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Part 4 on Innovation: Frictionless and Responsive

Lee Odess

During the Security Industry Associations conference Securing New Ground, Brivo's CEO Steve Van Till gave a presentation on the 2021 Megatrends. #6 on the list was touchless and frictionless solutions.

And, he called it a fad.

I couldn't agree more. But with one minor change. I'd add "the current offerings."

As in, the current offerings of touchless and frictionless solutions are a fad. As an industry, we got caught up in a moment that we, rightfully so, hurried to deliver a solution for. But we did it with 30-year-old technology and product marketing teams (note: not content marketing teams) using old school tired methods to communicate the value propositions. One bad video, cut sheet, and press release after another.

We got up to the plate.

We grabbed a bat from the 1990s.

Swung hard.

And missed.

Oddly, instead of heading to the dugout and getting to work, we ran the bases like we hit a home run. We celebrated our achievements.

We weren't ready to answer the call. We still aren't. We have work to do.

What is not a fad and is a megatrend is the market's desire to have the way we enter and exit buildings reinvented. The market is asking for innovation to happen at the door.

But what we showed up with this or this:

I am not picking on Norton or Arso. There were 100 options I could have selected, but this video and GIF happened to be the first ones that came up when I Googled "touchless door."

Sure, it works, but it is not what the market wants, and it will not be what leads the industry as the mainstream starts to demand solutions.

You will not see widespread adoption. This is not a platform to iterate off of. Our best answer right now is broken and uninspiring.

The market wants frictionless and responsive doors.

"But isn't that what we are doing?"

Sure. We give people cards or we get crazy and put those cards in a phone. Those cards or the phone are presented at a reader, or again we get nuts and use Bluetooth to do it from a couple of feet away. Or wait for it... you can wave. Then the reader goes beep, turns green when a controller or computer tells it to do so, and makes a motor open a door.

Is anyone proud of that? That's the innovation we are putting front and center as an industry and saying, with full swag, "we have arrived!"


Frictionless is defined as "achieved with or involving little difficulty, effortless." The current offering is a mess when it comes to user experience.

Responsive is defined as "reacting based on information quickly." I would argue we are missing the point here with the current offering as well.

Somewhere between the Jetsons doors that "swooshes" open and doors that based on the expression of their true identity (how they want versus given identity), with dynamic authentication and assurance levels, where we use situational awareness data coupled with policies that trigger doors to open, notifications to be sent, environment controls to respond and fluidity to ensue. Oh, and do this all at the edge, using open standards and the cloud when needed.

That is a mouthful (on purpose), and it is hard (innovation is hard. I get it. But that is why it is fun).

But we need to do it. There is gold.

Again, today's offering is an iteration of old technology Frankenstein'd together like a kit car and our industry saying "tada!" Let's be real, we've had these ADA compliant products on the shelf for a long time, and we have spent a small amount of energy and money reimagining what a good experience could be for the people that need them. Now we have a pandemic where we think transmission of pathogens by touching may exist, and again we brush off the 90s and say, "we have arrived!"

Come on. We can do better.

And it starts with leadership with a desire to innovate.

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