What is the Future of Access Control Solutions?
In this Blog, we are going to explore what the future of access control solutions may be. Let’s start by having a look at what access control solutions there are at the moment and how they have changed over the years.
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What is Access Control?
When we look at what Access Control means it boils down to the process of being able to restrict entrance to a room, building or property. This can be done physically, for example in the form of a bouncer (which I am sure we have all familiar with), mechanical means in the form of a key and a lock or through technological means which would take shape in one of the access control systems currently on the market.
Keypad Entry System
A keypad entry system does basically what is says on the tin. Each staff member or individual that has access the property has (normally) a 4 or 6 digit or a code that is unique to them. When the code is entered into the keypad which is normally at the door on the wall it logs who is entering the room or building and at what times. This is an especially good system if you have staff who would always lose their fobs and key cards but only work if people don’t forgot their unique code! One flaw of this system is that the code can be told to individuals who do not have access to this particular area so in situations where the data is top secret a two tier system can be used which means that following the 6 digit code a biometric (will be explored later) such as a finger print is used.
Fob Entry System
A fob entry system works pretty much in the same way as a Keypad however you are required to have a fob or in some instances a key card to access the building. Each fob/key card is programmed to allow access to the area or building means that individuals without a fob or key card can’t gain access. These systems are one of the most common used as it is easy to set up and manage. If a member of staff is terminated or is no longer allowed access to a certain area then the card can be deactivated. Nowadays the proximity cards can work from a distance of one inch to 3 feet from the sensor attached to the wall so means that people don’t need to rummage in bags or wallets for cards! As long as they hold the item towards the reader it should still work effectively.
Biometric systems use retinal scans, handprints or fingerprints to identify each user. In previous times, due to the systems being very expensive these were only used in places that required very high security. Nowadays as they aren’t as costly there are many biometrics devices available in the market. The most common one would be the fingerprint lock in where the individual would need to place their finger on the pad (as shown in the image below). A biometric system is certainly a much better way to control access as there is no fob or key to lose or 6 digit code to change if someone forgets theirs! If using their fingerprint they will always have their “key” to gain access on them. In order for the system to work then you would need to enter each individuals print of their finger into the system and then when scanned only fingerprints that are matched when placed on the reader gain access to that particular area. For a large organisation this may be time consuming to set up but the benefits hugely outweigh this and would certainly be an investment for the security of the company in the future.
Audio and Video Access Control Solutions
Most commonly used in residential properties these systems are excellent for when you wish to know who is at your door before you go to answer it! Audio and visual systems certainly provide premises with controlled and protected barriers for visitors or customers alike. Most commonly used is the audio as these are in most tenements buildings through the world. In most instances these systems can be turned off from your base in the house meaning that if you decided that you don’t want to be disturbed then you don’t need to be at any time day or night. When using the video system, it has the added advantage of being able to see the person too! A phone with a small screen is placed within your property and instead of a reader a small base with a camera is attached to the door (image shown below) so you can see who exactly is at your door. These are common especially within woman’s aid centres and other organisations where security of the residents may be at risk.
Mobile Controlled Access Solutions
Mobile access is something that is very new to the market and is gaining access with your mobile device to the secured area. The main stipulation is that in order for it to work each staff member must be a smartphone or tablet owner. This certainly is a whole new ball game in the access control world making access more convenient and functional for the modern world. When approaching the building or access you would simply hold your phone up to the reader and do not need to worry about losing a fob or key card to gain access. To set up this system an email is sent with an invitation to each used which is downloaded and saved to the phone. This is relatively simple but if you are like me and lose your phone all the time then this may not be the solution for you. Also, this could fall into the wrong hands which again would not be an ideal situation!
Access Control Controlled by an App
The newest and coolest system just becoming available is basically an upgrade of the video entry system where people can see who is at their door not only by the handset with the screen but can also view on their phone using an app! The system is installed in the same way as the video entry system but is supported by downloading the app software onto your smartphone or tablet. The system can call up to 4 devices at the one time and can be connected to your home or business wifi, therefore, is not costing more to be used than what you are already paying. You will not have a base in your house, therefore, you would need to make sure that you always had one of the 4 devises to hand. This is certainly more geared towards a residential requirement or a social club perhaps over a large organisation.
The cool thing about this is you can view who is at the door whilst sitting in the house in your pyjamas or on the beach somewhere sunny and the person at the door does not have a clue! You then have the option to open the door too from your location if this is a relative or friend who you wish to have access or shush away cold callers. Pretty awesome I am sure you will agree!
Having reviewed the access control solutions on the market at the moment I am excited as to what the future may hold! As we can already check who is at our door from anywhere in the world and control the lock on the door from our phones what could be next? A system that projects a hologram of the person in-front of you too?! Who knows but I am intrigued…