Advanced Analytics: The Cool Tool for Access Control

July 11, 2022
How AI is changing the paradigm

This article originally appeared in Access Control Trends & Technology, an annual bonus publication to Security Business magazine and Security Technology Executive magazine.

The paradigm shift in physical security from a reactionary and defensive proposition to a more proactive stance has characterized the migration of advanced analytics into almost every platform. Security end-user demanding systems that are faster and more intelligent, and at the same time cost-efficient and better suited for integrated solutions, are looking for more than technology that simply detects and deters.

This improvement in security operations at the enterprise level is also addressing the convergence of physical and cybersecurity threats while easing the migration into a more defined digital world. As stated in a recent Security Industry Association (SIA) report: “Security will move beyond video surveillance and access control with features such as autonomous reporting, monitoring and response. Autonomous security systems will communicate with each other and with people and will act on their own to collect more information and trigger complex safety protocols. Security technology will operate with predictive intelligence and will be deeply integrated with building systems…”

AI Solutions are Not Just for Video Surveillance

For example, says Sam Joseph, co-founder and chief executive officer of Hakimo, whose company develops software for the physical security industry powered by artificial intelligence (AI), “suppose you work at Google, or any big enterprise and you have offices in San Francisco and in New York, and suppose you are in the San Francisco office, or somewhere on the west coast, logging into your email using single sign-on or any other standard techniques. If someone uses your badge or a cloned badge of yours in New York, these two pieces of information are stored in completely separate systems. No one will notice that there is no system connecting the two, and a security breach as obvious as this goes completely undetected today.”

Joseph, like many technologists who have made their way into the physical security industry because they see a sector that is moving forward despite itself, contends that physical security systems have lagged behind cybersecurity advancements for the previous two decades because many systems operators are overwhelmed with incoming data and constant alerts that distract more than inform and that is more than most humans can manage.

“This was a problem that cybersecurity faced in the 2000s. Fifteen, twenty years ago when cybersecurity systems started generating a lot of alerts, there was no way a human analyst or a human operator could monitor them all effectively,” Joseph continues. “Physical security has reached that point only now. And one reason convergence is getting delayed is that cybersecurity is way ahead in terms of tools and techniques. Physical security is still lagging behind.”

Access Control Systems Expand Capabilities with AI 

AI software applications like Joseph and his team develop, with their data analytics algorithms, can also analyze alarms across time and diagnose faulty hardware, such as door sensors and sensors. Pointing out anomalies in cardholder behavior is a crucial tool for access control accountability. The software can point out impossible travel (the same card being used at multiple locations within a short duration which is physically impossible), unusual time or location of usage.

Those strengths have been more than tested over the last 24 months with the lingering COVID crisis that has staggered office time for workers and challenged employers to provide an extra measure when it comes to duty of care. The mindset of what an access control system is and what it should do has been turned on its head. For Joseph, the present environment has been a motivating element for a changing technology segment.

“COVID was a significant change for the physical security departments within enterprises because everyone started turning to physical security and asking, ‘How many people are there in the building today? What's our occupancy right now?’ That data was always there in your Lenel database or in your C-CURE systems, but nobody cared to leverage it. This crisis has shown, in some sense, the value that the data sitting in these systems have in general for security, health and safety. It also showed how difficult it is to do something extremely basic,” Joseph says. “We literally have talked to customers who were running reports daily in Lenel, exporting into a spreadsheet, and then copy-pasting the data into a different spreadsheet and before finally building graphs on their own tools to show how building utilization is changing across time.”

Joseph continues that it is all about the software now. And when he and his company talk about software, it is an AI-driven solution. “We put zero hardware in the field. We just take in the existing cameras, existing access control systems and use our algorithms.”

About the Author: Steve Lasky is a 34-year veteran of the security industry and an award-winning journalist. He is the editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Security Group, which includes magazines Security Technology Executive, Security Business and Locksmith Ledger International and top-rated webportal Steve can be reached at [email protected].

About the Author

Steve Lasky | Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief/Security Technology Executive

Steve Lasky is a 34-year veteran of the security industry and an award-winning journalist. He is the editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Security Group, which includes the magazine's Security Technology Executive, Security Business, and Locksmith Ledger International, and the top-rated website He is also the host of the SecurityDNA podcast series.Steve can be reached at [email protected]