The Latest Trends and Developments in Vehicle Access Control
The world around us is getting smarter. Our watches connect us to our phones, and we can view our home or office CCTV cameras on our smartphones.
You can even find refrigerators that will tell you when the milk has expired.
We are slowly moving towards a world where everything is connected to everything else, and that includes our vehicles.
Traditional keys for vehicles are being replaced with wireless controls.
However, there were some problems with some of the early wireless creations, so it should come as no surprise that tech companies have continued to innovate.
The idea of 'vehicle access control' did not exist for a long time, either.
Do you remember getting out of your car to operate a physical barrier? Who has time for that these days?
From RFID to Microwave
The first attempts at radio frequency identification, RFID, for vehicles occurred in the 1980s, and while it was promising, there were too many problems with the technology.
While RFID itself worked, the other supporting technology to process the data was still immature or expensive.
This made consumers and privacy groups nervous about a 'contactless' card that could be used to track the movement of things, and potentially people.
Early cards were easy to clone, too, which made them less than ideal as a solo key for anything of value.
Improvements in Security and Practice
Many of the improvements in security that we have seen over the last few decades have been repeated, but they are still worthwhile.
Modern proximity readers and cards operate on the 120-125kHz frequency, which means that they work at better ranges and are more reliable.
Instead of the driver of a vehicle waving a physical passkey in front of a sensor when they need to pull into a depot, there is now the option for access control badges.
These can be positioned in the window of the vehicle, or attached to the vehicle somewhere else comparatively 'tamper-proof'.
These badges take the burden off the driver, and identify the vehicle instead, making things more convenient in the long term.
There have been several attempts at access control systems over the years.
Barcodes were some of the first of these systems, but these are easy to duplicate and relatively slow.
Magnetic strip cards were not much of an improvement, because they still required physical contact, and the strips were easily damaged.
Wiegand cards were an improvement, being more reliable and relatively tamper-proof.
However, low-cost RFID became the 'killer app' in the world of access control, being truly contactless and reliable.
Common Sense Security
If you are particularly concerned about security, simply reading a chip may not be enough for you.
Some companies are going a step further and looking at not just the chip, but also using cameras to read the vehicle's registration plate.
By adding that extra layer of security you can be more confident that the vehicle that possesses the tag is indeed the correct vehicle.
Modern optical character recognition is fast, quite reliable, and automatic. This means that you don't have to have a highly trained security guard on the gate.
However, this may still be worthwhile as an extra precaution to ensure that if anything goes wrong, an unauthorised or unrecognised person isn’t waved on through.
The best access control systems for your needs will depend on the size of the facility or fleet that you are managing, and how often the list of 'allowed' users changes.
For example, a company with a large turnover of staff, you may need something with 'hotlists' for dismissed employees.
If you have any questions about vehicle access control systems or any of the products and services that we offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at iCam Security on 1300 004 226. We would be happy to answer any questions that you might have.