After societies relied on various forms of mechanical keys for thousands of years for security, the world of access control has been benefitting from technological breakthroughs that have been rapidly transforming the industry. But from hand hygiene to crowd control, the COVID-19 pandemic heightened many of the security sensitivities — and it might be increasing the pace of digitization.
Here are some definite trends of access control in 2021 and beyond, which will likely continue shaping the world of physical security for the rest of the decade.
1. Mobile Technology Takeover
While they are no longer a novelty, mobile technologies will continue to be the dominating access technology trend in 2021, but with advancing features and efficacy. This transformation will take place both in private residences and the commercial sphere.
Mobile badging might replace physical badges or keys in many homes and facilities worldwide, making the entrance process more hassle-free and secure. About a fifth of organizations already use smartphones instead of traditional access cards, and this percentage will keep rising further.
In the long run, mobile access can arguably contribute to public health by minimizing touch and enhancing hygiene.
2. The Future is in the Clouds
There has been a palpable shift from on-premise access systems to cloud-based access systems in the world of access control.
What distinguishes cloud-based access systems from their on-premise counterparts is that they’re hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed through a web browser. They typically function through the employment of an app that can authorize entry for specific persons in customized spaces and times.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping track of the number of people and monitoring the crowd flow is more critical than ever. Hence, from 2021 and onward, cloud-based access control will be a prominent physical security trend.
3. Hybrid Approaches to Security
In 2021 and beyond, access control strategists and security consultants will likely adopt an increasingly hybrid and holistic approach to safety and security. This entails a combination of digital and physical methods.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the process that accelerates safety by ensuring digital users are who they say they are, requiring at least two pieces of credentials to prove their identity. Pieces of evidence must be from a different category: Something the user knows, something they have, or something they are.
To mitigate risks and have the best of all worlds in security, multi-factor authentication will emerge as a more universal solution.
4. Faces Instead of Keys
Mainly driven by the demand for touch-free entrances, the growth of facial recognition as an access control method is expected to gather significant momentum. Riding the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market size for facial recognition technologies will expand five-fold by the end of the decade, reaching USD 70 billion globally.
Meanwhile, thanks to the rapid advancements and growth, these technologies will become more accessible, safer, accurate, and considerably more sophisticated.
Like any other touch-free access control method, facial recognition also has the potential to increase public hygiene for many years to come.
5. Flexible Business Models
The rapid and profound changes imposed on all societies by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 once again proved the importance of flexible, agile, and scalable business models and expenditures.
Thus, in the world of access control from 2021 and onwards, we expect to see a surge in subscription-based services and outsourcing.
Whether these services in question are technical support, maintenance routines, or cloud-based packages, flexibility will remain a crucial business strategy for executives who want to stay competitive without compromising security.