Access control market is open to the idea of open standards

The access control industry continues to play second fiddle to the video surveillance industry in terms of its adoption of open standards, according to IHS Inc.


IMS Research (acquired by IHS, Inc.)The drive to integrate and modernize access control systems is creating a stir around open standards for the access control industry, which is set to top $2.3 billion globally by the end of 2013, up from $2.1 billion in 2011, according to IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc.

The access control industry continues to play second fiddle to the video surveillance industry in terms of its adoption of open standards. Despite attempts by associations such as the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to bring open standards to access control, implementation remains stagnant and questions from many suppliers have been left unanswered.

“IEC 60839-11-1, which could be voted on later this year, could have a big impact on the manufacturing and interoperability of thousands of access control systems,” said Blake Kozak, senior analyst for senior analyst for access control, fire and security at IHS. “The proposed standard specifies not only the minimum functionality, performance requirements and test methods for electronic access control systems but also the components used for physical access in and around buildings.”

Today, each access control panel has its own engine and firmware that works with software architected for a particular solution. Additionally, there are databases that utilize specific schemas, making it difficult for end users to use panels from different manufacturers in the same installation. By rolling out open standards, many of these problems can be overcome. However, the vision is by no means a reality and the access control industry faces an uphill battle. 

“Some vendors are actively touting open standards between the panels and software, while other vendors believe such standards may limit the market and hurt those players that only manufacture panels,” Kozak continued. “Furthermore, some argue that open standards will only be fully utilized for smaller and midsized applications, while large applications will need a customized solution because in some cases, open standards could reduce the amount of functionality that current, proprietary solutions allow.”

Others have agreed in that open standards for access control have a cleaner fit within hosted and managed solutions, which typically are more oriented toward information-technology purposes.

In most cases, the primary benefit of open standards is not to reduce “vendor lock,” a phenomenon in which customers cannot switch to a new supplier because they are dependent on a specific vendor for its products and services. Rather, the main advantage that standards bring is to allow ease of integration with different systems, such as access control and video surveillance, or access control and HVAC.

A perception in the industry has been that some end users don’t upgrade or change brands because it would be too costly and the integration wouldn’t work well. However, this is not always the case. In most instances, end users simply don’t change their system—i.e., software and panels—to another brand, not because of vendor lock but because the system works the way it was intended. Viewed this way, vendor lock does not play a significant role in the argument for open standards.

Overall, open standards for access control could bring a dramatic change for vendors and alter the face of the access control industry as it is known today. However, a more realistic alternative is that open standards will be offered by vendors as part of a portfolio, but uptake will remain with proprietary or semi-proprietary solutions in the medium term. While it is expected that new, proposed standards will be presented in 2013, the access control industry will still lag far behind the video surveillance industry due to the complexity of access control systems.

- Posted by CFE Media, Plant Engineering, Control Engineering

See other Control Engineering postings on research

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.