The Near-Term Future of Access Control

Tremendous Expansion of Remote Capability


As long as the infrastructure is in place, a WAN (wide area network) can cover the entire world. With IP (Internet protocol) connectivity, the concept of “remote” becomes outdated in many applications. The security system is part of the network, and as long as the network is there, the physical security unit is there as well.

Nevertheless, beyond networking there is still some need to provide connectivity for remote applications where appropriate infrastructure does not exist. Manufacturers still need to provide for a true remote location with a dial-up connection, for example. Wireless is another solution for near-distance remote capability.

Troubleshooting the Network

It is important for integrators to have networking skills for the service aspect of their work as well as for system design. As the trend toward network-based connectivity continues, integrator service professionals need to work with customer IT departments, or do standalone troubleshooting of communication on the network.

In a parallel scenario, remote access to trusted vendors will allow the troubleshooting to be done from the integrator or manufacturer’s office, reducing service cost tremendously. If service technicians have to be dispatched, they will understand in advance what the problem is and have skills matched to it. A future trend to self-diagnostic and self-repairing equipment may alter the scenario even further.

The Cost Picture

Despite inflation, improvements in manufacturing technology will lower manufacturing costs, just as they have in computers. In their net effect, electronics costs tend to go down as value features such as memory capacity are increased. The real cost of systems equipment will actually be lower, considering the feature sets available through the equipment.

On the other hand, software development is increasing in complexity and manufacturers’ software development costs are increasing over time. Even though software development tools have improved, today and tomorrow’s systems need to increase in capability, requiring development time and effort. As the cost for electronics decreases relative to inflation, the cost for software will probably increase. The value is still there, however, because the new technology will include many features that were formerly developed manually.

Merging and Converging

In the future, access control and CCTV technology will probably be merged into a single solution where any event triggers the real time recording and logs the occurrence. The converging technologies will provide more security from a recording point of view: the information will be more available and event management well be improved. Integrators and administrators will use converging cell phone/PDA technology to manage the access system.

Cell phones and other handheld technology may replace access cards, and first responders can be tied in by real-time CCTV-based viewing or receive email or cell phone notification while they are still on route.

System administrators will have access control system terminals on their personal devices so they can remotely manage and control the system. The security industry is already involved with RFID (radio frequency ID), so this will be a natural convergence.

Mark Isaacson is the vice president of engineering at Runnemede, N.J.-based Sielox. He began with a degree in computer science from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Professionally involved in software and hardware development, systems architecture, technology development and application, he has seen
and contributed to the evolution of technology in the access control industry for more than twenty years.

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