The organisational benefits of digitalising access

What’s in store for your building’s digital future? As businesses seek to move from the mechanical to the digital world, David Moser, SVP & Head of Digital & Access Solutions at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions EMEIA, examines the fast-changing role of access solution providers 

Digitalisation is playing a pivotal role in the changing patterns of our working lives. It can help businesses of every size and type to collaborate better and maximise the productivity of their existing assets – human and capital – for example.  

Within and around all kinds of premises, from museums and stadiums to schools and hospitals, digital access is now a fundamental building block of more responsive, intelligent spaces. Indeed, according industry analysts Omdia*, “access control equipment continues to play a crucial role in leading end users to consider a transition to interconnected smart building system architectures”. 

It’s critical for all kinds of organisations to make their access ready for what’s ahead – to future-proof operations, maintaining a competitive edge with the concrete ROI that digitalisation delivers. The right access solution can be tailored to meet almost any target, making the benefits of hybrid and mobile working, greener buildings, efficient site management, analytics and more, easier to realise. 

Boosting security without adding complexity 

In a world of building management systems which offer a wide range of impressive functionality, security can sometimes be looked upon as a given. But faced with constantly emerging and evolving physical security threats, it should never be taken for granted. This is the core task for an access solution. 

Building users and managers need the reassurance of a secure access system to go about their working day productively and with peace of mind. As security converges, moving beyond traditional physical access and cyber ‘siloes’, the right digital access solution enables building management teams to define exactly who goes where, and when, across their site or sites.  

The completely modernised cultural space of Berlin’s Humboldt Forum needed intelligent locking to secure areas for exhibitions, education and science. A programmable key-based digital locking system from ASSA ABLOY now ensures high security standards and full flexibility for targeted and convenient control of the Forum’s different user and visitor groups.  

It looks and is operated just like a regular mechanical key system, except anyone’s access rights can be amended anytime and lost keys are deactivated immediately in the Web-based software. “The system provides state-of-the-art security and locking convenience,” as Jannis Hlous, Project Manager at Weckbacher Sicherheitssysteme, explained. 

The cost and safety benefits of device reliability 

The durability of a digital solution has both financial and security implications. Robust hardware and regularly updated software ensure that access solutions require minimal maintenance, for example. At specification stage, purchasers should inquire about third-party certifications, including for green building schemes, whether for digital locks and door closing solutions, or for access provision compliance at sensitive locations where additional national and supra-national regulations may apply.  

France’s Hydreaulys water treatment facility required a time-efficient way to restrict and monitor access to potentially hazardous materials. A digital key-based system from ASSA ABLOY now allows them to program access individually – and to change it when needed. Certified digital cylinders are sufficiently robust for the demanding environment of a utility: Alongside extreme weather, they resist chemicals and humidity. This reliability saves the time and cost of replacing locks regularly. 

“Access control needs flexibility as our organisation and management of the site is evolving, and this reliable system is evolving with us,” said Jean-Pascal Chuzel, Deputy Agency Director, Water France, Paris Seine Ouest. 

Enabling innovation in diverse environments 

An ‘innovative’ solution is not just the system with the widest range of features and functions. Choosing a manufacturer with a track record of innovation, however, should give organisations the confidence that their access will always prepare them for what’s ahead – not just ‘the now’. 

To foster innovation, their access and other building systems should embrace digital openness and customisability, which in turn provide the flexibility which genuinely future-proofs management. 

Barcelona-based build-to-rent provider Becorp have used mechanical security in the past – and are aware of its advantages and its drawbacks. For a new development, they targeted a convenient keyless digital solution, where residents unlock doors using secure mobile keys in a smartphone app. This saves managers’ time, especially during property handovers. 

Their ASSA ABLOY digital solution provides locking with deadbolt projection and real-time management, so staff can check live status for any access point, open doors remotely or lock-down in an emergency. “Physical key management for any large development puts severe pressure on operational costs,” explained Xavier Casals, Becorp’s Engineering Director. “Choosing wireless locks and mobile management helps us to minimise them.” 

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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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