IP Revolutionizes Access Control

IP Revolutionizes Access Control

In terms of technology, the access control industry has seen a variety of new technologies happening around the door over the past eight years. In essence, the industry has evolved from mechanical locks and keys to electronic locks and then to IP-based systems. In the process, users benefit by being able to do more with their access control than just opening doors.

IP Adoption
One of the biggest breakthroughs over the years is the migration to IP-based access control, which has driven further consolidation and standardization in the industry.“TCP/IP offers significant advantages in comparison to old analog systems with its ability to transfer large amounts of data quickly. It also allows systems such as video, access control, fire alarms, and detection to be integrated under a single communication standard,” said Baudouin Genouville, Global Alliances and Integration Manager at Suprema.

Smart Cards
ID cards based on magnetic stripes have been used for decades, but with the passage of time their limitations have become more noticeable – for example their vulnerability to counterfeiting and tendency to waste users lots of time while opening doors. That gave rise to smart cards, which have become more popular and seen increased adoptions at higher education campuses, government agencies, and other entities. Examples include FIPS 201 Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards used by U.S. federal employees, the new U.S. ePassport, and contactless payment cards being issued by American Express, MasterCard, and Visa.

Biometrics
Biometric solutions are seeing wider installations due to their declining prices, increased accuracy, and better user experience. A recent ABI Research report indicates that the global biometrics industry will reach US$26.8 billion in revenues by 2020.

Among the typical authenticators, biometrics are the most personal – they are what makes a person who he or she is. That’s why they are now used to authenticate users in various secure activities, for example mobile payment and online transactions to prevent fraud. “The industry is expecting biometric-enabled cyber security against crime and fraud,” said Pierre Lahbabi, Senior VP for Strategy and Development at Morpho. “On the other hand, the extensive biometric awareness and readiness is bringing large opportunities to develop embedded biometric solutions and services in private sectors.”

Authentication via Mobile Devices
The year we published our 100th issue, 2007, coincided with a major development in the consumer electronics field – the rollout of the first iPhone. As smartphones evolved over time, they have been added with more features and have allowed users to do more than just making calls, for example opening doors. With more and more user IDs now residing in the mobile device, authentication by way of smartphones via the Near-Field Communications (NFC) or Bluetooth Smart technologies has become increasingly common.

Wireless Locks
Wireless locks were another major growth sector. The American market was worth about US$200 million in 2008 and is now worth more than $320 million as of 2015, according to IHS statistics.

There are several benefits offered by wireless locks, which save more energy and provide more flexibility and convenience for users without re-cabling, compared to traditional mechanical locks. “Right now, we are talking about the environment, such as energy efficiency since wireless is less energy demanding. And, now we have a lot of campaign about ‘forgetting about keys.’ Since we rely on keys, if the keys get lost, the whole locking systems need to be replaced,” said Gareth Ellams, Aperio Business Development and OEM Accounts Director at ASSA ABLOY EMEA.

Intelligence on the Edge
Traditionally, security intelligence resides on the central server in an access control system. But with IP-based access control, intelligence increasingly resides on the edge device. A pioneer in this field, CEM for example has unveiled a reader-controller terminal that has a large internal database in it, keeping the system running even if the communication between the controller and server is down.

Identity Management
Over the past eight years, access control has seen itself linked with the human resources department to check the employees’ time-attendance. As time went on, this functionality has been expanded to include identity management, or managing individuals’ identities within an end-user organization, both in the physical and logical space. As such, convergence of physical and logical access control is desired to increase efficiency for the administrator. For example, once an employee leaves his job, his record will be deleted automatically from both the physical and logical space.

Cloud
One of the major developments in security has been the movement towards the cloud. This has been especially the case for video, with IHS estimating video as a service (VaaS) to reach nearly $1.3 billion globally by 2017. Right now, access control is also moving in that direction, due to the cloud’s various benefits.

“Rather than each customer having to buy a whole bunch of disk drives, do back up and manage it, basically the infrastructure can be shared, so the efficiency goes way up,” said Dean Drako, President and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks. “In a cloud-based system, you have professionals managing the cyber security. And when you have professionals managing cyber security, you get better cyber security than if you were doing it yourself.”

IoT
Another major trend is the convergence between access control and the Internet of Things, which extracts from various sensors data that can be analyzed, referenced, and used to help users achieve various purposes such as energy savings and management efficiency.

“One of the characteristics of all IoT devices is that they produce data. So they act as sensors,” said Steve Van Till, CEO of Brivo. “That data, even if they were not created for security purposes, can be harvested for security purposes. It’s got an indirect relevance there.”

Ultimately, surviving and winning in the industry all boils down to whether access control players can truly deliver total solutions. “From access control to video to alarm monitoring to identity management, customers are looking for less vendors and more integrated solutions from fewer companies,” said Matt Barnette, President of AMAG. “Companies that provide these solutions are what the end users are really looking for today.”

Access control has evolved from traditional locks and keys to complex systems that can truly perform wonders. In fact, access control is expected to become a central platform that integrates other systems to offer more efficient management, heightened security, and energy savings for users. A recent market research report published by Persistence Market Research cites that the global electronic access control systems market is expected to grow positively at a CAGR of 12.6 percent during the period between 2014 and 2019. Given the rapid development that this industry is seeing, access control’s future potential is truly infinite.



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