Mobile Access and Cloud Solutions Fuel Market Growth
The market for access control is booming. While some companies in this marketplace have just recently developed electronic locks and started their business with electronic systems, Salto Systems has always been a pioneer in developing new access control concepts and innovative products. At Security Essen in Germany, GIT SECURITY had the opportunity to talk to Marc Handels, Vice President Global Marketing & Sales at Salto Systems, about the market and Salto’s newest developments.
GIT SECURITY: Marc, when you look around here in the halls at Security Essen with a focus on access control, isn’t it good to see that a lot more companies offer electronic systems now?
Marc Handels: Yes, we are in the middle of a massive change. The market for access control system has changed radically in the past years and we have seen tremendous growth especially in the last two years. While initially our systems started as an offline system to be a substitute for mechanical locks especially in niche markets like hotels, we now handle many large projects, where our locking systems are used from A to Z. We started as pioneers promoting offline systems for special applications and some markets only, but now we have solutions for all applications, offline and online, for several doors or up to hundreds of doors. Until now we have equipped more than three million access points and our revenue has grown to more than 100 Million Euros per year.
What are the reasons for the rapid market growth and the growing market share of Salto?
Marc Handels: There are several reasons. First of all electronic looks are not limited anymore to the vertical markets where everything started like hotels, universities and later hospitals. The end user customers like the flexibility offered by our systems and want to have various elements integrated into a system for their projects. This has led to the use of our systems in factories and production plants now and finally normal office buildings. This is a huge market. Additionally, the massive trend towards integrated systems pushes our business.
The Salto Virtual Network SNV and the XS4 access control platform that we are presenting now in its second generation, are in the heart of many access control projects we have integrated together with a wide range of major access control companies including brands such a CEM Systems, Gallagher, Gunnebo, Honeywell, Siemens and Software House to name but a few.
Is the trend towards mobile access solution another reason for your growth?
Marc Handels: Yes. We do see the expansion of mobile access applications from hotels installations to classical access control solutions for industrial and public use. To follow this trend we are offering JustIN mobile solutions now in two versions that are both integrated in our XS4 system platform. JustIN Mobile BLE allows doors to be opened with a smartphone, it employs Bluetooth Low Energy for communicating between the smartphone and electronic locks. With JustIN mSVN NFC the smartphone turns into an update terminal for credentials without the need of online readers.
How secure is the technology and how do you avoid possible hacks or identity theft?
Marc Handels: The mobile key is sent “Over the Air” from the ProAccess SPACE management software to an installed JustIN Mobile app at a registered and verified smartphone. The user receives a message that he has a new key and for which doors he has access rights. Then, they only need to present the smartphone to the lock and start communication via the Mobile app. All data transmission and the mobile key itself are encrypted and secured against cloning. Users can receive mobile keys anytime and anywhere. By this, access control solutions gain even more flexibility for issuing and receiving access rights, without sacrificing security.
How do you deal with the rapid changes in technology and how do you make sure that your customers get a future-proof technology?
Marc Handels: Embedded in the heart of the XS4 product line is the latest microprocessor technology, ready for the connected world, open and futureproof for online connection, wireless technology and NFC. It is a powerful upgrade that will help with the integration third-party systems, like DESFire cards systems and needs little effort to adopt to new challenges and integration tasks. Whatever happens for example with NFC, the user can be sure that we can adopt his system to the technology used in the future. We always keep this in mind when we develop new products. One example is the new XS4 2.0 wall reader for doors where a standalone electronic lock cannot be used or where control must be boosted by online real-time access control. The wall reader updates the operating carrier via SVN technology, making it possible to cancel lost or stolen cards remotely, and is compatible with most ID technologies including DESfire and Mifare versions and it also works with Bluetooth Low Energy and NFC devices. If you install them now and you want to upgrade them later for mobile access, you simply buy a one-time SVN wireless license and you can use them immediately. So the advantage is that you do not need to decide what technology you might eventually use in the future.
When we talk about future technology we need to talk about cloud-based solutions. Salt and Clay have started to develop cloud-based access control solutions four years ago. It looks like you have renamed the service now?
Marc Handels: Yes, we are rebranding the service that today has more than 2000 paying clients to Salto KS Keys as a Service. The solution makes access control a smarter way to manage business access. By offering the system as a Salto service, we are giving our customers and partners direct access to a cloud solution. With Salto KS, you can manage your business access and see what’s happening on your door. We are incorporating our proven reliability and stability in cloud-based access control. Salto KS provides a flexible access control management system that requires no software installation or the added expense of a fully-wired electronic product. All that is needed is an online device with an internet connection.
What are the main advantages for customers?
Marc Handels: Our main target groups are retailers, shared offices and companies that rent out apartments. Providing end users with cloud-based Salto KS Keys as a Service reduces cost and almost eliminates the need for maintenance. Our cloud-based access control also provides flexibility, scalability, reliability, and the ability to manage access control from any Internet platform. Additionally we are working together with partners to offer additional service. Through our agreement with Panasonic for example, we can offer connected services and integrate video surveillance via their Cameramanager cloud-based service.
Can you comment on the security aspects?
Marc Handels: The acceptance of cloud solutions in general has grown as more and more companies have realized that building a secure IT system on their own is a difficult task. It is more secure to rely on global professional partners that have engineers whose only task is to look after the security of their systems. You can never be 100% secure that your system will not be hacked. But even in the unlikely case that our system will be hacked somehow, hackers still can’t open doors as there are still hardware elements that will stop them.