Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading resource for security and fire news in the industry. James was previously Editor of Professional Heating & Plumbing Installer magazine.
October 12, 2020

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The Video Surveillance Report 2020

The growth and opportunities presented by frictionless access control

Frictionless access control has perhaps never been more important to businesses. Not only can it improve efficiencies, but it also supports compliance with the latest COVID-secure guidelines from governments across the world to protect employees and visitors from infection. Axis Communications recently discussed this very topic during a live event hosted on IFSEC Global. We report on some of the key talking points.

The online webinar, which is available to watch on demand here, opened with Steven Kenny, Business Liaison at Axis Communications, highlighting the growth of frictionless access control in recent years. This trend has very much been accelerated by the onset of a global pandemic – safety is now a major factor in considerations for movement in, out and around buildings. Business owners are exploring how technology can provide a solution to the challenges they face, while supporting operational efficiencies of today and looking ahead tomorrow.

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This push is not just an internal one from organisations themselves. The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure this year released guidance on automatic access control systems noting the benefits of biometrics, while the British Council for Offices has also placed an emphasis on frictionless entry.

What do we mean by frictionless access control?

In simplistic terms, we mean a method of entrance control for visitors to a building – whether employees or customers – which authenticates users without the need for contact to take place to gain entry. By doing so, the user experience can be improved, as the process is easy (or ‘frictionless), while security standards remain in place.

For example, business are increasingly using mobile credentials to allow employees or visitors to gain access to buildings, but this can often be based on more traditional, serial architecture that can limit innovation, explains John Allen, Access Control Lead at Axis.

“The move towards mobile technology is now happening, as physical cards are transferred to credentials on the smartphone. However, alternative methods are available, which can still utilise mobile technology, but offer more flexibility,” says John.

QR codes have been around for a number of years, but not always linked to entrance management. Quick and cheap to create, they can be now easily be transferred to a user’s smartphone to grant secure access remotely, and are particularly popular for visitor management or logistics integration operations.

Facial recognition, too, is increasingly being utilised. “It is much easier to meet all the necessary GDPR and legislative requirements in controlled environments, such as offices, and therefore data considerations aren’t as restrictive as when the technology is used in public spaces,” assures John. “What’s more, accuracy in a well-designed entrance control system can be vastly improved, as the end-user is in control of the environment – you can set up the lighting, ensure the approach is managed, and more. All of which you can’t do in public spaces.”

With technology continuing to evolve, Axis believes much faster detection and response speeds are on the horizon, and may soon be more readily available for entrance control via utilisation of the edge, too.

It’s not just offices, either, that are benefiting from the technology. Axis demonstrated how one its clients in the leisure sector had recently moved to a facial recognition-based solution, where customer satisfaction levels were high and user experience was improved with tangible results in less than six months.

Open standards are critical for today and beyond

A key point of the discussion involved Bjorn Callenfors, Ecosystem Manager at Axis, highlighting the need for the access control industry to move towards a more open-platform based network. While the video surveillance market has very much understood the benefits of doing so for some time, Bjorn noted that access control continues to be dominated by proprietary tech, creating a ‘locked in’ effect.

If the onset of a global pandemic has taught us nothing else, it has become quite clear how critical it is for organisations and processes to be adaptable, flexible and scalable. Open platforms allow for this. “COVID has changed everything. It could be something as simple as walking into an office or opening a door – both processes now need to factor in methods to reduce the health and safety risk,” explains Bjorn.

Open APIs are crucial to this process, allowing for an interface between the various technologies or devices to ensure communication is possible.

“Ultimately, open systems put the end-user in control. You can adapt the technology as needed from different vendors, scale it up and down, and that is why we proactively work with our integrators and more than 3,000 technology partners, to support our customers,” concludes Bjorn.

The discussion did not end there. Steven Kenny emphasised the need for continuing emphasis on cyber security, as more and more devices and solutions, such as access control, are integrated within internal networks. Attendees also heard from Corin Dennison from Adidas, as he explained how technology enables the team to operate at a relatively lean capacity, while still securely managing thousands of global stores and improving customer experience.

You can listen to the full webinar on frictionless access control, on demand, now, as well as the second in the series on deep learning and analytics. You can also register for the upcoming topics of perimeter protection and cyber security that Axis will be hosting with IFSEC Global. Simply follow the link below.

Gain access to exclusive Axis Online Events.

Free Download: The Video Surveillance Report 2020

Discover the latest developments in the rapidly-evolving video surveillance sector, directly from the people at its heart. We surveyed hundreds of professionals working in the field to bring you the 2020 Video Surveillance Report. Responses come from installers and integrators to consultants and heads of security, as we explore the latest trends in the sector including video analytics; cloud-based storage solutions; VSaaS; cyber security; the impact of COVID-19 and more!

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