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EXCLUSIVE: Building a smart and sustainable future in North America


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One key factor driving today’s businesses is the universal concern regarding sustainability and environmental performance, reports iLOQ.

In the past, acting in a sustainable manner was the domain of large corporations and a discussion topic among a smaller proportion of ‘enlightened’ consumers. Encouragingly, sustainability is no longer a novelty topic; it is a global megatrend that affects every market and customer segment and is becoming a major consideration in purchasing choices. It is pretty much universally accepted that we all have a role in safeguarding the future of our planet by behaving responsibly now.

Rapid urbanization

According to The World Bank, in 2020, about 55% of the world’s population – 4.2 billion inhabitants – were living in cities. According to many sources, this trend will continue. By 2050, with the urban population expected to more than double its current size, it is predicted that nearly seven out of ten people in the world will live in cities.

Global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, sees that there will be an acceleration toward sustainability in construction and a parallel shift in demand toward buildings and communities that promote healthier lifestyles.

Increased security risks

Rapid urbanization is driving construction spending, but also brings with it increased security risks. In over-populated areas where land is often scarce or expensive, the tendency is to build ‘upwards’ by creating more high-rise buildings. With more people being accommodated in less space, that means more locks and key users. Building owners need to think seriously about what kind of security measures can be implemented into new buildings and also take a good, hard look at how to retrofit the existing built environment cost-effectively and sustainably.

Keeping an eye on costs

Cost control has been and always will be, an important process in any construction project. From the structure of the building itself to the design and installation of all its internal components and elements, building owners and operators will always keep a close eye on costs.

Whether properties are to be sold or rented, a major goal for construction companies and building owners is to achieve the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). According to a recent survey, TCO is considered the number one consideration for decision makers when evaluating the locking system to be installed in a building.

Closing the door on traditional locks

We’ve spoken about rapid urbanization with its inherent security risks and the need to keep an eye on costs while acting in a sustainable manner. To stay competitive, many companies are embarking on a digital transformation journey. It’s taken a while, but the construction industry is now fully on board with the opportunities that digitalization can bring. According to research carried out by Virgin Media Business with Oxford Economics, the construction industry ranked as the third industry most likely to benefit from digital transformation.

When it comes to ensuring the security of properties, the latest trend is towards transforming mechanical locking into highly functional and immensely secure access management. Digital locking and mobile access sharing solutions are revolutionizing the locking industry by solving issues caused by lost or stolen keys, preventing unauthorized access and eliminating the need to travel between administration offices and sites to collect and return keys.

The digital era

In a digital locking system, all access rights are programmed to one digital key and the entire ‘eco-system’ of a property is administered easily and cost-efficiently using cloud-based software. Access rights can be updated when needs change and cancelled if a key is lost or stolen. There’s no need to spend time and huge amounts of money re-keying or replacing cylinders and cutting new keys for all users of that door.

In a mobile access sharing solution, access rights are sent in real time, over the air to a mobile phone running an app making it even quicker and easier to control who has access to what doors or locks and when. Currently revolutionizing the utilities industry, mobile access sharing solutions consolidate the management of multiple (and remote) sites into one cloud-based software platform, saving businesses time and resources.

Battery-free solutions

The most sustainable locking systems are those that are battery and cable-free. This means zero energy consumption and zero emissions from daily use. Some countries, such as France, are considering placing a total ban on the use of lithium-ion batteries within the next few years.

In a battery-free digital locking system, the power for opening a lock comes from the kinetic motion of inserting the key into the lock. In a battery-free mobile access sharing solution the power to open a lock comes from the mobile phone itself.

With no batteries to change, battery waste is eliminated and maintenance actions are minimized. Far fewer service staff are out on the road, polluting the atmosphere as they visit sites to perform scheduled and ongoing maintenance. With keys, batteries and excess wiring taken out of the equation, time, environmental impact and use of resources are minimized, security is maximized and significant lifecycle savings are ensured.

Easy integration with third-party services

As today’s buildings grow in size and more facilities are added to the premises, one major trend in relation to locking systems is integration with data-sharing and reservation systems as well as customers’ personal databases. So, in an apartment building, for example, the locking system provides secure access to the front door and apartment doors and also makes it possible to book and gain access to common areas such as saunas, gyms or meeting rooms which may be managed by third-party service providers.

Battery-free locks and keys are durable and operate reliably in the harshest environments. They can be easily reprogrammed and reused making them long-term and sustainable solutions. Offering fast, flexible access management, they increase the value of properties and guarantee considerable lifecycle savings. The more keys and locks in a building, the greater the savings.

For more information, visit: www.iloq.com

This article was originally published in the October edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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