Keeping Up: Why the Future of Security is Touchless


Can you picture what it might be like to wake up in 2009?


There would be no 4G or 5G, no Facebook Messenger, Netflix, Uber, or Instagram. It would be another five years until the Amazon Echo release, while Apple’s flagship product that year was the iPhone 3GS – priced at $599!


Technology continues to advance at tremendous speed, transforming every aspect of our personal and professional lives.


Security has been no exception to this rule.


State-of-the-art touchless access control solutions such as facial recognition, palm recognition, mobile access credentials and encrypted QR codes have drastically enhanced security and convenience in both commercial and residential environments.


The key word here is touchless. In our 2009 scenario, traditional keys were common and access cards a luxury. Today those access cards are somewhat outdated, and attentions have shifted towards the next generation in access control.


This article explores three of the key benefits of installing touchless access control systems.


Hygiene


First, let’s consider hygiene.


Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, this has never been more important. Studies have shown that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for up to seven days, making communal areas such as door handles or keypads prime vectors for the virus.

Many companies and public bodies have had to resort to consistent cleaning of these surfaces and others to try and reduce transmission. But what if contact could be eliminated in the first place?


This is a critical advantage of touchless access control systems.


Touchless alternatives ensure people can easily minimize the risk of both spreading and contracting COVID-19 by removing unnecessary contact.


Indeed, even the most sophisticated technologies are still hampered by touch requirements – some fingerprint scanners, for example. But many contactless access control solutions such as hand geometry, palm vein and facial recognition systems are now on the market.


As prime candidates in delivering hygienic access control, they have often been the key to many organizations upholding employee safety during the pandemic.


Convenience


Such systems also offer improved convenience for end users.


Most conventional access control systems require a card which is presented to a reader. Not only is this bothersome, but the average 40,000-person company loses 10,378 key cards/fobs a year (source).


How many times have you worried about hotel access cards while on holiday? What if reception is only available to let you in during specific hours should you lose it?


With these traditional methods come disruption and anxieties that can otherwise be avoided.


Touchless access control systems can work to suit the lives of its users, rather than demanding they follow specific steps or meet certain requirements.


Biometric systems ensure can remove the need for any additional equipment, while mobile credentials integrate security systems onto smartphones so users have less to think about.


93% of the entire US population uses a smartphone, and the vast majority have their device with them at all times (source).


Security


Let’s once again consider the stat for 10,378 lost key cards a year.


From a security perspective, this equates to 10,378 potential avenues through which access to company property may be gained, where IT server rooms and expensive office equipment are housed.


In other words, a security nightmare.


Key cards and fobs can be deactivated and reissued, but this takes time, resource and money to do. In this same scenario, security departments would be reissuing roughly 40 new key cards every working day.


There is also the issue of cloning.


Many older access control readers tend to operate in a similar manner – using 125 kHz proximity card technology – making it entirely possible for criminals to obtain a blank card, steal a legitimate one, and duplicate the credentials.


Keypads are also exposed to numerous vulnerabilities. It is extremely easy to watch or record someone inputting a simple four-digit code, for example, which users will often write down, further undermining security.


Touchless access control systems will bypass these potential hazards.


Biometric systems work with complex digital signatures that are nearly impossible to replicate. Cards can be cloned, credentials can be copied, but fingerprints and facial structures are highly unique.


Similarly, QR codes are a viable alternative as they leverage encryption techniques that again heighten security and drastically reduce risk.


Be it for the sake of COVID-19 safety, criminals or convenience, touchless access control systems offer a multitude of benefits.