Access, more secure and smarter!


Intelligence and wider integration are key aspects driving traction in the Access Control solutions market

The need for Electronic Access Control Systems (EACS) is growing at an accelerated pace with the threat landscape becoming complex. EACS systems that includes authentication systems, intruder alarm and perimeter security system are expected to continue to see growth. EACS market is estimated to reach $16.3 billion by 2017, growing at a CAGR of 7.0% from 2012 to 2017.

Mohammed Zaheer, GM, Business Connection, a distributor for leading Access Control vendors says, “Various industry report shows that the MEA region ranks as the fastest growing market for EACS. The growing of the market is mainly attributed to heightened security concerns backed by the government and regulatory mandates. The rising need to prevent, monitor and control unauthorized entry, visitor movement has led to the rise in the demand for security and access control systems.”

He adds that technologies that are expected to drive the market include wireless locks, iris detection systems and Biometric solutions and expects large access control vendors to make a major push into the region’s market.

Lee Copland, Managing Director, Maxxess EMEA opines that his company continues to see strong growth in the region from multiple vertical sectors.

He elaborates, “This is in part driven by continued investment in infrastructure particularly around education, healthcare, leisure and hospitality, retail and transportation.  This combined with increasing urbanisation and the continued political unrest in a region with significantly porous borders we are seeing a rising demand to better protect people, assets and data.”

Sathish Arya, GM, Middle East & Africa at WatchNET International Trading LLC sums up key reasons that he says are largely responsible for the traction in surveillance deployments.

“There are a few reasons that has attributed to the growth of electronic access control segment. The growth in commercial & services as well as residential projects in this market is driving rising adoption of electronic access & locks. Secondly, organizations these days realize that there is a need for access control is a mandatory for their facility as new threats are emerging including workplace violence, theft and vandalism events that have heard about in recent years. And finally, organizations have started catching-up and adapting themselves to the latest technologies & looking for integration with other security systems.  Organizations are interested to protect their facilities as well as streamlining the operations as they issue credentials to their people to restrict their access zones,” he says.

Drivers of the market

Heightened regulatory requirements are now a reality, although varying from country to country. Most buildings that are part of high security infrastructure have in any case more or less kept pace with such measures in the past few years.

“Access control is now mandatory across the region in a variety of high-security environments including national and industrial infrastructure as well as commercial enterprises such as tower buildings, 5-star hotels and shopping malls.  However, before such compliance measures were introduced, most of these enterprises had already adopted access control to varying degrees and therefore beyond upgrades and greenfield projects, we didn’t see this as a major growth driver,” says Lee.

On one hand, increased compliance measures may be seen to drive demand. On the other hand, Mohammed strikes a contradictory note that it is also seen to slow rate of project deployments, perhaps with the need to meet more requirements.

“This growth is mainly attributed to heightened security concerns backed by government and regulatory mandates for an increased level of security, activity monitoring, and access control. At the same time, an increasing number of regional regulatory compliances are seen as the major impediment to market growth,”

Dubai seemed to lead the way when it made mandatory for new buildings to be up to speed with surveillance infrastructure. Countries including Qatar have also followed suit and implemented stringent compliance requirements.

Lee adds, “Compliance also differs between different countries in the region as well as those within the GCC.  For instance, by 2014, all existing and new buildings in Dubai across a range of market sectors had to be equipped with surveillance, and businesses were required to obtain annual security compliance from the Department of Protective Systems with non-compliance resulting in fines through to non-renewal of trading licenses. Most large enterprises integrate surveillance with access control, so that security operatives can visually verify alarms.   As a result, this drove significant growth in Dubai, and since Maxxess has over 50 integrations this saw us realizing both new and upgrade projects. “

“Qatar went one step further and specified that all surveillance systems had to utilise an open standard based on IP with megapixel cameras as the recommended minimum resolution.  In addition, any solution needed sufficient capacity for 120 days’ storage meaning a lot of storage. When you consider that most countries only recommend 30 days, this drove significant upgrade projects that also benefited Maxxess, since we already integrated with a raft of IP and Full-HD surveillance vendors. We continue to integrate further surveillance vendors into eFusion moving forward and recently announced our integration with SeeTec.”

Lee adds there are more compliance initiatives under discussion including frameworks for approved manufacturers and integrators, along with thinking around a more joined up and regional approach.   The challenge according to him is that in the security industry, many manufacturers and installers are still getting up to speed on both existing regulations and not looking forward toward the compliance measures likely to come in years to come.

Integration drives the market

There is a growing demand for greater integration of Access Control solutions and provide more actionable intelligence.

Mohammed says, “As organizational threats and risks are growing and changing, the demand for security management solutions has become the standard rather than the exception. The security management system allows secure and authorized access into both the physical and logical world. The access control can be integrated with T&A, fire alarm, CCTV, elevator to manage and control the whole system from a single window. These scenarios are different in different work environments and verticals leading to a customized integration packages, such are great business opportunities for organizations like us with software development capabilities.”

The demand for solutions that integrate immediate onsite response with electronic security and alarm systems is mainly attributed to heightened security concerns backed by government and regulatory mandates. End users are also demanding more intelligence from these solutions.

Satish says, “A key driver for the electronic security market in the coming years is how products are interoperable with other technology in system design and use. Such interconnected systems are capable of communicating with each other, allowing for wider collection and processing of data. The analysis of this data can be further utilized to provide feedback on the effectiveness of current systems, streamline operations, allow for mobile and cloud applications, and generally provide greater ease of use. As a result of this shift, legacy systems that are either less easily or entirely unable to be integrated into overall systems have seen falling favor, while interest in and demand for interoperable systems have grown rapidly.”

The demand for interoperable systems therefore is on the rise via-a-vis legacy systems that do not provide any flexibility and do not meet the growing need for live data intelligence.

Lee says, “End users are looking to increase efficiency, upgrade failing legacy equipment or move away from proprietary systems, close security gaps as well as wanting to gain more value from their security in terms of data intelligence and flexibility.”

Interoperability features are expected to become more critical to security system architecture as major users integrate video surveillance, access and area control, mobile devices and local and cloud-based storage across a common information technology platform.

Mohammed says, “Realizing these facts and as a first step, our ESS application currently is an hardware independent and can seamlessly work with some of the ACS controllers, Video surveillance and mobile devices. The flexible and scalable architecture of the ESS application provides an option to introduce the bridge among multiple components without disturbing the existing infrastructure.”

The opportunity is in integration of solutions into a system that enables greater control and visibility. DFS for instance is the master distributor for HID cards, readers and NAS ACS controller in the region and primarily provides solutions around these security products by developing their own ACS application which is branded as ESS soft.

Mohammed says, “We at DFS are focusing primarily on the customize ACS and integration projects rather than off the shelf products and solutions. We have been able to provide solutions to large organizations in terms of connecting and integrating different systems within the organization to provide a single window manageability. We have been the connect partners for companies like Bosch, galaxy etc, for providing the integration between Access Control System (ACS) and Time and Attendance (TNA), CCTV for their solution partners in the region.”

He elaborates that ESS soft is just not an Access Control System application but manages all the physical access and logical access needs of an organization. It start from issuing the secure cards, managing the access control and  Time attendance, integration to cctv, fire alarm, elevators, mustering and guard tour from an single application thus allowing organizations to manage their whole security needs in a most cost effective way.

Maxxess, according to Lee, is looking to constantly integrating more products from a range of manufacturers, especially those from surveillance vendors, into the vendor’s flagship security platform, eFusion.

“There is a great demand for integrated security solutions due to various reasons as well as the rise of smart devices and interoperability drives demand for security system integrators. It is also to be noted that a key driver for the electronic security market in the coming years is how evolving products are interoperable with other technology in system design and use. Such interconnected systems are capable of communicating with each other, allowing for wider collection and processing of data. The analysis of this data can be further utilized to provide feedback on the effectiveness of current systems, streamline operations, allow for mobile and cloud applications, and generally provide greater ease of use. As a result of this shift, legacy systems that are either less easily or entirely unable to be integrated into overall systems have seen falling favor, while interest in and demand for interoperable systems have grown rapidly,”

Explaining that simple and commercial off the shelf (COTS) integration is at the heart of what Maxxess does, Lee adds, “For the last five to ten years’ organisations have recognised the need to streamline control room operations by integrating access, surveillance, fire and intruder alarms into a single security platform and that’s precisely what we can offer with Maxxess eFusion. This approach closes security gaps by enabling security operatives to visually verify alarms, relieve the burden of switching between disparate software and applications, provides standard operating procedures in the of events of varying incidents and overall drives significant efficiencies as well as strengthening security and mitigating risk.”

Surveillance solutions are now increasingly seen as gateways to better analytics. Today large enterprises want to gain intelligence from all that data to better optimize their facilities, understand how sites are operating and recognize employee behavior.  This demand has encouraged solution providers to focus on bringing such solutions to market.

“We launched eMobile a feature-rich suite of dashboards that integrates with security systems, point of sale and IT networks software such as SAP and Oracle to turn big data into powerful business intelligence. By taking live data, eMobile uses a unique processing architecture that constantly analyses and profiles the data and cross references it with human behavior to provide several signals and indicators that alert security and operations operatives of any abnormal activity. For instance, if an employee changes their route in and out of a building, undertakes unusual activity on the corporate network, or accesses a site during a scheduled holiday.”

Integration scenarios in different verticals for Access Control solutions also present a great opportunity for security integrators.

“There is increasing demand for varying integrated solutions across a wide range of vertical markets.  Maxxess eFusion is a highly versatile and modular security platform that gives organisations the flexibility to simply and cost-effectively integrate with a range of security and back office systems that also allows organisations to adapt and scale as their business grows. Together with Maxxess local support, this means integrators can offer tailored solutions that meets both the immediate and future needs of businesses large and small from a range of vertical markets.”

eFusion’s open technology software currently supports more than 50 off-the-shelf integrations with further integrations added monthly.

Satish see the need for integration as both a challenge and opportunity for the system integrators. He believes that integrators can possibly expand their range of solutions around such integrations for various use case scenarios and thereby grow their revenues.

“The integration between systems is both an opportunity and a challenge. While building an integrated security system, integrators spend lots of time learning about business as the requirement of the customers are varying in different business verticals. This is an opportunity for integrators to access different technologies (integration with Video, Intrusion, Cloud-based solutions, Fire alarm integration, BMS & Internet of things (IoT). In the past there was very limited scope for the integration which is a weaker revenue model for the integrators but now with the integrated solution there is a potential to increase their revenue.  As integrated services & Internet of Things are progressing, physical security services providers have a whole new set of solutions and services to solve customer’s problems and increase the revenue base.”

According to him for an integrator, it would be advantageous working with WatchNET  that offers a vast range of over 400+ products within its portfolio inclusive of Access Control Readers, Biometric devices, Controllers, Megapixel Cameras, Recorders, Storage Equipment & Enterprise Class Integrated Software as well as cloud based solutions.

“The System Integrator can source the complete set of solution form a single manufacturer since our products are scalable, modular with intact integrator both in hardware & software level. Further, WatchNET products are compatible with open standards such as ONVIF and PSIA. WatchNET very well understand the standards across the industry & delivers turnkey solutions. We have proven track-record in integration between many devices and different vendors. “

According to him, in one of the recent projects, WatchNET delivered a bespoke integrated solution with ACS & CCTV system with fire alarm integration, SCADA & BMS. Hence, he argues that integration and interoperability of WatchNET’s hardware with security software from different vendors will not be a challenging one.

In the final analysis, the EACS market looks well poised to continue seeing robust growth in the region, providing integrators a healthy opportunity to grow as more residential and commercial projects come up. Competition is getting a lot stiffer in this industry as more manufacturers step in. The challenge would be to provide solutions that integrate and are interoperable, in line with industry standards.