Nexkey Releases 2021 Access Control Trends Review

The annual review reveals 91% of remote workers plan to return to the office, while 68% of those who have returned feel satisfied to be back.

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Nexkey, a provider of mobile access control technology, has released the second annual Access Control Trends Review, which reveals most people are happily returning to the office in the next few months, and there is a shift toward smartphone-based access control.

Nexkey surveyed 1771 people, 300 of them managing office access, to understand the current and future state of the access control industry.

Highlights from the survey include:

  • 91% of remote workers plan to return to the office
  • 85% of people returning to the office plan to return by September 2021
  • 68% who already have returned to the office are happy to be back
  • Yet, 68.7% office workers still use unsecure keycards, fobs and keys
  • 9% of people today use smartphones to access their workplace, the No. 1 choice among users, an increase of 64% compared to last year
  • 85% office managers want more doors to have access control, 10% increase from last year
  • The No. 1 reason holding people back getting more access control is that it is too expensive

Return to the office

At Nexkey, we have seen more and more businesses return to work after a huge decline in occupancy starting in April 2020. It has been a slow ascent but as of June, it seems like occupancy has finally reached pre-pandemic levels.

Confirmed by this survey, 68% of people are currently working in the office full-time or part-time, most having a flexible schedule continuing to work from home.

For those still working at home, 91% will return to the office either part-time or full-time, and very soon. 87% of those will make their return by September 2021. Most will return with a flexible schedule. 62% will go to the office once a week or less.

People are generally happy to go back. 68% of office workers who have already returned from remote working feel satisfied to be back in the office. 

The shift to mobile post-pandemic

As people return to the office, more than half, 53%, of people who manage access in their own building think access control is more important due to the pandemic.

Since last year’s survey, the same percentage of workers still use key cards, 44%, yet 9% of all office workers surveyed use a smartphone to unlock their doors, an increase of 64% from last year.

The vast majority (98%) of office workers said they have a smartphone today. Our smartphones are always on us and have become an extension of us. It’s no surprise that the smartphone was the No. 1 choice for users across all credentials, beating key cards, key fobs and pin codes.

Security is still a big issue with keys, key cards and fobs

66% of office workers prefer security over convenience, the same percentage seen mid lockdown. Key cards continue to be the most common access credential, especially in companies with over 1000 employees. However, the data also shows they have the most vulnerabilities.

It is scary to see that 1 out of 4 let someone borrow their key, key card, or fob to unlock their workplace. 33% of businesses had to change the locks because keys from an employee were not returned, and of those people 43% had to do that, astoundingly so, at least 4X in the last year to stay secure. 

What is the potential for access control in the future and what is holding the market back?

85% of office administrators want more doors to be outfitted with access control, an increase of 10% from last year. The No. 1 reason holding people back to get more access control is that it  is too expensive.

When it comes to the price for the ideal access control system, 77% said they would only pay under $1,000 per door. Interestingly it seems more people are willing to pay a monthly fee than in the prior year. 54% would pay $11 or more per door for the ideal access control platform, an increase of 4% from a year ago.

Verdict: Stronger demand and acceptance for Cloud-based models

Nexkey’s latest Access Control Trends Report shows that the pandemic has accelerated a move towards the mobile credential and increased the demand and acceptance for Cloud-based access control systems. People are unhappy with the security flaws of legacy systems and want more out of access control.

They not only want to keep bad people out of their spaces but want to support the return of the good people back to the office. As an industry we not only have to adapt to the needs of the customer in the here and now but stay ahead of those needs by building products that not only lock and unlock doors but are intelligent, provide insights into occupancy and flow of people and tie better into the overall concept of smart buildings.

The full report can be downloaded here. Registration required.

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