While trends driving technology innovation and adoption in many segments of the security industry are cut and dry, the same cannot be said for access control. Ask 10 different access control technology vendors on this year's show floor what they think will have the biggest impact on the market and you're liable to get 10 different answers.
In many ways, trends that seem to be impacting other technology segments within the industry also appear to making an impact in access control including the shift towards IP, the utilization of managed services, adoption of cloud-based solutions, the proliferation of Near Field Communications, and the convergence of IT with physical security.
The following is a sampling of the trends and technologies making headlines from access control manufacturers and service providers on the show floor this year:
Software House and Kantech (Tyco Security Products)
Just as the alarm systems market has seen a rise in demand for mobile apps that provide users with remote control capabilities, Steven Lewis, product manager for Software House, says that he has seen an increase in requests from integrators for mobile apps. In addition to providing remote access capabilities for users, Lewis said that these apps also allow integrators to configure access control systems more easily in the field.
In addition, Leon Langlais, director of product management for residential and small businesses at Tyco Security Products, said that there is also a strong trend towards total system integration in the access control market. "Still today, you have to have five boxes for five different solutions, Langlais explained.
Both Lewis and Langlais feel that the integration of Elpas' (formerly Visonic Technologies) real-time location system technology with Software House's C-Cure 9000 access control management system, which is being featured in the Tyco Security Products booth, holds a lot of potential for the market. "It allows you to track thousands of people on the web in real-time," Langlais said.
John Smith, senior channel marketing manager for Honeywell Access Systems, believes that the industry is moving more towards web-based solutions rather than software. With the majority of installations consisting of eight doors or less, Smith said that web-based systems, such as the company's NetAXS-124 platform, will prevent integrators from having to stay at a site for an extended period of time to configure a relatively small access system. "By eliminating the need for software, installers can spend less time on site," Smith said.
Wireless lock provider Salto Systems held a press conference on Thursday at ISC West to discuss the company's growth over the last year, as well as the launch of its XS4 Electronic lock. According to Michael Mahon, senior vice president of commercial sales for Salto, the company has sold more than 1 million locks worldwide and is on pace to sale more than 250,000 locks this year alone. The company's new XS4 lock features a BioCote protected surface that prevents the spread of germs, as well as the ability to employ a credential plus a PIN code. "In our industry, it is unknown to do this," said Salto Vice President of Marketing and Sales Marc Handels of the BioCote surface. "During the lifetime of the product, it stays effective." In addition, the company also announced that its' locks were recently selected for deployment on the campus of Princeton University to secure about 3,000 dorm rooms.
Karen Evan, president and CEO of New Jersey-based Sielox, said that one of the biggest trends she has seen in the market is the desire to virtualize access control systems as IT departments have become more involved in the selection of corporate security technologies. "Two years ago it was never asked for, but now it's almost commonplace," she explained. "It is having a bigger influence. (IT departments) are pushing the technology." At this year's ISC West show, Evans said that company has announced a new partnership with LifeSafety Power to power their access controllers, which Evans said will provide real cost savings to their customers. The company has also released new versions of its AC-1700 controller and Pinnacle software products. "Pinnacle version 9 and the AC-1700 will support up to 16 Salto wireless locks and two hardwired locks," she said.