Is Mobile Access Control Sustainable?
Camilla Ashdown, 31. 10. 2023 | 5 min read
In our increasingly digital world, mobile access control has become an essential technology, reshaping how we secure and manage spaces – but can it be seen as a sustainable access technology?
Does Increased Efficiency = More Sustainability?
Traditional key cards and access systems are being replaced by more efficient alternatives – however, with the demand for sustainability rising, the question remains – are modern technologies more eco-friendly? In this blog, we'll delve into the sustainability of mobile access control, exploring the pitfalls and benefits, understanding the growing demand within the access control market for ‘green’ thinking, and offering advice to integrators looking to make better choices.
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The Growing Demand for Sustainable Access Control
Today's world has a heightened focus on sustainability: and the access control industry is not exempt from that. Although it cannot be considered an entirely ‘green’ field, efforts are being made to reduce carbon footprint and make greener choices.
More and more organizations and individuals are looking for green access control options. Several factors contribute to this growing demand:
The increasing awareness of environmental issues and the urgency to combat climate change have driven individuals and organizations to prioritize sustainability in all aspects of their operations, including security systems.
Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide are enacting stricter environmental regulations: ESG requirements in particular mean that companies are under increasing pressure to comply with environmental and social concerns including transparency in supply chains, waste reduction, and efforts towards local community charities.
Sustainable practices often lead to cost savings in the long run. Reduced resource consumption, lower energy bills, and minimized maintenance costs make sustainable access control an economically appealing choice.
Mobile Access Control: A Greener Choice?
Reduced Resource Consumption: Using what you have
When it comes to waste reduction, there are many arguments that suggest that mobile access control is a more sustainable choice. One of the primary benefits of mobile access control is the reduced need for physical keys or cards. This eliminates the production and disposal of these materials, which can have a significant environmental impact. Fewer physical access devices translate into reduced plastic waste and resource consumption, contributing to a greener ecosystem.
Simply put, instead of manufacturing RFID cards or other physical credentials, you are using something that already exists: a mobile phone. Whilst the sustainability of the mobile phone itself is by no means perfect, the fact remains that everyone uses one, and they're not going anywhere soon – so why not use them?
Unexpected Benefits: Using more efficient technologies
Mobile access control systems are based on IP technology, and those systems in turn offer many ‘green’ benefits. They can be designed with energy efficiency in mind – access devices such as IP intercoms will have energy-saving features like standby mode and devices can be integrated with energy-efficient automation systems.
In contrast, traditional analogue access systems often rely on electricity-hungry card readers and central servers, consuming more energy over time – and their integration possibilities are severely limited.
What other benefits do more modern access control systems offer?
- IP–based access control systems can be managed remotely, allowing for more efficient control and monitoring. Cloud-based platforms such as the My2N Management Platform are great at saving installers time and money – as well as minimizing the need for on-site personnel, reducing carbon emissions associated with travel and maintenance.
- Mobile access control and the access devices that are mobile-capable are easily scalable, which means that they can grow with your organization. You can add or remove access permissions digitally, without the need for additional physical infrastructure – and if you need new features, you won’t need to replace the device provided it can be updated remotely.
Are There Sustainability Pitfalls with Mobile Access Control?
Digital Security Concerns
Mobile access control relies on digital technology, which some argue makes it susceptible to cybersecurity threats. Ensuring robust security measures is critical to avoid breaches and data loss. Learn more about 2N’s rigorous approach to cyber security: we never compromise here – even when it comes to mobile access control!
Ensuring that older access control systems can be integrated with mobile solutions can be a challenge. Compatibility issues may require hardware replacements or fitting entirely new cabling to buildings: both of which create more electrical waste.
Try to avoid this by choosing a provider that offers options for upgrading with minimal changes to cabling. For example, using a 2N® 2wire IP converter such as this one will bring the benefits of IP technology to analogue-wired buildings.
Advice for Integrators Going Green
- Choose access devices that are built to last and that prioritise scalability rather than unnecessary device replacement: there is no use saving waste from RFID cards if you choose an intercom that needs replacing every two years. 2N’s range of IP intercoms, indoor stations, and access control readers are all premium, durable devices that can be upgraded and added to without changing hardware.
- Promote Responsible E-waste Disposal: Encourage clients to recycle old access control devices, as well as their mobile phones. Partner with e-waste recycling facilities to ensure responsible disposal.
- Prioritize Cybersecurity. Choose a supplier that invests in robust cybersecurity measures to protect digital access control systems. A data breach can have environmental consequences, as well as financial and reputational ones.
Mobile access control can be a more sustainable option compared to traditional access control in terms of energy efficiency, reduced resource consumption, and convenience. However, its sustainability depends on the specific technology and how it is implemented, managed, and maintained. Organizations and individuals interested in sustainability should assess the environmental impact of their chosen access control solutions and consider energy-efficient and eco-friendly options where possible.