, new applications for existing technologies such as ultra wideband (UWB) will enable hands-free access to entry and exit points.

“Using ultra-wideband technology, we can tell if a credential holder is just walking by a door or is actually walking toward the door, with intent to enter,” Boriskin said. “This provides the security needed to enable access from a credential in your pocket.”

This will also impact energy efficiency.

“If the door to a retail store opens every time someone walks by, you are not only wasting the energy required to open and close the door, but also the heating or cooling that is escaping from the building,” Corbin said.

Ultimately, the biggest changes in the coming years require a different mindset when it comes to security. Gone are the days when access control was used only to increase security.

“Access control has shifted focus from solely security to a comprehensive, seamless user experience,” Primovic said. “What was once a battle of convenience versus security has shifted to a balance of convenience and security. I believe that mobile bridges the gap to move both forward.”

Similarly, access control can now be used to support new ways of working, such as co-working and hoteling, a more mobile workforce and unattended delivery.

“We’ve started seeing different industries leveraging our smart locker technology to assist in their access control needs,” said Arik Levy, CEO, Luxer One. “Corporate offices have started adopting smart lockers to securely store and hand off assets – think laptops and cell phones, or peer-to-peer deliveries of legal documents. The concept of a heavy-duty locker compartment with one-time access codes has changed the game when it comes to the asynchronous hand off of goods.”

Access control can also be used to increase efficiency for an organization. For example, in healthcare, many facilities are now using access control to streamline the process of delivering medication to patients, tracking critical supplies and providing an audit of who accessed medication and supplies. This allows staff to focus on the more important task of patient care.

Planning for Success

In such a dynamic industry, it can be difficult to balance budget with multiple competing priorities, including the need for professional training to get educated on the latest trends. Here are a few key takeaways to help you prioritize in 2020 and beyond.

Focus on cybersecurity. Conduct security assessments to ensure all components of the systems within your building are protected from cyberattacks. Find out if the products you are using have already undergone penetration testing by the manufacturer. And, with existing expertise in physical security, additional IT security training will expand your knowledge and give you a more comprehensive skill set as a security professional. Organizations such as the SANS Institute are a good resource for this type of training.

Leverage the ability to connect systems. It is a good time to evaluate access control systems that have been operating independently because they may be able to interoperate with other facility systems for a fraction of the cost. Issues often lie in the vulnerabilities between multiple systems, so connecting them can address these problems.

Shift to a proactive mindset. As we move into 2020, rethink how you approach security and access control. Consider using data to make real-time decisions and help prevent problems before they happen.

Prepare for mobile. Customer expectations are changing because people want the seamless experience they enjoy at home to translate to public spaces. Mobile credentials perfectly address this growing demand for convenience and security, and organizations need to be prepared. In the campus environment, that includes the card office business model and determining what additional services can be provided to enhance the student experience.

This is an exciting time in the security industry. As capabilities continue to grow in 2020 and beyond, we will further our ability to leverage access control systems and their associated data to develop a seamless user experience, optimize efficiency, and create safe and secure environments in which people live and work.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Security Today.

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