Access control vendor landscape

Published: January 22, 2013

Contract AwardsJustice/Public Safety & Homeland Security

Access control has become one of the most important components of security and is one of the top-five most procured justice and public safety technologies due to its relatively low cost and significant return. Access control has gained prevalence within schools, private/public companies, airports, corrections facilities, and other government units. According to Deltek’ s database, the majority of vendors who sell access control technology are concentrated in Virginia, California, New York, Colorado and Washington, as seen below. 
Within the last three years, states awarding the greatest number of access control contracts include New York, Texas, Virginia, California and Massachusetts, as seen below. There is a degree of correlation between vendor location and contracts won for states like Virginia and California. This may be due to the high number of government buildings located in the Washington D.C. metro region as well as the significant number of prison facilities in California. In addition, New York, Texas, and California are among the states with the most corrections facilities, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Access control contracts are not always locally based, but some states and smaller entities tend to favor local or regional businesses. This is significantly more common at the county and city level.
There are typically three core components to effective access control systems: identification, authentication and authorization. Access control can be implemented in the most simplistic forms through smartcards or badges, but many components can be added depending on the type of security needed. Many organizations and government agencies are shying away from traditional access control systems in favor of more sophisticated solutions that include two-factor authentication, which require two forms of data sets to be analyzed. For example, a password coupled with biometric data such as fingerprint or facial recognition.
Analyst’s Take
Vendors should recognize the importance of access control in its ability to mitigate risk as well as understand which overall components can be integrated to form a total working solution. Statewide contracts typically utilize all-encompassing, complete solutions that can be integrated with a variety of technologies including video surveillance, personal identification and perimeter detection systems, as well as with various networks operating on an IP address. These larger contracts can open up opportunities for smaller businesses to form partnerships.
Access control contracts do not always mean high-tech, intricate systems; smaller systems can also be utilized as add-ons or improvements to current security software. In these cases, vendors should be on the lookout for requests for information (RFIs) and/or consulting opportunities for entities that wish to improve their current security systems. Vendors looking to gain a foothold in this market should begin by focusing on contracts within smaller organizations to get their name out there before aiming for larger government contracts. 
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