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Changes in the access control market

The physical security industry is experiencing a number of changes as new technologies emerge and allow existing solutions to be more effective in their crime-deterring efforts. While there are a number of tools often used to eliminate the presence of crime, access control systems are one of the most fundamental and efficient.

In many cases, an organization’s access control system is its first and last line of defense against an intruder entering a facility unwelcomed. As the identity management industry evolves, access control systems are maturing and developing more robust methods to authenticate individuals.

A new report by IMS Research said that smart cards and the prevalence of near-field communications are breathing new life into the $400 million access control system industry. Smart cards, in particular, are estimated to make up 40 percent of the worldwide credential market. In time, these solutions will be used for more applications than physical access control.

What to ask when considering access control
Although access control systems have been around for some time and are already being used throughout the private sector, some decision-makers have yet to implement the technology and therefore need to establish how it will be leveraged. While the solutions can be used to prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining entry to a building, this is not their only purpose, IMS Research noted.

As the digital landscape develops and integrates into the business sector, decision-makers can also use the tools to ensure only authorized employees have access to critical workstations and other sensitive areas around a facility, the news source said.

Companies also need to consider how identities will be managed when access control systems are deployed. Smart cards are particularly useful in regard to this concern, as the chip embedded into the device can monitor activity and ensure individuals only use the ID cards appropriately, IMS Research reported. However, smart cards are not the only option available.

Competition heats up in the access control industry
IMS Research said that in addition to smart cards, NFC technologies are gaining momentum, as the contactless capabilities make for a more convenient and efficient access control solution.

A separate report by MarketsandMarkets echoed the maturing NFC industry, forecasting the market to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 35 percent through 2016, at which time it will generate more $34 billion in revenue, up from only slightly more than $7 billion in 2011.

One of the benefits of NFC is that the technology can be integrated with smartphones. MarketsandMarkets noted that only 5 percent of mobile devices were NFC-enabled in 2011, though this number will jump to 46 percent in 2016. This will become increasingly useful as more businesses embrace bring your own device, allowing employees to use personal mobile gadgets in the workplace.

In addition to NFC, advances in biometrics are making the ability to identify an individual based on physical and behavioral characteristics more possible, according to a report by A&S Magazine.

“Biometrics will continue to increase in popularity, and with improvements in the reliability and usability of facial recognition, coupled with the advances in the video surveillance world, it won’t be long before these two combine to provide facial recognition as standard from the surveillance system,” access control expert John Davies said, according to A&S Magazine.

As access control and integrated security systems become more prevalent in the private sector, it will be important that decision-makers understand where the industry is going. In doing so, they will be able to deploy the most effective solutions for their particular organization, allowing them to ensure only authorized individuals have access to sensitive resources.

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