Access control market moves towards wireless alternatives
Given the advantages wireless technology has over both mechanical locks and wired access control, we would expect to find the market moving steadily towards wireless. The data in our latest survey certainly backs up that expectation.
The 2014 report found that 23 percent of businesses used a fully wireless or hybrid wired/wireless system for access control. Fast forward two years and that figure has risen to 29 percent, with five percent already having adopted a fully wireless solution.
This latest survey confirms that a majority of end users recognise the effectiveness and ROI potential of wireless systems. Back in 2014, some 63 percent thought integration with existing systems would not be complicated and disruptive, 65 percent believed a wireless upgrade would not be expensive and 84 percent did not expect onerous maintenance costs. Two years later and 69 percent agreed that wireless access control is a cost-effective alternative to its wired equivalent.
The report also found that wired access control systems are still much more prevalent than wireless or hybrid wired/wireless, suggesting replacement or expansion of installed systems is a significant potential future market for wireless sales.
Despite the integration of wireless systems being seen as simple for those who have experience, training may be an issue that concerns some potential customers: over half of respondents had to run at least ‘some’ training for their new wireless system.
To make a switch to wireless attractive, multiple benefits need to be in place, including cheap maintenance, easy integration and minimally disruptive installation – there’s no one ‘magic bullet’ that will make people switch. Meanwhile, uncertainties around the security of wireless access and cloud-based system management also remain: almost half of respondents believe that wired systems are more secure, despite the fact that wireless locks – including in the Aperio® portfolio – are certified for security doors, fire doors and so on.
Mechanical key loss does pose a significant security risk in the minds of almost most professionals, the report found, and is seen as a major weakness. Despite this, only 22 percent of those with mechanical locks have plans to upgrade – cost and a failure to see the need for access control on lower-security doors being principal reasons why.
However, 62 percent of professionals surveyed think few business premises will have mechanical locks within a decade, which, if true, represents a major opportunity for wireless access control in the coming years.
A key challenge for wireless access control manufacturers and resellers is matching the right solution to the customer’s needs. For example, providing certified products to customers who are nervous about the security credentials of wireless versus wired technology. Or, to others, showing the wide-ranging facility management benefits of adding access control to lower-security areas.
This article is an excerpt from the ASSA ABLOY report titled, The Wireless Access Control Market in 2016. Download the report.