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A Guide to Commercial Access Control Systems

The logistics around where, when, and how people work have changed drastically — especially due to the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To triumph over constantly evolving health and safety regulations, landlords and property teams have had to navigate uncertain waters and ensure that buildings remain a safe workplace environment, as well as discover new and unique ways to retain and attract talent by focusing directly on the needs of their building occupants. A huge part of new-age building safety needs revolves around commercial access control systems, which not only reduce the number of physical surfaces tenants and employees need to touch on a daily basis, but also contribute to smart building trends by creating frictionless workplace experiences.

With over 8,000 proptech companies now available for the office sector — offering technology solutions ranging from building access control systems to mobile food ordering to even digital amenities — property teams face the challenge of discerning exactly which partners best fit the needs of their portfolio. When it comes to implementing the best security for your office building, you can’t skimp out on the details. In the next section, we dive into commercial access control systems and what they can achieve for any portfolio.

What Are Commercial Access Control Systems?

Security access for businesses has been a hot topic across most industries since the 1960s, where owners and managers alike sought alternative solutions to replacing physical keys to reduce complications caused by turnover with key personnel and to keep up with evolving security standards. A key card entry system for businesses can achieve many things, but mainly provides much-needed flexibility options for building occupants and guests when entering your property.


According to a 2019 survey by HID Global and Security Management, an estimated 54% of businesses have upgraded or will upgrade to mobile/door access control systems in the next three years — a number which has without a doubt drastically increased due to the sanitation and contact tracing needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, top security company Swiftlane notes the following about access control systems and their evolution alongside personal technology usage:

“Research firm IHS Markit has reported that mobile-based credentials are the fastest-growing access control product, up about 150% in growth rate between 2017 and 2018. It predicts that more than 120 million mobile credentials will be downloaded in 2023.

The use of mobile-based credentials is the organic evolution for the physical security and access control industry. 93% of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone, most of which have their device on their person all the time. They are undeniably ubiquitous. Alternatively, key cards are inconvenient, clocking in as the second most forgotten item. Since most key cards are unencrypted proximity RFID cards that can be cloned easily, mobile credentials also offer a more secure solution. Convenient and more secure, we are seeing a strong shift towards mobile access control like various companies such as Swiftlane, Kisi, Proxy, Genea, Openpath, and many more.”

Types of Access Control Systems

As one might imagine, the types of access control systems can vary depending on a building’s technology stack and the needs of building occupants. Alongside the previously mentioned mobile access systems — which are really smartphone access control systems — new access control technology can also include cloud-based security, multi-factor authentication, or biometric technology. Let’s break down what each means.

Cloud-based Security

With technological innovation peaking across the world, it’s no surprise that most business systems today run on the cloud in conjunction with other IoT technologies. Everything from a company’s internal database, to emails, to marketing tools, and more are typically hosted on a cloud platform — making building security’s shift to the cloud no different. Benefits of a cloud-based security system include its ability to work with mobile devices, higher security through data backups and easier management, more efficient operations, and multi-site access management. The last benefit is perhaps the most important, implying that owners can scale their security systems across assets to allow employees to seamlessly visit other office branches.

Multi-factor Authentication

Multimodal and multi-factor authentication are another version of access control. According to Swiftland, “multimodal authentication can mean proving identity/gaining access with at least two separate biometrics, or allowing access via use of any one of various credentials, such as a keycard or PIN. Multi-factor authentication means having to prove identity/gain access via at least two methods or credentials–including something you know, have, or are — such as fingerprint and a password.” These extra identity verification methods are already commonly used across industries to provide an extra level of security to companies using single sign-on.

Biometric Technology

Biometric technology truly seems like something out of the future, where many companies bring Face-ID to life in their buildings. Facial recognition software complements other types of door access control systems by providing modern, touchless experiences. In a post-COVID-19 world, contactless biometric technology is predicted to see a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 17.4% from 2020 to 2030, with the global market increasing five-fold to reach $70 billion. The concept of physical access control systems for businesses is thus becoming obsolete as innovation continues to impact the office sector.

Top 10 Access Control Systems Companies

Though there are many access control suppliers in the market, we hunkered down to identify the top 10 access control systems companies to look into for your office portfolio. In no particular order, they are as follows:

  • Proxy Access Control: Proxy ID for iOS and Android holds your secure digital identity, which enables frictionless access to buildings, offices, and more. It has the power to shape responsive environments to your presence and preferences. (Proxy is a trusted HqOS™ Marketplace partner)
  • Openpath Access Control: Automate security procedures and enforce compliance with Openpath’s touchless access control capabilities and best-in-class safety features, enhanced by strategic partnerships and integrations. (Openpath is a trusted HqOS™ Marketplace partner)
  • Soloinsight Access Control: Soloinsight uses a mobile-first approach to create responsive environments deeply integrated into Physical and Logical Identity and Access Management systems. (Soloinsight is a trusted HqOS™ Marketplace partner)
  • HID Access Control: For decades, HID has enabled millions of people to easily access offices, hospitals, classrooms, and more. From entry-level smart card technologies to modern solutions like HID Mobile Access, their mission is to help your organization find the best solution for its needs. (HID is a trusted HqOS™ Marketplace partner)
  • Kisi Access Control: Kisi provides cloud-based access control that brings enterprise-grade security to any size of business.
  • ISONAS Access Control: ISONAS is the first access control company to design and manufacture a cutting-edge, IP-to-the-door solution that eliminates needless complexity. The IP structure for access control provides quality, flexibility, and value for schools, hospitals, and organizations seeking to add physical access control.
  • Vanderbilt Industries Access Control: Vanderbilt delivers a broad security product portfolio and outstanding customer support based on core values of agility, adaptability, and dependability
  • ADT Access Control: ADT Commercial can help manage your organization’s risks with custom integrated solutions to help cover all your locations— inside and out. Their local teams will tailor your systems to meet the specific needs of each facility.
  • Honeywell Access Control: Designed to work together seamlessly, Honeywell provides you with the technology you need to deliver sophisticated security solutions—from the simplest to the most challenging.  
  • Bosch Access Control: Bosch solutions offer you a scalable system for any project. Their portfolio includes all access control components from different software options and controllers to a wide range of readers and credentials.

Want to learn more about some of the companies on this list? You’re in luck! Discover exclusive insights and more about these access control systems manufacturers in HqO’s growing Marketplace of technology partners.

How Can I Find the Best Access Control System for my Building?

As you embark on your journey to find the best access control system, how can you trust the quality of the partners you find while ensuring that they can work alongside your existing systems within your building? The solution resides in HqO’s marketplace of pre-vetted systems and amenity providers. By leveraging the HqOS™ Marketplace to procure new partners, commercial office owners can shop for technologies they know will be interoperable with the overall platform, and whose business relationships and deal structures are already in place. Additionally, they can even take advantage of our partner profiles to access product demos, images, and more for their specific needs — such as door access control systems reviews — helping them determine if certain partners are a good fit for their business.

We empower CRE leaders to quickly identify partners of interest, while our team of experts helps consult across tech stack implementation and interoperability; third party assessment, procurement, and management; evolving compliance frameworks; data capture and transparency; and building access and facility management systems. Not only can our product improve upon workplace environments and make them more desirable for building occupants, but it can also resolve the issue of fragmentation while quickly addressing changing needs in an ever-complex technology landscape.

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