Smart access has different definitions and implications depending on one’s perspective.
From a Regulatory Perspective, smart access mainly fosters meeting State and Federal Occupational Health and Safety requirements, especially regarding tracking employees arrivals and movements around sites, company reporting requirements, and insurance implications.
From a Property Managers Perspective, smart access provides enhanced security, access control, and more efficient key management leading to cost and time savings.
From a Customer Perspective, smart access will offer more convenient access, better security and peace of mind.
Regardless of the perspective, any company that operates out of atleast one physical building, must address regulatory expectations, in addition to addressing staff and customer expectations regarding safety and access.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace, and they must set the protocols and make sure the workplace is in compliance with regulatory standards. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘employer duty of care’ responsibility. As part of this duty, your boss, by law, has the right to know where you are.
Employee location tracking on its own can provide improved worker security and safety, especially when managing evacuation procedures during an emergency. In addition, tracking worker locations can enable many other workplace applications with a wide range of benefits including improved productivity increased safety, and reduced costs. For example productivity can be improved as it can become easier and quicker to move around different sites and locations; increased safety can occur by restricting public access to buildings/rooms; and reduced costs can result from not making staff drive across town to pick up metal keys to access multiple sites.
Smart access also provides increased information flow, where the users of the system can make quicker, more informed decisions about their individual system’s use and how to optimize it. This information flow occurs through the increased use of lock audits, and the locks communications and interfacing capabilities (for example through API’s linking the locks to third party software and hardware) arranged to gather, transmit, decode, and analyze raw data into useful information and actions. These actions will become increasingly automated as technologies such as NB IoT and 5G advances.
Impediments for companies and organisations to moving ahead with transformation to a smarter access control system include;
Fear of new NB IoT technology and cyber security
Skepticism regarding benefits as compared to costs
Resistance to change
To further complicate the situation, motivations to adopt smart access is different for each enterprise and industry. After all, each enterprise and their staff/customers have unique access requirements, and safety concerns shaped by individual activities, buildings, locations, and their past experience with metal keys or keycards.
The enterprise embracing smart access will realise that new smart building products and technologies will continue to be developed for further integration as the system matures. Smart access control represents a unique opportunity to ‘open the door’ to enterprises adopting smart buildings products and services. Utilising the Telecommunication companies inbuilt security and encryption for NarrowBand IoT technology, it can allow for smart building systems to grow and interface. As NB IoT and 5G continue their global roll out, it places telecommunication companies at the forefront to take advantage of the opportunities of smart building products and services. After adopting a product such as smart access, the enterprise will see the benefits and cost savings the system has to offer, and their appetite for other smart products such as smart metering, smart parking, and smart lighting will grow. The telecommunications company that cannot satisfy the enterprises appetite for smart products will be left behind.
The improved data management that comes with smart access provides more detailed information about the status and operation of all buildings and for the entire enterprise for use in its decision making. This use leads to improved hour-to hour operations, short and long term investments, resource planning, forecasting, financial planning, customer service, and a host of other areas.
Not moving ahead with smart access adaptation prevents the benefits and costs savings from accruing and it also prevents the enterprise from learning how best to leverage the data obtained. Enterprises adopting NB IoT smart access can also be introduced and educated about the value that NB IoT and 5G can bring to their enterprise, so they will constantly demand other products and services that integrate and communicate with these technologies.