person unlocking door with phone

Access Control in 2023: Convenient, Sustainable Security

Access control is always about balance — organizations need strong security, but not at the expense of other goals and initiatives. I was recently interviewed at IFSEC on the most talked-about trends in our industry, and was struck by how providers have risen to this challenge with innovations that check every box on an organization’s security wish list. Watch the interview below. 

This video offers a quick overview of the top themes we’ve seen at IFSEC and other industry shows, heard from our partners and watched unfold around the world. Let’s dive a little deeper here. 

Access Control Theme #1: Mobile 

There’s been a greater push than ever to make access control mobile. Having an access control credential right on one’s phone or wearable delivers on the top requests of consumers, like:

Sustainability. Unlike traditional card printing, mobile doesn’t create waste. It lives right inside an existing device and doesn’t require the printing process’s usual consumables, like ribbons, ink or cards. 

Security. Of course, the name of the game is always security. Mobile offers an extra layer of security by leveraging a device’s inherent features (like passcodes and face or fingerprint IDs). In addition, patches and upgrades can be transmitted instantly. 

Convenience. Any access control solution is only as effective as the end user makes it — if it won’t be used appropriately, it won’t work. Passwords and PINs, for example, only secure places and spaces if they’re hard to guess (and preferably not written on a Post-it note next to the door). It’s hard to beat the convenience of a device we’re rarely without anyway.  

Access Control Theme #2: Better Badges 

Although mobile may be getting a lot of attention, many organizations still need physical badges. Hospitals, for example, often require staff and providers to display a physical photo ID at all times. Other organizations may offer users the choice of a physical or mobile credential. Luckily, physical badges are more secure than ever, with enhanced technology like HID® Seos® packing a significant security punch into a small card. 

Of course, the benefits of today’s cards don’t stop there. HID has made significant strides in sustainability — particularly with our bamboo badges. This eco-friendly card credential is made of fast-growing bamboo, one of the most sustainable materials around. 

We’ve often said that physical badges aren’t just about access control; they’re also about brand. Bamboo badges make it clear — at a glance — that a company cares about the environment and is serious about sustainability. 

Access Control Theme #3: Digital Wallets

An offshoot of mobile access, digital wallets let users house their credentials on their devices. With wallets, however, users can access what they need with just a tap, without opening an app or even unlocking their phone. 

We’re seeing a lot of interest in digital wallets in large, tech-savvy office buildings. The first European rollout of employee badge in Apple Wallet was at London’s 22 Bishopsgate, touted as the world’s smartest building. 14,000 mobile users at 22 Bishopsgate can now use just their iPhone or Apple Watch to access their offices, plus all the building’s amenities. 

Like mobile access apps, badges in digital wallets are useful well beyond the door. Users can access things like lockers, desktops, elevators and EV charging stations. One of the best parts is how easy these are to manage — users can self-provision, and administrators can assign or revoke permissions instantly. Administrators can also require two-factor authentication for access to extra-sensitive areas.

2023 may be coming to a close, but the world of access control is opening up — for the right trusted identities, of course. These trends are keeping the world more sustainable, secure and efficient. 

Spencer Marshall is HID’s Head of Europe for PACS. With 20+ years of account and client management experience in a number of industries, he’s an industry expert known for adapting to market conditions and opportunities. Spencer and his European team focus on strategizing large global projects as well as delivering to local specifications.