UNSW, Sydney, Australia

A survey of 1800 higher education security and IT professionals conducted by Genetec suggests a majority of higher educations institutions are ready to move on from legacy access control solutions and are eager to embrace the latest technologies.

The survey found that more than half of respondents wanted to unify access control credentials to support multiple applications, while 44 per cent wanted better integration with other security systems/components. While organisations are ready to embrace new access control technology, they are looking to go ‘beyond the door’ and integrate with other security and operations systems.

The survey shows that 33.76 per cent of readers, 30.6 per cent of controllers, and 24 per cent of software are more than 6 years old. Older technologies such as barcode, magnetic stripe and 125khz low-frequency proximity continue to dominate physical access control systems in higher education. More than half of survey respondents still use mag stripe, and almost a quarter still use 125khz prox. And 64 per cent of survey respondents said their current access control system experiences malfunctions.

At the same time, more than a third of survey respondents (35 per cent) are ready to embrace more modern technology as a way of improving the experience for students, faculty, and administrators. Over half of respondents (54.2 per cent) would be interested in using their access control credentials to support multiple applications beyond physical access, and 44 per cent stated that better integration with other security systems/components is a key driver to upgrade their access control systems.

Most colleges and universities want their students to use a single card or mobile credentials for multiple types of applications from accessing dormitory rooms and checking out books from the library to locking bicycles and paying for food, parking, and more. However, 64 per cent of survey participants said while they want to upgrade their systems, they view costs as an obstacle. This often leads institutions to ultimately migrate to systems that fulfill minimum requirements because of cost, rather than seek the features and integration capabilities they seek.

“There are new technology options that can make life easier for administrators as well as those who use the systems,” says Jason Friedberg, commercial head, education at Genetec. “With ever evolving threats, and a need for increased efficiency, accessibility and privacy, security on higher education campuses is an everchanging environment. Institutions need to be prepared for these changes by upgrading to a unified video and access control solution that is flexible, connected, and easy to use.”

“And while cost is seen as an obstacle, the true value is often not factored in. With a modern, unified system, ongoing costs often end up being lower than those of legacy systems because the additional capabilities of newer systems increase operational efficiencies across multiple departments,” concluded Friedberg.

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