Industry Influencer: Traditional Access Control Systems Become Smarter

Sept. 10, 2021
Today’s access and entry solutions depend on intelligence at the source to mitigate risk

For Clayton Brown, smarter is not simply the qualifying adjective in his company’s name, it is the principal vision of how he and his team see the future of the physical security landscape. As aptly stated in his company's website bio, “Clayton is driving new value into the traditional access and entrance control markets with a technology framework that integrates intelligence into control systems.”

Brown, the Executive Vice President of Smarter Security Inc., a progressive provider of secured entrance and turnstile solutions out of Austin, Texas, believes that the evolution of physical access control systems has reached the tipping point as faster, more intelligent devices begin to crowd out traditional read and report solutions. He contends that legacy systems that are powered by a series of analog scheduled events are quickly migrating to systems comprised of multiple microprocessors with neural network programming.

“Traditional access control systems have had a static mindset, and they were a sensor or a controlled system that was meant to do their one thing and do it very well. This emerging physical intelligence is bringing access and entry control out of its silo to make it more responsive because all of these devices that were previously performing just one task can now multi-task and analyze,” says Brown. “These legacy access control systems rely on a scheduled waiting list of who was allowed when and where, but unfortunately, because it wasn't looking at any of the behaviors of the individual, it wasn't looking at any of the activity that might be on the other side of the door. Because it wasn't able to adjust based on any of that information and because it was just looking at a schedule, that's left a lot of users of access control in a forensic posture that new technologies can help adjust.”

Using proactive security technology hardware and software to assess risk and respond with appropriate mitigation solutions defines the new paradigms of access control and secured entrance systems.

“Access controls were meant to do a few specific things; it was meant to make sure that the user showed the right credential with the right door at the right time. But as organizations have evolved, our operations have become a little more distributed, dynamic, and diverse. So, while the legacy solutions are still fantastic for basic controls, we've seen an increase in end users looking to get more value out of their capital expenses. Today, users are pressured to move some of the security investments from what an organization might see as a cost sink into some different value-add propositions that you can share throughout the enterprise,” Brown explains.

Intelligence is the Framework

Using the intelligence framework as its differentiator, Brown’s company designs secured entrances that embody advanced, user-friendly technology. Their unique risk-adaptive physical access control solution applies advanced neural network technology to detect anomalous behaviors. It automatically adapts access permissions per our customers’ prescribed responses. In today’s challenging security environment, Brown admits flexibility is a selling point for his clients.

“New solutions need to be flexible. And that flexibility has a lot of different levels. Flexibility may mean integrating with the systems or data constructs the users already have. Make the logic flexible so that the evolving solution is able to meet future needs as well, “says Brown, referring to new challenges organizations are facing like social unrest, and creating a preemptive solution that can analyze intent if there's a crowd forming either at the perimeter or in the company lobby. “Users need to restrict access because they know tailgating events are about to occur. These past two years certainly accelerated some technology trends, but it's definitely made us more aware of some of the risks as well. It is a fascinating time to see the convergence of technology.”

As end-users look to future-proof their security solutions, Brown figures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a mobile workforce may rewrite how security interacts with its clients.

“I do believe the end-users absolutely are looking for sustainable solutions when it comes to access control as organizations try to sort out the new normal. Everyone's re-evaluating their real-estate footprint, their work-from-home policies. Companies are reassessing everything. They want to keep staff safe with frictionless solutions as they come in, but they also want them secure. So how do you do that? To the point we were just saying about flexibility, people need to get solutions that are open to software and open to APIs,” adds Brown. “Whatever that risk is in your organization, your solutions need to be adaptive, flexible and future-proofed.”