The access control market is expected to grow steadily over the next several years, and new trends and innovations are sure to emerge all the while. For value-added resellers (VARs) that sell access control technologies, it’s important to be prepared for the big changes that are already on the horizon.
Is your business ready for the future of access control? If not, here are four ways to begin preparing:
1. Embrace wireless locks
Wireless technology is one of the fastest-growing segments of the access control industry—and with good reason. These devices provide customers with a new level of flexibility, enabling them to secure more doors (as well as cabinets, closets, IT racks, and other non-traditional spaces) at a lower price than traditional readers have ever allowed.
Wireless locks will only continue to grow in popularity, so now is the ideal time to incorporate them into your business, if you haven’t already. Select manufacturers whose wireless devices have already been field-proven and use reliable NFC or Bluetooth low-energy technology. That way, you’ll know your customers will enjoy reliable access for years to come.
2. Broaden your integration skills
Access control is becoming increasingly integrated with other security platforms and data systems, including Internet of Things technologies. In the near future, more customers are going to want to closely tie their access control systems with their video surveillance, analytics, VMS, fire detection, HVAC, personnel systems, and more. Now is your chance to ensure you can provide the level of IP integration that many customers will demand.
In addition, as the amount of data gleaned from access control and other security systems continues to grow, start thinking about how your customers can actually make use of it. Collecting insights into when a facility is accessed, and by whom, or how many people walked through a door can be extremely valuable in a wide range of applications. This information can also be helpful in achieving a more proactive response to security incidents and even for investigating events after the fact.
3. Consider higher-security credentials
Already, customers are requesting that VARs add new layers of security to all types of access control credentials. A special code can be added that enables the card, tag, and reader to acknowledge each other, which helps prevent credential duplication. The idea is that each organization would have its own unique code that it uses for all approved devices.
As a VAR, you could issue a distinct code to each customer, which would ensure that no other company would have the same reader and card combination, helping prevent the system and its credentials from being hijacked. This type of security will become increasingly important as mobile devices continue to be incorporated into access control networks.
4. Keep an eye on new credential trends
Over the next several years, experts anticipate companies to accelerate adoption of new credential form factors, such as smartphones or innovative “wearable” credentials. These solutions will leverage Bluetooth Smart or NFC technology to allow an end user to instantly, and securely, gain access to a facility.
Instead of having to swipe a card, use a manual key, or input a PIN, the user will simply tap his or her phone or wearable credential directly onto the reader. This trend is especially likely to catch on in verticals where fast throughput is a must-have, such as healthcare. Stay on the lookout for increased adoption of these new credentials and you’ll be poised to get in on it before your competition does.
What access control trends do you think will take hold in your local market in the coming years? How are you preparing your business?