New heights with the cloud

Andy Carter, head of sales for the UK and Ireland at Dormakaba, reviews the evolution towards cloud-based access systems and explains the benefits for customers.

As technology continues to progress at a rapid rate, the traditional model of having separate mechanical and electronical products is changing. Hybrid solutions that offer an integrated approach to access control are becoming increasingly popular – providing an array of benefits in terms of convenience, efficiency, security and cost.

Digital hardware and mobile technology now allow for greater flexibility when it comes to access control options. For example, Bluetooth-enabled technology has become central in the evolution of access control – offering practical and cost-effective solutions. Previous identification methods, such as fobs or key cards, are often lost, mislaid or even shared, creating frequent problems for buildings that require a high level of security.

People are less likely to forget personal mobile devices or loan them to someone else – making them an ideal component for identification access.

As such, Bluetooth-led systems can reduce long-term costs by eliminating the need to replace lost or stolen fobs and cards. Additionally, newer smartphone models feature PIN number or biometric verification – further enhancing security. With convenience at their core, the popularity of these systems can be credited to ease of installation, increased security and efficient delivery.

A key concern when integrating these modern technologies is the matter of installing the necessary software within a building’s existing IT setting. Often time consuming, the process can sometimes generate resistance and cause possible complications for the IT systems.

A significant advantage of cloud-based access systems is that they require little or no interaction with existing IT structures. Some access systems will also allow the user to choose which services they wish to manage in-house and those they wish to outsource to third part management. This allows users to focus on running their building or business, rather than the control of access.

Enchanced security is another key benefit of the cloud-based access control system. Access can be customised, allowing organisations to plan and personalise their systems. As businesses evolve and personnel change, users can revoke or extend access privileges with ease. In addition to this, cloud-based systems like Dormakaba’s own exivo platform also allow security levels to be adjusted outside of normal office hours by automatically requiring a pin number entry alongside the badge/key presence – a powerful tool to further improve building security.

In a bid to reduce overall investment cost, it can be appealing to opt for a low-cost solution for access control. However, when specifying an access control system it is important to consider the long-term benefits, as well as aiming to future-proof the installation to ensure systems will be forward compatible. This requires identifying best practice and the companies and products that have certification to the relevant BS or EN standards, such as EN 60839.

Advancements in technology are pushing the boundaries of smart access and cloud-based systems. It is important for specifiers to familiarise themselves with the benefits of such systems and explore all viable options. This will ensure the system chosen will be fit for purpose – depending on the size of the building and the primary requirements of the end client.

Therefore, it is worthwhile to invest in a trustworthy supplier within the industry that is accredited for capability, knowledge and quality.