Top access control trends for 2022

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Over the past two years, the way we work and live has shifted, and organizations have been forced to make drastic changes in order to stay afloat. Adapting to the constantly changing “new normal,” work culture has morphed from in-office to predominantly remote. In access control news in particular, the story has circled around ensuring safety, managing occupancy, and giving businesses greater control throughout these changes. The latest access control technology and features not only incorporate security into the new way of life, but also boost productivity in the workplace, enforce safety, and transform building access into a seamless experience, both for users and operators. As we prepare buildings for the future of access control, here are ten access control trends to watch for in 2022.

1. Remote management

Remote management has remained critical since early 2020, enabling businesses to keep their buildings secure even when nobody is there, and pave the way for productive hybrid work models. This will continue to be an access control technology trend in 2022, with new tools and technologies being developed to make remote management easier and more efficient. With more companies pledging to continue to allow employees to work from home, or follow a flexible work schedule, security management remains an important part of ensuring the workplace is safe, secure, and healthy. 

Remote access and security management enables both enterprise and smaller organizations to stay nimble and flexible, allowing teams to complete their day-to-day tasks without having to be onsite. Features such as remote door unlock are useful for letting vendors, contractors and employees who’ve forgotten their credentials into the building. With access to real-time activity reporting, remote management also gives organizations a leg up to make adjustments on the fly and find ways to automate many daily operations (one of the access control tech trends to watch for in 2022). Just because they aren’t onsite, doesn’t mean security is compromised, either. With remote lockdown activation features, authorized employees can quickly trigger a sitewide lockdown on their phone in the event of an emergency. Being able to oversee security from anywhere saves time for building management teams, making for a more streamlined, efficient workplace with less investment. 

Access from anywhere makes a remote or flexible workforce easier to manage as well. To accommodate changes in company growth, remote onboarding and offboarding offers a better employee experience, as well as maintains workplace security. In addition, being able to containerize space, add and remove entries, and adjust permissions on the fly will keep organizations from wasting resources. The time and resources saved with remote management makes room for companies to scale at a faster pace. Managing multiple sites is simpler when all data and controls are centralized on a single, remotely accessible dashboard. When it comes to predicting the future of access control trends, remote management is a feature that is paramount to keeping teams on top of what’s happening in all of their spaces.

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2. The cloud is here to stay

The cloud is one of the most important physical access control trends to note. According to a recent study by Flexera, 92% of companies today have systems running in the cloud, and security is beginning to see more migration from on-premise to cloud-based access control systems. Going cloud-based offers many benefits for organizations, from having control for multiple sites in a central location, to better response to breaches and security incidents.

When it comes to management, a cloud-based system comes with tools that assist administrative and security teams to sort, view, and process data more efficiently in one single place. For example, with a legacy system, access control and security are usually managed for each building or site separately. This means that granting access to another building requires multiple teams to communicate, and often means the user has to have multiple physical credentials. With cloud-based access control, admins can easily adjust access permissions from anywhere, and even remotely unlock the door for a user if needed. 

While the benefits of a cloud-based access control provide greater convenience and more robust security for organizations, midsize and enterprise companies have been reluctant in adopting a fully cloud-based system. Interoperability and integration with existing systems was a significant part of the resistance, as buildings often come with existing systems that control locks, cameras, and other physical security measures. However, new access control technology trends have made cloud access control more interoperable with legacy systems. With a hybrid cloud system, companies can take advantage of centralizing access data across locations in the cloud, without having to rip and replace all the hardware.

While physical access control delegates permissions to enter a building, logical access control also includes admittance to computers, networks, files, and usernames and passwords. Physical access control can be used to bolster cybersecurity efforts, assisting in minimizing the risk of unauthorized access, with real-time alerting and fast access to restriction mechanisms in the cloud. The recent access control breaches in the news, namely the Panasonic security breach, further emphasize the importance of utilizing the latest access control technology to secure sensitive data and prevent disastrous, and often costly, security breaches through a cloud-based system. 

In the big picture, organizations have a lot to gain from migrating to cloud-based access control. The future of access control will continue to see improvements in cloud-based systems, making them more flexible, scalable, and secure.

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Future-proof mobile access control for your business

  • Fastest, most reliable mobile and cloud-based access control system

  • Patented Triple Unlock technology for 99.9% unlock reliability 

  • Intuitive cloud-based software with granular controls and multi-site management

  • Scalable hardware and software to support any door density across any number of locations

  • Secure by design with advanced encryption, alerts against tampering, and automatic software updates

  • Open API and mobile SDKs for seamless integration with leading technology providers

  • Backward compatibility with legacy physical access control systems to support hybrid deployments

  • Full-building access control for all your doors, parking garages, turnstiles, and elevators

3. Leveraging integrations for smart automation

Automation is one of the most under-utilized access control tech trends. While integrated systems were popular access control technology trends in recent years, new developments and access control tech trends have opened the door to automating operations for greater efficiency. By connecting what used to be disparate building systems like access control, parking management, room scheduling, visitor management and tenant experience apps, automations streamline processes to make operations more efficient. Instead of logging into and configuring 5 different building systems, integrations allow building managers to control all 5 from one interface. Integrated building management systems not only creates better workplace experiences, it can also increase ROI across an entire enterprise. 

In 2022, we also expect to see more organizations take advantage of artificial intelligence for integrated security. AI-enhanced access control and video technology, for example, can help security personnel identify potential threats faster and with better accuracy. By helping teams know what and where to focus on, AI-powered security technology can reduce human error, and improve overall experiences. In addition, these access control technology trends allow teams to manage a greater number of users with less drain on resources.

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4. Seamless mobile experiences

In addition to a growing remote workforce, the future of access control will increasingly rely on mobile technology. As the physical access control trends in 2022 shift to digital, mobile badges will continue to replace traditional key cards and fobs. A mobile badge adds visual identity verification, but does it without requiring investment in another credential. By merging digital and physical identity, organizations can strengthen security, without compromising convenience. Plus, mobile badges are more customizable, and can show identifiers such as title, group, or vaccination status. 

When it comes to access control tech trends, mobile isn’t going anywhere in 2022. In fact, more providers are investing in ways to make mobile technology more reliable and secure. New access control technology trends in the mobile space include faster unlocks, like Openpath’s sub-second unlock times for wired and wireless door locks, and more reliable entry via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC technology. 

Additionally, as more companies migrate to mobile, apps now need to support multiple accounts, ensuring the convenience of a single app and credential for every aspect of navigating the workplace. This goes double for guests and visitors. In 2021 we saw the rise of digital reservation and check-in systems leading among physical access control trends. In 2022, the future of physical access control trends will be increasingly mobile and digital, and we expect to see greater integration between these systems. This means people will be able to schedule meetings, reserve spaces, sign waivers, and access the right spaces at the right times with a single, seamless app experience.

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5. Touchless access control technology

Where touch-based access control technology trends dominated a few years ago, the pandemic led to a seismic shift in our perception of touch. Now, a touchless automatic entry system is a must-have for just about every space. Not only are touchless access control trends a more hygienic way of navigating the building, they’re more convenient and modern. Now that more systems are relying on mobile and digital technologies, it’s easier to create touchless entry experiences. Utilizing mobile credentials and cloud-based platforms, there’s one less touch point in the office. This means less maintenance, less wear-and-tear on the hardware, and greater peace of mind for users. 

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Choose your way in with Openpath

  • Touchless Wave to Unlock without having to take the smartphone out of your pocket or bag

  • Convenient mobile unlock with the app on your smartphone, Apple Watch, and tablet

  • Supports encrypted key card and key fob credentials, with options for custom designs

  • Customizable digital badges for visual verification right on your mobile device

  • Automatic entry detection and ability to save most-used entries to Favorites 

  • Backward compatible with legacy access control credentials and systems 

  • Support for multiple Openpath accounts on a single login

  • Digital Guest Pass feature gives visitors access to the right doors at the right times

6. Multi-factor authentication and biometrics

Nothing makes access control news more than security breaches. This may be why multi-factor and biometric authentication are growing access control trends. As criminals get more creative, and hackers get more ambitious, it’s paramount that businesses take physical access control seriously. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder to use a cloned credential or password to gain unauthorized entry. Access control technology trends are now combining multi-factor authentication with biometrics for even better security. For example, a mobile-based access control system requires a user to open their phone using their FaceID or a passcode, in addition to scanning a code or tapping in the app to open the door. A multi-layered approach to access control is a smart way to prevent the common vulnerabilities identified in recent access control breaches in the news.

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7. Seamless video and access control

Traditional access control systems can tell you which credential was used at an entry, but without the addition of video surveillance cameras, you can’t visually verify what’s happening. Enter one of the most powerful access control trends of 2022: video access control. With a video camera embedded directly into the door reader, hardware such as Openpath’s Video Reader Pro lets security teams see what’s happening right at the door. While video-based access control doesn’t replace the need for commercial surveillance cameras, it is a powerful way to supplement an existing system. The future of physical access control requires businesses to be able to do more with less investment, and video readers are an essential part of that strategy. 

Cloud-based technology comes into play here as well. One of the challenges of video surveillance is storing the video footage. With cloud-based video storage, organizations don’t need to purchase additional equipment, and all data is kept secure on an offsite, managed server. Plus, both the video and access data is housed in a single dashboard, making it easier to manage, audit, and respond to security incidents faster and more accurately.

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Combine video and access with the Video Reader Pro

  • Sleek, multi-technology access control reader with a built-in, high-definition video camera

  • Visual verification of every access event where and when it occurs with free live video feeds

  • Enhanced mobile experiences lets you monitor security from anywhere with the easy-to-use app, and in the Control Center

  • Real-time alerts for access activity with on-demand video playback and the ability to remotely unlock the door right from the app 

  • All-in-one management for configuration, provisioning, and security monitoring with customizable dashboards from a single platform

  • ONVIF and NDAA compliant platform seamlessly integrates with existing physical access control and video systems

8. The advantage of analytics

In the future of physical access control, data is king. In addition to remote management and enterprise-wide automations, cloud-based access control systems also give organizations unprecedented visibility into what’s happening at their buildings. New access control technology trends will undoubtedly include more ways for organizations to utilize the entry and user data to their benefit.

Advancements in AI analytics are making it easier and faster for organizations to find relevant data patterns and actionable insights across all their security and building systems. From improved space and amenity management, to renegotiating leases or containerizing office space, to more efficient and sustainable building systems, business intelligence analytics are essential to increasing ROI and making smarter business decisions. Combining data sets from different sources, including access control, also provides greater insight into where automations (another 2022 access control trend) can benefit the organization.

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9. The future of the smart building

As a culmination of all of the above access control trends, smart buildings are continuing to get even smarter. Being able to change and adapt at any moment is crucial to success in our new normal. IoT, cloud, and access control technology trends are making it possible, automating tasks to boost efficiency, productivity, and responsiveness even before somebody opens the front door. 

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that less is more. The less you have to roll out a truck to a site to fix something, or log in to a system to upgrade software, the better off you are. IoT systems future-proof technology investments by ensuring everything can be updated remotely, as soon as it’s needed. IoT-connected building technology, like access control readers and panels installed at every door, can automatically receive new software features overnight, adapting the security and safety posture of those buildings almost instantly. 

In 2022, buildings will get smarter, responding to access control trends like how people use the space, when they’re there, and who’s coming in. As more systems go digital and mobile, more data is available and accessible. Everything from lighting, to HVAC, to ordering supplies can be automated based on when and where people are in space. The result? More sustainable, efficient operations that can scale with a click of a button.

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10. The convergence of IT, cybersecurity, and physical access control

While security convergence has mostly focused on merging cyber and physical access control systems and strategies, the spike in hybrid and remote work over the past few years has greatly influenced the way organizations invest in the latest access control technology. With fewer people physically at office buildings, and more flexibility around when, how, and who can access the workplace, technology that improves communication and collaboration is key. 

The best way to ensure a frictionless, secure, and safe office environment is to look at spaces holistically. New access control technology trends point to security strategies that include knowing who’s unlocking doors, who’s accessing the network, and how data is being shared across devices. This means organizations need visibility into real-time activity, as well as access and security trends over time. For enterprise organizations, multi-site management will play a crucial role in adapting to hybrid work. Having all IT, cybersecurity and physical access controls and data in a single, unified platform ensures a better understanding of the way spaces are used, and how to improve both security and safety. The future of access control technology and analytics tools will prove that ingesting data from other security platforms is necessary to strengthen security posturing, giving organizations a more complete view of security across every platform, access point, and location. 

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Key takeaways

One thing is certain as we look at the future of access control trends: adaptability is necessary, but not at the expense of security. With more people depending on internet-based services for their daily tasks, the future of access control, especially for enterprises, goes beyond protecting data and restricting access to doing all of it faster, with greater reliability. Platforms that prioritize flexibility and scalability will enable businesses to adapt to ever-changing environments without additional investment. Finding new and innovative ways to safeguard spaces, protect sensitive information, and create frictionless experiences will define the future of access control throughout 2022.

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