Demand grows for scalable mobile access solutions

Article by HID Global Physical Access Control Solution, Regional Manager Mature Markets for A/NZ Steve Katanas

HID Global, in partnership with IFSEC Global, recently released the 2022 State of Physical Access Control Report for the fourth consecutive year, revealing the current state of physical access control systems as well as trends and opportunities future.

In response to COVID-19, organizations have quickly had to implement more contactless access control solutions. This demand has helped accelerate the adoption of mobile access, which has allowed organizations to place credentials on users’ smartphones instead of or in addition to their plastic ID card.

The pandemic has also affected fundamental organizational practices, especially in the way people work. Millions of people around the world have suddenly shifted to remote working and as a result the changing requirements of access control systems for security, facilities and IT teams have had to evolve faster than ever. Today, many of these work practices remain, creating a new hybrid way of working.

This approach to hybrid and remote working has exacerbated some of the challenges already existing in the access control market and has caused companies to adopt new technologies sooner than they otherwise would have.

Physical Access Control Systems (PACS) are a business asset that must work harder than ever to provide the access data required by an organization – enabling organizations to protect their facilities, assets, networks and resources with the most high level of security. Today’s PACS must be flexible and efficient to meet new and evolving requirements, reinforced by survey results.

Increased demand for mobile access solutions

Mobile phones are used for almost every aspect of working life, so it makes sense to extend this to access control in a number of ways. In fact, mobile phone penetration in Australian markets stands at around 80%, one of the highest adoption rates in the world.

The latest report on the state of physical access control revealed that the demand for mobile access solutions has increased significantly. In 2020, only 28% of respondents were in the process of moving to mobile technology or already had it. The figure now stands at 38%. An additional 8% of respondents have switched to mobile readers since 2020 (24% vs. 16%), while only 34% currently have no upgrade plan, compared to 44% in 2020.

Interestingly, 11% of those who have switched to mobile readers have yet to deploy mobile credentials, underpinning a point that many analysts and integrators are witnessing: as the market rapidly expands , the technology will likely work in conjunction with physical credentials rather than displacing them altogether. . Another 20% said they plan to deploy mobile-ready equipment within the next three years.

Additionally, 41% of respondents said mobile access would be one of the top three features required in a new access control system, and 18% said mobile access will have the biggest impact on improving their physical access control system. Another 51% thought it would be one of the top three trends shaping the industry in the future.

High Mobile Adoption Enables Contactless Solutions

Prior to the pandemic, some sectors such as food manufacturing, hotels, or medical facilities may have insisted on contactless entry mechanisms. By comparison, standard office and residential properties may have seen it as an “added benefit”, but not the primary driver of purchase. However, responses to this survey showed that this has now changed – with 43% of respondents citing contactless capabilities as one of their top three features required in a new access control system.

When it comes to pandemic response, by using an ID on a smartphone, users don’t have to worry as much about encountering high-touch surfaces. Omdia estimates that nearly 14.7 million mobile IDs were downloaded globally in 2020. This figure is only expected to increase as demand remains strong due to mobile’s contactless IDs, especially compared to mobile ID alternatives. physical handle or keyboard.

Mobile technology can provide a flexible way to issue and revoke credentials, where access management software solutions can work hand-in-hand to quickly deliver QR codes or access codes to people’s mobile devices. visitors. Plus, employees or regular users can find mobile credentials convenient and secure – it’s easy to leave home without a swipe card, but much harder to leave a mobile device behind.

Ultimately, a mobile access control upgrade can support plans to improve user convenience and help them leverage new technologies to improve their security posture – the two most important factors in putting upgrade physical access control.

The challenges of upgrading

While the benefits of upgrading access control systems are well established, several obstacles remain – the most obvious consideration is cost.

This factor was identified by 38% of respondents as their biggest barrier to upgrading, while 15% responded that there was a lack of compelling ROI and it was not a business priority for them. the budget.

Convenience remains a critical reason to upgrade – 60% of respondents cited “ease of use” as one of the top three features required in a new access control system – but users believe convenience can also be a challenge when upgrading. “Disruption to day-to-day operations” was cited by 10% of respondents, while 13% of respondents added that “compatibility with existing systems” can be a barrier to upgrading.

Additionally, 9% of respondents were concerned about the difficulties their team had in learning a new system, which can create tracking effects on initial user acceptance.

The demand for mobile access is higher in certain sectors. A perfect example is commercial real estate, where tenants and landlords are quickly seeing the value of PropTech solutions that incorporate mobile access. Overall, it provides a high user experience compared to issuing a plastic card.

It is important to note that mobile identity migrations differ from low frequency plastic migration to high frequency plastic migration. As many other departments will likely be involved in the switchover, internal policy, the C suite, and IT will all have a role to play in the process.

The future of access control

This research identified four key trends shaping the future of access control:

1. Open standards, integration and interoperability

Interoperability and open standards are becoming more important than thought two years ago, with an increase from 11% to 18%, a trend that is expected to shape the access control industry. Open standards and interoperable systems now allow new and currently implemented technologies to be “bolted to current systems,” requiring much less invasive planning and upgrade work.

2. Contactless solutions

There is no doubt that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of touchless access control – when asked the top three drivers for upgrades, over 50% of respondents in the Asia-Pacific region have selected “introduce contactless solutions in response to the pandemic”. Additionally, 44% of professionals believe that the trend towards touchless physical access control solutions will continue to shape the industry in the near future.

3. Mobile access

As noted earlier, this report showed a significant increase in demand for mobile access solutions. While security system administrators benefit from increased operational efficiency, employees and visitors may find mobile access more convenient and secure as they are more likely to have their mobile devices close at hand than their cards. of access.

4. Sustainability

Organizations around the world are prioritizing sustainability. They make a clear effort to understand how new purchases and upgrades to access control technology can impact sustainable practices. Approximately 28% of respondents consulted their sustainability departments regarding purchasing decisions. Additionally, 16% of respondents believe that energy saving solutions will be among the top three trends shaping the access control industry in the near future.

About Anne Wurtsbach

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