In business and at home, the smartphone is a remote control for our lives. It’s a calendar and a credit card. We book holidays and do our daily banking. With video calling technology, we can even be in two places at once (or make it seem that way). Could there be untapped potential in using mobile phones for access control, too?

According to official EU data, by 2016 94% of European large businesses were issuing their workers with some sort of connected mobile device. We seem to use our smartphones for everything. Yet mobile phones are under utilized when it comes to building security and access management.

Mobile access

Evolving technologies now enable us to manage access rights via mobile phone apps

Evolving technologies now enable us to manage access rights via mobile phone apps, open a door with a virtual key credential, and much more. An estimated 44 million mobile credentials will be downloaded by 2021, according to a recent IHS Markit forecast.

Smartphones enable wireless access control:

  • Convenience: Part of the reason Apple Pay, Instagram and many more mobile services succeed is for the simple reason, we like to carry less stuff. With secure credentials on your phone, there’s no more need for a fob, a plastic smart-card or anything similar.
  • Security: A screen-lock adds an extra layer of PIN, swipe passcode or fingerprint security. With phones, multi-factor authentication is baked into the credential. And how quickly would you notice if a plastic key-card went missing? Nowhere near as fast as you’d spot your smart phone was gone.
  • Flexibility: Security and facility managers can do things with virtual keys that are impossible with a plastic credential. They can issue, revoke or amend them instantly and from anywhere with secure cloud access via a mobile phone. However briefly a temporary visitor needs to enter your building, the easiest way to let them in is with their phone.
  • Efficiency: Scrap the queues at reception waiting for temporary visitor permits, waste fewer hours in plastic key-card handover meetings and spend less of your budget replacing lost and damaged credentials. Phone-based access control saves businesses time and money.
  • Compatibility: Mobile phones are machines built for connectivity, including with your existing RFID locks. Bluetooth and NFC radio technology are already inside most modern smartphones. Every future viable wireless and contactless technology will be there, too.

Another recent analyst report suggested as many as 20% of organizations would use smartphones for access, in place of plastic smart-cards, by 2020. The move to mobile access control seems inevitable.

Other highly security-aware industries like banking demonstrate the advantages of the smartphone,” says Thomas Schulz, Director Marketing & Communications Digital and Access Solutions at ASSA ABLOY EMEA. “Similarly, we see fast-growing interest in unlocking doors and other openings with mobile credentials, and in facility managers administering access rights via their smartphone.

SMARTair Openow solution

To take one example from our portfolio of mobile access solutions, security managers using our new SMARTair Openow solution manage all users’ virtual keys inside a secure app. If an administrator cancels a virtual key, it vanishes immediately from a user’s Openow app.

Schulz points to the new Arkansas State University campus in Mexico, where students and staff have no access cards to collect or validate. Every site user installs and validates their own Openow app and collects keys virtually.

Wireless access control

Smartphones add convenience and functionality right across our wireless access control product"

Smartphones add convenience and functionality right across our wireless access control product and solutions portfolio,” said Schulz. “Users can unlock our Aperio wireless locks with a Seos mobile credential. Small and medium-sized business managers can run their own access control with no specialist knowledge, using just the CLIQ Go app and their phone.

He further adds, “For companies with a remote workforce, the CLIQ Connect app updates access rights of programmable keys with just a secure Bluetooth connection. Access control from your mobile phone offers so many efficiency advantages. I’d encourage everyone involved in managing access control to take a look.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

How Does Audio Enhance Security System Performance?
How Does Audio Enhance Security System Performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems? 

What Are The Mainstream Uses For Thermal Cameras?
What Are The Mainstream Uses For Thermal Cameras?

The high cost of thermal imaging cameras historically made their use more likely in specialized law enforcement and military applications. However, lower pricing of thermal imaging technologies has opened up a new and expanding market for thermal cameras in the mainstream. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the new opportunities for thermal cameras in mainstream physical security?

Identiv Unveils Cloud Access Control and Frictionless Mobile Solution
Identiv Unveils Cloud Access Control and Frictionless Mobile Solution

Even though ISC West 2020 was canceled, many of the product introductions planned for the trade show still happened. For example, physical security and secure identification company Identiv introduced the Hirsch Velocity Cirrus and MobilisID. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus is a cloud-based Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) solution. It is an optimal solution for both end-users and integrators, with lower upfront costs, reduced maintenance, enhanced portability, and the future-proof assurance of automatic security updates and feature sets. Smart mobile physical access control solution Identiv’s MobilisID is a smart mobile physical access control solution that uses Bluetooth and capacitive technologies to allow frictionless access to a controlled environment without the need to present a credential. We caught up with Jason Spielfogel, Identiv’s Director of Product Management, to discuss the new products and other topics. Q: How is Identiv positioned in the market as a whole? What philosophy drives your product offerings? What vertical markets do you target? Every customer needs every one of these components Spielfogel: Identiv provides a total solution. Our platforms provide access control hardware and software, video surveillance and analytics, door access readers, and ID credentials, both cards and mobile, for a variety of vertical markets: Federal government, state, local and education government agencies (SLED), healthcare, schools, banks/financial services, retail, airports and transportation, and infrastructure. Every customer needs every one of these components in every physical security deployment, and we ensure that all parts are working together at all times, even as technology continues to evolve. With that said, our philosophy is very customer-centric, and we position ourselves as a trusted partner. Our products and technology platform always strive to reflect and anticipate the environment our customers are facing, both in terms of technical requirements and functional capabilities. Q: How does the MobilisID system eliminate "friction?" Spielfogel: Identiv’s MobilisID eliminates the “friction” of access control by forgiving the user from presenting a physical credential to the reader. A simple wave of their hand over the MobilisID reader establishes a connection, and the reader reads their mobile device’s credential from the MobilisID app.  No badge or access card to read, and no contact with the reader, makes this a frictionless access control experience. Administrative friction is also eliminated because there is no physical credential to issue or withdraw; it’s all done via the MobilisID Manager. Q: Discuss the advantages of Bluetooth over competing technologies. Bluetooth offers a blend of reliability and specificity Spielfogel: There are two primary competing technologies: WiFi and Near Field Communication (NFC). The problem with WiFi is that it’s not location-specific. In other words, the WiFi router can’t tell which door the user is near. NFC has the opposite problem in that it’s impossible to get credential reads unless the phone is presented within an inch or two of the reader. Bluetooth offers a blend of reliability and specificity to create frictionless access. Q: "Touchless" has always been a big selling point. Doesn't the coronavirus improve the outlook for these systems even more? Spielfogel: The coronavirus certainly highlights the value of frictionless access. But the vast majority of access systems today use proximity which was already touchless. But for systems using touchpads or contact-based credentialing, certainly frictionless is offering some alternatives that would help keep employees and visitors safer in the current climate. Q: How else might the current pandemic change the security market forever (i.e., more teleworking?) Spielfogel: Permanent changes are not likely, but it does force security directors to rethink how their employees interact physically with systems for both physical and logical access. As a result, we might see accelerated adoption of some emerging technologies, such as greater use of mobile logical access solutions, as well as frictionless physical access control. We’ve already seen an uptick in our smart card reader and token line and our Thursby enterprise and personal mobility offering during the coronavirus pandemic. Q: There are a lot of cloud systems in the access control space. How is your Cirrus cloud product different? Velocity already has all those features Spielfogel: Cirrus is different from many others in that it’s built on one of the most mature, feature-rich, secure physical access solutions available today – Hirsch hardware and Velocity Software. While many competitors are scrambling to add features to their relatively new ACaaS platforms, Velocity already has all those features. While they are building up their encryption capabilities and cybersecurity testing, we’ve already been doing that for two decades. We certainly have some more development ahead of us for Cirrus, but most of it is just surfacing features we already have into the Cirrus interface. Q: How do you guide customers as their needs change? Spielfogel: Whether users want solutions that are on-prem, in the cloud, or anything in between, Identiv’s full architecture ensures that customers can adopt and migrate to new solutions as they see fit. No two customers are alike, so providing the flexibility to gradually update or change systems is a real differentiator. Our competitors either want customers to jump all at once to the cloud or push to keep everything on-prem/legacy. CSOs and CISOs live in a different world: They've got it all to deal with.  We're there with them across all of it, because that's the true reality.