Security is going mobile – the convenience of constant connectivity

New research from the “U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts,” published by Consumer Technology Association (CTA), suggests that sales of connected devices had a six percent year-over-year increase from 2016 to 2017—a record high. Smartphone unit volume grew three percent to reach 185 million smartphones shipping in 2017, with revenues reaching $55.6 billion for a two percent increase.

Mobile technology isn’t going anywhere; and if there’s one thing people won’t leave their home without, it’s their smartphone. Which is why smartphones are being used more frequently as tools for access identity and credentialing. The number of people who feel comfortable using their phone to access their home or workplace is on the rise. So too, is the number of consumers and companies using their devices to check in on their secured location via connected video cameras and other smart products.

Mobile technology professionals are responding to the trend by incorporating more physical security features in the devices they are making. Most smartphones now include either “Touch ID” or “Face ID” which use the owner’s fingerprint or face as the device’s authentication system, both of which are more secure and convenient than the traditional password or 4-digit code method. 

The question is no longer whether companies will begin adopting this mostly consumer trend—it’s when. Martin Huddart, president of the Access and Egress Hardware Group at Assa Abloy predicts, “in five to ten years we will be using our phones to get into work, perhaps supplemented with mechanical devices and hard credentials. It’s hard to imagine that won’t happen.”

Gartner Inc. further predicts a rapid migration to cloud-based physical access control system (PACS) and mobile credentials. Gartner’s “Predicts 2017” report expects that by 2020, 20 percent of organizations will use mobile credentials for physical access in place of traditional identification cards. Gartner also predicts (in a second report called “Technology Insight for Physical Access Control”) that within a similar timeline, 20 percent of large organizations will use cloud-based PACS head ends to simplify deployment.

The smartphone is poised to be incredibly transformative for access control in the security industry. IHS Analyst Jimmy Dearing said that increased use of mobile credentials and new biometric technologies are the top hardware trends. Mobile credentials in access control are a strong value proposition by themselves, but mobile credentials can also provide an integrated and higher value system for businesses by promoting new services and revenue streams.