Smart Buildings and Access Control – Part 2 of 5

Identity – the core of the smart secure building

Smart buildings are emerging to serve demanding efficiency needs for improved work-flows, optimised building economy and sustainability.

Smart buildings are emerging to serve demanding efficiency needs for improved work-flows, optimised building economy and sustainability. Illustration: Timisu / Pixabay

Smart buildings are emerging to serve demanding efficiency needs for improved workflows, optimised building economy and sustainability.

In order to achieve these aims, secure identities are required. Therefore, it is natural that companies in ID management and access control are close to the market for smart buildings.

Investments in smart buildings are driven by efficiency goals, both from a financial and a sustainability perspective. There are big energy and administration savings to be made here.

Precisely the administration advantages are something that drives a lot of growth for companies in ID management and access control. The need to have control over individuals’ identities in a simple way, to be able to allow or deny access to a building, should be just a few keystrokes away.

Assigning, blocking and requesting keys must be quick, easy and secure regardless of where the personnel concerned are located. The connected world offers just that.

New behaviours

Secure identities are thus a key factor when it comes to securing the smart building. Therefore, there is a large market here for companies in the security industry. The pandemic has definitely affected and accelerated developments in the efficient utilisation of commercial buildings. This, above all applies to offices, which in many companies are designed for significantly more people than those who are there at the same time. The staff now want and are allowed to work from home, often several days a week.

Property optimisation

Commercial properties are shared by people with both permanent and temporary permissions. The permissions often only apply to certain areas and certain times. In the emerging smart commercial properties, the effective utilisation will certainly increase significantly. The spaces will be shared to an even greater degree both by permanent staff who do not have fixed workplaces and temporary guests who need an office or meeting room for the day or week. Or why not access rights to the gym, sauna or restaurants in the property.

The demand for booking services will explode and thus create new opportunities for the security industry’s actors in ID and access control. With increasingly complex smart buildings, secure, efficient and flexible control and administration of the property’s identities and authorisations is required.

The industry is needed

The security industry’s suppliers can – with their solutions – contribute to both increased physical security and protection of data and, in addition, contribute to a number of other things such as occupancy management, which leads to a more efficient and sustainable use of properties. They are therefore an obvious part of the smart building ecosystem.

Security system is prioritised

That connected security systems in general and access control systems in particular have taken a pool position in today’s increasingly smart buildings is confirmed by Schneider Electric’s trend report from 2021. In it, the outcome of 125 conducted interviews with property managers, operations managers, energy managers and technical managers was published. Together they represented:

  • Private offices (64 respondents)
  • Publicly owned premises (61)

The respondents were asked which of the solutions for operation and control already exist today in all or parts of the property holdings? The answers were as follows:

  • Access control 60 percent.
  • Burglar alarm 56 percent.
  • Fire alarm 55 percent.
  • Energy monitoring 46 percent.
  • Heating/ventilation 36 percent.
  • Video surveillance 29 percent.
  • Lighting system 26 percent.
  • Sun shielding 5 percent.
  • Don’t know 3 percent.

Access control systems, burglar alarms and fire alarms are at the top, ahead of energy monitoring and heating/ventilation. Furthermore, video surveillance is ahead of lightning systems and sun shielding.

Access control trends

In international reports on smart buildings, there is usually talk of an overarching trend, namely open systems. Other clear trends are wireless and touchless It will also characterise the access systems in the future.

The time of the proprietary systems is thus at an end. Customers want to be able to change hardware and make their own choice. They don’t want to be locked into a solution.

Another trend is touchless access control, where users simply hold their phone or other device near a sensor to gain access to a space. Paired with the right ondevice authentication system, these systems can be as or more secure than “dumb” ID badges.

In high security areas, touchless access control can form only the first layer of security. Biometric identification can be implemented as the second.

Add to this AI-powered software for access control monitoring. It will be more common in the future. Using existing cameras without needing any additional hardware to be deployed, the software can contribute with a more tailgating detection, but also point out anomalies in cardholder behaviour, to mention a few examples.

A multi billion market

The smart building market will have an undisputable impact on the sales of security systems. And it is a huge market. According to a report from Fortune Business Insight, the global smart building market is projected to grow from $80.62 billion in 2022 to $328.62 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 22.2 percent. This means big opportunities for the security technology market.

Note: This editorial article has primarily been produced for the security trade magazine Detektor in collaboration with SecurityUser.com.

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