ACCESS CONTROL PERSPECTIVES
By Steve Dunn May 2020
Access control is defined simply as ‘the selective restriction of access to a place or other resource’. Smart access control is generally defined as a combination of ‘traditional access control’ (i.e. with keycards/software or metal keys), with ‘smart controls via the internet’ (i.e. with cloud-based software, smartphone digital keys, data analytics etc.)
Smart access control also has different definitions and implications depending on one’s perspective. We explore some perspectives below
Recently various efforts to track employee movements on and off worksites with GPS and mobile phones/apps have faced employee backlash due to privacy concerns, and it has exposed companies to legal actions due to grey areas in local laws. This type of tracking is particularly worrying as the employee apps often keep on tracking ‘after hours’.
Smart access control can avoid these privacy and tracking concerns, as it can act as an old style ‘employee punch-in card system’, automatically logging employee’s arrival on worksites when they unlock doors. Notifications of employees arrival on sites can be pushed instantly to the cloud, and emailed live to managers/HR.
Smart access also provides increased information flow, where the users of the system can make quicker, more informed decisions about their individual system’s use and how to optimize it. This information flow occurs through the increased use of live lock audits, and the locks communications and interfacing capabilities (for example through API’s linking the locks to third party software and hardware such as lift controls) arranged to gather, transmit, decode, and analyze and share raw data into useful information and actions. The actions will become increasingly automated with AI as technologies such as NB IoT and 5G advances.
Smart access control systems, grouped with other devices, IoT applications and other solutions connected to the Cloud will provide robust data for advanced analytics. Insights from these analytics can be used to optimize workflow solutions and provide more seamless access for end users. For example, for employees that need to access multiple sites on a regular basis, such as social workers/nurses visiting people’s homes; workers for utility companies; postmen/couriers, they will be able to have the most efficient schedules and access credentials to different sites mapped out/emailed for them automatically each day in advance (and which can update at any moment) rather than wasting time planning routes, schedules and chasing down and returning metal keys.
Predictive analytics will play a crucial role in people-centric security and access control, and address employee demands for workplaces to deliver premium, more individualized services. Analytics will also help reduce downtime in the enterprise, spur factory automation and improve compliance via condition monitoring that is based on real-time location and sensing solutions.
Smart Access control solutions are wireless and use a variety of technologies to connect to the internet or to other devices/software, as compared to more traditional access control which often requires wiring throughout buildings to connect all the locks and onsite servers/PC's for software to manage the locks.
One of the most common smart access control technologies used in the marketplace is Wi-Fi/Bluetooth technology. NB IoT is a new wireless communications technology used in smart access control and has several advantages over its Wi-Fi/BLE rivals, as it is more secure, more convenient, has better battery life, and there is no onsite network infrastructure meaner better affordability, and easier installation.