SJUK Exclusive: The digital revolution

May 23, 2022


Pat Jefferies, Commercial Director, Abloy UK discusses why businesses are adopting agile digital solutions for enhanced convenience.

Managing the secure and convenient movement of people in the built environment is a challenge – one that has become increasingly difficult in recent times.

The shift towards remote and flexible working has created the need for more agile access control, and as the way in which we live, work and move evolves, our access control solutions need to evolve too. Research shows that the adoption of digital access control solutions is on the rise, with 77% of endusers currently operating an electronic system, with 38% of these featuring wireless access. 

In addition, the demand for mobile keys is also increasing, with 26% of organisations stating they already offer mobile credentials and an additional 39% likely to implement mobile credentials within two years.

Organisations in the built environment are looking for an easy way to manage access permissions with instant delivery, increased security and sustainability. So what solutions are available and how can they accommodate ever changing and increasingly complex requirements?

Physical and digital security

When specifying an access control system, one of the first considerations should be security and Abloy’s mechanical locks are recognised around the world for their high security, quality, durability and resistance against attack.

However, a mechanical solution cannot tell you who has used a lock, how they accessed it and at what time. By integrating a digital access solution, you can reap all the benefits of physical security and have an easy way to manage access permissions with increased flexibility and sustainability.

The addition of mobile keys to a digital access ecosystem adds another layer of security. Mobile credentials utilise on-device passwords and biometrics such as fingerprint, voice and facial recognition, to keep unauthorised people from accessing the key stored on the smartphone. 

In addition, mobile credentials are also seen as a more secure way to manage access because people are less likely to lose a mobile phone in comparison to a key card or fob. In fact, 17.3% of people lose at least one card or fob annually, compromising security and creating a cost for the organisation to replace. 

If a key or fob goes missing, it can easily be used by anyone that has it in their possession. In contrast, if a smartphone goes missing, the level of security on the device makes it incredibly difficult for someone to access it, let alone get far enough to utilise the credential.

Also, people will notice more quickly if they have lost a mobile than if they misplace a key or fob. This means that the organisation can be promptly alerted to the missing smartphone so they can revoke access instantly using the credential’s management software.


Sustainability is another key focus of access control and it’s critical we ensure the solutions we specify on behalf of our customers create a more sustainable future for their organisation.

We can combine wired locking solutions, wireless locking, digital key systems and our core mechanical locks and make systems very low energy to provide sustainability. Electric locks are a low energy solution – they only require power when a valid credential has been used to unlock the door, in contrast to a door magnet that needs constant power to remain locked.

Mobile credentials can help sustainability by reducing costs and increasing operational efficiency. For example, when using traditional credentials such as a key, card or fob, there is a time and efficiency cost in distribution, whether that is via delivery or handing them out physically.

By using mobile keys, security and operations managers can instantly and remotely amend, issue or cancel credentials and building users always have their access rights up to date, offering a more flexible, convenient and sustainable solution.

It’s more efficient too and employees waste less time collecting or amending access credentials in person and visitors get instant temporary access when they need it. Eliminating the need for key cards and fobs – and the constant replacement of lost cards and fobs – reduces disposable plastic usage too, offering a more environmentally friendly credential.

Green in practice

One example of Abloy successfully specifying and installing an environmentally friendly solution is at St Andrews University – an institution that has sustainability at the heart of its ethos. For student accommodation, university managers sought an energy-efficient access control solution which respected and reflected these principles.

A major challenge facing the university was that multiple different standalone access control technologies had been installed piecemeal at student halls over the years. To upgrade the accommodation, university managers sought a more suitable, integrated solution.

The university chose Aperio® battery powered electronic escutcheons, and approximately 1,600 doors so far are equipped with electronic access control — without cabling.  

The Aperio devices integrate fully and work flexibly with both the university’s existing central system and their student ID card. University security managers continue to enjoy the efficiency benefits of monitoring and controlling access from a single point and in real time, including for doors in multiple buildings.

In comparison to a wired access control solution, Aperio devices offer significant energy efficiency benefits. Escutcheons are wireless, so can be installed with little energy use and no need for wiring to mains electricity. They consume zero energy when idle and run on standard batteries, consuming little power during operation.

Abloy solutions

Abloy specifies tailored solutions to provide flexible, scalable, sustainable and compliant security to help control the movement of people in a wide range of building types and applications. The digital, electromechanical and mechanical products in Abloy’s portfolio can be combined in a variety of ways to meet virtually any requirements, and St Andrews is just one of many examples of a bespoke sustainable specification.

Other products available include:

– IncedoTM Business is a flexible ecosystem that combines ASSA ABLOY’s extensive range of wireless locks and access hardware with flexible software, multiple management options and the ability to scale on demand, in any direction. It offers remote control of premises to manage the ever-changing movement of people across multiple sites.

– Aperio energy efficient technology offers cost-effective, integrated access control and is the ideal retrofit option to update an existing access control system to wire-free, providing a simple, intelligent way to upgrade the controllability and security level of commercial premises and dwellings. 

 – SMARTairTM utilises electronic locks to provide advanced, user friendly access management with multiple credential options. In addition to the Openow mobile solution which enables the sending, revoking and updating of virtual keys over the air in seconds, Abloy also offers the i-max electronic escutcheon ideal for areas of high traffic use and the i-gate digital padlock that you lock and unlock with your mobile phone.

– eCLIQ is a convenient retro-fit solution to control the movement of people and allows access to be easily granted, changed and removed while providing a wide range of data for health and safety purposes. 

– ASSA ABLOY PULSE is an intelligent, energy harvesting, futureproof solution you can install new or retro-fit in existing sites, which is suitable for a wide range of environments, from schools to assisted living blocks and multi-resident apartments.

– CIPE Manager from Abloy is the ideal platform to manage locking solutions protecting assets at critical infrastructure sites. CIPE brings together a keyless solution with electromechanical and mechanical keys, allowing organisations to manage all their keys, locks and access rights from any location, with a user-friendly, cloud-based management system.

Abloy also offers compliant Low Energy Electric Locks, which only consume energy when the lock is being used, in contrast to magnetic locks which require a constant electric current 24/7/365 to keep the door locked. These Electric Locks have an annual energy consumption of 0.02kWh compared to 52.0kWh per year for those reliant on magnets.

Abloy wants to make it as easy as possible to adapt access control systems to digital and mobile solutions. The wide portfolio of products combined with the company’s knowledge and expertise make it the ideal place to start, with a solution for every door and every customer.

For further information on products and services available from Abloy, visit:

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

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