Current and Future Trends Abound
Looking at access control, video surveillance
- By Blake Kozak, Niall Jenkins
- Dec 01, 2012
While technology developments such as near-field
communications (NFC) and personal identification
verification (PIV) credentials are becoming more
widespread, emerging product developments that offer
interesting challenges to the traditional concepts of access control,
like ecosystems and access control as a service (ACaaS), are presenting
more of an opportunity for suppliers of access control equipment.
IHS (formerly known as IMS Research) has defined an ecosystem
as an environment in which access control is integrated and used in
additional applications other than security. Examples of this include
building management, human resources, and intrusion and workforce
management. In an ecosystem, access control equipment is used
to acknowledge the presence of an individual in a certain section of
the building. The access control equipment then notifies a central
control panel such as a building automation controller that oversees
other functions such as lighting and HVAC.
Access Control, Blake Kozak
By linking access control to a larger building management system,
operations can be efficiently deployed in only selected areas for a certain
period of time, lowering operating costs. The deployment of access
control equipment in such scenarios is still a small percentage of
actual applications and almost exclusively in new building construction.
While the number of inquiries regarding access control systems
and building ecosystems has increased in the last few years, the actual
percentage of projects deployed with dual functionality is still less
than 5 percent.
Persistent obstacles that are limiting the use of access control
equipment as part of an ecosystem include the structure of the project
schedule, resistance from established distributors and installers,
and the continued presence of proprietary communication standards
for access control equipment that inhibit data communication among
the various equipment types. The U.S. struggle to emerge from the
economic recession has made new construction to remain tenuous
and reduced the number of opportunities for building ecosystems.
The main concern regarding NFC in access control in 2012 involves
the ongoing challenge among telecommunication providers,
smartphone manufacturers and access control suppliers for mutual
revenue sharing. Additionally, providing NFC-enabled smartphones
to users is a lingering question.
NFC is an open-platform technology, and much of the hardware
used for access control is proprietary. The lack of open standards in
access control is arguably one of the biggest inhibitors of NFC adoption
in physical access control.
In the European market, “access control on a card” and “network
on a card” are buzzwords that refer to the storage and updating of access-
rights information through the use of a credential and electronic
lock. Access control on a card is popular across the EMEA because it
offers lower installation costs than an online network—less wiring—
with increased information sharing and a higher level of security than
commonly found with an offline system. In addition, there is a larger
installed base for electromechanical and digital cylinder locks that are
likely to use this technology. In the last 12 months, access control on a
card has seen increased adoption in European access control projects,
with the uptake primarily occurring in larger enterprise projects that
require more internal doors to be electronic rather than mechanical.
For the Asia market, the role of biometric technology for access
control continues to evolve. The biometric reader market in Asia is
larger and more mature than the Americas and EMEA markets due
to the large number of local suppliers and their widespread use in
access control, as well as applications such as national identification
and banking and ATM authentication, for example.
Globally, access control as a service remains a future trend rather
than a current movement. The largest potential for this market remains
in North America; however, many service providers of managed
and hosted access control systems are regional and provide only
a small number of doors that are true ACaaS. The majority of offerings
today are a private cloud architecture in which the server or
panel that contains the access control database is stored on the customer’s
premise and a thin client is used by the end user to manage
the system himself, or a third-party can use a portal to log on to that
end user’s server to manage the database for the customer.
The future of access control will include NFC, ACaaS, Webembedded
readers and panels, and more interoperability and convergence.
As the access control industry moves forward, there will be a
greater emphasis on flexibility and offerings.
Video Surveillance, Niall Jenkins
IHS forecasts that 2013 will be the tipping point when network
video surveillance equipment sales in the Americas overtake analog video surveillance equipment sales. However,
there are a number of market drivers
and barriers that are influencing the pace of
A key barrier to this transition has been
that many security installers lack the networking
and IT skills necessary to implement
network video surveillance. While the more
proactive installers and integrators are acquiring
these skills, there remains a percentage
of installers and integrators that prefer to
install analog video surveillance equipment.
Some IT managers also are reluctant to
share their network with the video surveillance
system. Two key issues identified are concerns
regarding bandwidth demand and the security
of the network. Bandwidth may become less
of a concern as infrastructure improves.
Furthermore, use of bandwidth also will
improve as event-based transmission, datapacket
prioritization, transcoding appliances
and more efficient compression algorithms
become more prevalent, reducing the frequency
of data transmission and the amount
of data transmitted, respectively.
On the other hand, increasing megapixel
camera resolution may drive bandwidth requirements
Naturally, the relative price of products
remains critical. In China, end users who
want a network video surveillance system still
find it more cost-effective to use analog cameras
combined with a video encoder rather
than network security cameras. Analog security
cameras remain the lower cost solution
for small-scale installations, but for larger
installations, the higher cost of network security
cameras is often offset by reduced installation,
cabling and maintenance costs.
End users who want high-definition video
surveillance have previously been limited to
one option: megapixel/HD network security
cameras. This is no longer the case because
various HD-over-coax solutions are now
commercially available, enabling end users
to receive the benefits of HD video and not
have to install network infrastructure.
While the current market penetration of
all HD-over-coax solutions is low, the potential
exists in the medium- to long-term for
these solutions to become a natural successor
to analog equipment. This could result in a
slowdown in the trend from analog to network
equipment in the low- to mid-tiers of
the market. In the short term, the opportunity
for HD-over-coax cameras lies in regions
or verticals that have a large analog-installed
base and at sites where concerns regarding latency
(such as casinos) and network security
are key issues.
Despite the aforementioned factors slowing
the transition to network video surveillance,
there are a number of opposing factors
that are increasing the pace of this transition.
The established vendors of network security
cameras have rapidly expanded their product
ranges over the past two to three years. End
users can find network camera equivalents for
most analog camera types, and they also have
the option of megapixel-resolution cameras.
Network camera reference designs are another
way in which the product ecosystem is
diversifying. For companies that do not want
to invest significantly in research and development,
or that want a quick way to access
the rapidly growing network camera market,
network camera reference designs offer a
cost-effective route to market.
The establishment of a common framework
of communication standards between
IP surveillance devices will undoubtedly benefit
and help to encourage growth within the
video surveillance industry. The work carried
out by both ONVIF (Open Network Video
Interface Forum) and the PSIA (Physical Security
Interoperability Alliance) should help
to lower development and integration costs
as well as the barrier to entry in the network
video surveillance market.
Deployments of network video surveillance
equipment are also getting bigger. It
is now common to see hundreds of network
cameras deployed on high-profile projects.
This shows increased customer confidence in
the mass market.
Additionally, as IT managers become
more influential in the physical security decision
process, there will be an increasing number
of IT vendors, distributors and integrators
entering the video surveillance market
who are likely to be supporters of standardsbased
Finally, megapixel-resolution security
cameras provide one of the biggest advantages
of moving to IP surveillance. Megapixel
cameras provide substantially better
image quality than standard analog cameras,
leading to improved object detection. While
megapixel cameras remain more expensive
than their standard-resolution counterparts,
increasing numbers of manufacturers developing
megapixel and HD products should
drive down prices and, hence, drive growth
in the market.
This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of Security Today.