Digitisation, urbanisation and 4IR are the major trends driving the uptake of access control technology across African businesses.
The opportunity is now for these businesses to implement the latest solutions, transform their workforce and potentially leapfrog global counterparts says Wisam Yaghmour, Regional Sales Manager for Africa at HID Global.
The company is an international provider of access control security, including personal identification and physical security solutions. It recently showcased its service portfolio and solutions for the first time in Africa at Securex West Africa.
Yaghmour says Africa used to rely on outdated 125Khz proximity and 13.56Mhz Mifare card-based technologies, but recently there has been an uptake in authentication-centric methods such as biometric used in combination with high security RFID cards.
He believes biometric technology has an important role to play in addressing security risks and fingerprint is still by far the most accepted means of biometric-based identification.
"This technology has been around for some time and is a proven technology with a relatively low price point. Iris and facial recognition could still be too costly for mass adoption," says Yaghmour.
He adds that there is now greater reliance on cloud-based applications for quick and flexible deployments and mobility, and 4IR is a significant catalyst for change to the workforce.
"High unemployment rates force people from outlying areas to move to the bigger cities in the hope of finding employment. This increases the need for resources and puts pressure on outdated infrastructure. In a highly populous area like Africa, the fourth industrial revolution could be a major change for the workforce as a whole, but at the same time, Africa can leapfrog other countries by implementing the latest technology and could benefit from greener and more productive technologies," says Yaghmour.
He believes global companies with a footprint in Africa have an advantage in that they have more mature strategies that been evolved over time and updated as technology advances.
"This migration into more hosted environments is forcing a closer working relationship between IT and physical security to adapt, review and analyse their resources. Most noticeable is the cost impact on not having to invest in additional hardware and user data does not need to be duplicated. As a result, a better user experience is afforded and data can be shared across multiple platforms. How these corporates manages this data is only limited by their imagination," Yaghmour continues.
While cyber security attacks and identity theft remain prevalent in Africa, issues like internet access and power supply continue to complicate the task before business operators.