SMARTair Wireless Hub

The transition to wireless access control

Wireless locks remain one of the fastest growing segments of the electronic access control industry, especially in mature countries. But how many commercial premises still rely on mechanical keys in 2015? And how does end-users perceive reliability and cost-effectiveness and training requirements of wireless access control? The 2016 version of the ‘Wireless Access Control Market report’ looks closer at these issues.

The 2014 report found that 23% of businesses used a fully wireless or hybrid wired/wireless system for access control. Fast forward two years and that figure has risen to 29%, with 5% already having adopted a fully wireless solution. The installed base for wireless is growing rapidly, it seems.

62% of professionals surveyed think few business premises will have mechanical locks within a decade

Below we will go through further key data points arising from the report. At the end of this article you will find a link where you can download the full report.


CLIQ is a wire-free system where each key can be programmed and updated individually to allow access to specific areas at specific times and dates.

Buying and learning the system

Training may be an issue that concerns some potential customers: over half of respondents had to run at least ‘some’ training for their new wireless system.

While system integrators are definitely the go-to suppliers for customers seeking a new access control system the ‘other’ response contingent, covering a range of supplier types, was large too (22%).

The decision to upgrade

Multiple benefits need to be in place to make a switch to wireless attractive, including cheap maintenance, easy integration and minimally disruptive installation – there’s no one ‘magic bullet’ that will make people switch (see Section 4 on page 5 in the report below for full list.)

Familiar uncertainties around the security of wireless access and cloud-based system management remain: almost half of respondents believe that wired systems are more secure, despite the fact that wireless locks – including in the Aperio® portfolio – are certified for security doors, fire doors and so on.

Cost-efficiency continues to be a key strength of wireless technology, with 69% of survey respondents believing it to be a cost-effective alternative to wired access control.

Electronic versus mechanical locks

Mechanical key loss is a significant security risk in the minds of almost most (86%) professionals, and along with burdensome key administration (77%) is seen as a major weakness of mechanical locks.

(Click image to enlarge)
Electronic vs mechanical locks

Yet despite the widely perceived weaknesses of physical keys, only 22% of those with mechanical locks have plans to upgrade – cost and a failure to see the need for access control on lower-security doors being principal reasons why.


Server racks and other non-door applications of wireless access control are attractive to many potential customers.

However, 62% of professionals surveyed think few business premises will have mechanical locks within a decade, which, if true, represents a major opportunity for wireless access control in the coming years

Access control beyond just doors

One huge advantage offered by wireless access control is the ability to secure more than just room doors, building entrances and turnstile barriers.

Server racks (78%) and other non-door applications of wireless access control (including cabinets at 57%) are attractive to many potential customers, backing up our 2014 research, which found 73% of professionals interested in these flexible applications of wireless access control.

One enthusiastic advocate for the technology intimated that “one integrated system across the site(s) to provide usable management data” would be ideal. Another was more circumspect, saying: “The choice should be horses for courses: keep things simple and question whether the cost will outweigh the practicality.”

server rack securityMatching needs and solutions

A key challenge for wireless access control manufacturers and re-sellers is matching the right solution to the customer’s needs. For example, providing certified products to customers (49%) nervous about the security credentials of wireless versus wired technology. Or, to others, showing the wide-ranging facility management benefits of adding access control to lower-security areas.

We will soon publish a similar report but now focusing on the Smart Home and highlighting the growing need for Smart Door Locks.

Stay tuned!

Wireless-Access-Control-ReportAbout the report

The wireless access control market in 2016 report examines issues around wireless systems – including training requirements, from where wireless systems are sourced and wired versus wireless access control from a security and cost-effectiveness perspective. The survey also looks in depth at issues touched upon in the 2014 report.


  1. The existing installed system
  2. Training & wireless access control
  3. Sourcing a wireless access control system
  4. The decision to upgrade
  5. Electronic versus mechanical locks
  6. Access control beyond just doors
  7. Summary, key facts & solutions

Download the full report here.


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