Access control equipment market for US Government sector poised to grow again this year

IMS Research reports that the market for access control equipment is expected to grow 3.5% in 2013 because of increased demand for identification and verification equipment and upgrades to existing infrastructure.


Despite spending cuts from a sequestered budget and a still-recovering economy, suppliers of innovative, high-security access control solutions to the U.S. government can expect modest growth this year, according to a new report entitled “The World Market for Electronic Physical Access Control Equipment – 2013 Edition” from IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. 

The market in 2013 for access control equipment intended for the U.S. government sector is projected to reach approximately $198 million, up from $191 million in 2012. This year’s anticipated growth of 3.5% actually improves on the 1.8% expansion enjoyed last year, based on 2011 revenue levels of $188 million. 

“The implications of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12—or HSPD 12—which mandates a standard for a secure and reliable form of identification to be used by all federal employees and contractors, continues to resonate through the access control industry, particularly for the private sector,” said Blake Kozak, senior analyst for access control, fire and security at IHS. 

“Comparable to Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards, Commercial Identity Verification (CIV) cards continue to gain interest in the private sector. But while CIV credential specifications are technically compatible with those of PIV-I—both of which were designed to take advantage of the infrastructure of the PIV program—a CIV credential issuer does not need to comply with the strict policy framework associated with issuance and use of both PIV and PIV-I credentials. These cards are specifically to be used for organizations that want greater internal identity and access control, which is based on PIV technology.” 

More directly related to government applications is the recent update of Federal Information Processing Standard Publication (FIPS) 201 to FIPS 201-2, which demotes the Cardholder Unique Identifier (CHUD) as an authentication device. This will help to drive the market for high-assurance readers in the government space, although the rollout time frame currently remains unknown. But even if CHUD readers will more accurately verify identity, that market is expected to remain in its infancy because of the higher price point of the readers, at least in the short term. 

Finally, other government programs such as Global Entry could also help drive growth for access control technologies like biometrics. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for preapproved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Historically, only fingerprinting has been used for this program, but discussions have taken place on expanding the hardware to include iris and facial recognition. If iris and facial recognition are used in this application, more private--as well as less secure—locations may also decide to adopt the technology. 

Moving forward, the U.S government is expected to continue adopting new technology and to update its policies in order to protect critical infrastructure, despite budget cuts. For their part, security solutions at high-risk locations will need to continue to evolve in the digital era with other technologies to avoid security leaks that make networks vulnerable to malicious activity.

In their aim to create a more secure and seamless network, governments around the world have begun to ramp up security protocols and integration with transportation. It is only a matter of time, then, before private-sector organizations follow suit.  

“The World Market for Electronic Physical Access Control Equipment – 2013 Edition, in its seventh edition, featuring more than 300 tables and figures and 115 pages of qualitative analysis. The report includes unit shipments, average sales prices and revenues estimated for 2012 and forecast through 2017. The market is segmented by country, product type and sales channel. It is an essential tool for executives assessing or seeking an in-depth understanding of this market.

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