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How the access control market is catching up with video surveillance

How the access control market is catching up with video surveillance
Facial recognition, mobile credentials and cybersecurity, are just some of the access control trends driving the market in 2020.
The access control market is getting more technologically advanced, and it is reflected in the top access control trends for 2020. For a long time the access control market lagged behind its security counterparts in adoption of new technologies, but it’s catching up. As the adoption of IoT based security systems, cloud computing platforms and deployment of wireless systems continues to grow, the access control market is expected to see huge growth opportunities in the coming years. Although, card-based readers are still anticipated to hold the largest share of the access control market through 2024, according to a report by Marketsandmarkets, technological advancements and the need for stronger security is pushing organizations toward facial recognition, mobile credentials and even artificial intelligence.

More requests for facial recognition

Gaoping Xiao, Director, Sales,
APAC, AMAG Technology 

Interest in facial recognition for access control applications is growing and is expected to be a top trend in 2020. Marketsandmarkets reported that the global market for facial recognition is expected to reach US$7 billion by 2024. Access control players expect to see more requirements for facial recognition readers, as end users search for more secure and more “frictionless” solutions. Such solutions are most desirable in high-traffic areas such as turnstiles; however, wall-mounted facial recognition units are also expected to see growth. Adoption of facial recognition readers, though, is still hindered by cost, which could be five to 10 times the price of a regular access control reader, explained Gaoping Xiao, Director of Sales for APAC at AMAG Technology.

Another main challenge is data privacy and the storage and collection of biometric data, such as facial images and fingerprints. Xiao pointed out that facial information is typically stored at the reader and sometimes the reader is mounted on the non-secure side of the door. However, Andrew Fulton, Strategic Business Development Director at Vanderbilt noted that people now seem less concerned about the use of their image than their finger and the associated hygiene issues of fingerprint readers.

“Currently, with the threat of a pandemic spurred by the spread of coronavirus, more and more organizations will look toward technology that
Rick Focke, Director,
Product Management,
Enterprise Access Control,
Johnson Controls
minimizes contact, instead focusing on the efforts of manufacturers to provide other options for seamless access control. This might become a big shift in the coming year,” Fulton explained. Rick Focke, Director of Product Management for Enterprise Access Control at Johnson Controls pointed particularly to difficulties in deploying global systems since each country or geographical area has its own regulations about the capture, storage and transmission of personal information.

Nonetheless, while there is no question that facial recognition and similar computer vision technologies will face increasing scrutiny from both individuals and government agencies over privacy, data security and data ownership concerns, according to Vince Wenos, SVP and CTO at Allegion, “What is clear is that reasonable approaches to balance the benefits of the technology with the risks will ultimately need to be achieved.”

Mobile credentials offer more security

Thomas Schulz, Director,
Marketing and Communications,
EMEA, Digital and Access Solutions,
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEA

In the third quarter of 2019 alone more 358 million smartphones were shipped worldwide, according to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC). The ubiquity of smartphones has lead to an increased interest in mobile access control solutions, with more and more organizations shifting from physical cards to mobilebased credentials.

“Users are more interested in a solution that can eliminate the costs of access control cards, and allow a card user to manage some of their own data,” Focke explained. The growing trend toward mobile credentials is further supported by concerns over the vulnerabilities in access control cards. Business are looking for a more secure solution than physical access cards, which can be easily lost, stolen, cloned or tampered with. Today’s mobile technology offers much tighter security compared to access cards. Therefore, many expect organizations to invest more in mobile credentials while also saving money on the cost of physical badges. Mobile access also provides organizations with what Fulton, calls “elevated efficiency.” Through either fingerprints or Bluetooth technology, organizations can now create a fast and seamless entry experience for employees and visitors. More efficient communication with the system also allows organizations to quickly determine whether any vulnerabilities or potential threats exist.

Thomas Schulz, Director of Marketing and Communications for EMEA for Digital and Access Solutions at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEA expects to see interest in mobile access solutions boom through 2020, with secure smartphone credentials replacing or working alongside RFID cards, fobs and the like. The company has already seen growing interest in this type of mobile-based wireless access solution from sites such as co-working spaces and university campuses that have a young and/or tech-savvy user base.

However, using mobile credentials for access control comes with its own set of challenges. For example, organizations may find the cost to replace readers to be too expensive. And while the vast majority of people may own a smartphone, many employees may not have a dedicated work phone or may not want to download work-related applications onto their personal device.

Access control as a service still interests

Investments by venture capitalists and corporate venture funds are supporting startups that are rapidly disrupting traditional access control models. This, according to Wenos, will support faster growth of access control as a service (ACaaS) and enable integrators and other industry partners to lower their costs and tap into managed services.

Fulton explained, how cloud-based access control can have different benefits to different organizations. “Some people do not have an IT infrastructure so to have someone manage the server and remember to do backup is difficult. Sometimes it’s the reduced installation cost now commonly found with cloud systems. For others, the spreading of cost by not having to buy a server and paying monthly is a benefit, and for others the integrator or dealer partner can become the managed service provider to serve all of the customers access requirements.”

Still, cloud solutions and ACaaS have been met with resistance due to a lack of trust in cloud security. However, Wenos pointed out improvements in technologies for authentication, threat identification and mitigation, and general data security have greatly enhanced overall cloud security. “Combining edge-driven technology with cloud solutions and ACaaS will further reduce the security risks,” he added.

Cybersecurity remains hot in access control

Frank ter Kuile, Marketing Lead,
Nedap Security Management

The rapid increase in the number of connected devices has made cybersecurity all the more important. Today, any embedded device on an organization’s network is a potential vulnerability. “Despite the fact that poor cybersecurity poses such a potential threat to access control systems, it isn’t getting as much attention as it should,” said Frank ter Kuile, Marketing Lead at Nedap Security Management. He attributes this to a lack of awareness among security managers. “Cybersecurity is an area that, in the past, has been more the domain of the IT department and many security managers aren’t up to speed with it yet. It’s really important that security and IT teams work together closely going forward,” he added.

Another barrier to increasing cybersecurity levels, according to ter Kuile, is that some access control systems are in fact end-of-life without the user actually knowing it. He explained acquisitions in the industry have created “big houses of brands,” which often result in certain products that are deemed to have less “potential” going “untouched.” What this means is the systems with the least potential will continue running but not get crucial investments in cyber updates that are required, making them “virtually end-of life.”

Cybersecurity concerns, though, are the big driver behind many access control upgrades, according to Focke. “We have new hardware designs coming out that take hardware cybersecurity to the next level — and these new products come with a very efficient upgrade program from previous technology. This new technology will provide an extra layer of authentication, which will be valuable to customers, as many of them are looking to upgrade their panels, which has been a huge driver in growth,” he added.

Integration and interoperability

Andrew Fulton, Strategic Business
Development Director, Vanderbilt

In the last few years unification has been a major theme in access control, which has been propelled with the help of IoT. Systems are becoming more integrated and smarter. This increase in interoperability, not just between access control devices, but beyond is making it possible to include sources from other devices and programs that can enable better decision making.

“The ability to simply program systems in a graphical way to have events from different systems trigger other events has become available from some vendors. This allows people to more efficiently manage their building with complicated routines previously only configurable by system experts,” Fulton said. Today, many access control readers come with displays which allows users to be presented with more useful information at the door and therefore be able to perform much more complicated tasks than before.

In the future, AMAG’s Xiao expects more security solution providers will come out with sophisticated analytical reporting modules, or have integration capabilities with other comprehensive reporting tools that will help companies use their access control data to identify abnormal behaviors to mitigate risk.

Improving interoperability with wireless access control

Many companies are still discovering the benefits of wireless access control solutions. Being able to control more doors than would ever be possible or cost-effective with cabling is just one of its benefits. Schulz expects the adoption of wireless access to continue through 2020 as the need for fine-grained control grows.

“One key advantage of wireless locks and access systems is that there are very few major challenges to adoption,” according to Schulz. This is in part due to easy integration and interoperability with existing security and access systems. Depending on the wirelesslock, certain locks like ASSA ABLOY’s Aperio, are able to integrate with systems from over 100 different manufacturers.

AI and the future of access control

Vince Wenos,
SVP and CTO, Allegion

Artificial intelligence (AI) has had a huge impact on the security industry. Aside from improving facial recognition technology, AI is expected to change the role of access control by making it smarter and more efficient. “In the past, it was all about security. As we move forward, access control will become a vital part of the overall facilities management, helping to determine how you manage your buildings and people,” ter Kuile said.

Now, with AI and machine learning (ML), the impact of these technologies will rapidly increase and enable the digestion and interpretation of vast amounts of data fueled by the growth of IoT and smart edge devices, according to Wenos. “Insights gained by AI/ML will support the automation of some security operations but will primarily enhance the capabilities of security professionals, resulting in better experiences and outcomes. In addition, AI/ML will support shifts from reactive to proactive stances through the predictive power of the technology,” he added.

New analytics engines and AI will also help make access control systems smarter and more efficient by analyzing and then teasing out anomalies and patterns from the system’s data. Analytics will also be able to apply context to alarms and highlight certain events (e.g., weather concerns, VIPs onsite, alert to possible system failures, etc.). These features will allow organizations to take preventative measures to mitigate risks and optimize business operations. It will also allow operators to evaluate access control data in real time, providing more situational awareness. The future of access control is definitely looking smarter than it has ever been. Not only will businesses be able to save money and be more proactive, but they will have more insight into their business and security operations than ever before.

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