Comment: how wireless technology can be used to enhance security in buildings

Published: 15 October 2019 - 10:45 a.m.

The pace of urbanisation globally is unprecedented, and this trend is expected to continue in the future. The United Nations predicted that nearly 66% of the world’s population would be living in urban areas by 2050. The huge influx of population in the cities has spurred the construction industry as the requirement for new housing, infrastructure, hospitals, schools and other civic amenities records exponential growth. The value of construction projects in the GCC region alone hit $2.5 trillion, according to the BNC Network’s report. The UAE is one of the largest construction markets in the GCC today, with the total value of construction projects exceeding $830.6 billion.
As the world is becoming far more urbanised and more digitally connected, the concept of smart cities has evolved to meet the demands and challenges of an ever-more dense and active city life. A ‘smart’ city digitally connects and integrates the key domains of society offering a seamless experience across the economy, education, mobility and security. Technologies such as AI integrated sensors, robotics, big data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) are some of the enablers to implementation of smart city initiatives.

Rising security risks and solutions
Leading the changing trends, the construction landscape is fast adopting the use of new technologies for access control that makes day-to-day life easier. At the same time, security and safety challenges rank high among the most pressing issues of modern-day life. They can be present in all locations – hospitals, schools, residential and commercial facilities. That is why it has become far more important to adopt a protocol and system to modernise existing facilities to achieve maximum security as well as stay relevant in this everchanging environment. Individual safety and security is also important as they can directly affect an individual’s well-being. Therefore, it is important to analyse safety risks in all situations and locations and implement appropriate preventive measures. All these concerns are leading to increased investment in the security market. According to Mordor Intelligence, the global electronic security market is projected to witness a CAGR of 8.98% between 2019 and 2024.
Advances in building access automation have revolutionised the overall approach towards physical security. Electronic keyless entry systems such as remote-control locks, electric door strikes and keyless locks enable users to secure their residential or commercial buildings remotely, thereby providing enhanced flexibility and convenience. A study by Persistence Market Research states that the global keyless entry system market is projected to witness a growth rate of 10.2% during the eight-year period 2018 to 2026.

Technology supports safe, seamless mobility
The rise in living standards of the global population is one of the reasons attributed to the growth in the global keyless entry market. Technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning and miniaturisation are supporting enhanced security and seamless mobility. Being a global business that is focused on security and seamless access in places where people live, work and visit, we at Allegion witness the fast adoption of these trends.

Due to the rapid advancement in technologies, the industry today is seeing an increased convergence of mechanical and electronic solutions. This convergence offers several advantages, such as an enhanced experience for the end-user, keyless convenience and ease of installation. Allegion’s Briton 571 EL is an example of a solution that combines the mechanical features and benefits of touch bar panic exit hardware with electronic motorised control, transforming emergency exit doors into effective “smart” entrances ideal for high footfall buildings like schools, offices and hospitals.

As a seamless access provider, we are also witnessing the fastest adoption in residential properties where integration with Apple Homekit, Amazon Alexa and other platforms allow products such as Schlage residential entrance locks to be controlled through the platform. In such a scenario, a homeowner, while at his workplace could say for example “SIRI, unlock my door” or “Alexa, unlock my door” and the door to his residence would unlock, allowing an electrician to enter and complete his job while the homeowner is away.

The UAE is adopting technology at a fast pace, driven by the governments vision and it is expected that keyless technologies will eventually become standard rather than the exception. At a regional level, report states that the homeland and commercial security market in the Middle East, estimated at $12.2bn, will more than double in four years to hit $25.3bn.

Security management that ensures usability, flexibility and agility
Big data is critical to developing solutions that really impact security and the way a building functions. To gather this data, intelligent connected devices are needed which talk to each other, learn and predict. Solutions are then developed to create seamless access. This is a shift from traditional thinking which focuses on locking people in, or out. We prefer to talk about letting people in, in a seamless way. Being able to move through a building in an unobtrusive way, not having to touch or unlock anything – as the building already knows that you are authorised and allowed to enter and move through that building.

A good example of security management solutions which ensure usability, flexibility as well as agility are SimonsVoss digital locking access control solutions. As pioneers in the keyless access market for over 20 years since its inception, SimonsVoss’ sets the trend with its latest newly developed product the MobileKey, a digital access control system based on radio-controlled, cable-free locking. Designed for security and facilities managers in medium-sized buildings, MobileKey provides access control for up to 20 doors and can manage up to 100 users at a time. Users gain access to doors through the use of either a pin code, transponder or remotely via the MobileKey app.

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