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Like Water to Ice: 9 Phase Changes in Access Control I Have Been Thinking About Lately

I was recently asked, “What do you think the top 3-5 market trends are for physical access control?” Here are my thoughts, in no particular order…and I have 9, not just 3-5:

Managed and embedded services: in regards to integrators offering them and access control systems having the ability to support them.

I think Coronavirus has really kicked the average project based business models in the teeth (note: not big contracts but the majority of mid to small that live and die by bid/job business).

By selling some managed and some embedded onsite services, you can build resiliency into your business. It’s no longer just about “RMR” for value sake. It’s managed and embedded for business sake.

I also believe some of this change is due to customers now appreciating the value in having it.

This matters to access control because the systems and sub systems need to support the model (eg. a lot of legacy systems do not and a lot of the newer systems are not sold that way). They need features and they need to realign business offerings and models to support it.  

This also leads me to Cloud for cloud sake: no more.

That message was 5 years ago and the architecture is not that interesting anymore. It’s now about what the cloud does. Remote capability, for example, has really been a shining benefit through this crisis.

Marketers should stop promoting cloud as a differentiator and think about it as remote access, amongst other things, and speak to the the benefits it brings. If they feel the need to talk about the architecutre, look ahead and start talking about hybrid systems.

Touch-less Access Control vs seamless or frictionless access control.

Obvious but what it represents to me is a shining example of how our industry missed on messaging when we introduced the tech. I am 100% guilty of this with my time at Brivo, UniKey, and Allegion. In the end, it is all the same technology. We just missed the message that mattered most to the end users.

Actionable and Meaningful Data Visualization vs logs & reports.

The ability to show real data that matters and do it with an historically and actionable lens, has been on full display (Brivo, Genetec and Openpath). Those systems not set up to do this will look archaic moving forward and will have to sell real hard on their value beyond safety and security. Having real time data to be actionable will matter, a lot.

Dynamic user interfaces, beyond static readers and cards, matter.

For instance, visitor management systems are the new access control interfaces. And not just for the enterprise, but also small businesses. It goes beyond just visitor management and digitizing clipboards.

It comes down to the way you manage identity, give assurance, and communicate.

Cards and readers really showed they are antiquated during a pandemic and crisis.

Rich interfaces that are dynamic will be more important.

The physical in physical security, as most of us have known it, now extends to health safety.

Health safety as part of safety and the role physical access control plays in it needs to be figure out. Another example about dynamic user interfaces, data, and specifically, visitor management.

People counting is now about “capacity” and doing it real-time will matter.  

“Tenant experience doesn’t matter as much anymore.” Credit goes to Density and their CEO, Andrew Farah on this. More to come on a podcast we did earlier this week but in the mean time, check this out.

Marketing and communication

You can definitely tell that this crisis has shown that our industry has been asleep at the switch when it comes too investing and valuing marketing, branding and transparent/timely communication.

Outside of product marketing, there are very few companies in access control and the security industry that have invested enough and have empowered their teams to be creative.

And for the majority of large companies in our space that have these resources, it's a shame they are too conservative to step up and help lead through crisis.

Opportunity missed.

Hopefully a phase change we see moving forward, as our industry goes more mainstream, is the appreciation and investments in marketing, branding and communication.

The difference between Leadership vs Management.

We have a lot of managers in our industry. We need more leaders. We need more stronger industry wide leaders that work together to elevate all ships.

Things I’m musing…

  • The overall privacy impact
  • What segments move first as we go back to work? I want to say the enterprise. I feel like education is going to be slow. Not sure.
  • The dealer channel has shown how essential they are to the industry. They are the last mile. How does this change moving forward? Will we see more vertical integration?