Tony Sparks, SVP Business Development
A long time ago, in a time before time, controlling access to something desirable was part of folk law — just ask the Troll from Three Billy Goats Gruff. The first historically recorded form of mechanical access control goes back over 4,000 years to the Khorsabad palace ruins near Nineveh. This was a forerunner to a wooden pin tumbler type of lock, a common Egyptian lock at the time. It took the Romans to invent metal locks and keys, and the rest as they say is history.
Whether you use double sided, four-sided, para centric, dimple or tubular keys, transponder or key cards, using a unique token which grants access to a specific space has been the status quo for eons. Just as the mobile phone transformed telecommunications (remember when you had to be at a specific location at a specific time to receive a phone call?), that same mobile phone is transforming access control. Access via a traditional key or FOB was dependent on a specific token being presented in a specific manner at a specific location – but mobile technology has changed all that. The modern mobile phone has allowed the virtualisation of both one’s personal identity and right to access into a single, secure token.
It makes sense that mobile phones have become the key to our lives. The World Population Clock estimates the world population at 7,777,283,030 on the 12th April 2020. It is estimated that there are roughly 14,000,000,000 mobile devices in everyday use at this time — implying an average of two devices for each person alive on the planet today. It was also found that on average, users check their phones 58 times a day, with 30 check-ins happening during working hours (9am–5pm). Research shows that 8 in 10 Americans have embraced mobile commerce by using a mobile device for transacting. We have entered a new age of digital access and commerce.
The rate of adoption of Smart Home technologies is another good indicator of the public’s expectation of access control methods. The smart house market will approach USD$40 billion in the US by 2020. 57% of Americans say that having smart products in their house saves them about 30 minutes per day — that’s 182.5 hours a year. Secure access control is the number one reason for the explosion of Smart Home technologies in the USA, with 63% of homeowners citing smart locks and alarms to justify their investment.
The current health crisis has highlighted the need to change legacy access control methods. World Health Organization studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). To avoid potential contamination at parking access points and payment kiosks, a common sight has emerged: “In an effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, we are suspending pay parking effective April 1 until further notice”.
Within the new digital economy, customers are ready for, and in-fact demanding safe, contactless, mobile access methods. This is why inugo access control technology is proving successful — being able to open a gate with the touch of a button on your phone suits the needs of the modern user. With supply outstripping demand, digital access is the only way that providers will truly be able to satisfy and know their customers, creating dynamic service offerings which create stickiness not realized in traditional models.
Had the Troll under the bridge truly understood the needs of the three Billy Goats Gruff, he might have established an access model ensuring ongoing benefit from the meadow across the bridge, rather than planning to devour his clientele and subsequently vanishing down the river.