As consumers gain knowledge about advanced functionality of access control, they are setting higher expectations for their systems. A recent article by Karyn Hodgson titled, The Top Three Selling Factors with Today’s Access Control Systems shared great insight regarding what customers are looking for in an access control system. Hodgson states, “Users want the latest technology they use in other areas of their life; they don’t want to manage it themselves; and they want best in breed in everything." The success of an access control system is measured by three factors; convenience, performance, and security. It is a mixture of these functions that determine how easy the system is to operate, thus making it more attractive to the buyer.
Access control systems haven’t always been convenient. Since they weren’t controlled by a centralized location, they took a lot of time to manage and were very expensive to outsource. As a result, with the exception of industries that mandated this level of security, such as the financial and healthcare industry, the inability to easily maintain access control systems kept them from selling. Access control companies were receptive to their customers' needs and began developing high-quality systems that emphasized the ease of use.
Many buyers associate convenience with having complete accessibility and remote access to the system from anywhere in the world. As mobile technology continues to advance, users are expecting to have access to their system via the cloud, mobile computing, or smartphones. These options are becoming more available to make managing access control systems as convenient as possible.
Companies are willing to invest in a high-quality system, with the belief that the system will run for a long time. When paying a premium for access control systems, buyers expect exceedingly high-level performance and continuous innovation. Rob Martens, futurist and director of connectivity platforms, Allegion, Carmel, Indiana, stated, “People want innovation and expect change at a different pace than the industry has seen before. People are expecting a smart device, but it shouldn’t be a burden, just a simple addition." This expectation is hard for the industry to accomplish but is increasingly improving. This concept includes ongoing maintenance involving custom integration and upgrades when they are available. Today, many businesses have multiple locations that need to function on the same access control system. To do this effectively, the system needs to be consistent between each location. Users want to learn how to use the system once and be able to manage multiple locations within a centralized environment.
Although convenience and performance are critical aspects of an access control system, security continues to be a top priority. Buyers understand the value in “technology refresh," and don’t just upgrade to upgrade, they do it to get the value of the upgrade. Cabling, panels, and power supply are a thing of the past. Customers are looking into Wi-Fi and wireless locks in order achieve a “clean and modern” look while maintaining 24/7 control. In today’s society, security breaches or burglaries are increasing, and by having constant control over the system allows the user to have real-time visibility of the happenings within each location. The individuals managing the system can receive automatic alerts and override security locks.
Access Control Systems have changed dramatically over the years to accommodate the end-user. Convenience, performance, and security are all expectations of the system, and if these expectations are accomplished the access control system will provide a safe environment for everyone.