How access control panels will continue to change

As one device evolves, the devices it interacts with also finds scope to improve and change. Access control panels have adapted to technological advancements, both in the physical and digital domain. 2020 Vision, providers of IP CCTV systems, present this guide to past changes to access control panels, and potential future developments.

Security advancements


Technology has enjoyed some substantial improvement upon the old lock and key. The way we entered restricted areas has changed over time — and it all started with the famous keypad. Similar to what we now see on ATMs, these were used to access locked areas and would require an individual to type in a specific numerical code to enter. The passcode would usually be around four to six digits long. But was this a viable method to protect a business? At the time, it was a revolutionary idea — but as times progressed, anyone could obtain the code and enter even if they weren’t authorised to do so. This was classed as a non-intelligent reader.

Card Readers

Keypads began to lose their effectiveness when compared to the next stage in security development: card readers. Usually, a magnetic strip would be attached to the card which a staff member could then swipe through a narrow slot in order to gain access. However, such cards are now available with a bar code reader, a proximity reader, smart card readers, and biometric readers — tailoring each to specific business requirements.

IP Door Readers

Card readers were further advanced upon with the introduction of IP readers: these could be accessed via card or by Bluetooth. Biometrics are now also common in IP readers — unlike card readers and keypads, IP readers can operate independently as they hold an internal memory and if the details you provide do not match what the IP reader has knowledge of, you will not gain access.

These leaps in development took place within 50 years. At this pace, what will the next stage be?

Access control panels for smartphones

There are a few different ways to lock the internal features of a smartphone. The use of passcodes is still common amongst most devices and are similar to keypads in terms of security. Biometric access, through the use of the fingerprint, is something that is relatively new and has revolutionised the way we get into our phones. However, in 2017, the iPhone X was released which saw tech-mogul company, Apple, introduce facial recognition as the main route to gaining access using a 3D sensor that can recognise the phone owner’s facial features. We suspect that this will be implemented across more smartphone devices in order to compete for the title of being the most accessible and the easiest. However, convenience and simplicity whether facial recognition, fingerprint scanning Bluetooth, and even a short PIN code come at a price they simplify access not only for the authorised user, but also for a potential attacker. So when it comes to implementing an Access Control System always seek the advice of an experienced security integrator.

The next stage of access control panels

We predict that the next advancement will come in the form of ‘eyeball recognition’, a technology still in its early stages. As no two people are the same, DNA ensures that access is being granted to the right person. Even in extreme and unlikely circumstances, if someone was to obtain your eyeball, they would still be unable to gain access.

We’re already starting to see advancements in technology shown to us in movies start to creep into the real world. But the movies were unaware of how secure they would actually be. In “Diamonds are Forever” in the James Bond franchise, 007 tries to gain access through a ‘copy’ of the required fingerprint. Realistically, if this was to occur, there would be smudges on the fingerprint which would lead to alerts being made and a fail in gaining access.

In “Demolition Man”, a criminal group attempt to escape prison using a warden’s eye. In reality, this would not get past any sort of IRIS scan, as there is a detection process which determines whether the person is alive or not and a dead person’s pupil would not be responding to any light that is around.

What do you think will be the next stage in access control panels? Will movies this year predict even greater possibilities? And the bigger question is: will they be brought to life? With the evolution of access control happening frequently, and becoming more intelligent, we are sure to see new additions soon.


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