Confidence growing in new access control technologies
Over the past few years I’ve witnesses many changes in the access control industry. The question that immediately comes to my mind is if changes began to take place during a downturn where budgets were tight, how will the market look in three or four years?
The search for new revenue streams have created a whirlwind of new opportunity and change for the security industry. More and more video suppliers are looking to add access control to their portfolio and vice versa. Telecommunications companies are also looking to add a security option to their bundled package offerings. Although telcos have attempted to get into security before and failed, conditions may be right for a perfect storm, especially as people look to get more out of their security system. So how will all this impact traditional access control?
With more suppliers and end-users looking to utilize wireless access control, integration/ interaction and mobile devices, will traditional access control readers and devices be able to keep up? The immediate answer is, yes. The amount of legacy product currently in use will deter mass adoption of new technologies, at least in the short-term. The timeframe of adopting these newer technologies, such as electromechanical locks, wireless locks, NFC and interactive systems, will depend heavily on when end-users need to upgrade/ rip and replace.
This paradigm shift has been in the works for many years, and is evident in the number of suppliers offering more than just one type of security technology. In many cases, it makes sense to partner with other suppliers for hardware and offer a truly unique software platform. Software comes in many different offerings these days as well. Not that long ago, Windows/ PC based software was the product of choice. Now software is more readily seen on servers, on the hardware itself or in the Cloud.
The access control market is primed for change. New technology offerings are being accepted and utilized, while opportunities for traditional access control readers and panels continue to diminish. There will always be a market for serial panels and proximity readers, particularly in light commercial and residential applications. However, I expect to see greater change in mid-to-high end commercial applications that are now beginning to use much more in the way of electromechanical locks, wireless and web-based systems. Since there are already specialty providers of these emerging products, the extent to which they become integrated within existing product lines of industry giants remains to be seen.
As partnerships and mergers continue to ramp up with suppliers rounding out their product portfolios, the next few years should prove very interesting for suppliers of access control equipment.