Top Access Control Trends in 2020

Technological developments help us all to achieve more. However, with it comes a increase in security risks, which is why help from the access control industry is essential to all businesses and institutions to regulate the movement of people, vehicles and objects. Advancements in technology have been helping to improve access control, with some stunning breakthrough innovations.

These developments have given shape to new trends, which are also influenced by the needs of the time, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The access control arena is becoming a melting pot of state-of-the-art technologies like AI, ML and cloud computing. Access control has moved far beyond asset security, with health concerns coming to the fore.

That’s not all: read on to learn about the top trends in access control for 2020.

Biometrics and Facial Recognition

One of the top trends in access control for 2020 is biometrics. Biometrics can use different parameters for identification like in fingerprint sensing, an eye scan or facial recognition. It provides you with a range of advantages compared to traditional access recognition methods and eliminates the need to use a physical object like a card or a key. Except for fingerprint sensing, it is also useful in situations like a pandemic where contactless systems are important for infection control.

Besides this, biometrics delivers higher security than other methods, as the right person has to be physically present in order to gain access. Unlike cards or keys, biometric parameters are unique features of one’s body and hence cannot be transferred, stolen or lost. Neither can they be forgotten, unlike a password.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning)

Many modern technologies make use of AI and ML for better reliability, better accuracy and managing large amounts of data quickly. AI and ML are computer algorithms and programs and yet different from the rigid traditional programs with a fixed set of rules. They think and make decisions like humans and not like computers. AI and ML are highly useful in facial recognition systems as they evolve to respond to the demands over time. An example is the AI algorithm for facial recognition for people wearing masks.

Touch-Free Access

Contactless or touch-free detection is another quickly developing trend in 2020. This technology has been in use for some time, especially in environments demanding sterile surfaces like hospitals and industries handling hazardous chemicals. For example, a nurse can open a hospital door to a restricted area from a distance using a UHF electronic badge while transporting a patient. This eliminates the need to touch the door handle, thus avoiding contamination and it is made possible by special readers from service providers like Nortech Control.

Such technologies have  found increasing demand in 2020, for obvious reasons. They are now being used even in normal workplaces, thanks to the pandemic that necessitates the least amount of contact as possible. More contactless methods, including voice recognition, are likely to be adopted increasingly in future.

Cloud-based Access

As with many other technological fields, cloud computing has invaded the realm of access control. 2020 has seen the emergence of Access Control as a Service (ACaaS), cloud-based access control services. The pandemic has caused a rise in the use of cloud services as more people work from home. Granting logical access remotely to such virtual workers to the company’s network without compromising information security is a matter of serious concern.

Health Monitoring

Another major trend ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic is to only grant access after confirming the health condition of a person. The most common devices used for the purpose are the thermal cameras and scanners. What used to be installed in health facilities and airports, and only then on specific occasions, are now being installed in normal places of business. The device at the entrance of a facility or a meeting hall ensures the temperature of the individual is okay and displays no primary evidence of infection. Some setups also detect if the person is wearing a mask.

Mobile Access and Control

Many organizations have started using a setup where individuals can use their smartphones for access with the help of Bluetooth and NFC (near-field communication). User don’t need to use an access card to gain entry, therefore this system reduces cost and increases flexibility and convenience. Recently, many mobile apps have also been released that can not only control access cameras remotely but also grant access to someone or restrict it and receive critical alerts. This has been made possible mostly by the advancements in cloud technology and provides better mobility.


IoT or ‘Internet of Things’ is one of the emerging concepts in 2020 with potential for a range of useful applications in the home as well as business and industry. IoT can help to develop better integration between security-related as well as non-secure devices.  It provides central control of technologies and remote systems in its totality and hence makes for smoother workflows. The technology is in its nascent state but holds great promise for the future.

Final Thoughts

In this era of convergence, we see a large number of diverse and innovative concepts being applied by industries to meet their objectives. The access control industry is no different. Many ideas which were unknown even a year ago have entered the industry and have been making their presence felt strongly.

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