a&s did a Buyers' Preference Survey on around 200 professional systems integrators, distributors/dealers/importers, consultants, as well as installers worldwide. The 200 respondents shared the key product features that are in demand in the current market.
Half of the respondents in the access control section of the survey said that they would opt for more facial recognition solutions in the coming year. This is in line with multiple market reports which expect the facial recognition market across multiple verticals to grow at over a 15 percent CAGR in the next five years.
Lately, there has been much debate about the use of facial recognition, to the extent of several cities banning the technology for public surveillance. However, our survey findings suggest that in the access control segment, facial recognition shows strong potential.
Why facial recognition triumphs
Facial recognition has come a long way since its initial days, achieving vast improvements in accuracy and efficiency over the years. Industry
experts see this evolution of technology as a major factor driving its popularity. Although this growth will have to deal with concerns surrounding data privacy.
“Significant investments have been made within the industry over the past few years to improve facial recognition technology,” said Vince Wenos, Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at Allegion
. “Those advancements have made it far more reliable, capable and cost-effective. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the technology as we move forward will be concerned about data privacy and the management of facial recognition data and templates.”
New laws and additional regulations seeking to safeguard information will further add to this complexity. That aside, continued improvements in algorithms will allow facial recognition technology to be deployed on more edge devices, further driving down costs and opening up additional opportunities for systems integrators and solutions providers.
Integration in a world of increasing devices
Just over 37 percent of the survey respondents were interested in access control solutions being integrated with other systems like surveillance and home automation. Wenos pointed out that for years now, access control has been integrated with time and attendance, surveillance, building automation
, and other related systems.
These integrations have been primarily driven by the needs of facility managers and other system owners to have simplified interfaces without the need to log in and operate a number of disparate systems.
“Access control integrates with video management systems primarily; however you now see access control systems integrate with identity management, intrusion alarm, and visitor management systems to provide an end to end solution,” explained Gaoping Xiao, Director of Sales for APAC at AMAG
Technology. “Access control systems also integrate with command and control solutions, which allow the end-user to manage several systems via one system.”
Xiao added that it is highly efficient when the security operator can perform all security functions on one screen and not have to bounce back and forth between systems to acknowledge alarms and events. Access control systems also integrate with audio/intercom solutions, license plate recognition, and biometric solutions, as well as with building automation systems.
Popular modes of integration
Thomas Schulz, Marketing and Communications Director for Digital and Access Solutions at Assa Abbloy
EMEA, integration can be approached in two main ways. The integration of devices across multiple functions and platforms gives security and facility managers much more control over their premises.
“ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio technology, for example, powers wireless locks which integrate seamlessly with third-party systems from more than 100 different manufacturers,” Schulz said. “A recent Aperio integration with the AXIS A1001 Network Door Controller enables managers at H-Farm in Italy to control access to doors at multiple sites from a single Axis interface.”
Approached from a different direction, software integration equips a single, central system with more functionality, Schulz added. ASSA ABBLOY’s access control software, for example, offers configurable web services integration, so admins can combine access control with HR, support/ticketing, reporting and other systems under a single umbrella.
The software can act as the main application or be used as a secondary system to complement existing solutions. Automated database integration eliminates avoidable data entry errors because you don’t need to input everything twice. There’s also a software development kit that will allow integrating functionalities of the company’s software into an existing mobile app.
What more can customers expect in integration
While consumer demand for integration is definitely increasing, achieving perfect configurations that enable two devices to work together without any difficulties.
“My belief is that customer expectations will continue to evolve and drive the need for more ‘seamless access’ experiences,” Wenos said. “Tomorrow’s winners will be those companies that bring best-in-class systems together with well-designed user interfaces. Thinking beyond the technologies themselves and focusing on developing a deep understanding of customer needs will be key to fielding integrated solutions that delight end users and drive growth.”
Market growth prospects
The access control market is expected to see more growth with demand for more advanced and integrated solutions.
“As your new survey shows, there remains significant pent-up demand for products and technologies which offer better integration and connectivity right across the system environment,” Schulz said. “Adding battery-powered locks to an existing wired setup, for example, instantly extends the reach of your access control without adding administrative complexity — as long as you choose the right locks and integrate them efficiently.
Schulz added that his company also sees a fast-growing interest in access solutions among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). This segment faces security challenges just like larger companies, and many now see a clear path to upgrading old mechanical locking to more convenient access control with wireless locks. Then there is also the growth in wireless systems.
“In fact, right across the board, wireless continues to grow,” Schulz continued. “Settings as diverse as hospitals, schools, a racecourse in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, care homes, and the new ASUCQ campus in Mexico find wireless locking provides the flexible control they need.”
In “new” industries like co-working spaces, wireless’s modern door device design and the availability of mobile credentials are a perfect fit for the clientele.
Time to upgrade
Another significant factor driving the growth of the access control market is that many systems that are currently in use are approaching end-of-life and need to be upgraded, according to Xiao.
“Also, we see enterprise customers moving to the more secure smart card technology and moving away from proximity cards,” Xiao added. “The other growing area we are seeing is that mobile credentials have gained more in popularity as smartphones are commonly used in many countries. Users do not need to carry physical cards anymore, and they can use their smartphones to gain access.”