Security technology trends to watch in 2014

Industry experts discuss what lies ahead for physical security devices and software

2. Mobile access control will continue to roll out in stages. During 2014, we expect to see the first phases of mobile access deployments in which smartphones will function similar to that of a card transaction today, with limitations due to technology and business ecosystems.  In subsequent phases, the phone’s onboard computing power and multimedia capabilities will be leveraged to overcome limitations and provide a more functional and rich user experience. Looking forward, the connectivity of smartphones will be used to perform most tasks that today are jointly executed by card readers and servers or panels in traditional access control systems.  This includes verifying identity with rules such as whether the access request is within a permitted time and, using the phone’s GPS capability, whether the person is actually in the vicinity of the door.  The user can then be validated using a cloud application and granted access via a trusted message over secure communication to the door.

In this new paradigm, mobile devices (rather than an access control system) make the access decisions, and doors (rather than cards) present their identity. This role reversal, sometimes called duality, changes how access control solutions are offered.  Organizations will be less dependent on the expensive infrastructure required for connecting servers, panels and readers – just electronic locks that respond to a mobile device’s encrypted “open” command. This simplified and more economical model with enable the industry to secure more assets; interior doors, filing cabinets, storage units and other areas that have been prohibitively expensive or complex to secure in the past.

3. Continued migration of intelligence to the door. Physical security and access control solutions continue moving to IP-based architectures that are easier to deploy and maintain. In addition, a standards-based IP architecture facilitates the integration of a physical access control system (PACS) with other systems that can share the same network.  A major benefit of this approach is the ability to move intelligence to the door, which streamlines system monitoring, management and reporting via standard web browsers.  By migrating to true open architecture IP-based intelligent controllers, users also can simplify future infrastructure enhancements and modifications since they can invest in hardware platforms that are not tied to proprietary protocols and software. 

IP-based access control is moving beyond host-controller communications to include controller–module and controller-reader communications as well.  Additionally, we will see a move to untethered connectivity in this networked access control environment.  Wireless intelligent locksets are the first step, and will become more prevalent as new, lower-cost, energy-efficient models are introduced to the market.  Mobile access control using smartphones is also on its way, which will leverage these devices’ wireless connection to act as both the key and processor, and become the rules engine for making access control decisions.  It will be possible to build and deploy readers (and locks) without any significant intelligence or connectivity capabilities and, because of the interoperability benefits of open-architecture IP-based intelligent controllers, users will have a broad range of controller and reader platforms to choose from, including basic readers and wireless intelligent readers that provide access to multiple credential technologies.

4. Visitor management systems to move beyond traditional applications. Visitor management systems are now widely adopted in the corporate environment, and they are increasingly spreading to other institutions, agencies and campuses. For instance, in the hospital environment, paper systems are being replaced with registration systems that are capable of screening, badging and tracking all visitors or, at a minimum, critical areas such as pediatric wards, as well as “after hours” periods when staff is reduced. These visitor management systems include key features such as support for the HL7 interface control so visitors can be matched to a variety of key real-time information about patient status and room numbers, ensuring no visitor is ever sent to the wrong patient room. 

Another example is federal agencies, which are migrating to systems that can quickly process visitor access while ensuring that all security procedures and policies are followed in accordance with HSPD-12. These systems read and process PIV cards in support of HSPD-12, and also can scan and process TWIC cards using OCR scanning, as well as Common Access Cards (CACs) using 2D bar code scanning.  The most effective systems feature simple-to-deploy middleware software that seamlessly integrates with the PACS and validates PIV credentials, which enables agencies to use PIV card data to better manage crossover visits from other agency employees. 

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