Evolution of Identification in Access Control Systems

The development of technologies and the need to ensure an increased level of security of objects have become a powerful driver for the development of modern, technologically advanced and reliable methods of identification. Understanding how reliable and effective the use of each of them is.

Contactless access cards

Proximity cards work on the basis of radio frequency identification. This technology has been known since the Second World War.

And until recently, access cards remained the most popular identifier. The reason for this is simple – this identification method is the most cost-effective. However, this method has many disadvantages. Firstly, cards of EMM, which are read by UID, make it easy to copy a card. Copy-protected cards are more secure, but they can be stolen or transferred to an outsider. Another disadvantage is that the card can be simply lost or forgotten in the pocket of other clothes,

Mobile access

In modern access control systems, one of the most popular identification methods is smartphone access. Security and ease of use are the main advantages of office mobile key to access control systems. Smartphones have such functions as multi-factor authentication, fingerprint unlocking, which makes this method of identification quite reliable. With convenience, everything is obvious – you no longer need to transfer an access card from one clothing to another – you just need to take your smartphone with you. However, so far, office mobile key identification is usually used as an addition to traditional card access: someone uses cards, someone uses smartphones.


Although fingerprints have been used relatively recently as identifiers in access control systems, the technology itself has been around for over a century.

Fingerprints are unique, they cannot be forged, and this certainly makes this identification method very reliable. But what about faking or stealing them?

The danger of copying biometric identifiers is minimal. Fingerprints are stored in the database as a template, which is a mathematical model. Therefore, even after gaining access to the database, which is not easy due to the authentication used by the manufacturers, it will be impossible to restore the fingerprint pattern due to strong biometric data.

Face recognition

Face recognition technology is based on the selection of anthropometric points on faces. Now, face recognition technology is used to control access at large facilities, to quickly search for people in video archives, biometric profiling – to determine the demographic composition of visitors to a particular facility, and for many other purposes. In terms of convenience, face recognition technology surpasses even fingerprinting – you don’t need to apply anything, the equipment will do everything by itself.

Retina and iris

Even now, this method is still one of the rather rare occurrences, although it was invented back in the 30s of the XX century. Among the advantages of this method is its absolute accuracy. Among the disadvantages is expensive equipment. Retinal and iris identification is used in some large banks; in the UK, data on the iris is entered into biometric passports.

Vein drawing

Recognition by the pattern of veins on the arm is one of the youngest methods of identification: this technology is no more than 10 years old. The method is based on reading, using infrared radiation, the location of the vessels on the palms – from the inside or outside. Among the advantages of this method are high accuracy and the impossibility of counterfeiting.

Today, there are various methods of identification, and it is safe to say that biometric identification is rapidly gaining momentum because of strong biometric data. However, many biometric identification technologies are still either too expensive for mass use, or little studied in terms of safety for humans. And nowadays the most popular identification methods are the usual access cards, mobile access and fingerprint access.