ACS Trends and Future Technologies Essay Example

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ACS Trends and Future Technologies


The need for access control begins at the individual level and extends to the corporate world. Access control can be defined as the imposition of restrictions to access of places, data and other resources for unauthorized persons (Sandhu et al., 1996). Such restrictions are implemented by the use of locks and login credentials. Access control can be categorized into two; physical access control and logical access control. Physical access control restricts access to buildings and rooms (Kriplean et al., 2007). On the other hand, Logical access control restricts access to system files, data and computer networks (Bertino et al., 2003). Access control systems identify, authorize and authenticate access approval through login credentials such as Personal Identification Numbers (PINs), biometrics, passwords and electronic or physical keys. However, recent advancements have made digital systems more important than traditional systems such as the use of physical keys. Therefore, advancements made in software technology are especially important to access control systems. The paper discusses trends and future technologies in access control systems and their
important to improving security

Even as advancements in access control systems technologies continue to bring improvements in performance, cost-effectiveness and efficiency, their potential continues to grow. Technological advancement in network and software-based solutions are especially important to researchers, and they help improve security in access control systems and other areas. The enhancement of features and functionalities of access control systems make it possible for innovators to provide the end user with a product that serves them with the best security at a cost effective price which is an important feature of commodities in the corporate world (Sandhu, 1996). Below are some of the trends that are conspicuous in access control systems and possible modifications expected in the future.

Managed Access Control

There are software-based solutions that may be the key to business development for end users who own older security systems. Backward compatible systems have an architecture that allows dealers and integrators to offer access control as a managed service. It is possible to generate recurrent revenue with systems that have multiple-client functionality (Berbec, 2000). The functionality makes it possible to manage multiple systems over a single backbone (Sandhu et al., 2008; Yang et al., 2009). The architecture is similar to one that would be used to manage an infrastructure that houses multiple tenants.

Improved Security and Safety

Software-based access control systems are making leaps in the invention of security systems that go beyond securing physical premises. For example, where an institution seeks to keep track of individual personnel so that everyone is where they are expected to be at all times they can use proximity devices. The proximity devices can be used with access readers at the entrances to various facilities which helps monitor the location of all personnel at all times (Sandhu & Samarati, 1994). The monitoring systems can also be programmed to check for the amount of time that an individual spends at a certain station. When someone accesses a facility that they do not have clearance for or if they overstay at a certain
station beyond the allotted time the system issues an alert (Leppek, 1999). Such security measures are important especially to institution where security is a major
concern, and the nature of goods or data is volatile such as banks. Having such a surveillance installed and properly monitored makes it hard for unscrupulous persons to plan criminal activities such as heists.

Wireless Networks

Wireless technology is becoming an important aspect of access control systems. Therefore, it is important that developers and manufacturers come up with systems that accommodate this technology. Among the major concerns that surround wireless technology is the integration of this technology with traditional PAC systems and safety concerns. Developers need to come up with a solution that integrates both wired and wireless technologies especially with increased “bring your own device” (Nosratinia, Hunter & Hedayat, 2004). Improving security measures will be particularly important in the future especially in institutions where employees are allowed access to privileged company information. Using access control systems to protect information accessed using personal devices such as mobile phones and computers has to be meticulous because new systems are the target of hackers.

Open and Integrated Security

Developers need to come up with an integral security management that uses open information technology standards. Currently, some of the greatest challenges that customers face include changing regulations, cyber threats on physical premises and adapting to new ways of identification. Since security systems are used for the long-term, it is expected that security technologies will be introduced before the service life of the system expires. Therefore, having an open software-based security system will be important in the future. Several advantages accrue to the end user with the adaptation of open standards the most important being the freedom of choice and dealing with legacy.

Choice of security hardware and software should be left to the customer and with the implementation of open IT standards this will be made possible. Current hardware architecture and software compatibility cause a vendor lock-in because customization requires a system overhaul which is usually too expensive for the customer to even consider. Consumers need a system that provides them with total security rather than having several separate systems functioning simultaneously. Having an open IT standards system allows customers mix and match hardware products that serve them best with regards to functionality and ones that are within their budget. An open IT standards system will allow customers to have systems in place that best suit their security policy (Sarma, Weis & Engels, 2002).

Developing Mobile Access Control for Hotels

Key solutions are important to hotels because they host many guests per day. An efficient access control system means that the hotel minimizes the problem of having to deal with endless and customers also get to avoid this inconvenience. Developers have come up with software that allows hotel guests to use a smartphone equipped with Bluetooth to open doors. Guests book a room in the hotel, and they receive credentials to open the door to their room through the app. This makes it possible for people to bypass the front desk to avoid long queues (Bröndrup, 2008). Many hotels are yet to embrace this technology but with the changing trend in the use of wireless technology more hotels are expected to adopt it.

Web-based Access Control

Developers have come up with applications that are easy to install because they do not need software or a dedicated personal computer for it to work. The application has built-in web server that allows maintenance and programming to be done from any browser without having to worry about viruses or any operating concerns which save the user both time and money. Web-based access control systems are also suitable for any facility regardless of its size and it is customizable so that it accommodates the customer’s specific security needs and functionality needs. The built-in web server allows the customer
to securely manage their access control systems over the Internet (Teixeira et al., 2003). The web-based access control systems also have event driven recorded video capability which allows the customers to view several live cameras simultaneously (Shen, 2006). The events captured by the cameras can be recorded on USB memory sticks, so the systems do not need additional video recording hardware.

Central Management of Access Control Management

Some programs make it easy to manage security for businesses. Programs launched in the market recently remove the hassle of managing operating systems, installing software, having to deal with virus protection and they also remove compatibility problems. Having a central station makes it easier to manage the access control systems because the systems have options such as digital video monitoring which help improve the management function of the program. The programs can be used to create customized reports that can be created in any interval that is convenient for the customer. The reports, events, and alarms can then be sent to the user’s email, mobile phone or any other device that the user has enabled to receive the reports. The system also has advanced user capabilities such as floor plan graphic displays, keyboards shortcuts, alarm routing, and remote digital video monitoring which offer powerful support to the system. Users can also access their accounts from a remote location and have the option of using a web-enabled
interface, and they can also access their information live by using any standard web browser interface (Barber, Petruschka, and de Castro, 2003).

Visitor Management Systems

Advancements made in visitor management have led to the development of systems that effectively register, track and badge visitors. It enables institutions that receive several visitors everyday an efficient way of generating detailed visitor traffic reports and enforce security policies that concern visitors. Visitor management systems allow the user to tailor the software so that it meets the user’s needs. Functions of visitor management systems include; registration and tracking of visitors which happens at the front desk, generation of reports done by the reporter, control of security policies done by the administration, coordination of activities done by the scheduler and pre-print of badges. Other functions that visitor management systems support include self-registration of visitors and host notification when visitors arrive (Shackley, 1999).

Software used to do visitor registration is easy to use, and registration is quick and simple, so it is easy to do self-registration. On arrival, the visitors photo ID is scanned and run through the system to ensure that they are scheduled to arrive that day and also to check whether they are on a watch list. Such checks ensure that only authorized visitors are allowed to the site. Visitor management systems can contact the visitor’s host through email, mobile phone or any other device that the host has set as the alert channel. Once the visitor is registered the visitor management automatically generates a personalized badge. Upon registration, the system also sets restriction to the access that the visitor is allowed, and they may include; the span of time allowed for the visit, clearance level and the areas that the visitor is allowed to visit. The visitor needs to sign out of the visitor management system once their visit expires and if they fail to sign out then, the system can contact the host to confirm whether the visitors are still around.

Visitor management systems are important because they are powerful security platform for both the host and visitors. Registering all visitors through the system ensures that the host has a complete and centralized record of the visitors’ traffic. The record not only strengthens security but also ensures that the host improves service to the customer.


Software based controllers are important to end users because they allow for the protection of both future and past investments in access control systems. This feature of software-based controllers is made possible through backward compatibility. Backward compatibility makes it possible to come up with the best breed of new and already installed systems. Ability to bring uniformity between new and existing systems makes it possible to save
both time and finances. The dynamic nature of access control systems means that there will be times when new and existing security solutions will need to coexist. Therefore, this nature of systems means that software needs to be backward compatible to allow for this coexistence (Schaad, Moffett & Jacob, 2001).

Some access control manufacturers have abandoned making their controllers and wiring compatible with new software which means that their end user is forced rip and replace systems whenever they want to upgrade the system. However, there are existing technologies that allow the analog twisted cabling that uses 485or 422 protocols to be used with installed readers. Such solutions ease the burden of upgrading because only the controllers may need to be replaced. One can choose to
re-engineer the system so that only the centralized software that is installed at the head end will need to be replaced. Such technological advances mean major savings of time and money which is good news to integrators, dealer, and the end user.

Networked Systems

With the maturity of the internet of things, it is expected that access control systems will no longer remain a discrete system that is separate from other data sources including security and non-security systems. Access control systems will provide information that is required to move from a reactive security system to a proactive one. Intelligence provided by access control systems will be able to provide data that contributes to emerging models of predictive analytics (Zhang, Branicky, & Phillips, 2001). Integration of systems will provide users with the ability to monitor and control various locations and facilities. Integrated systems will utilize data from video surveillance and management, alarm systems, elevator control, visitor management, building control, photo imaging and several other systems. There are prospects of coming up with powerful software that can analyze and process a wide range of data and give out information that helps improve the efficiency of access control systems.

New access control system appliances that are network controlled will be pre-configured to ease onsite system setup, installation and any customization that may be made to the system. On-board capabilities will be engineered to allow the user to connect the networked appliance by launching a shortcut created on a personal computer that is connected to a Local Area Network. Such configuration will minimize time spent on installation because it will not be necessary to install or deploy servers and software.

Future of Access Control

It is not easy to predict the future of any technological field because at the center of this endeavor are innovation and invention, and these are not easily predicted. However, recent trends can point us to the direction where this industry is headed. It is, for example, easy to tell that integration will be an invaluable part of access control in the future. Before technology became an integral part of data organization, it made sense to separate security and non-security systems. However, recent developments show that integration of these two systems is something that all businesses will have to consider in the future. Increased homogeny of data means that integration of systems is much easier and since it eases management and running of a business and its premises its adoption is desirable for both large and small businesses.

Wider technological trends are also bound to influence advancement in access control systems. Internet Protocol run systems and devices are, for example, expected to dominate access control because they give the system the characteristic of remote control. There are also strong indications that Near Field Communications through the use of devices such as mobile phones will be prevalent in the management of access control systems in the future. Use of popular personalized devices such as mobile phones relieves the user of the burden of having to carry around specific identification tokens which can be easily forgotten or misplaced. However, whichever turn access control systems take entry of new hardware in the field will need accompanying software support. Therefore, the most important advancement in the future may be the invention of an open IT standards system that allows the user to customize their security system using software and hardware from different manufacturers as per his or her desired product specification and budget.

In conclusion, access control management is important for the security of both home and business premises. Technological advancement has also made data a valuable commodity in the corporate world so it also needs to be secured because it can be the difference between success and failure of business. Technological advancements made in access control have been important in increasing security of both data and premises and the management of security systems. The industry still has prospects of making further advancements, but this needs to be guided by criteria such as compatibility and integration. Compatibility ensures that access control system upgrades do not necessitate an overhaul because this makes the process very expensive. Integration also ensures that the user has some control over what to change in the access control system which depends on individual specifications and budget. If consumers continue to embrace technological breakthroughs made in access control then, security of premises and data in the future will be efficient and easy to implement.

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