Date icon06 December 2022

TouchStar Access Control Predictions

Technology is always advancing, and the challenges presented by the last few years have spurred this development on, insisting on new solutions to new problems. This article takes a look at access control changes we can expect to see during 2023 based on current trends.  

Mobile credentials

Mobile credentials are in a great position to replace the traditional card fobs as a means of allowing access and entry to a physical location and come with several benefits over their predecessors.

Firstly, traditional card fobs are easily lost. This presents a security problem as the lost cards can be used by non-authorised personnel, meaning valuable goods or sensitive information is in jeopardy. Card and fobs are also easily forgotten by staff, meaning temporary passes need to be provided for those employees who have left their card fobs elsewhere, requiring extra admin time.

Having a mobile badge on an employee’s or contractor’s phone greatly minimises the risk of their access device being lost or left at home, as many people simply will not leave the house, or even the room, without their phone.

Many card and fobs are also unencrypted making them very easy to clone if in the wrong hands. A mobile credential is much more secure in this regard and thus provides a greater level of security. There is often a password or biometric challenge to open the phone adding yet another level of security.

In environmental terms, the words reduce, re-use and recycle often spring up. Reducing the number of plastic cards is good for the environment. Plastic card and fobs are not particularly eco-friendly and many end up in landfills. Opting for a digital solution to access control with no waste has an environmental benefit. This is the re-using the mobile phone for additional functions. There is also a financial cost to both physical and virtual credentials but with mobile phones being less likely to be lost there is a reduction in waste and therefore replacement costs.  

Mobile access control also allows remote management in that the security team are able to issue credentials as required, without having to physically give or take a card to an employee in a work environment, or a student in a university setting. If a phone is lost, the credential can still be managed to remove access rights but with the added security of the phone probably having a secondary password to prevent entry to the app.  

Biometric access

A step beyond digital credentials is to use biometric technologies in access control. This is already common in smartphones with facial recognition technology unlocking the phone and granting the user access to their digital wallet, preceded by fingerprint scanning. Other forms of biometric access include voice and iris recognition software.

Biometric access is seen to be one of the biggest growing trends in 2023 and beyond. A ReportLinker study found that the global biometric access control system market is expected to grow by over $3.5bn between 2022 and 2026, with one of the main driving factors being the use of multimodal biometrics, i.e. the use of more than one biometric authenticator used in combination.

As well as being more convenient for the user, biometric access control is much more secure than using card or fobs. It’s incredibly difficult for biometric information to be replicated or for readers to be tricked for access. Voice, iris and facial recognition technology, and even contactless fingerprinting, also allow for touch-free access. Fuelled by the demand for contactless technologies during the pandemic, these access methods are far more popular and available in the market.  

Cloud computing

Access control of course also relates to digital property such as data, not just physical access. Cloud systems allow for the remote storage of data in a virtual location without the need for bulky physical storage units on site.

Cloud systems also enable system administrators to manage data access from anywhere; not only is this an incredibly useful ability in this hybrid working era, but it also means management can facilitate access changes from one site across their entire network. This hub-like way of working reduces the need for multiple security offices performing the same tasks by centralising access control.

Data held in cloud systems is automatically encrypted, adding an additional layer of security.

Because of these data and commercial benefits, cloud computing is only expected to grow moving forward. An October 2022 study by Gartner found that global spending on cloud services is forecast to grow by over 20.7% from $490bn in 2022 to $591bn in 2023, more than 2022’s forecast growth of 18.8%.  

Legacy systems

Older access systems may still do what they’ve always done perfectly well but are simply unable to interface with newer systems, causing an organisation’s security efforts to be held back. As discussed above, the plastic cards associated with legacy security systems have plenty of security drawbacks (easily mislaid and easily cloned) and so these legacy systems will need to be replaced in the coming years.

How these legacy systems will be replaced will be determined by the unique needs of each business. However, companies that are interested in futureproofing their access control systems will look to solutions that can integrate with other security systems and cloud accessible applications.

Integrating with other systems allows for automated notifications, faster and easier management of providing and revoking access, and end-to-end data governance.  

How TouchStar ATC can help

We are a provider of access control, time and attendance, and CCTV solutions, with a focus on keeping your sensitive and valuable property secure, whether it is physical goods or important data. For more information, get in touch with us today.