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Recent Trends & Future of Access Control in the post COVID Era

2020 was a challenging year marked by global tumult with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This unprecedented and widespread healthcare system crisis has changed the lives of people worldwide. This disruption has not only given rise to the new norm of mask & glove protocols, social distancing and travel restrictions but has also increased the need for smart safety measures. Be it an apartment or workplace, government buildings, public venues like shopping malls, restaurants, auditoriums & museums, educational institutions, libraries, workout centers or banks; people are demanding more from their security landscape which is wireless, contactless solutions and meanwhile not compromising on their health, safety, flexibility, comfort and accessibility. 

Challenges faced during the epidemic, hybrid working style and ever-increasing security threats are pushing all market segments to adapt Smart Access Control System for enhanced security and accountability in their businesses. Here are a few physical security and access control trends which are expected to boom in this post-pandemic age:

  • Smartphone-based Access

The smartphone is not just a device used for connecting with the world but is also a key that provides access to multiple doors, facilities and assets. With access control becoming an important issue in this pandemic, smartphone-based access control is an easily available, cost-effective and simple solution that enables employees, visitors, guests and staff to have seamless access to the designated area or material in a convenient and safe way. Traditional key cards are now getting replaced by smartphones because of their strength to integrate digital and physical identity, authentication and security. In the next decade, mobile-based access control is expected to become one of the leading trends in the security systems industry, opening up huge business opportunities to the smart access control system providers. 

  • Wearable Device-based Access

With innovative technologies popping their head in the consumer electronics industry, the world is definitely getting smaller and so are our devices. Wearable devices used in access control solutions are undoubtedly the next-gen trending prospect and is more personal to the users. It is as simple as just waving a hand and enabling the access control to open the door!

With wearable devices like smartwatches, smart rings or a smart necklace creating a new ecosystem in the smart access control industry; people are enjoying unparalleled security & convenience. Besides tracking the real-time information of a person and acting as a key to access doors; the wearables can also locate and monitor the people to optimize the workflow.  

  • Cloud-based Access

Next in the line and the most popular of security trends is the Cloud-based access control system. This system enables the user to remotely control and monitor multiple doors and locations effortlessly through the internet and with zero or minimum capital expenditure. The cloud-based access system is gaining accelerated progression across all industry segments due to the flexibility, easy integration procedure, security and compatibility that they offer; supporting the user to reap the benefits of zero downtime, simple access revocation process and constant security data backups. 

A cloud-based access system provides its users with an option to opt for a subscription-based access control model tailored to their business needs. This sweeps the concept of the traditional hardware-driven access control model and offers SAAS (Software as a Service) business model, where the user pays monthly subscription charges for the software to foster over-the-air security and accountability. 

  • Multi-factor Authentication through Biometric Technology

As time advances, the security landscape has also changed; making it the need of the hour to adapt to contactless and doubly-sure access control systems. For decades, the customary biometric system was vastly used across all industries with high installation costs and accuracy issues. Currently, contactless biometric technology has put a full stop to all these hassles by allowing users to authenticate themselves through their smartphone either by using fingerprint or face detection while accessing a door or a facility. This multi-factorial authentication system merges the digital identity with physical characteristics. That is, it uses both the smartphone as well as the user’s biometric specification to enhance security, control and monitoring coupled with a touchless access experience.   

  • Wireless Access Control

After living with the wired systems for almost 40 years, the World is now moving towards wireless technologies and solutions. The access control industry also offers wireless solutions to all the security & access requirements backed up with the already well-established Wireless Mesh Technologies namely Bluetooth (BLE) Mesh Technology, Thread Technology and Zigbee Technology. Wireless access control systems can not only be installed on the existing doors without making any alterations to the property aesthetics but can also transform the mechanical locks to be responsive and intelligent! Such systems can save more than 80% cost as compared to traditional wired systems and can be more reliable if designed and deployed correctly.

Key Takeaways

The emerging trends in the access control industry focus on innovative and cutting-edge technologies which allow contactless & wireless smart access, authentication, identification and surveillance; to help the world adapt to the new normal post-pandemic. As we gaze into the future of the access control industry, it is indisputable that Safety still remains the top priority, besides adapting to the ever-changing environments. With more and more people relying on wireless and internet-based services, the future of smart access control and physical security market looks promising in 2021-22.