A Brief History of Secure Perimeter Access Before Smart Access Controls

Smart access technology hasn’t always been available at our fingertips, but humans have a long history of building things to mark their territory and protect themselves. Although “securing one’s perimeter” has taken on many shapes, sizes and methods over the course of history, the goal has always remained the same: to keep community members safe. We’ll journey back in time to see how security methods of yore paved the way to smart access controls systems—and what today’s technology says about the future of smart community access.

This post will cover:

  • Perimeter access methods of the past
  • Today’s technology-driven smart access controls
  • Looking ahead: The future of smart access controls

Perimeter Access Methods of the Past

Throughout history, securing the perimeter of one’s land was vital to the safety and security of people around the world. Over time, the tools used to do so ranged from sharpened pikes, tree stumps and wooden posts to moats, drawbridges, and watchtowers.

Many trace the earliest form of perimeter security to Hadrian’s Wall in the Roman Empire around 122 AD. A turf wall was built along the northern border of the Roman Empire to keep out attackers. Similarly, the Great Wall of China was originally built to keep nomadic invaders out. It has been said that the sight of the wall was deterrent enough for some to give up an attack.

Fast-forward to the past hundred years, and perimeter security solutions have evolved to include community access solutions such as fences, Image of intercom access panel gates, guard houses, exterior lobby entrances, intercoms, telephone entry systems, and additional interior doors and turnstiles. Although these methods are vast improvements from ancient security systems, they still have their downfalls, especially when it comes to perimeter monitoring, as there is often no way to view a property unless someone is on-site. Enter smart access control systems.

Today’s Technology-Driven Smart Access Controls

Today, technology has driven the evolution of perimeter security beyond walls, drawbridges and moats into smart systems that no one from the past could have ever imagined. These smart solutions, such as video intercom systems, provide entry management control while also creating an easy, effective way to monitor building entry events. And video monitoring allows property managers to oversee access for multiple properties remotely—a vast improvement over watchtowers that required in-person monitoring 24/7. Of course, an increase in building monitoring also means increased safety.

Picture this: You are off-site when you get a notification that a serviceperson needs to enter your building. Instead of dropping everything and zipping over to let them in — or worse, having to reschedule — with the click of a button, you can grant entry, no problem. This kind of web-based entry management software makes it easy to oversee multiple properties.

Smart access controls like the myQ Community app come with perks for residents, too. Not only do smart community access systems boost resident safety and building security, but cloud-based software also gives residents control over their own deliveries and visitors when they’re not home. If a resident is at work, for instance, they can still let their dogwalker in so Spot can go out. Residents can also manage package deliveries, set up a recurring guest pass for parents or friends and let service people in that allows entry without buzzing up or keeping track of a spare key.

Despite these advances, smart access control technology isn’t done evolving. The smart systems of today are laying the groundwork for two key access control trends: touchless technology and automation.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Smart Access Controls

The pandemic changed many ways of life, and access management control is no different. Touchless access will continue to grow and shape the industry as building managers and residents strive to limit face-to-face interaction and touch fewer public-facing surfaces. Instead, they will rely more on mobile credentials and remote access controls. In fact, 3 in 5 millennials said they would be more likely to live in a place that offers mobile access control, according to Wakefield Research.

“From my perspective, I see that the big trend in 2022 and beyond will be resident convenience. That means touchless smartphone access,” says Jenny Lytle, General Manager, Commercial Emerging Business at Chamberlain Group. “Phones will turn on lights and open doors—any door, from buildings and homes to cars, club houses and the gym. Property owners and managers who want to attract and keep great residents need to understand that the digital future is already here, and those who ignore it will be left behind.”

To ensure that security is not just maintained but elevated, automation will also dominate the future of smart access. Automated access control systems, like the myQ Community app, compile data and use that intelligence to simplify and streamline tasks, such as creating building credentials for new residents and deactivating them for departing residents.

Integration is key here. Cloud-based access control systems can connect to and share data with cloud-based property management software such as Yardi, RealPage or Entrata, where property managers can enter resident data. This information will automatically populate your smart access controls system with the same data and eliminate time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry across multiple properties.

Research shows that residents feel more confident with automated systems, too. About 86% of millennials and 65% of baby boomers say that they are willing to pay more for an apartment equipped with automated systems.

As our perimeter access forebears would look at today’s access controls in awe, we too may do the same as technology continues to evolve. But one thing is certain: Wherever smart access control technology is headed; the future is bright — and secure.

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