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Major trends in the access-control market

11/03/2014 - 00:00

acces control market

A relatively uniform market trend is emerging in the various countries in which Locken operates: through the close relationship entertained with their clients, our experts are observing a clear trend in favour of electronic management and access-control systems, to the detriment of traditional mechanical systems.


A growing interest in integrated electronic solutions
This trend towards electronic solutions can be explained by the increasing convergence of two requirements that had hitherto often been separate: the requirement for physical security and the need to manage and monitor access. These two imperatives call for integrated solutions that combine the benefits of electronics in terms of flexibility and traceability, with the intrinsic characteristics of mechanical systems: low management costs, ergonomics and ease of use.
Different technologies to meet different challenges 
Beyond this general trend, slight differences are apparent amongst different industries and business segments: public authorities usually display a stronger interest in biometric identification solutions; this is particularly the case with immigration and border control services. Banks and large single-site corporations are saying that Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology allows convergent means of identification to be implemented for physical and logical access. On the other hand, the Utility industries, which include the electricity, gas, telecommunications and water supply sectors…are very favourably disposed towards adopting “key” type solutions, as these are more reliable and better suited to instances of decentralised applications than are electronic badges or biometric applications. Yet these industries are also demonstrating a clear interest in electronic keys. 
Apart from the as-yet very limited and isolated number of applications for the hotel industry, the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in access control remains in the doldrums, despite its immense potential. The lack of dialogue between the main players is relegating this attractive technology to the status of a mere alternative to the usual means of payment.
Geographical and cultural disparities
From a geographical point of view, “keyless” locking and monitoring solutions tend to be the preserve of the countries of Northern and Central Europe, whereas the Mediterranean countries, with the sole exception of Spain, remain a territory where mechanical solutions are preferred: the traditional key continues to predominate in these countries. It is in France and the United Kingdom that we find the most fervent defenders of solutions that incorporate physical security and ICT (1).
Profitability: a new and decisive criterion
In conclusion, we are also noting that the “return on investment” criterion in choosing access-control solutions is now clearly asserting itself, to the detriment of the traditional “purchase price” yardstick, which is now losing ground everywhere, regardless of the industry or country concerned. Actually , the traditional perception of security as a cost imposed by a company’s business imperatives is becoming obsolete: instead, security is now seen as an investment, a competitive advantage, and an additional driver of growth towards achieving global objectives.
(1)Information and communications technology