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The new normal setup of the pandemic has made access control an important aspect to understand, integrate, and improve. Having said that, mobile technology and technological advancements in cloud computing have driven innovation in switching from manual access control to electronic and cloud-based ones.

Smartphones have proven to be vital portable two-way communications device that allows users to connect and collaborate with other devices and networks with ease. The global mobile workforce is expected to reach almost 2 billion by 2022, making mobile access control one of the emerging trends for access management.

Unlocking the workplace, home, car, hotel room, or any other access points has now embraced digital technology, empowered by modern ICT like 5G, AI, big data, and advanced encryption and security standards. Remotely managing an access control infrastructure is also being done in a more flexible, secure, and convenient manner via the cloud.

Mobile technology is pervasive and growing, and this will continue as the world becomes more mobile-centric than before. This would contribute to the demand for keyless and contactless systems wherein mobile access with smart devices and cloud-based access solutions are ideal.

The billion-dollar access control market would continue to thrive and innovate further to keep individuals' and enterprises’ information secured and enhance the productivity and efficiency of their day-to-day workload and operations.

Mobile Access Control

Mobile is bound to be adopted to replace traditional keys and time-consuming usernames and passwords for access. Mobile devices are gradually being used to open doors, manage access rights, and even handle properties for retail, corporate, school, residential, hotels, etc.

Unmanned stores and keyless entrances can now be accessed swiftly by scanning a code or digital ID on your mobile. Without a doubt, mobile access promises convenience, advanced security, and flexibility with the added benefits of enhanced touchless experiences and broader read ranges.

A survey by HID Global estimated that more than half of businesses have upgraded or will upgrade to a mobile access control system in the next three years. IHS Markit has also reported that mobile-based credentials are the fastest-growing access control product, with more than 120 million mobile credentials forecasted to be downloaded within 2023.

Nowadays, mobile is being delivered in a way that hadn’t been done before from an access perspective, coupled with cloud technology. In an era where less contact is better, mobile access credential is very useful. It also eliminates the time and costs needed in case of any lost or stolen key cards.

Paired with biometric identification and multi-factor authentication, mobile access control can be more protected. And, typically, once transmitted to the reader, another encryption layer is used to secure the transmission of the information payload to the reader.

Smartphones can also serve security purposes beyond access control such as sending mass/targeted notifications, presence detection, virtual buttons, and applications. Industry integrators are asking more about mobile access, with its adoption continuing to rise, especially within hybrid setups.

Cloud-Based Access Control

Alongside mobile, cloud-based access solutions are also escalating. There will be fewer people sitting on-site to administer access control settings as being physically present is not needed anymore to let contractors or vendors in or open a facility as required. Digital keys would become more common, which creates an easier tracking system on who has what key and for which doors, building more accountability among people. 

Mobile access control systems work hand-in-hand with the cloud to address flexibility and cost issues. Through the cloud, managing the servers that the system is hosted on can simply be left to cloud access control providers who manage the entire service for you – aka SaaS. Resulting in higher uptime and increased reliability, proven cloud solutions also eliminate the hassle, cost, and complexity of a traditional access and security system.

Moreover, cloud-based access control adds an extra layer of security, thanks to its ability to function without connection autonomously, run regular updates and backups, as well as streamlined operations. With automated system updates and integration, cloud-based access control empowers facility managers or system owners to be less vulnerable and smarter in handling risks.

Indeed, access control is shifting to mobile and cloud-based solutions, but the merging of physical and logical access control systems still faces many challenges that hinder a truly digital infrastructure experience.

It is true that companies can’t make the switch to new technologies overnight, but neither can they afford to rely for too long on aging, vulnerable technology while planning a transition.

Responding to this, as an enabling technology for mobile access, cloud connectivity can improve the on-demand availability of software and data. To illustrate, with cloud-based access control, organizations can expand access with edge-controlled doors and smartphone apps for user access.

Additionally, through cloud-based solutions, users can easily access systems and data from virtually any location, including the ability to leverage mobile apps; extensibility without much investment in technology; and quick installations.

For vertical markets that can deploy mobile access and cloud-based access control, such deployments reduce hardware and network dependencies on-prem and present opportunities to manage access remotely as well as deploy access at the edge or distributed locations.

As the pace of innovation accelerates, cloud-based access control can be leveraged for scalability, real-time and remote grant or revocation of access, fast evolution, constant data backups, and secured storage of data.

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