The changing face of access control

Access & Identity Management Handbook 2021 Access Control & Identity Management

Buzzwords like ‘social distancing’, ‘self-quarantining’ and ‘hand washing/sanitising’ became part of our daily lives after lockdown was announced in March 2020. Along with these constant reminders to ‘flatten the curve’ by remaining compliant with government regulations, we have seen an interesting move to one of the traditionally costlier access control technologies: facial recognition.

According to Alex Penhaligon, South Africa Business Department: project sales manager at Hikvision, there has been a sudden and direct move away from fingerprint technology during the past few months. “It’s safe to say that fingerprint biometric technology was predominant in the pre-COVID-19 era. However, in an effort to enforce decreased unnecessary contact with public and shared surfaces, touchless technology is stepping up to the plate in the access control and T&A; (time and attendance) arena.”

He explains that facial recognition technology not only allows contactless recognition to take place, but is also extremely useful in assisting with social distancing. “Fingerprint technology, by its very nature, means that you are required to place your finger onto the reader’s surface. Therefore, every time a person uses a fingerprint reader they are potentially providing an optimal environment for the transmission of germs or microorganisms related to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.”


Alex Penhaligon.

Penhaligon believes that the momentum created in the adoption of facial recognition technology will continue after COVID-19 as society seeks acceptable ways to coexist in the ‘new normal’. As more organisations deploy facial recognition technology, the cost of this technology will also be substantially reduced as a result of increased demand in the marketplace, making it a more affordable option for organisations.

He adds that as artificial intelligence (AI) technology organisations continue to develop increasingly sophisticated algorithms, so the gap between facial recognition technology and fingerprint biometric technology will narrow. Algorithm-enabled facial recognition terminals featuring advanced deep learning technology increase the accuracy of facial recognition to over 99%, with verification speeds of under 0,2 seconds – even in darkness.

Different countries have various requirements in terms of access control. Amongst other benefits, AI will allow the development of a rule or engine to recognise people from different areas, based on these exceptions and requirements. Hikvision’s 19000-strong R&D; team has used this opportunity to take the existing facial recognition readers and deepen the technology offering, resulting in lowered false recognition rates.

“Our R&D; team didn’t have to start from scratch with the development of AI and facial recognition algorithms. This technology already existed, we have merely made refinements that encapsulate the changing environment and the demands of compliance with COVID-19 reduction methods, allowing us to very quickly refine our solutions. This decrease in false recognition has resulted in our facial recognition reader technology now being ideally suited not only to access control, but importantly, also to T&A,” says Penhaligon.


Glenn Noome.

“Due to Hikvision’s open protocol and the work done by their R&D; team we are able to retrofit Hikvision facial recognition devices into existing access control systems. So, upgrading from access cards/biometric systems to facial recognition systems is not a brand new installation but rather an upgrade, which is more cost effective,” says Glenn Noome, director at Smart Integration.

“Facial recognition technology is not only used for access control but can ultimately be used as a personal verification method. If the databases are shared, it may be used at Home Affairs or even in the healthcare environment to make things more efficient, reduce fraud and add security,” says Noome.

There is a happy marriage between facial recognition technology and thermal imaging cameras, with the latter extending from its more traditional surveillance role into one that assists in pinpointing higher-than-normal body temperatures in humans. Thermal cameras provide clearer imaging and more accurate temperature measurement, to advanced intelligence that allows for accurate behaviour analysis.

As organisations wrestle with the altered behavioural demands imposed by lockdown, the widespread implementation of AI-driven facial recognition technology, together with synergistic technologies such as thermal body imaging, will definitely provide some relief from the stresses of these necessary adjustments.


Credit(s)




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Retail solutions beyond security
Issue 8 2020, Axis Communications SA, Technews Publishing, Hikvision South Africa , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
The need for security technology to deliver more than videos of people falling or stealing from retail stores is greater than ever.

Read more...
Keep drivers and customer packages safe
Issue 1 2021, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice
AURA, South Africa’s security and safety platform has partnered with The Courier Guy to ensure the safety of drivers and customer packages via a mobile panic app as well as a cutting-edge Internet-of-Things (IoT) linked panic button.

Read more...
Yale launches Linus Smart Lock
Issue 1 2021, Yale Security (SA) , Access Control & Identity Management
The Linus lock allows for keyless entry and gives its users the ability to see who comes and when, grant virtual guest keys, and check whether the door is open or closed.

Read more...
YouTube makes everyone an installer
Issue 1 2021, Bidvest Protea Coin, RR Electronic Security Solutions, ISF SFP, Rhyco Risk Projects, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice
Hi-Tech Security Solutions posed the question: can companies do all or some of their security work in-house or is there still a need for installers and integrators?

Read more...
Securing your data centre
Issue 1 2021, Suprema , Access Control & Identity Management
The threat of physical breaches into data centres is real and requires a coordinated security strategy using a layered approach.

Read more...
SALTO offers touch-free access control
Issue 1 2021, Salto Systems Africa , Access Control & Identity Management
The Wave XS is a smart, fast and reliable access control solution with a touchless button that permits easy and clean operation for a large number of activator devices.

Read more...
Touchless access and temperature screening
Issue 1 2021 , Access Control & Identity Management
Invixium has announced that Eastern Platinum Limited (Eastplats) has deployed the IXM TITAN with its Enhancement Kit at the Crocodile River Mine. This deployment comes in response to a growing global ...

Read more...
New thermal access control from RS Components
Issue 1 2021 , Access Control & Identity Management
Combining temperature measurement and AI facial recognition in a single device offers effective and efficient safety and security options for businesses, schools and hospitals.

Read more...
From the editor's desk: Perceptions and deceptions
Issue 1 2021, Technews Publishing , News
Over the last two days I had two interesting conversations regarding the security industry. The first was an old favourite of many, mentioning that if you work in the industry you must be making huge ...

Read more...
Improving the intrusion industry
Issue 1 2021, Technews Publishing , Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection
Improving the performance of alarm and intrusion detection technicians has been a passion throughout Bryan Rudolph’s career in the security industry.

Read more...