Robert Jansson, Director of Sales, STid
It’s little wonder that smartphone-based mobile access control is becoming the solution of choice for customers globally. Mobile access tech is becoming ever more powerful and user friendly and – even better for users – is now integrating to operate seamlessly as part of wider security, visitor management, and building services.
We are seeing it win hands-down over traditional solutions, such as key cards and key fobs, in applications ranging from residential blocks, hotels, and mixed-use premises through to universities, hospitals and newly refurbished and repurposed corporate offices.
And for mission critical applications mobile access control is providing a highly secure but more affordable alternative to biometric solutions usually associated with expensive readers.
So, what are the main benefits?
Convenient, frictionless, and flexible
On user-friendliness, the new tech scores particularly highly. Today it’s more important than ever to ensure hassle-free access to site visitors, whether they are employees who come in every day, ‘floating’ staff who move from location to location, temporary contractors, VIP guests or one-time visitors.
What we all have in common is that we trust and rely on our smartphones for a wide range of everyday interactions with the physical environment around us – from paying for our shopping in the supermarket, to using digital loyalty cards in coffee bars, from booking a taxi outside a restaurant, to using public transport.
So, the latest generation mobile access solutions are a natural, almost instinctive progression for most people. And they are much easier to use.
Look at the options we can now give site visitors for passing through a secure entry point – more quickly, hygienically, and smoothly:
- You can place your smartphone in front of the reader just like a standard card.
- You can ‘press and enter’ using remote control mode.
- You can slide your hand across the reader without needing to take out your smartphone.
- You can pat your phone twice (‘tap tap’) – whichever pocket it’s in – and just walk through.
- You can just walk past the reader.
These five modes are possible thanks to technology that differentiates between access points (depending on distance, up to 20 metres) so that multiple readers can be installed in the same area. The system controller can specify which options are available for each reader, adapting to the specific requirements of every entry point.
And it is also possible to use the SIRI voice command with iPhones and Apple Watches.
Ease of use doesn’t stop there. With traditional RFID access credentials no longer needed, when users download the app, they get a virtual wallet which can store multiple secure virtual access cards. With no physical cards or ID to collect from reception or security, they save time, and they no longer have to worry about losing or forgetting their cards, or about strips becoming demagnetized (a common bugbear in older generation hotel access systems).
Another major benefit is the improved security that comes with improved system management and First Level Security Certification (CSPN) from France’s ANSSI agency. This includes secure storage of data using encryption and authentication methods that are compliant with government standards (AES-128/SHA-256), with unique keys for each user and keys not stored in the application.
The full information chain is protected too, with HTTPS-TLS exchanges, mutual authentication for each transaction, and unique encrypted and signed exchanges.
With credentials sent to mobile devices digitally, encrypted data protects each individual user’s identity, in full compliance with GDPR. And remote management means that credentials and authorisations can be changed or revoked instantly, closing potential loopholes that were common in older generation systems.
Adapting to higher security applications, the technology allows additional security levels to be added, for example enforcing smartphone unlocking via PIN, biometric, voice authentication etc.
This kind of customization and user adaptability is built into the very DNA of these new mobile solutions.
There are significant cost savings to be made too, most obviously with no longer any need to buy and replace cards, fobs, or physical credentials. With savings on the card price, the ongoing administration, and the customisation costs, we estimate a typical saving of around 500%. It’s important to note that the virtual card is fully customizable, like a standard RFID card, with a logo, background, ID photos, and custom texts. We also offer a free virtual access card too (the green card), with ID randomly and automatically issued on download of the app.
And that value extends over the full system lifetime, with these new solutions being more flexible and scalable, and no limit to the number of new credentials that can be assigned to your system whenever they’re needed.
All these feature and benefits mean that smartphone access is a cornerstone element of the new generation of seamless, integrated solutions of the kind being pioneered so successfully by Quanika – another essential ingredient that’s transforming the way facilities are managed.