Special Report: Key Trends in Access Control
Solutions like EKA CyberKey represent a growing trend.
Given the vital importance of access control solutions to the security operations of most businesses, staying on top of the latest developments means ensuring your system incorporates the best functionalities and the most worthwhile efficiencies.
THERE’S been plenty going on in the access control industry over the last couple of years – we’ve seen the trickle down of functionalities from enterprise to SME solutions, as well as the development of systems that are purpose-built for integration. Something else that’s been evident is that manufacturers are streamlining the installation and commissioning process, as well as offering enhanced reporting and management functions – locally and remotely.
First introduced by HID, the use of smart devices as a credential continues to grow in popularity, as does face recognition for access control. And there has also been ongoing development in areas like wireless locking, which uses clever system design to offer end users big system features at extremely competitive prices. The level of interest shown at SecTech for these solutions highlights the interest integrators are getting from customers.
According to Steve Bell, chief technology officer, Gallagher, there are a number of key trends in access control.
“Contactless biometrics is becoming a big trend and there is increasing demand from customers with biometric readers to upgrade to contactless solutions,” Bell explains. “We are also seeing large financial institutions asking for fast, secure contactless biometric to be used at the turnstile. This comes from a desire for a very secure perimeter which enables a more open environment inside.
“Gallagher has also just released a world first high-level MorphoWave integration which provides centralised credential management to include contactless multifactor wave biometrics for high speed, high accuracy access control applications. We showcased this at ISC West in April and it received a lot of attention.”
Bell argues another key trend is bolstering the cyber security of networked access control solutions.
“Protecting access control systems from the risk of cyber-attacks will receive ongoing focus in 2019, and best practice for manufacturers is to dedicate a team to continually review and update systems to mitigate against the latest cyber risks,” he says. “Cyber security needs to be viewed as a system-wide risk where all components out to the sensor need to be hardened to protect from the risk. Manufacturers also need to engage external penetration testers to validate their solutions.
“Mobile access is another area that is growing in popularity and becoming an accepted solution for many security managers, although there is scepticism by many about the security level, as all such solutions are currently proprietary. Security managers should be looking for standards-based solutions for strong authentication and credential storage on the mobile device. Independent associations like the FIDO Alliance are really leading the way on authentication standards and improving the security of mobile access.”
Salto’s Jeff Corr says the company’s latest and greatest access control solution is SVN flex, a wire-free, data-on-card technology that transforms building access.
“SVN-Flex allows any stand-alone electronic locks to read and update card access information and by expanding the number of access points, SVN flex increases the security, control, effectiveness and convenience for users and system managers,” Corr says. “Flexibility, efficient install and easy maintenance. As people become increasingly time-poor, convenience and 24/7 access, is essential to succeed in the access control sector. A seamless experience is key.”
One of the key trends in access control according to Corr, is home security DIY kits that introduce access control solutions to audiences that weren’t aware of the technology. Corr argues that the ability to give, change and remove keys remotely without the need of being physically present allows a modern consumer to have a more flexible user experience.
“It also introduces an added layer of security as doors can be activated or deactivated in an out-of-hours emergency,” Corr explains. “This not only improves the outcome for the end user, but also reduces help desk calls and support needed from the client.”
Corr is not certain biometrics has finally arrived in the broader access control market.
“SALTO can integrate third party biometric readers – there are positives and negatives to utilising biometrics within access control – it just isn’t the right solution for all users,” he says. “A solution which is accessible to most end users and with less room for error is mobile credentials, which is a huge focus for SALTO.”
At Interlogix, the latest and greatest access control solution is the new ChallengerPlus intrusion and access control platform, combined with the innovative open architecture TecomC4 management software.
“ChallengerPlus offers increased levels of flexibility and cost efficiency to customers by building a number of features directly into the control panel without the need for door controllers or additional interface boards,” says Interlogix.
“These innovative functions include the ability to operate up to 32 standard doors direct from the control panel, 2 standard lifts up to 10 floors and the integration to the UltraSync Cloud. This integration to UltraSync creates a secure external comms path to central stations or control rooms via the on-board Ethernet port at no additional communication equipment or cost.
“Thanks to the integration of ChallengerPlus and UltraSync, users are now able to utilise the UltraSync+ mobile app, which allows simple and convenient interrogation of ChallengerPlus, receive push notifications, and configure user’s information and more,” Interlogix says.
“When it comes to key feature installers should seek when choosing an access control system, Interlogix says open architecture software platforms that allow customers, other manufacturers and systems integrators alike to develop their own integrations are key. These lead to improved solutions for end users combining best security technology to be deployed based on the needs of each project.”
For Interlogix, the key trends in access control are led by a move towards cloud.
“The deployment of our UltraSync platform falls in line with the escalating adoption of cloud-based communication products in Australia and globally, along with the rise in the popularity of mobile credentials and biometrics,” Interlogix says.
“And the most important features for end users in today’s rapidly integrating world revolve around a single intuitive interface that allows users to navigate effectively through their building systems including CCTV, access control, intruder alarms, HVAC and fire systems.”
Interlogix sees a biometric future for credentials.
“In an ideal world we won’t need any form of credentials to gain access to buildings, instead we just show up and the door opens,” Interlogix says. “The industry is getting closer to this with biometrics now. The biometric industry is growing rapidly with regards to reliable, sophisticated biometric access control, there are still some technical challenges. Despite this, voice and face recognition as well as fingerprint access are growing in popularity, along with the trend of combining biometric technologies to further enhance security.”
According to Interlogix, the greatest challenges of installing and integrating access control solutions is understanding and interpreting the end user’s requirements, bearing in mind that customer requirements will change over time.
“Choosing a product that will evolve at the same pace as the customers’ needs ensures the best outcomes for customers and systems integrators alike,” Interlogix says. “In a world where instant gratification has become an expectation for many, having information at your fingertips and being to make changes efficiently, send updates or perform general management tasks with your access control systems remotely, using either apps or web-based applications from anywhere, is now easier than ever before.
“ChallengerPlus brings this to a new level using UltraSync solution and Tecom Mobile App. It allows operators to do everything from fully configuring a panel from any location, to sending critical instructions to multiple recipients via push notifications in the event of a lockdown or emergency event.”
Over at EKA Cyberlock, the latest and greatest access control solution is a key-centric access control system that provides full featured access control to every locking point without wiring.
“The system has all the key features you’d expect from any access control system, however, where it stands above all others is that its suitability and unique functionality is designed for geographically spread installations,” says George Kharoufeh.
“A geographically-spread installation could be a utility provider that has sites covering an entire state or it could be more compact such as the back of house security required in a high-rise building either way the challenges are the same which is how to deliver a single access control solution within budget over such a wide geographic area. EKA CyberLock is the solution in such applications.
“Being key-centric means most of the smarts are in the key. This means that if you can communicate with the key you can easily manage the system. EKA CyberLock has a wide variety of solutions to communicate with the keys which range from fully integrated key cabinets that not only store, but also charge, allocate and program keys at the request of authorised system users through to an App that can function as the connection between the management software and the CyberKey, making the system truly portable and virtually real-time.”
Kharoufeh says the power source to operate the EKA CyberLock cylinder is in the CyberKey as well.
“When the key is used to open a lock the power for the transaction is supplied by the CyberKey,” he explains. “This is a unique selling point. If a competitor is installing locks spread over a large area meaning changing and managing battery life is both difficult and very expensive. The power source in the CyberKey has solved this issue because the key battery can easily be managed by the user whether using a rechargeable key or simply changing the battery.
“And the selection of locks that can be fitted with EKA CyberLock cylinders is above all competitors. An EKA CyberLock cylinder can be installed into virtually any locking situation. Be it a mortice lock on the front door of an office, a handle on a server rack at an airport, a padlock on a repeater station gate in outback Australia, a cam lock on a traffic light control box at a major intersection or even a cam lock on evidence box. We have a solution for virtually any locking application.”
According to Kharoufeh, key feature should installers seek when choosing an access control system is the ability to include all a site’s doors in the system.
“Often, an installer cables 20 or 30 main doors in a building and forgets the back-of-house doors,” he explains. “There may be 100 of these doors that include electrical cupboards server rack and even padlocks. Using a system that cannot affordably be applied to every door across a site, installers are missing an opportunity to sell additional product and provide a more complete solution.”
When it comes to trends, Kharoufeh argues EKA CyberLock sits outside of the conventional access control environment.
“This means the trends we see are slightly different to those seen by the companies who supply traditional cabled access control,” he explains. “The trend we see is that companies who in the past have considered access control a must on their main entries now require the same reporting and control over all access points. In the past they might have been happy to have most entry points such as traditional doors and padlocks under a master key system but now they want a far higher levels of control with the features of access control. Because of this trend we believe we are installing EKA CyberLock into many installations that would have previously not considered access control as a requirement.”
Some trends are the same – one being remote management capabilities.
“In the EKA CyberLock system remote management is a must,” Kharoufeh says. “Remote management is not only available for the system managers but also the system users – system users require remote management. For example, an employee of a utility company needs to access a site that is in a remote regional location and is 100 km from anywhere. This is a site that they do not currently have access to.
“With EKA CyberLock, the access privileges are held in the key. This means the user’s key needs to be updated with new access privileges. The users could call the system manager (who happens to be on site) who then can enable the new access on the management system however now the key needs to be updated. The importance of being able to remotely update the access privileges within the key remotely for the user are now very important. EKA CyberLock has solved this by the development of an app that allows the update to be communicated from the management software via the phone to the key.
“This happens every day in many EKA CyberLock systems. It also demonstrates how important remote access to the management software is for the system administrator and how important the ability to remotely update a key is for the system user. The importance of remote access can be summed up as it is an absolute requirement because it delivers significant efficiencies that deliver significant operational cost savings.”
Kharoufeh is on the fence when it comes to biometrics.
“For EKA CyberLock the answer is yes, and no when it comes to biometrics,” he says. “Biometrics has been used as the credential to access both the 20-key cabinet and the app, however, the CyberKey, which is the only credential for opening locks and cylinders, remains unchanged. So, moving forward our opinion is that both will be used but in varying capacities.”