Momentum Accelerates Behind Mobile Access, Biometrics, and Other Key 2023 Security Trends

Momentum Accelerates Behind Mobile Access, Biometrics, and Other Key 2023 Security Trends

HID has seen many positive industry shifts since its 2022 State of Access Control report, which revealed how the pandemic helped spur the adoption of contactless, secured and seamless technology solutions that reduced or eliminated physical touchpoints. The report showed how quickly both biometrics and mobile IDs were growing in popularity, and this was validated in our March 2023 State of Security and Identity Industry study.

Among the most significant developments from one year to the next have been how quickly interest in mobile access is growing, and the migration to trusted, centralized ecosystems of cloud-connected access control devices, applications and mobile identities. These developments have led to the growing adoption of future-proofed solutions that are much easier to adopt for securely accessing building services through mobile phones and other devices.

Market Drivers Evolve
In general, the same access market drivers revealed in our 2022 State of Access report have continued into 2023, including the rising adoption of mobile access control and contactless biometrics solutions, with the latter representing a major departure from more conventional means of access control.

In our 2022 study, 32% of respondents said they were actively using mobile IDs, while another 30% said the same about biometrics technology – whether that be fingerprint, facial or iris recognition. An additional 17% of respondents cited they were planning to upgrade to biometric access control or were already in the process of doing so, while another 19% said the same about mobile technology.

Per our latest, 2023 study, 47% of integrators and installers indicate that their customers are using mobile identities for identity verification. Contactless biometrics adoption is also spiking: 26% of respondents stated they currently use biometrics (contact or contactless) and another 33% said they plan to evaluate or implement a form of biometrics within the next one to five years. Biometric technologies will create many new opportunities to use only our fingerprints or faces when interacting with access technologies. Using biometrics as an additional authenticating factor (e.g., biometric scans to verify an individual's physical identity) can help organizations eliminate unauthorized access and fraud.

The 2023 study also revealed how digital wallet adoption is accelerating mobile ID uptake while expanding use cases beyond just payments to include employee badges, drivers' licenses, national IDs and passports. Digital wallets from major players like Google, Apple and Amazon are growing in popularity, as reported in our 2023 study. These wallets' capabilities continue to expand to include adding keys, employee badges, student IDs, etc., directly in the wallet app. An example of the broadening appeal of mobile wallets is New York City-based Silverstein Properties, which offers employee badges in Apple Wallet for secure contactless access to its office buildings.

Another market driver is sustainability – there is a growing consensus that governments, organizations and individuals must take more action to address environmental concerns. Our 2023 study showed that end users want footprint transparency from their suppliers, including data about their operations as well as their product sourcing and research and development practices. Sustainability even comes into play when choosing products, suppliers, integrators and installers. For example, nearly 90% of respondents in our March 2023 survey acknowledged that sustainability was an important issue. Notably, 87% of respondents stated that sustainability ranks as "important to extremely important." Among integrators and installers, 76% of respondents said their customers believe sustainability is increasingly important, and 62 % said it is "very important" or "extremely" important to their customers.

Our Fall 2022 access control survey uncovered several other key technology trends that we believe have continued into 2023, including the importance of ease of use, easy upgrade paths, and future-proofing deployments through system interoperability. The use of AI is one other important trend to mention.

AI-based solutions will continue to make security systems more robust while enabling them to deliver a better user experience. The most comprehensive solutions are already reinforcing two technologies that our 2023 survey respondents identified as the most important for adapting to hybrid and remote work:

  1. MFA or passwordless authentication.
  2. Zero Trust. One example is financial fraud-prevention solutions that use behavioral profiling supported by behavioral biometrics and payment transaction data for real-time threat detection. Pattern recognition using machine-learning algorithms looks for payment anomalies, which delivers threat intelligence to combat known and unknown threats. Working together, these AI-driven capabilities improve detection performance, making security more adaptive with fewer false positives for a more seamless user experience with reduced authentication costs.

Biggest Impacts of the Past Two Years
From HID's 2022 report through its 2023 study, the world continued to navigate the effects of the pandemic. Perhaps its biggest and longest-lasting pandemic impact has been the move to hybrid work models. Most respondents to our 2023 State of Security report —81% of them—stated they now offer a hybrid work model.

This working model has fueled interest in new technologies while also taking cloud-based access management further into the mainstream. Even prior to the pandemic, a combination of digital transformation and the convergence of physical and logical access had moved more access management capabilities to the cloud. As a result, identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) was quickly becoming the expectation, which requires that organizations address the underlying governance associated with cloud-first mandates. This governance includes technology decision-making processes that incorporate engagement with audit, privacy, IT operations and information security.

A shorter-term pandemic impact has been supply chain issues. The extraordinary supply chain disruptions and challenges organizations worldwide have struggled with for the past several years continue to be a factor, with 71% of the March study's respondents indicating "supply chain issues" as a top trend in the security and identity industry for 2023.

Similarly, 74% of respondents said supply chain issues negatively impacted them in 2022. When asked if they anticipate supply chain issues will ease in 2023, respondents provided a true split – 50% believe they will ease and 50% believe they will not. From a macro perspective, supply chain disruptions are expected to improve, although labor shortages and high demand will continue to strain global supply chains, including the availability of semiconductors. These integrated circuit chips form the backbone of many security and identity products, including control panels, readers, sensors, detectors, credentials, passports and peripherals.

Looking to the Future The increased use of Physical Access Control System (PACS) and other trusted identity technologies may have been spurred by pandemic-related requirements such as facilitating touchless hygiene and safety practices or enabling millions of workers to switch to various remote and hybrid workplace models. But now, these technologies are being used to increase security and convenience while delivering a superior workplace experience.

The digital experience is an enabler in reshaping security, with interconnected devices raising the bar of what can be secured and how. The cloud will power implementations efficiently across physical and logical footprints, elevating the value of data and facilitating servitization to drive specific business outcomes. Big-picture social and economic trends have disrupted business-as-usual, challenging the security industry to rethink the basics down to the concept of identity. The growing expectation is that security, like all other facets of the enterprise, can and will leverage technology to work better and smarter now and into the future.

More specifically, we expect that:

  • Digital IDs and mobile authentication will continue to propel many more mobile access deployments.
  • There will be an increasing embrace of identity as a Service (IDaaS) to support cloud-based access management for a hybrid work model, and
  • As biometrics adoption grows, there will be new issues to consider, including how to protect privacy as new technologies deliver benefits ranging from faster authentication speed to seamless performance.

Biggest Challenges Ahead
Our 2022 access control study identified key challenges that respondents were asked to rank in importance, including improving user convenience, "integrating with their enterprise systems" and dealing with upgrades and their cost.

In our most recent, 2023 State of Security and Identity study, new challenges joined the list, including supply chain disruptions and privacy concerns related to biometric adoption. Respondents were also struggling with how to respond to user demand that their suppliers provide sustainability footprint transparency. One way security teams are responding to the latter challenge is by leveraging the cloud and the IoT. This enables them to simplify and optimize processes while reducing resource usage.

Organizations are also defining clear sustainability strategies so they can more effectively adapt to and anticipate environmental, social and regulatory changes, both in the short- and long-term.

As it addresses these and other challenges while reaping the benefits of trending technologies, the security industry continues to navigate an extremely dynamic period. It is increasingly important to identify and comprehend how the industry is changing and why, and where it is heading.

This will enable organizations to adapt to these changes, leverage new ways to deliver exceptional digital-plus-physical experiences, and take advantage of today's advancements in solutions and services.

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