Access control credentials trends – past, present and future

Access control systems are constantly changing both on handheld devices and in the physical environment.

Let’s have a look at how access control systems have changed from the simple lock and key over the years and where it appears to be heading.

Access control started with a keypad, and technological advancements has meant that it has changed significantly over the years. The traditional keypads were used to access locked areas and would typically require a pass code 4 to 6 digits long, however this was classed as a non-intelligent reader and was flawed since anyone could gain access if they obtained the code.

Card readers
After acknowledging the drawbacks of keypads, manufacturers quickly developed card readers. This consisted of a card with a magnetic strip attached to it which would be swiped through a narrow slot on the card readers to gain access. Over time access cards have become more sophisticated with barcode, proximity, smart card and biometric readers offering different pros and cons.

IP door readers
IP door readers came swiftly after card readers and can be accessed using multiple techniques including scanning a card or in more recent times, Bluetooth enabled smartphones. Biometrics is a more recent addition to IP readers and can operate independently due to its internal memory. If the details provided does not match the details held by the IP reader, then access cannot be gained.

Smartphone access
There are various ways to gain access to a mobile phone, the most common method used to date is passcodes and holds similar qualities and vulnerabilities to keypads.

As well as passcodes, people are utilising features provided by the latest smartphones to gain access, such as:
• Facial recognition
• Fingerprint scanning
• Bluetooth access
• Longer pin code
• Shorter pin code

When it comes to finding the most suitable access control system and method, it is always best to seek advice from an experienced security installer.

What does the future hold for access control?
With biometric related access control currently taking centre stage, it is likely we will see ‘eyeball recognition’ introduced to the market sooner or later due to the fact that no two people’s eyes are the same. The use of DNA would ensure that access is only given to the intended person.

For more information on access control or to discuss your needs, please call +44 (0)1923 855 006 or email

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