Cloud-based access control services hold enormous growth potential

Dec. 9, 2014
IHS analyst discusses market drivers, barriers to adoption

According to a new report from IHS, the global market size for Access Control-as-a-Service (ACaaS), which consists of cloud-based hosted and managed access control solutions, is expected to exceed $530 million by 2018 and $1.8 billion by 2025. Just three years ago, however, the market for ACaaS in the Americas was only estimated to be worth about $120 million. IHS said it expects global adoption of cloud and virtualization in other sectors outside of security to help spur this substantial growth increase.

While managed services make up a greater portion of the revenues generated by the market, Blake Kozak, senior analyst for security and building technologies at IHS, said that hosted systems make up the majority of cloud-based access control systems in the industry in terms of units deployed. For the sake of comparison, Kozak said that users of managed services could be charged between $80 to $130 per door, while a hosted solution may only cost the customer in the range of $15 to $25 per door.

“It seems that integrators are really looking more and more for these types of systems and more RMR related architectures because as hardware becomes a little bit more commoditized, they’re going to be additional revenue streams and that it where the security market is heading with all of these added services,” explained Kozak. “It doesn’t necessarily add to (a user’s) level of security, but it does make things a little bit more convenient and you can utilize the data in a different way.”

Additionally, Kozak said that there are more companies that can provide the infrastructure necessary to support cloud-based access control today, such as Verizon, AT&T, Microsoft, VMware, Brivo, and KeyScan, than there just a few years ago.

“You’re seeing a lot of integrators looking to add (cloud access control) to their portfolio. Most integrators don’t actually focus on hosted and managed services primarily, so it’s a very small portion of what they do,” said Kozak. “Of all of the conversations I’ve had with integrators, I don’t think there was even one that said hosted and managed services controlled their primary business. It’s a very small segment of what they do, so I think a lot of people are looking at what their capabilities are and looking to the future.”

The primary factors that are expected to drive growth in demand for ACaaS, according to Kozak, are pretty much the same as they have always been including; reduced infrastructure footprints, shifting security from a capital expenditure to an operational expenditure, and simplifying the use of access control systems.     

“Generally, in small organizations, the people managing the systems oftentimes don’t’ have a high-level of expertise in access control. Or, if a company has somebody managing a system for two years and then they leave, they’re left wondering how to operate it, so again it’s these small sites that are driving that growth,” explained Kozak. “It’s also commercial real estate where you have facility managers that have to manage multiple buildings. They want a system that controls access for their tenants that they don’t have to worry about.”     

One adoption hurdled cited repeatedly by systems integrators and others is a knowledge gap that still exists in the security industry about the capabilities and benefits of cloud services.

“I think it’s just about educating the market on the benefits. The smart home market took off when, not necessarily ADT came out with it, but when everyone else started to market these solutions and you could go to a Best Buy store and see all of these connected devices,” said Kozak. “It’s also just a matter of time. Cloud-based access has been around for a long time and some people have mentioned that they’ve offered it in some form for 20 years now, so it’s certainly nothing new but it remains a different offering. Not everyone is going to want to have their services managed offsite. Some people may not have the need or some people may not see the need for it. Just like everybody doesn’t need biometrics, it’s just a matter of it’s an offering today and I think it will continue to be an offering. Once more and more organizations move all of their different systems to the cloud… I think access control could go that way.” 

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief,

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.