'Internet of Things' to drive increased adoption of IP access control

March 23, 2015
Industry needs to be ready to adapt as expectations of end users change

I have always believed that the best businesses are built on macro trends that drive entire markets.  The security industry is lucky enough be experiencing change and growth as a result of global trends affecting the way we live every day. 

Our world is becoming an interconnected web of IP addresses. The "Internet of Things" is driving dramatic change and opportunity. Video surveillance has already moved from analog to IP with better cameras and feature rich software management tools.  More importantly, IP cameras have created a customer base comfortable with low voltage data and power structures. Finally, tragic events and the rise of domestic terrorism have redefined security as both the ability to see what is going on and the ability to lock down all or part of a facility.  This means that video installs are expanding with access control, and vice versa.  These three trends are creating opportunity for savvy integrators and installers who are embracing IP access control to complement their network camera options thereby creating full solutions with low voltage architecture.

Why would Google pay $3.2 billion for Nest, a thermostat and smoke alarm company?  Google believes homes and eventually school districts, hospitals, corporate campuses and municipalities will be collecting data through a wide range of digital inputs.  This may include video and access control, but the impact on our industry is undeniable.  According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020 driving a revenue opportunity of over $4 trillion.  The core thing for us to understand is how our security consumers are now being trained to think.  Our customers will demand open platforms and data rich interfaces. 

In 2014, more than 50 percent of the cameras sold in North America were IP enabled carrying both data and power over a single Ethernet cable. Schools, hospitals and commercial sites embraced the technology and have experienced lower costs and world class video management. They understand and trust low voltage and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE).  The IT department has already built a working relationship with facilities and security.  The network is the backbone…or the glue in the organization.  Our customers are expecting simple and cost-effective physical solutions, both wireless and low voltage wired.  As their need for access control drives investment, they are expecting us to bring better and more creative solutions than closets filled with control panels and miles of electrical wiring.  Our customers are demanding modern solutions and connected network devices for not only sensors and video, but access control as well.

K-12 schools, higher education and healthcare were all early adopters of IP video surveillance, and they now face a problem: "Security" has been redefined. Sites now need to see what is happening and lock down facilities. They need to add access control. Pure IP access control creates a path.

Traditional access control requires significant panel and wiring infrastructure. Most systems force migration to new software. The barrier to access control becomes user disruption, cost and complexity. Pure IP access control eliminates all control panels and all dedicated access control wiring. The reader at the door stores permissions and acts as both a reader and controller. Power is provided by PoE and the electric strike or magnetic lock is powered off the reader-controller. The access control system can be managed by a full-featured access control software, but daily management can be also accessed through existing VMS clients such as Milestone and Video Insight.

It is clear that IP access control will continue to gain significant market share.  The speed of adoptions will be faster than the ten years it took for IP cameras, but how fast is hard to predict.  Strong integrators and installers are adding a pure IP access control option without walking away from their traditional solutions.  This allows them to address the needs of each particular site in the manner that fits.  This strategy allows the market to transition slowly or quickly, but the integrator is prepared to address the needs of the market.

Global macro trends are creating change in our market.  Expectations driven by the Internet of Things, the majority of surveillance cameras being IP, and the re-definition of security to include both video and access control are all driving demand.  The strongest integrators are making the decisions to allow their businesses to change with it.  Is your business ready?