Wireless access control: the truth is out there… or is it?

Written by Chris Bone, Vice President Access Control Solutions EMEA, ASSA ABLOY

Wireless access control: the truth is out

Let’s begin with something that’s hardly front-page news: the market potential for wireless access control is huge. At January’s Intersec exhibition forecasts of 15% annual growth in the Middle East region alone were suggested. ASSA ABLOY’s own data predicts that wireless locks could make up 30% of the total market within a decade.

The potential is there.

But when ASSA ABLOY worked with IFSECglobal.com last year on a major market survey of security managers, industry insiders and decision-makers, we encountered some big surprises. The conclusion: our market knows less than you think about wireless locks.

For starters, almost two-thirds of those we surveyed thought that fitting a wireless access control system would be disruptive to an already fitted traditional system. In fact, wireless access control systems—including our own battery-powered Aperio® locks—can run fully integrated with an existing wired system, even if it incorporates CCTV or energy management functions. Integrations have been exhibited, by ASSA ABLOY and other leading access control manufacturers. Installation is quick and easy.

Around a third of our respondents using wired access control had no idea that wireless systems use much less energy. Because wireless locks are battery powered and only “wake up” when a credential is presented, they consume a tiny fraction of the power used by always-on wired mag locks. And battery life? Not a problem—that’s another market myth shared by close to 100% of our research group, who expected wireless lock batteries to drain too quickly. In fact, our own Aperio® or SMARTair™ locks run for approximately 2 years on a new battery.

If you thought wireless locks don’t support multiple credentials, sorry, you’re wrong. Products that offer multi-authentication via PIN, smart card or mobile phone are out there. What about the fact that wireless locks are not secure? Another myth: there are CE and EN certified, or even fire-rated products available, including for security doors.

Most ironic of all, over half of those we surveyed cited “fear of the expense” as a reason not to upgrade to wireless. In fact, when you factor in major savings on energy costs and maintenance bills, even a fairly small facility could save thousands of euros by making the switch to wireless locks.

The challenge is there. Potential is huge, but the market is suffering from some serious misconceptions. As a global industry leader we have begun a game of knowledge whack-a-mole, and all of us with a stake in the future of wireless access control need to get involved.

There are so many myths about what wireless locks can and can’t do. Our solution? ASSA ABLOY has launched a true facts campaign—“Busting the myths about wireless access”—aimed at professional end-users. Not specifically about our locks, but wireless locks in general.

To discover the truth, watch the video and download the fact sheet, visit the microsite.


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