Last year marked the official tipping point where the use of mobile credentials with access control systems became commonplace. Industry experts have anticipated this shift for years, with continued widespread adoption of mobile phones for more varied uses, such as Apple launching contactless student IDs to over 100,000 students across the United States.
Because the use of mobile and other contactless credentials has proven successful, consumers are more comfortable with the idea and more willing to use it at home and work.
Access control is more sophisticated than ever, with existing technologies like artificial intelligence acquiring increased capabilities, and newer technologies, like biometrics, becoming more mainstream and accessible to small businesses.
AI is already at work in access control systems and is used to detect unusual or suspicious activity and send alerts, recognize faces, and gather pertinent data. In 2021, advances in AI will continue to identify vulnerabilities, actively monitor facilities and perimeters, diagnose problems, and protect data. It may also be used to alert human employees to security issues in real time, allowing faster responses.
One new technology, ultra-wideband (UWB), is a wireless, short-range communication protocol that allows devices to "talk" to each other. UWB is expected to be utilized in access control systems by allowing hands-free access to entry and exit points.
Access control has shifted from being strictly a security function to having a more comprehensive, user experience-based focus, taking into account the different ways security affects people's daily lives, from leaving their homes to entering and exiting their workplaces.
According to the International Card Manufacturers Association, access control systems, which have traditionally relied on one form of authentication, are adopting two-factor authentication, which provides greater security and requires two separate credentials for entry, such as an access card and mobile device or a password and a biometric scan.
Combining multiple security features is a great way to ensure security if one access control measure fails.