Future of Access Control (Sponsored)
Submitted by TDSi | Date:
In the past, access control has been a “fit and forget” system that can last in excess of 15 years. However, according to access control manufacturer TDSi, there are some exciting innovations and trends emerging in the industry that are making security managers re-evaluate what they have and how it can be improved. These advances are penetrating every aspect of access control from controllers and readers, through to how the technology is delivered and powered.
“Access control is an integral part of the security industry's move toward IP, as the much hyped convergence of physical and IT security becomes a reality,” explained John Davies, MD of TDSi, a global solution provider access control systems. This is also driving adoption of physical security information management (PSIM) solutions to integrate security and nonsecurity systems for a more holistic approach to building and facilities management.
Vendors, installers, integrators and end users are all realizing the remote monitoring, system control and diagnostic capabilities that IP brings to access control systems, which cannot be achieved with traditional serial RS485 communications. “The introduction of IP and associated power over Ethernet (PoE) delivers substantial energy cost savings, and intelligent PoE switches can achieve even greater gains when integrated with building management and lighting systems,” Davies added.
One of the most exciting and biggest growth areas in the access control market that TDSi is at the heart of is biometrics readers, as Davies explained. “Fingerprint technology is still the main method; however, facial recognition is growing in popularity, especially in areas where noncontact is required, including sanitized health care areas or situations where the environment can affect the condition of a user's hands, such as the construction industry.”
“Biometrics will continue to increase in popularity, and with improvements in the reliability and usability of facial recognition, coupled with the advances in the video surveillance world, it won't be long before these two combine to provide facial recognition as standard from the surveillance system,” Davies stated. Soft biometrics is another exciting progression, taking advantage of video integration and utilizing human descriptions of a subject's physical appearance, to recognize individuals based upon a number of physical traits.
Davies added, “Undoubtedly, cards will continue to be an integral component for many access control systems for some time, but as well as the rise of biometrics, there is also growth in near-field communications (NFC). This has largely been borne from the market growth of smartphones and the potential to use them as an authentication credential.”
Another trend is not the technology but how it is delivered, with vendors taking advantage of IP infrastructure and cloud computing to offer hosted access control software systems and services. Davies noted that for IT managers looking after security systems on the IT network, this offers real appeal. “It minimizes hardware and running costs, as well as associated maintenance and support issues. What's more is that it provides a far more scalable and flexible system, so rather than access control being ‘fit and forget' for 15 years, it is now agile and able to embrace the very latest advances.” One issue with such services is the concern over availability, and the ability of an ISP to provide the essential 100% uptime necessary for the system to be effective, although there are ways to minimize the risk and deliver high standards of disaster recovery.
Finally, with all of the innovation taking place within access control, it is important to have stringent standards to help regulate the industry, as Davies concluded. “It is encouraging and refreshing that a new IEC standard is in development at a global level, to supersede the aging EN50133 European standard that isn't widely used due to the rate of progress in technology.”