What’s Next for Access Control and Facilities Management
Connectivity and convenience are key priorities across multiple business functions and capacities — access control very much included.
They also emerge as key themes in the latest edition of a key market report. Using new data collected from a survey of 400 security, facilities management and IT professionals around the world, the Wireless Access Control Report 2023 identifies trends set to influence this market over the coming years.
The new Report includes contributions from professionals at Omdia and Digital Access Solutions experts at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions.
“A particular focus of the 2023 Report is access control’s potential impact on the wider business — as an enabler for business intelligence, cost efficiency and of course better sustainability performance,” explains Richard Sharp, Director, Product Line Management, Digital Access Solutions at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA.
“The Report also highlights ways for security departments and consultants to contribute directly to strategic business performance.”
Drivers for boosting convenience and efficiency
Convenience — effectively just another way of saying “operational efficiency” — has triumphed. Technology end-users prize flexible, scalable technologies which are easy to use and to integrate with companion systems. In the Report survey, 93% of respondents agreed that compatible, integratable standards are important when choosing or recommending access control.
“Security is often assumed these days,” adds Sharp. “The role of access control is now to help businesses work smarter, saving time and costs in the process.”
The most important technology for convenience is the smartphone. Data from the 2023 Report highlights the growing deployment of mobile credentials in organizations of almost every size and type.
Among the organizations surveyed, 29% said they had already rolled out mobile credentials, in place of or (more often) alongside traditional cards, badges and the like. A further 40% expected to issue smartphone credentials within the next 2 years. According to Omdia research, “no other equipment type in the Physical Access Control (PACS) market is expected to experience a comparable growth rate.”
In most cases, the main motivation is convenience. Survey respondents placed convenience above both cost and security, when asked to list the benefits of mobile credentials. Even in cases where a rollout of mobile is not yet imminent, there is good reason to invest in mobile-ready solutions.
“Future-proofing every investment you make in access control technology, to ensure it offers the option of a future rollout of mobile credentials, is now essential,” says Sharp.
Are security teams ready for holistic cyber/physical security practice?
A growing number of businesses already adopt a holistic approach to security, combining cyber and physical under one internal roof. “It’s not enough to have an efficient, convenient and secure access control system if it doesn’t have the right digital (cyber) protection,” notes the Report. “If the digital part is insecure or flawed, the system is vulnerable, and the same goes for the mechanical part.”
For this reason, cyber-security compliance will soon be a condition of sale for any digital product launched within the EU — and therefore, given the size of the European market, relevant for manufacturers from all over the world.
Yet many ‘traditional’ security staff remain uncertain about relevant regulations, including the European Cybersecurity Act and NIS2, which hits its compliance deadline in 2024.
Indeed, presented with 4 important regional laws and directives which are (or soon will be) critical to cyber- and physical security, 55% of Report survey respondents did not recognize any of them.
Only 12% said they were fully prepared for the implications of cyber-security legislation.
“There is cause for optimism: this is at least a ‘known unknown’,” says Sharp. “It’s now the job of industry leaders like ASSA ABLOY to help customers and partners calculate their next steps in filling this important gap. Now is a good time to upgrade both systems and knowledge.”
How security managers can influence wider business strategy
Who are the main influencers for important decisions around security and access control technology, including budgets? According to Report data, all too often it is not the people who will commission and manage these systems.
However, a deepening focus on cost and workflow efficiency presents an opportunity for security managers and directors to show how their function can contribute to business success.
“Data gathered from security systems can be used in many other areas of the business, such as managing the hybrid working patterns of the staff and improving energy efficiency by only heating and/or lighting areas of the building which are occupied,” notes the Report.
Integration across building systems is critical. The flexible, scalable, interoperable system is about more than just convenience. According to Deloitte*: “The value of integration has long been ignored and those early adopters who have embraced advanced integration have seen those benefits, the reduced risk, and cost savings integrations create.”
Sustainability is another important area where access control decisions make a rapid impact. Wireless locking solutions are faster and less intrusive to install. They use much less energy during usage than wired solutions and usually require very little maintenance. Choosing wireless access control can be an important element in an organization’s sustainability strategy: 89% of survey respondents said their access control technology decisions would be influenced by sustainability concerns.
“Security can escape its silo,” Sharp adds. “Indeed, it must, if organizations are to thrive in the challenging economic climate ahead.”
The 24-page Wireless Access Control Report 2023 includes wider trends coverage and exclusive expert analysis. Download your free copy.