Future of Access Control: A Seamless Blend of Security and Digital Transformation

Future of Access Control: A Seamless Blend of Security and Digital Transformation

In an exclusive interview with Industrial Automation Asia, Prabhuraj Patil, Commercial Director, Physical Access Control Solutions, ASEAN & India Subcontinent, HID, delves into the company’s innovative strategies for enhancing digital transformation across various industries. From pioneering mobile and cloud technologies to fortifying the aviation sector’s development in partnership with CATC, HID is at the forefront of securing the digital age. Patil also sheds light on HID’s proactive approach to navigating the challenges of a rapidly evolving technological landscape, ensuring operational efficiency and comprehensive security in connected workplaces and public spaces.


  1. Can you elaborate on HID’s commitment to assisting customers in accelerating digital transformation across various industries, particularly in the context of the partnership with CATC and its alignment with Thailand’s government focus on aviation industry development?
  • At HID, we are passionate about the power of verified, trusted identities to help people get where they need to go and achieve what they want to do. Along with our partners, we’re pioneering the hardware, software and services that allow people to navigate the physical and digital worlds with confidence.
  • We work with governments, educational institutions, industrial businesses, and some of the most innovative companies on the planet to future-proof their security solutions in the wake of accelerating digital transformation.
  • As the trusted market leader in access control and identity solutions, we instill enduring confidence because we make an unsurpassed investment in innovation, offering the most secure technologies with unparalleled product quality. Beyond that, we also possess the largest global ecosystem of strategic partners to support our customers’ needs now and well into the future.
  • Furthermore, we make significant investments in mobile access and cloud technologies to ensure our strategic initiatives align with our commitment to delivering innovative solutions and enhancing the overall experience for our customers. As part of this commitment, we have recently expanded our team with the addition of key professionals, reinforcing our dedication to staying at the forefront of industry trends.

  1. In the rapidly evolving landscape of mobile consumption habits in the region, what challenges do you foresee in the digital transformation of physical security, and how is HID positioned to address these challenges?
  • We recognize that mobile consumption habits are evolving rapidly, leading to an increased reliance on smartphones for various activities. There’s been a greater push than ever to make access control mobile. Having an access control credential on one’s smartphone or wearable device delivers on the top requests of consumers today
  • This shift poses challenges in integrating physical security systems with mobile devices seamlessly. The increasing want for convenience should not be at the expense of other security goals and initiatives. There is therefore an increasing need to bridge the gap between security and convenience.
  • To that end, we’ve developed solutions that support the widest variety of mobile devices in the industry today and work seamlessly with Apple- and Android-based operating systems and mobile wallets. Powered by Seos, a software-based and form factor agnostic credential technology, to deliver the highest levels of security for access control. Internationally accredited, this system is the world’s best-known standard for information security management systems that incorporate data protection and cyber resilience.
  • Our Mobile Access Solutions allow organizations to meet the growing demands of a mobile-first world. Leveraging Seos as its underlying credential technology, HID Mobile Access can significantly increase convenience, boost efficiency and maximize security.
  • Another big challenge is around accelerating mobile adoption, namely in light of shifting security budgets and priorities. One of the key requirements is for PACS systems to be upgraded so that they are mobile-capable. There are also some industries, like airports and hospitals, where physical badges are required, making mobile adoption in these industries more difficult.
  • Based on our 2024 State of Security and Identity report, our industry partners highlighted that their customers face several hurdles including existing reliance on legacy/on-prem equipment (28%) and lack of budget (24%).

  1. Could you share some specific quantitative and qualitative results or success stories stemming from the implementation of HID’s access control solution at CATC’s campus? How has this contributed to enhancing security and operational efficiency?
  • The CATC is the specialized education and training centre for the aviation industry in the region. Within the training institute, insider knowledge is abundant, know-how, security policies, and practices that need to be protected and tightly controlled from the general public, as the information is being used in airports, aircrafts, and more. Out of concern for the public, the industry, and even national security, the information must be under tight security. As such, access control and security systems are vital in safeguarding the responsibility to the stakeholders across the private and government sectors.
  • With such considerations, CATC had to go through a digital transformation to meet the security requirements and after a full audit of the security system was conducted, CATC discovered several areas for improvement in the area of access control and security. For example, the current smart card system allows duplication yet no security protocol to detect card duplication, allowing unauthorized individuals to access classrooms, laboratories, and workshops, all of which contain highly advanced, expensive, and irreplaceable machines and devices.
  • Together with our Technology partner, Honor Supply, we proposed the integration of all the security systems currently running in the CATC campus, facilities, and common spaces, to manage all identities and credentials with ease. Such a system is to be supported and operated by HID, whom Honor Supply later brought into the picture.
  • With the implementation of our security systems, we immediately addressed the threat of card duplication which helps in safeguarding the highly sensitive IP in all the classrooms. We provided a future-proof access control and security system that will be relevant for at least the next 10 years, incorporating technology for Mobile ID with Bluetooth technology and even Apple contactless.
  • The new access control and security system will allow on-campus students, staff, and employees to have tightly monitored access to the buildings across CATC’s campus. In the long run, there will be implementation of a cashless system on the campus, and using the access card or mobile app, users get to pay for services they use on the campus, such as printing, parking, use of paid facilities, and the like.

  1. Considering the current trend towards a hybrid work environment, how does HID view the importance of connected workplaces and infrastructures in ensuring comprehensive security measures in today’s digital era?
  • Connected workplaces and infrastructures represent the next step in creating
  • workplaces that can meet the expectations of today’s workers. More organizations are connecting their business systems and applications and granting access to multiple physical and digital locations as well as resources of any kind with one credential. In addition, the same convenient credential can become an essential part of a multi-factor authentication (MFA) system for highly secure physical and logical locations. Administrators simply have to add another requirement — like a PIN or biometric verification — to add a layer of security. Connected business systems that seamlessly support MFA solve many operational and security challenges
  • With this shifting trend, there has been a more concerted push towards making access control mobile. Mobile offers an extra layer of security by leveraging a device’s inherent features (like passcodes and face or fingerprint IDs). In addition, patches and upgrades can be transmitted instantly. Of course, it’s also more convenient, since it removes the user’s hassle of having to carry additional keys and badges and lets administrators manage the new security, including permissions and access authorizations, using existing systems.
  • However, access control is always about balance. While organisations need strong security, it should not be at the expense of other goals and initiatives. There is therefore an increasing need to bridge the gap between security and convenience.
  • From parking garages and elevators to networks and databases, the benefits of connecting business systems with converged physical and logical access provides better security — simply.

  1. In your opinion, what distinguishes a proactive security approach from a reactive one, especially in the realm of physical security? How does HID advocate for a proactive stance in the face of emerging threats?
  • In the realm of physical security, a proactive approach focuses on preventing security threats and incidents before they occur, whereas a reactive approach deals with responding to security breaches after they have already happened. It is essential for mitigating risks, protecting assets, and ensuring the safety of individuals. While reactive measures have their place, they should be viewed as a complement to proactive strategies rather than the primary line of defense. A few steps a company can take to promote a proactive stance:
  1. Stay Informed:
    1. Keep abreast of the latest trends, technologies, and threats in physical access control.
    2. Monitor industry publications, attend conferences, and participate in relevant forums to stay informed about emerging risks.
  2. Risk Assessment:
    1. Conduct a thorough risk assessment of your current physical access control systems.
    2. Engage both the IT & Security personnel & have the facility manager & decision-makers in discussions to assess the threats.
    3. Identify vulnerabilities and potential weak points in your infrastructure.
  3. Implement Best Practices:
    1. Keep yourself updated & adopt industry best practices for physical access control
    2. Regularly review and update security policies and procedures to align with evolving threats and technologies.
  4. Employee Training and Awareness:
    1. Conduct regular training sessions to educate employees about security risks and the importance of following security protocols.
    2. Foster a culture of security awareness throughout the organization.
  5. Collaborate with Industry Experts:
    1. Work closely with security consultants and industry experts to gain insights into emerging threats.
  6. Regular Audits and Assessments:
    1. Conduct regular audits of your physical access control systems to identify and rectify any vulnerabilities.
    2. Stay compliant with relevant security regulations and standards.
  7. Continuous Improvement:
    1. Establish a continuous improvement cycle to regularly review and update security measures.
    2. Encourage feedback from employees and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement.
  • As the industry’s trusted leader in access control and identity solutions, we aim to help customers establish a trusted ecosystem of devices, identities and applications using a reliable, secure infrastructure. Our solutions employ predictive intelligence for reduced risk of future data and security breaches to help customers take proactive measures to secure their physical spaces.
  • By emphasizing a proactive approach, organizations can significantly reduce the likelihood of security incidents, minimize potential damages, and stay ahead of emerging threats in physical security.

  1. As governments across Asia focus on the technological transformation of public infrastructure, what role does HID envision in securing buildings and public spaces to meet the needs of the digital age?
  • We envision our role to support governments and companies in revolutionizing access control, with a focus on mobile access and the option for users to have their credentials on digital wallets.
  • Our goal is to lead the charge and seamlessly integrate fingerprint biometrics and facial recognition into a wide array of applications, providing not only enhanced security and fraud prevention but also a more user-friendly and efficient experience.
  • We remain focused on our vision of providing mobile access solutions and supporting our partner with the tools and technical expertise. We will make significant investments in external penetration tests, audits and certifications for validation of the security of our solutions.
  • Our commitment is to empower our customers in making informed decisions for their unique needs, ensuring both short and long-term success. We strive to provide solutions that not only meet immediate requirements but also align seamlessly with future goals, enabling our customers to navigate their journey with confidence and flexibility.

  1. Looking ahead, what do you see as the future trends and challenges in the intersection of digital transformation and physical security, and how is HID preparing to address these dynamics?
  • Despite recent security concerns on the use of biometrics we see digital transformation and the adoption of digital ID frameworks continuing to surge.
  • Touchless biometrics such as these are gaining ground quickly due to the frictionless, ease of use and the ability to operate without contacting a surface that may be of health concern. The performance of touchless matching algorithms is improving quickly and drastically to have the same characteristics as their touch counterparts. However, the same standards that are developed for touch biometrics are still in their infancy, but we see this maturing over time.
  • There’s also been a greater push to make access control mobile. Having an access control credential on one’s smartphone or wearable device delivers on the top requests of consumers today to bridge the gap between security and convenience, including:
    • Sustainability – Unlike traditional card printing, mobile doesn’t create waste. It lives right inside an existing device and doesn’t require the printing process’ usual consumables, like ribbons, ink or cards.
    • Security – Mobile offers an extra layer of security by leveraging a device’s inherent features (like passcodes and face or fingerprint IDs). In addition, patches and upgrades can be transmitted instantly.
    • Convenience – Any access control solution is only as effective as the end user makes it — if it isn’t used appropriately, it won’t work. Passwords and PINs, for example, only secure places and spaces if they’re hard to guess. It’s hard to beat the convenience of a device we’re rarely without.
  • However, while the new technologies for biometric physical access control offers several benefits, including enhanced security, improved data protection, and streamlined operations, global firms must consider the privacy and technical challenges and the level of support and resources needed to ensure an overall secured and streamlined access control system.

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