Technology at the Door
Emerging technologies require leadership and critical thought
- By Leslie Saunders
- Apr 01, 2018
How can manufacturers best position themselves for innovation
in the security industry? In terms of emerging
technologies, it might seem obvious to say that
a best practice would be to stay abreast of as many
cutting edge technologies as possible, and implement
solutions alongside of—or integrated with—these advancements.
However, with this approach, there is a risk of just following the lead
of the marketplace. Some may call it merely “treading water,” and in
reality, many manufacturers fall behind.
Advancements in emerging technologies require leadership, critical
thought about the future, and a willingness to take risks. Stretching
oneself to integrate with new technologies is critical, of course, but the
true promise of innovation is offering new solutions to the market.
The ultimate goal of new solutions is to meet customer needs in
the very best way possible. That requires asking ourselves, as a manufacturer,
integrator or other security provider, are we providing technology
just for technology’s sake, or is this providing the best value
for the customer? Are we making things more effective, affordable,
and intuitive? Are we eliminating pain points? Are we addressing new
openings that we couldn’t secure in the past?
Are we better protecting the people and places that matter most?
With that in mind, let’s explore a few emerging technologies that
may soon provide additional value in the access control and door
security solution verticals.
Integrating solar technology into all types of security devices has become
more and more common over the years. However, there is some
customer expectation that with solar comes a large array of panels
that take a long time to gain a return on the investment. Or, more
common, is the idea that solar works only in particular, outdoor environments.
The reality is that we are on the verge of seeing small-formfactor
solar panels that can leverage interior energy harvesting so the
device pulls not only from the sun, but also from interior lighting.
Consider the ramifications of this technology for just a moment.
Wireless access control solutions currently offer a substantial savings
in time and money for integrators and building owners as they
drastically reduce the need to run cabling. Wireless solutions often
don’t require a site survey, and can simply be installed on a door on a
first visit. The drawback to this technology, for some building owners,
has always been the maintenance associated with changing batteries.
While batteries have drastically improved, some with the ability to
last years before needing a change, the idea that solar power can be
harvested both indoors and outdoors to extend battery life would
significantly alter the value proposition of these products.
What makes this even more exciting is that this is a technology
that will soon be commercially available. It has the potential to drastically
change the cost, maintenance, and operations of businesses.
Further, it can quickly be integrated into existing technologies (such
as wireless locks) to quickly provide new solutions.
Along the same lines of thinking about how we can rethink reduction
in energy consumption is the use of kinetic energy. While a door
opener can currently be powered for one automatic push after four
manual openings have occurred, we continue to look at ways to make
that closer to one auto push for every one manual opening.
Thinking more radically, we can investigate ways to power electronic
cylinders just through the motion of inserting a key into a
lock. Can we potentially build a small enough motor that harvests
this energy? If so, what other applications could use it?
There are several considerations related to power that will provide
new and exciting emerging technologies. Reducing cost and complexity
of operating openings while providing robust security will continue
to be the primary objective in any innovation.
As much as we like to dream about potential solutions, we also need
to make sure we are providing a practical approach in the short term
with some of our offerings. In terms of augmented reality, we see
both short-term and long-term applications in the space for doors
and openings, as well as all security products used by integrators.
Short term usage of this technology is likely to dovetail into the
mobile space. Support applications on mobile devices can utilize
cameras to provide live feeds during installation and troubleshooting.
From there, support technicians can overlay augmented reality
instructions and diagrams in real time. This is an application that
doesn’t require augmented reality glasses, which are still uncommonly
It is worthwhile to position offerings for a future where such glasses
do become normalized. One idea in this space, for both manufacturers
and integrators, is to provide live on-site specification and
selection of openings, hardware, or other offerings through the use of
live augmented reality overlays on the shell of a building. Imagine the
ability to see what a product will look like while standing within the construction zone, adding that product to the order, and proceeding
with the purchase directly after the site visit. It’s a future application,
yet it is definitely possible to offer end-users that level of flexibility
and variety in selection.
As mentioned above, using mobile applications can be critical for an
end user or integrator in an installation or troubleshooting scenario.
However, for the most part, mobile has long been built out for the
end user. Innovation in this space has largely focused on ease of use,
simplicity in getting access to support staff, and quick delivery of
Mobile apps might soon see a more tailored approach directly for
the integrator audience. Consider mobile apps or mobile devices that
work as an integration programming tool. A scenario might be as
simple as allowing an integrator to install all the locks in a building
first, then to walk around the building and tap the mobile device to
each access control device for a setup that works immediately and is
customizable in real time. Eliminating the need to preset locks before
the installation would be a huge benefit to this channel.
Using Learned Information
Perhaps the least developed space in the security market is the area that
is most primed for near-term growth: the utilization of information.
The true sign that we have matured in this space will be when we move
from automation of systems to autonomy: allowing machine learning
to alter settings based on what it “knows” is expected and needed.
The industry has recently begun to build out analytics for all of
the data that has been created and this creates the potential for artificial
intelligence (AI). While we see AI deployed in language processing
for service and support bots, we need to find ways to use this
intelligence in appropriate places. We never want to lose that humanto-
human interaction, but if an answer is as simple as calling out to a
home assistant, then we want to make sure the answers are available.
Finally, the industry should be looking for ways to more closely
integrate this information with the architects, designers and specifiers
of the world. Providing the proper amount of integration with
Building Information Modeling software is critical to getting security
planned out appropriately from Step One in the design process.
To conclude, the final piece of the puzzle in innovating around emerging
technologies is to develop partnerships that leverage a core competency
with complementary knowledge.
For manufacturers, this means ensuring that any new technologies
developed are interoperable with other systems. For integrators,
it means making sure that trusted brands, products and technologies
are used, because ensuring that a new technology will be supported
long term will be critical to providing continued security services to
customers. For both parties it means engaging in partnerships with
each other, and with end users. By collaborating
in the success of clients, we innovate in ways that
specifically address the needs of people using these
systems on a day-to-day basis. That is providing
true value through emerging technologies.
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Security Today.