3 Access Control Trends to Watch
Before your next vendor meeting or tradeshow, tune into these defining trends related to door access systems
- By Geoff Kohl
- Nov 01, 2017
Behold the not-so-humble door. While video surveillance
may get all the attention—what with the stunning
sharpness of 4K, the immersive experience of
panoramic sensors and see-through-the-night capabilities—
for most security projects, the door access
control solutions are among the most important. That’s because the
door often acts as the first line of defense and actively keeps out the
unwanted, while allowing easy entry for employees and visitors. It’s
only fair to point out that developments are surging forward in the
world of access control, making today’s solutions more secure, more
interoperable and with more options than ever.
At the Security Industry Association (SIA), we track three trends
that our members experience regularly when defining access control
today. Those trends are the rise of cloud-based solutions, increased
adoption of biometrics and the impact of standards.
As you head to your next tradeshows (likely ISC East this November
in New York City and ISC West next April in Las Vegas), keep
an eye out for these three trends. They can be found down every aisle,
particularly since booths containing access control and biometric solutions
represent roughly 40 percent of the tradeshow floor. And it’s
growing by leaps and bounds—with those two categories representing
double digit growth on the ISC show floor over last year.
Trend #1: Rise of Cloud Solutions
We’ve all been longtime adopters of cloud computing solutions in
our personal lives, from Google Drive to Microsoft Office 365 to a
Netflix account (which mostly runs on Amazon’s cloud services).
Of course, adoption of the cloud for security was much slower, approached
in a more cautious manner. But the gates have opened, and
today, the cloud is clearly shaping access control solutions.
It’s not just about ease of use; cloud computing changes how businesses
can purchase and expense their solutions. As SIA Chairman
of the Board Denis Hebert noted in SIA’s 2017 Security Megatrends
report for its membership, systems integrators are seeing a “substantial
benefit to their customers who can move from large capital outlays
for security to a monthly operating expense.”
Besides decreased hardware costs, cloud access control increases
the ability for the system to scale, to be updated, and to be integrated
to other platforms. For the small business owner, the benefits of a
hosted, cloud-based solution can be the ability to remotely access the
system from home or while traveling.
For organizations managing multiple sites, having access control
managed by a single hosted solution means consistency of user rights
and groups, as opposed to having to deal with myriad different and
inconsistent user configurations known only by a local manager of a
traditional site-installed solution—and it can mean that access rights
can be ported easily for visiting and transferring employees.
Tip: When speaking with solution providers, talk through the real
economics of the cloud and the advantages, but fairly compare to onpremise
and appliance-style solutions.
Trend #2: Adoption of Biometrics
Thank Apple and Samsung because the use of biometrics on consumer
devices like phones has helped change conversations in our
industry. Today, the conversations are less likely to be “Will our employees
resist?” or “Is that too expensive?” Now, the conversation
centers around “How easy it is to access our office?”
Perhaps partly due to the consumer technology applications and
in IT access applications (particularly healthcare and banking), biometrics
is getting wider usage in professional security applications.
Today, you’re seeing the technology applied to larger pools of users
and to more standard business environments which do not require
Part of this growth has been impacted by decreasing sensor costs.
According to data available from research portal Statista, mobile fingerprint
sensors were expected to decrease to an average cost of $2.50
per sensor by this year, and to $2 per sensor by 2020. That decrease
in technology price has helped increase consumer adoption in the
form of fingerprint-enabled phones and facial-enabled laptops like
the popular Microsoft Surface.
Ease of use is another reason for growth. Vendors’ products have
generally improved in their accuracy—measured as the false acceptance
rate (FAR) and false rejection rate (FRR), and sometimes
called the false positive and false negative rates. These improving accuracy
rates mean that the likelihood that a biometric sensor would
not recognize you (a false rejection) has decreased, while simultaneously
decreasing the likelihood that someone else might be recognized
as you (a false acceptance).
Tip: While biometrics is certainly opening doors and improving
throughput, one of the questions you must have within your company
before deployment is how you will enroll individuals. While traditional
badge access control can easily be onboard by handing out the badge and
making a simple item change in the access control database, most biometrics
platforms will take more effort to register users into the system.
Trend #3: The Impact of Standards
Walk the aisles of a show like ISC East or ISC West and you’ll hear
plenty about end-to-end solutions, but what you should really listen
for is talk of standards and interoperability in access control.
At SIA, we offer the Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP),
which is on an ANSI standards path. The benefit of OSDP is the
increased security of communication to/from the reader as well as increased
interoperability among different manufacturers. Most legacy
access control systems still use the older Wiegand standard, which
has weaker security. So especially when it comes to projects where
security is important, the OSDP framework is preferred. Adoption
has improved, greatly, with it now in use by a variety of manufacturers,
including HID Global, Mercury, Cypress Integration Solutions,
IDMachines and more.
Also look for the specifications of the Physical Security Interoperability
Alliance (PSIA), which similarly provide specifications that
allow for interoperability among access control solutions products,
like readers and panels. Many vendors and SIA members have participated
in this organization’s interoperability standards.
Tip: When speaking with vendors, ask them what standards they
support, or which standards are in the roadmap for their products
and solutions. Ask them about the value of the
different standards (or protocols), and discuss
with them how to ascertain the right amount of
security for your environment or your customer’s
This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Security Today.