Access Control: Unlocking the benefits beyond security

8 Oct 2019

Digital transformation is very much a priority for many businesses, with managers becoming more familiar with the language of digitalisation and big data, and its accompanying technologies; AI, machine learning and the cloud.

Visualising what a successful digital transformation project looks like can be challenging, mainly because it necessitates the bringing together of previously unrelated business functions and disparate IT systems to release its great potential and value.

An area in which this fusing of functions can offer previously untapped potential is access control. No longer simply about letting people in and out of buildings, the data collected by integrated access control systems can provide businesses with valuable intelligence and insights that can drive efficiencies and automate real time decision making in other parts of the business.

Overcoming logistical challenges

Operations managers in large warehousing and logistics centres will be familiar with the challenges associated with ensuring goods are delivered or collected from the right place at the right time, against tight deadlines. There will be queues, and from time to time, mistakes and delays that create challenging situations resulting in lower levels of productivity.

Visualise the same scenario in which loading bays are now dynamically allocated according to information from a variety of digital sources. Using data drawn from delivery schedules, combined with visual confirmation from security cameras of trucks arriving on premises, and the location of staff and goods within the warehouse derived via the access control network, we’re suddenly presented with a system which can provide a much more effective method of working, streamlining and vastly improving operations. All of this is feasible today and will become more commonplace as the technology matures.

Managing office space and occupancy

As working habits evolve, so will our workplaces adapt, with clever planning of resources becoming key. Knowing the right amount of office floorspace, introducing hot desking and encouraging home working could all provide competitive advantage to those organisations who are able to constantly monitor the effective use of their assets.

Integrated access control can provide data which is essential to inform decision making. By determining staff behaviour patterns it will be possible to predict busy periods and incentivise employees to spend those days working remotely, resulting in higher levels of concentration and greater productivity. In addition to managing the comings and goings of staff to more effectively utilise available space, facilities managers will also be able to factor in potential cost savings based on occupancy data, with automated energy and heating systems within areas that are less frequently used.

Optimisation of people productivity

The intelligence that these systems provide can assist in the better optimisation of people to increase efficiencies and drive productivity. In a retail environment, for example, managers can use data from store surveillance cameras, combined with access control information from the stock room, to determine how much time staff spend with customers on the shop floor versus time spent searching for products in the stock room. In a busy factory, cameras on entranceways combined with data from automated turnstiles can speed up worker access to the operating floor, ensuring timely shift changes.

It’s now possible to envisage many use cases for integrated access control systems that go way beyond simply opening doors. With benefits across multiple industries and very little required in the form of upfront investment due to easy integration with existing IP-connected technologies, integrated access control systems stand to become a powerful tool, able to take valuable data and produce insights that will revolutionise operations and people management.