The physical security industry is in the midst of a boom, and access control technology is helping to move the market forward. For value-added resellers (VARs) that are adding security to their product offerings, now is the time to look into access control solutions.
According to SDM Magazine’s “State of the Market: Access Control” report, more than 50 percent of dealers and integrators expect their access control spending to increase in 2015, an indication that the market in general is thriving. Part of this growth comes from an overall increase in new construction; commercial construction in particular is finally experiencing a steady upswing. This comes after several stagnant years, which means an influx of access control work is headed your way in a number of vertical markets.
With these trends in mind, there are five markets that are currently the most promising for any VAR that is looking to focus on access control technology:
Education security in general is growing quickly, and more K-12 and university campuses are looking to add or upgrade access control technologies in the coming years. In these facilities, access control is all about protecting students and staff members from unauthorized individuals—especially as the threat of active shooters has grown in the past few decades.
On K-12 campuses, you’ll likely work with simple card-based solutions. At universities and colleges, your customers will be more interested in comprehensive access control that integrates classrooms, labs, dorms, and other buildings onto a single system. A growing number of schools are also looking for payment-enabled cards that include students’ meal plan and payment capabilities.
With threats against hospitals and healthcare clinics on the rise around the country, effective access control is a top priority in the healthcare market. Here, it’s especially important for protecting doctors, nurses, and patients (particularly infants, young children, and the elderly), as well as safeguarding medication and any devices that contain patient data.
In busy hospitals, quick throughput is going to be important. Doctors, nurses, and staff members may need to use a particular entryway up to 100 times in a shift. In these environments, be sure to prioritize RFID or card-based access control that is extremely fast and reliable.
Hotels are one of the fastest-growing segments of the access control market, and other hospitality facilities—such as event venues and theme parks—aren’t far behind. Customers in this vertical are primarily looking for RFID and card-based access control systems that will help to cost-effectively secure certain areas of a hotel or venue from unauthorized access.
According to IHS Technology, mobile access and remote management are two of the biggest growth drivers in the hospitality market. Expect your hospitality customers to be increasingly interested in systems that incorporate mobile features and credentials, and that enable managers to view and make changes to the network from remote locations. This latter feature is especially helpful for environments that operate 24/7—for example, if a hotel employee needs access to a high-security room during the night shift, his manager can grant him that privilege from a desktop computer at home.
Physical security threats are a constant reality for banks, credit unions, ATMs, drive-throughs, and other financial assets. To ensure that would-be thieves cannot access the vast amounts of money these facilities hold and that employees and customers are protected, access control is a must-have.
Most of your financial customers will probably gravitate toward card-based systems because they enable fast throughput with a high level of security. However, biometric access control readers have also grown in popularity in the banking market and even provide a slightly higher level of security than RFID and card-based systems. Fingerprint or retinal scanners are particularly sought after for these facilities’ highest-security areas, such as vaults and change rooms.
5. Corporate offices and other businesses
Businesses of all sizes are seeking better, more cost-effective ways to restrict access to employees, visitors, and other authorized individuals. Large corporate offices may employ hundreds or even thousands of people, so these companies must effectively manage who can access what areas and when. Today’s access control solutions provide user-friendly options for even the largest organizations, with advanced features such as customized access control privileges, remote access, and the ability to automatically delete previous employees from the system.
Smaller-scale access control systems are also well-suited for stand-alone offices and small businesses. Companies with up to 50 employees can greatly benefit from an improved level of security using a simple access control solution featuring card- or RFID-based readers.
In what other vertical markets have you seen a strong demand for access control systems? In your market, what would you say is the fastest-growing access control segment?