This year, there has been an abrupt shift to remote workplaces due to COVID-19. Nexkey, a provider of cloud and mobile access control technology, surveyed 1,264 office workers to see what's currently happening and what will come next in the access control space.

The company released the 2020 Access Control Trends Review which reveals an increased importance on security for businesses after COVID-19 and the continued desire to adopt new access control technologies in mobile and cloud.

The survey showed that 44 percent of respondents feel that access control is more important after COVID-19. Sixty-seven percent of respondents prioritize security over convenience now when it comes to choosing an access control system.

It is alarming to see how unsecure access control has become as keys are lost or lent out on a regular basis. Seventy-four percent of the people surveyed use key cards, fobs and metal keys and 41 percent have had those items lost or stolen while 34 percent admitted to letting someone borrow them to enter their workplace.

You’re less likely to let someone borrow a phone, and if your phone was lost or stolen, it is most likely protected with a pin or biometrics. Mobile access control also has the advantage of touchless entry which helps which reduces contact between employees.

Here are a few other interesting details from the survey:

  • 41% of office workers use key cards to enter their office, yet the same amount of people said smartphones or smartwatches would be their first choice credential.
  • 75% want additional doors on their access control platforms but don’t with 1 out of 4 people saying the biggest reason is cost.

In today’s world, it is shocking to see someone without a smartphone. (Reportedly, 98% of American office workers have a smartphone.) They are everywhere. According to an Inc. article, Internet Trends’ research shows that the average smartphone user unlocks their smartphone 150 times a day. Our phones are constantly in our hands.

Today, key cards are the most common access control credential seen in the field with 41 percent of respondents using a key card/badge as the main credential to unlock the building. That will change, however. People want to shift to mobile access control. Forty-one percent of survey respondents said mobile or smartwatch would be their first choice to unlock the door over key cards, fobs, pin code or metal keys. 67 percent of office managers are interested or very interested in managing access to the building with their smartphones. The demand for mobile is there, yet it isn’t reflected in new technology that emerges in the industry. 

If mobile access control is gaining momentum as a desired and secure platform, why hasn’t it gone viral? Most smaller businesses are limited to only a few doors with access control. At businesses with 51 to 250 people, 84 percent of them have fewer than 4 doors with access control and the same number, 84 percent of them want to add additional doors to their platforms. One of the biggest reasons why people held back was cost. Three quarters of all respondents would only pay up to $1000 for an access control system, which is very rare in the industry due to the amount of hardware components and complex installation that is needed. 

Traditional access control that zeroes in on key card and fob technology remains incompatible with most doors, insecure, and expensive which leaves it out of reach for most small to medium sized businesses. There is huge potential for access control in the SMB market and players in the access control industry are missing out on a $10B industry where their products just don’t make the cut.

All signs point to mobile access control being the future of the access control industry. According to an HID 2019 survey, 54 percent of respondents have upgraded or will upgrade to mobile access control in the next three years. After COVID-19, access control systems will need to be more secure at a decent price point, and technology providers will have to shift to mobile to meet user’s needs. The smartphone will be our key throughout our day — from our home, to the office, gym, community center, school and even to the local laundromat.


Download Nexkey’s survey at