A Decade of Access Control Speculation Comes to Fruition

July 13, 2018
There has been no bigger disruptor in the access control systems world than the migration from clunky analog to IP-enabled systems

Ten years ago we hosted a technology roundtable on SecurityInfoWatch.com discussing the migration of access control technology to “web-based” platforms and the impact this new digital approach to controlling ingress and identifying users would have on enterprise organizations.

We wrote: “The complexities of planning and implementing an integrated access control program are becoming much more intense. Rapid technology advancements have forced security directors to reassess what the term access control really means in the context of their business environment. A new world of internal partnership between IT and corporate security directors has facilitated the integration of biometrics and smart cards into the access control landscape. Web-based options have also enabled the global expansion of the security function.”

Editor's Note: This article is part of the bonus publication "Access Control Trends & Technology 2018" - follow the link to download the full magazine. 

Of those participating on our panel a decade ago – Tyco Safety Products and Access Control, GE Security, Johnson Controls Fire & Security Solutions, PCSC, Hirsch Electronics, UTC and HID Global, only HID Global remains as a dynamic force in the industry. Others are either rebranded or just footnotes in security industry history. But the past decade, that has been highlighted by tumultuous M&as, advancing technologies and even more interoperability and integration has also demonstrated the undeniable impact the IT revolution had – and is still having – on the access control industry.

Still, how did these security executives see the access control future back in 2008?

One global marketing VP stated that Web-based services introduced a whole new dimension to information access and sharing within an organization. The three-to-five-year future would include further integration with other enterprise systems and third-party integration. “But keep in mind that the Web is not the ideal interface for every aspect of an access control system. At times other data is needed to help inform decisions. Additionally, for functions requiring device interactions like capturing photos or reviewing video, controls must be downloaded onto the machine, which means it is not a purely Web-based solution.” 

He added that from overall enterprise standpoint an access control solution has to have the right combination of Web-rich clients and mobile clients, which would allow the end users to pick the right interface for their needs.

The CEO and founder of an access control solutions provider stressed that network security concerns would need to be resolved before Web-based systems could be fully adopted. He admitted that 10 years ago the market for Web-based access control systems had a place in the small systems security access sector, adding that many of the companies requiring access control had fewer than 100 employees with the need to control less than 12 security doors. He also noted that in many instances, the security manager was the president/owner or one of its managers, where security takes a secondary role and its use becomes a tedious task.

“By offering simple card access management tools and no workstation software to worry about, Web-based systems continue to mature in today's security market,” said the CEO about the 2008 market. “The Web itself offers a convenient infrastructure for application communication, allowing users to access security data no matter where they are. The convenience factor will encourage higher usage and acceptance, which in turn will increase new application developments.”

Another marketing executive extolled the virtues of “Web-based” technology saying it was “very well suited to conventional access control.” He cited three primary benefits it brought to the table:

  • Improved workflow by allowing non-security personnel to enter data and queue up badge additions/deletions/changes for an authorized security decision-maker to simply review and approve and help in streamlining the whole paperless process.
  • Provide for limited access functions to authorize users of portions of the security management system from any connected Web browser and eliminating the need for occasional users to have physical access to the full workstation environment.
  • Allow for improved mobility of the security staff through wireless PDA connectivity to the security system. 

“Because of these benefits, and others, functions will continue to migrate from dedicated security workstations to Web servers,” said this marketing exec.

There has been no bigger disruptor in the access control systems world than the migration from clunky analog technology to the dynamic data-rich platforms of today’s IP-enabled systems. The enhanced interoperability and openness this environment provides has unleashed possibilities we only had on the drawing tables a decade ago,

This 2018 Access Control Technology supplement is full of those new worlds, spanning the spectrum from mobile and wireless to challenges of PoE based systems. We invite you to read what’s powering today’s access control market.

Steve Lasky is Editorial Director for the Southcomm Security Media Group, which includes SecurityInfoWatch.comSecurity Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine and Security Technology Executive magazine. Reach him at [email protected]