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How we operate and work has changed dramatically in recent years, with technology and flexibility becoming key factors in predicting success. More agile competitors frequently outpace companies that need to adapt faster. The same holds true for the security industry. Between the increased adoption of cloud technology, the rise of hybrid working patterns and the high demand for interoperable tech in the workplace, access control technology trends have shifted to reflect what businesses need to stay competitive and secure. 

Access control trends have made a seismic shift, with more sophisticated technology available from a growing subset of companies innovating in the space. Smartphone apps and sensor technology have upgraded the touchless access experience, turning what was once a ​“nice-to-have” into a necessity in the past few years. 

With technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) permeating nearly every aspect of daily life, from smart home devices to keyless vehicles, it’s no surprise that smart technology is a physical security trend in the workplace. That shift has also primed the general public to be able to adapt to new technologies and methods for access control quickly.

To future-proof your building and organization and leverage the technologies that will continue to dominate the future of physical security and the access control industry, it’s important to stay informed about the newest technologies and access control trends for 2024.

Get your 2024 guide to access control

  • The threats affecting physical security

  • The state of the security tech industry

  • Top access control trends of 2024

  • Find out how you can better secure your facility

1. Cyber and physical security convergence

While security convergence is not necessarily one of the new cyber or physical security trends 2024, the massive influx of IoT devices to the market is driving more companies to approach their security more holistically. Now and in the future of physical security, we expect to see more businesses merging their IT and physical security infrastructure to drive more efficient operations.

By bringing together cyber and physical security teams and processes, companies can eliminate redundancies, improve response times and increase collaboration. This, in turn, makes room for greater automation across platforms and helps strengthen security posturing across the entire organization.

2. Touchless entry and access technology

Touchless access is one of the key access control technology trends of 2024. It is becoming increasingly popular in public and commercial spaces with high traffic for safety and convenience. Many touchless access control solutions we see leading the trend combine the existing security and safety of a legacy system with touchless entry to eliminate the need for physical contact or credentials at the door.

In looking at the touchless access control technology trends, 2024 will continue to see increased adoption in the following areas:

  • Improved physical signal configuration and motion sensing technology – By requiring users to complete a specific action at a certain distance, such as waving a hand in front of a reader, access control is less prone to accidental unlocks.
  • Enhanced mobile experiences – Instead of passing out key cards and fobs to every user, companies increasingly turn to solutions that offer mobile credentials. These leverage smartphone apps and proximity technology to allow users to unlock nearby doors with their phones. As a 2024 access control trend and a key element in the future of the access control industry, mobile technology will continue to become more reliable and offer more features for end users and operators.
  • Biometric technology for access control – Biometric access defines the future of access control. Biometric technology relies on an individual’s unique identity, including their facial features, fingerprints or other physical identification factors to confirm their identity. Mobile systems can also leverage the morphological biometrics we use to unlock our smartphones (FaceID, fingerprints, etc.) as an additional layer of security.

Upgrading to a touchless system may require a large upfront investment to implement initial changes to legacy control systems, but it can offer amazing benefits in future-proofing building security. Once this investment is made, it’s a highly cost-effective, user-friendly and secure way of supporting the latest access control trends.

3. Remote management and security

Remote security and remote access management have transformed our security capabilities, especially in recent years. And it’s expected to become one of the most prominent physical security and access control technology trends of 2024.

This access control trend first gained traction in helping building owners and secure their buildings even while unoccupied, setting the foundation for many businesses to keep their commercial buildings open while supporting a hybrid working environment.

Remote security’s primary benefit in the future of access control is that it allows organizations to remain flexible in their approach, regardless of where their teams are located. With anywhere access, teams no longer have to worry about time wasted during critical security events. They can adjust user permissions and door schedules at any time, with those changes reflecting instantly.

Remote door access control is especially useful for allowing vendors and employees access into the building without the need to be physically present at the site. The only challenge here is ensuring remote unlocks are only performed for verified individuals – unifying video and access (another one of the access control trends for 2024) can help mitigate this vulnerability.

4. Security system unification

Access control systems have traditionally worked in isolation. Still, recent access control trends for 2024 make it clear that the future of physical security lies in systems that can work together seamlessly. Choosing systems with open, interoperable platforms is becoming the new standard for access control and video security and is beginning to expand to include visitor management, building management and analytics tools.

By merging the systems’ capabilities, the technology from both can be optimized to enhance the overall user experience while helping building managers and owners improve a building’s efficiency, productivity and sustainability.

Unifying video and access control technology increases visibility and situational awareness. However, successfully adopting this 2024 access control trend involves working with providers offering intuitive software that seamlessly blends both functions.

Furthermore, sourcing technology built to open standards will allow easier integration with the tools you use now and those you add later for future-proof system scalability. The data collected by full-building integrations can also be vital in future-proofing operations: managing a building’s energy consumption based on occupancy levels, improving security by detecting unusual motion or system behavior and identifying trends that inform future decisions.

5. Building automation through AI

As physical security and access control technology gets smarter, there’s a growing opportunity for companies to streamline their operations. That’s why we’re predicting automation will be one of the leading access control trends for 2024.

Instead of having individuals monitor every video feed and access attempt 24/7, the future of the access control industry is more reliant on artificial intelligence (AI). While AI cannot replace human verification, it is invaluable for helping security teams know where to focus their efforts and when.

Analytical data ingested from unified systems provides key insights into operations, helping teams more quickly identify anomalies, and can also assist in triggering specific workflows or processes to strengthen security.

One example of this access control technology trend is using rules to trigger lockdowns, alarms or alerts following a specified access control event. This type of automation can be crucial in minimizing damages in an emergency. Still, it is also just as effective in helping teams more effectively triage daily incidents, such as lockouts or doors left ajar.

6. Multi-factor authentication 

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is becoming more popular due to its increased security and reliability. As cybercrime and hacking become more advanced, traditional methods of protecting data and physical assets are no longer sufficient. MFA requires multiple levels of authentication before allowing access, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to gain entry, either to buildings or networks.

As an access control technology trend, MFA requires users to present multiple credentials at an entry. In mobile applications, users may need to use FaceID or their passcode to unlock their phone and an app to request an unlock.

Many companies also add PIN codes or key cards to mobile authentication in a multi-layered approach to securing high-risk areas. However, if your access control readers cannot support both credential types, you must install multiple devices at the door. If you’re looking to adopt this 2024 access control technology trend for your business, opt for providers with multi-technology readers so you only have to install a single-edge device.

7. Embracing the hybrid cloud

According to Flexera, 92% of companies have systems running in the cloud. From document storage and management to security, the cloud offers many benefits for companies looking to make operations more flexible. It is one of the more important physical security trends of 2024.

Cloud-based security and access control solutions are scalable since they allow organizations to control multiple sites from a central location, enabling them to respond faster and more accurately to any breaches. Cloud applications also empower security teams to monitor and process data from all their sites and locations in one place, making multi-site access management more efficient.

However, implementing cloud-native solutions isn’t always the right fit. Some industries require on-premise servers for more stringent security oversight, while others cannot afford to rip and replace their existing infrastructure. In these instances, hybrid cloud systems are becoming more prevalent. Businesses can use cloud data storage, real-time activity alerts, and remote monitoring by connecting existing devices to cloud-connected software. 

8. All-in-one access control devices

With the explosion of video doorbell devices for residential markets, it was only a matter of time before commercial properties wanted in on the trend. That’s why all-in-one devices are also on our 2024 access control trends list. Instead of installing four different devices just to keep entries secure, property owners are looking for ways to get more bang for their edge-device buck.

Today’s entry solutions now include readers with built-in HD cameras, two-way audio, video intercom technology and doorbell functionality, instantly reducing the number of devices installed at the door. Space-saving, cost-effective and future-proof, many of these devices also have powerful AI capabilities that add to their sophistication and ease of use.

As discussed earlier, remote management is an access control trend that’s only gaining traction, and this type of technology can offer better visibility and quicker control over commercial spaces and offices, plus greater convenience for daily users and visitors.

The future of access control trends: Predictions and challenges

So, as the world continues to adapt and change around us as a result of the reaction to specific trends and security concerns, what are the future access control technology and physical security trends for 2024, and what do industry experts think will be the biggest challenge in the future of physical security?

Regarding access control trends, 2024 can be summed up with the adage ​“less is more.” From developing more powerful multi-technology devices to investing in unified systems, future access control technology will be designed to support several varying functions and capabilities simultaneously. However, businesses still want feature-rich systems that leverage deep learning and AI technology to help them streamline operations, automate processes and strengthen security – all at the same time.

It’s also highly likely that more and more providers will adopt open technologies to integrate products easily with other systems. Because unification is a top 2024 security trend, experts expect to see more previously disparate systems combined to offer holistic security solutions.

The challenges with the future of access control are directly tied to the increasingly digital way we do business. When data is in transit, it can be vulnerable to cyber attacks or theft. End-to-end encryption is one way to combat that, and establishing cyber and physical security convergence will help companies identify potential vulnerabilities faster. 

As the nature of hybrid work evolves, security systems must also be easily adaptable to new trends and requirements. For companies operating on sluggish access control and physical security platforms, the risk of a breach rises with every software update. Investing in technology with proven uptime, automatic software rollouts and over-the-air troubleshooting can help mitigate known vulnerabilities and keep systems future-proof for whatever access control technology trends come next. 

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