The access control industry will continue to evolve as new and different security needs arise, said Karen Evans of Sielox.

Sielox offers its access control solutions through network of more than 200 authorized business partners employing over 1,000 trained technicians.

Sielox is comprised of key technical, sales, engineering and marketing personnel from Checkpoint Systems’ Access Control Product Group under the leadership of Karen Evans, president and general manager.

Security Magazine had the opportunity to hear of Evans' outlook on access control developments.

Security Magazine:Where do you see the access control industry going in the next year?

Evans:It is generally recognized across the industry that manufacturers will need to develop new technologies that address the continued migration to a networked platform. These technologies will, by necessity, include the ability for disparate systems to communicate and work together under a single control platform. New offerings need to be not only IT-friendly, but IP-addressable as well. Speaking specifically to the access control industry, we are seeing more of a range of technologies including biometrics, smart cards and other forms of access control with extremely high rates of accuracy and convenience. The trend toward integrating video surveillance and access control on a single management platform is also becoming more prevalent across applications.

The access control industry will continue to evolve as new and different security needs arise. Still, throughout this evolution, it is important to choose a system that will integrate with both legacy and new systems, which is scalable to accommodate growth and adapt to emerging technologies in the future.

At Sielox, we have had three generations of controllers over the course of 20 years, and they have always been compatible with our most current software application. Customers need to be able to count on their investment in technology to know that they will be able to grow without having to replace entire systems or start from scratch each time they upgrade software.

Security Magazine:What kinds of tools will people need to provide to properly implement and support these new converged system solutions?

Evans:Because of the complexity of emerging technologies, not all systems integrators will have the staff on hand to keep up with fast-moving industry changes and developments. There will be more of a need to rely on manufacturers to provide professional services like system design, creating wiring diagrams and interfacing with IT departments. The key will be keeping everyone in sync, not only during the installation process, but also as the system is expanded over time.

Manufacturers will need to provide the tools CSOs and systems designers need to tailor systems to meet specific user requirements. For example, there should be no need to go to the SQL tables and potentially corrupt that database. Instead, the same functionality should be enabled by utilizing a library of calls.

As the convergence of physical security and IT deepens within the organization, these solutions will need to be able to interface with third party applications.

Security Magazine:What developments in the access control market do you think benefit users most right now?

Evans:The movement to modular systems definitely benefits users, as they are able to build controllers to meet their specific applications and purchase only what they need. There is no reason to buy an eight-reader panel when you only need two. In that same vein, scalability has become an important buzzword as the need for growth without replacement has emerged.

Ease of use is another critical element; users are not willing to accept a steep learning curve into which they have to invest substantial training time.

Ultimately, while the industry can clearly see the network as the future of access control and security systems, it is critical not to lose sight of the present and even the past, keeping legacy users functioning smoothly with the ability to upgrade and add on without having to rebuild from the ground up. Most important is to make certain that installed systems continue to run smoothly, doing the job of protection they were put in place to do.