Access control has been there for a long time, going back to ancient periods when castles and city gates were protected by guards. Since then, it has gone through various transformations. Today, access control systems that are networked and integrated with other solutions not only help protect physical and virtual assets but also improve operational efficiency.
That’s the argument presented by Galaxy Control Systems in its recent whitepaper titled “Current State of Access Control.” It begins by telling how access control has evolved from real-life guards to electronic systems that authenticate people by three factors: what you have, in the forms of keyfobs and lately mobile devices; what you know, in the forms of passwords and security questions; and what you are, or biometrics that are nearly impossible to copy or replicate.
According to the paper, vertical markets that can especially benefit from access control include healthcare, given doctors and staff may be subject to patient attacks; education, given a string of school violence incidents of recent; government offices, which are also subject to terrorist attacks; and enterprises and commercial buildings.
Over time, access control has further transitioned from standalone technology to networked systems that can be further integrated with others. According to Galaxy Control Systems, this has various benefits. “Security staff can manage multiple systems with fewer, or even a single, entry point,” the whitepaper said. “Employees can benefit from the convenience of using a single badge or access card for both facility entry and exit, as well as with a smart elevator system, valuable item storage lockers, cafeteria purchases, and so forth.”
Taking a step further, the data gathered by today’s access control systems can help the end user make related sales and marketing strategies, rendering access control an effective tool not just for protection but also for business enablement. “For example, the integrated data collected from entry/exit locations, together with that from other systems such as elevators, VMS, and network activity, provide management with a more detailed, more complete view of business processes and employee behavior. In a similar way, managers can analyze visitor movements and generate activity reports by name, department, or any other data element to support their analysis of business situations and gain valuable insights from that comprehensive view.”
Galaxy concluded by citing a case study involving a famous amusement park, whereby visitors first pre-register themselves prior to the visit, inputting various information that can be processed and analyzed. Upon arrival, the visitors are given RFID wristbands embedded with the information. This way the visitors can be tracked and notified immediately in the event of an emergency. They can be offered information on nearby restaurants or attractions based on their preferences. Then, the data gathered by the various edge devices can later help the theme park improve business processes and efficiency, so they can deliver further value to visitors in the future.