The effect of technologies such as the Cloud and the trend of integrating physical Access Control with Identity Management, have been well documented. What is less clear, is how the business will evolve and which companies will gain or lose market share.
Our figures show the physical security product business in 2012 was worth about $20 billion (of this Access Control products took around $5 billion.) in hardware and around $45 / $50 billion at installed prices (excluding maintenance and services) - http://memoori.com/portfolio/the-physical-security-business-in-2012/
Access Control certainly seems to lend itself much better to Cloud services, more so than the much-hyped VSaaS (Video Surveillance as a Service). There has been lot of interest in VSaaS over the last 5 years but it has failed to take off as quickly as some predicted.
The major reason appears to be bandwidth issues for streaming video, making the service expensive and not commercially viable in many cases. Small installations of 10 to 20 cameras are economically viable, but this for the most part is a very fragmented business.
So where does Microsoft fit into the Access Control picture? Through their Global Security Operations Center Solution they are offering various off the shelf Microsoft technologies and integrating them with 3rd party products from the likes of Lenel and General Dynamics.
Nothing particularly new so far... There are various industry players offering Cloud solutions through partnerships such as HID Global and RedCloud’s offering which integrates HID’s EDGE EVO and VertX EVO networked access control solutions into RedCloud’s line of web-based networked access control appliances.
Microsoft, however, is in a very strong position with their huge installed base of enterprise identity management software. Something no pure security player can come close to.
Their massive investment in their own Cloud platform called "Azure" and their deeper understand of Cyber Security issues will also provide much leverage for their physical security business.
Their Global Security Operations Center and partnering strategy should allow them to gain significant market share, particularly among enterprise focused customers.
It will be particularly interesting to see how the incumbent Access Control players react to the challenge.