Trends for Physical Access Control and Security Systems in 2016

sunset over the sea symbolizing new year ahead

As another year comes to a close, there’s no better time to scan the horizon for a look at what lies ahead. In the field of access control and physical security, 2016 promises to be a year of innovation and integration, with the potential for some big breakthroughs along the way. Here are just a few of the trends in access control we expect to see in 2016.

Expanded Use of Wireless Security Products

Wireless has been incredibly popular on the consumer side for some time, but its adoption in areas such as access control and security systems has been slower. That should change in 2016, when we finally reach the tipping point for wireless technology.

Thanks to improvements in technology, including energy-efficiency, going wireless is more cost-effective than ever. When you combine that with simplified installation, greater interoperability and a host of other advantages without sacrificing security or accessibility, it’s easy to see the appeal. And declining data costs and enhanced infrastructure will only make the integration of wireless systems more affordable.

Currently, wireless technology features in a wide variety of access control and physical security applications—from door and cabinet locks to security systems and video surveillance equipment. Perhaps most importantly, wireless technology makes it easier for these devices to communicate with each other, which enables system expansions and promotes flexibility.

Before wireless is adopted on a wider scale though, a few misconceptions will need to be cleared up. Some still believe, for example, that wired and wireless systems are incompatible, which isn’t the case. In 2016 this myth and others will finally be put to rest.

Further Integration with Mobile Devices

The ubiquity of smartphones is inspiring new and exciting forms of integration with other devices. And not just for entertainment purposes. Access control and security systems will become easier to manage in 2016 thanks to increased connectivity with smartphones and other mobile devices.

Although you can already use your phone to access video from your security camera or program a retrofit cylinder (among other applications), mobile devices will play an even bigger role going forward. They will be increasingly used to manage access control and security systems remotely, and it looks as though the push toward using mobile devices as a form of access credential will ramp up in 2016.

Google’s recent announcement that it has been experimenting with alternatives to passwords has sparked a lively conversation around how best to facilitate access to sensitive information; this same conversation will undoubtedly be expanded to address physical spaces as well.

Increased Interoperability Through the Use of Open Sources and Standards

The field of video surveillance in particular has seen a shift away from proprietary systems as customers began looking for added flexibility and interoperability. Open standards and platforms make it possible to integrate different devices even if they don’t come from the same manufacturer.

expect to see greater focus on open-sourced access control systems for more future-ready and fully integrated solutions

This shift has been driven by such organizations as ONVIF, which dedicates itself to establishing a single standard for the way IP-based physical security products communicate with one another. In 2016, expect to see greater focus on open-sourced access control systems for more future-ready and fully integrated solutions.

Rise of Biometric Security

The buzz surrounding biometrics has been growing for a while, but 2016 will be a defining year for this technology, and not just in the area of cybersecurity or physical safes. In some access control systems, biometric authentication is already being used as a replacement for traditional key card applications—analysing the individual’s fingerprints or retinas, among other biological attributes.

Although the use of biometric authentication remains limited, at least as a form of access control, 2016 should change that. Expect to see a more prominent role for biometrics in the year ahead, even as key cards and traditional forms of access credentials continue to dominate.

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