5 trends that are shaping the future of physical access control

Enterprises are significantly shifting towards mobile access and digital identification as the ASEAN region continues to experience rapid digital transformation, according to a report from HID.

“This trend underscores the increasing demand for secure, flexible, and convenient solutions that enhance both security and user experience,” said Prabhuraj Patil, HID senior director in charge of physical access control solutions in Asean and India Subcontinent.

Produced by IFSEC Global in partnership with HID, the report surveyed 1,223 security professionals across the globe to paint a picture of an industry that has been going through considerable transformation. 

Conducted between November 2023 and January 2024, the survey reveals five trends, as follows.

First, mobile access and digital ID are set to become ubiquitous. While physical ID is still prevalent within the access control industry, there is no doubt that mobile access credentials and digital IDs are quickly gaining ground.

Nearly two-fifths (39%) of organisations now actively use mobile identities with respondents naming touchless/contactless solutions (48%) and mobile access (44%) as the two largest trends shaping the wider access control industry.

Second, open standards are driving the smart buildings phenomenon. Open standards have become key drivers for more converged security solutions, where physical access control data is helping not just to decide who should be allowed into the building, but also how that building can best be used. 

Almost half (48%) of organisations already have access control/badge scanning systems in place to monitor building usage throughout the day, at least to some extent. 

Additionally, 43% of respondents cited smart buildings and flexible workspaces being among the top three trends shaping the wider access control industry. Integration with other business functions was also listed by one in three respondents (32%) as another top trend.

Third, sustainability is becoming a greater influence on business decisions. Sustainability is playing a significant role in access control with nearly two thirds (63%) of respondents citing that those with responsibility for sustainability have either some influence or are fully consulted when it comes to upgrading physical access control systems.

Fourth, artificial intelligence for analytics use cases is rising. The use of AI capabilities in physical access control is becoming more common as AI technologies and expertise are developed. 

Asked if they are looking to incorporate AI/machine learning into their access control solutions, 38% of respondents stated they were (although the same percentage said they were unsure of the benefits). Only 23% said they didn’t have any plans to incorporate AI technologies.

And fifth, the role of biometrics, especially contactless solutions, is growing. By 2031 the worldwide market for biometrics is expected to reach US$136.18 billion while the global facial recognition market alone is predicted to grow to $16.74 billion by 2030, up from $3.83 billion in 2020. That’s a CAGR of 16%.