Date icon25 October 2019

No industry grows by standing still. Access control and the technology it is built on is continuing to evolve, enabling evermore secure, efficient and convenient premises protection and as a result, the market is booming. Research forecasts the global access control market to reach $12.1 billion by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of 8.24%.

That’s still a way off though. There’s likely to be plenty of development on the horizon before then, as we’ve been exploring. So, what technology developments could be in store in access control in 2020?

New and emerging access control technologies

According to a recent report, the UK electronic security systems market is classed as mature, with a high volume of legacy systems now in need of replacement or upgrade in place across numerous industries and sectors.

Many of these older access control solutions still provide excellent levels of physical security, but there’s no doubt that they can be greatly enhanced by contemporary technology developments, such as cloud-based infrastructure and integration with other digital solutions. At the same time, healthy rates of commercial construction are supporting the installation of new access control systems. As technology continues to advance, these market factors are driving the development of new innovations in access control.

Mobile access control

Our smartphones are an ever-present feature of modern life, so it makes complete sense to make them a component of access control. With built-in wireless and biometric functionality (more on this later), today’s mobile phones can be instantly adapted to act as a method of identifying individuals for access control purposes, in place of an easy-to-lose, easy-to-forget ID badge, card or PIN code.

Smartphones are generally equipped with Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC), which can be used to connect securely with an access control reader once the phone is within a few feet or a few inches respectively. What’s more, mobile phones are typically protected by a PIN code or a biometric fingerprint scan, giving them automatic multi-factor authentication as a form of proximity technology.

Mobile phones are potentially so flexible and convenient as ID credentials, we predict big things for this emerging area of access control. There may be challenges to work around in terms of different smartphone makes and operating systems, privacy and cybersecurity, but it’s likely that our phones will become an important part of the access control landscape in 2020.

Further development of biometric access control

As one of the most significant technological breakthroughs to affect the access control industry in modern times, biometric access control is only becoming more influential. It’s inexpensive to maintain, negates the need for ID cards or other credentials that could be lost or replicated, and of course, boasts an excellent level of security. Biometric access control systems are widely adopted, especially those that are fingerprint-based, but there are many other forms of biometric identification we expect to see more of.

As technology advances, we may begin to see access control readers that scan and recognise the patterns of veins in the whites of the eyes or the fingers, the idents and texture of the whole palm print, or even the blood capillaries of a retinal scan.

Already a feature of some smartphones, facial recognition is another type of biometric identification that’s likely to cross over into the access control arena; in fact, there is set to be a large-scale facial recognition security system in place at the Tokyo Olympics next year. With security gates capable of recognising human faces against a database of photos, it’s hoped the technology will halve the time it takes to check IDs for athletes, sponsors, staff and volunteers.

Don’t wait for future trends in access control, talk to the experts today

It’s fascinating to look ahead and imagine the access control market of tomorrow, but there’s also plenty of cutting-edge security technology that businesses can capitalise on right here and now. At Touchstar, we have decades of experience designing and implementing bespoke access control solutions for clients across a wide range of sectors, as well as bringing legacy systems up to date with innovative integrations and upgrades. Talk to us today to find out more.



Lynden Jones, MD

Lynden joined Touchstar ATC (formally Feedback Data) in a sales role for Access Control in 2010.  Prior to joining the company, Lynden held both Production and Account Manager roles, gaining wide technical and commercial experience within the electronics market.  

In 2013 Lynden was promoted to Sales Director and in 2017 he took overall responsibility of the business as Managing Director. As well as running Touchstar ATC, Lynden still remains extremely active in the sales and key account management aspects of the business. When not involved in the business, Lynden is a keen performance car enthusiast.