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Why Access Control Is Ready to Ascend

In the security industry, there is often an ebb and flow where one technology may dominate while another seems to generate less excitement. But while we may praise video, another sometimes overlooked but valuable technology — access control — is just as important.

From Bleeding Edge to Leading Edge

For years Wiegand protocol, panels and proximity technology have been the way things are done. But our industry veterans point to several game-changers, some of which might be considered bleeding edge today, but will become the leading edge standards of tomorrow.

Most new access control systems today are looking toward smartcards; but going “cardless” may not be too far into the future, between increasingly cost-effective and workable biometric choices and the burgeoning NFC-enabled smartphones. Edge readers and low power options are also technologies to watch carefully.

“Low power is what I am watching more than anything else,” says an end-user operations engineer for a multinational corporation with more than 40,000 employees. “It is definitely heralding innovations that will help everyone in the long run. Doing more with less power is really critical for us because we generally keep our systems up all the time.”

He also loves the idea of biometrics. “I am a firm believer that biometrics via smartcards will get there,” he says. “We have used the technology as an extended pilot for years and have found it to be very reliable with a much greater level of security. Now that costs are coming down and compatibility questions have been answered, I will probably be upgrading some of our readers to biometrics.”

Matthew Ladd, president and COO, The Protection Bureau, looks forward to “panel-less” systems. “As networks continue to grow we will find more IT level access control card readers that just connect in through the software and everything will be done at the edge,” he says.

This will lead to the average integrator doing many more doors, Ladd adds. “Instead of only doing 10% of doors, it will be more in the 70% range as the ability to install quickly at the edge increases.”

This is really an exciting time for access control, Boxerbaum adds. “This marketplace goes well beyond the reader at the door, the panel or the head-end software. It really includes everything from the credential and identity management to the technologies to the locking systems, software, hardware, panels, GUIs, data interfaces, and other hardware and software components. Soon, using NFC, the card will not even be necessary. Access control technologies will continue on an evolutionary path for the foreseeable future — with perhaps a few revolutionary jumps along the way.”

In other words, expect just about everything to change! And whether you agree with these industry experts or not, their insights are a good example of best practices when developing or investing in new products. Obtaining hands-on voice-of-the-channel and customer input is crucial to a successful enterprise. I know it is invaluable to me and my clients, and hopefully to you, too.

Sandra Jones is principal of Sandra Jones and Co. (, a leading security industry resource and consulting firm located in Chardon, Ohio.


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Article Topics
Business Management · Access Control · Advisory Board Forum · Editorial Advisory Board · Near Field Communications · Sandy Jones · All Topics

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Advisory Board Forum, Editorial Advisory Board, Near Field Communications, Sandy Jones

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