Guest Blog: Technology Advances to Drive Strong Growth of Mobile Access Control in 2017
There’s no question that mobile technologies have become indispensable in everyday life. In the U.S. alone, more than 75 percent of us own at least one smartphone, and at any given moment, there’s a very good chance that most of us have ours within arm’s reach, if not on our person.
Mobile has also made tremendous inroads in the security industry over the last few years, including advances in access control, where use of smartphones has increased for critical functions like credentialing, remote operations and others. Looking ahead, there’s every reason to expect mobile to be among the strongest growth areas within access control in the coming year for a number of reasons. Below are the five key areas where technology improvements have the greatest impact on expanding the capabilities and deployment of mobile access control.
With mobile access control, credentialing may be the application that gets the most traction. Phone-based credentials free users from carrying cards, tokens or ID badges, all of which are easily lost, stolen or forgotten. On the other hand, people are usually highly focused on making sure they have their mobile phones with them at all times and tend to be more careful about them compared to an access card or ID badge.
The shift to mobile credentials is well underway, and will continue rapidly in the coming months. The availability of new access readers capable of accepting both physical and mobile credentials will only serve to speed the transition.
Generally speaking, people now have high expectations for what tasks they can manage using their mobile device. So it’s not surprising that this mindset would expand to security, with users expecting the ability to control their facilities from wherever they are, without needing to be tied to a control room, desk or terminal. It is probable that security professionals will continue to turn to emerging and improving mobile access control apps to meet this need and create a more efficient workforce.
There is a significant push today to integrate physical and logical access, and mobile technology enables this integration, allowing a single credential to be used to access doors, networks, data and cloud applications. As integration capabilities continue to expand, mobile access control will also incorporate building intelligence functions like lighting, HVAC, elevator and other controls, which can be activated when someone uses their mobile credential. This high-level integration between multiple systems can also be used to trigger automated tasks like time and attendance recording.
Many organizations are looking for solutions that will enable this convergence of physical and logical access to be accomplished without investing significant time and expense. Mobile access control allows systems to be quickly and easily upgraded to add logical credentials, bridging the gap between the two systems. This eliminates the cost of maintaining and managing separate physical and logical systems. Further, the ability to issue mobile credentials instantly without the material and labor costs associated with issuing physical credentials creates even greater cost-efficiencies – which will only increase as technology advances.
Another prime factor that will drive continued growth of mobile access control is the ability to provide up-to-date information to the right people instantly, which is ideal for situations where timely information is critical. For example, several mobile apps enable remote management in emergency situations, allowing authorized staff to initiate crisis modes, trigger lockdowns, provide current information to first responders and more. This efficiency is not limited to emergency situations, but can also be applied to other time-sensitive tasks, including remotely locking or unlocking doors, and activating or de-activating access card holders. In these cases, timely actions are not only efficient, but can prevent subsequent security incidents from developing or unfolding.
Recognizing the inherent privacy and security concerns associated with mobile devices, providers have made strong security a key element of today’s mobile operating systems. Phone-based credentials are highly encrypted, making them more secure and much more difficult to copy or counterfeit than keys, access cards and other physical credentials. Mobile credentials often incorporate multi-factor authentication, such as biometric identification, to add even greater security to access control. This is often not the case in the physical credential realm, where readers and systems automatically assume the person swiping the credential is the authenticated user.
As smartphone technology continues to advance, these devices will become more and more indispensable for managing nearly all aspects of everyday life. This will have a profound impact on expanding the role of mobile for security applications, particularly in access control. In the coming year, we will see mobile apps and solutions that offer expanded feature sets, increased functionality and seamless integration with more diverse security and non-security solutions. As a result, more and more users will turn to these solutions to maximize security while reducing cost and inefficiencies – adding up to wider adoption and continued explosive growth in mobile access control solutions.
Posted by Robert Laughlin on Jan 03, 2017