The benefits of mobile access control

  • 28 Nov 2018

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ASSA ABLOY EMEA discusses the increasingly popular use of mobile access control in a world where we never stop moving.

Mobiles play a large part in business. By 2016, 94% of European large businesses were providing workers with connected mobile devices, according to official EU statistics – and they are using them for more than just email. Yet access control seems to prefer the use of physical credentials over the smartphone.

As a new report on the access control industry identifies, mobile phones have not made predicted progress in replacing the plastic smart-card — at least, not yet. By 2020, Gartner predicts 20% of organisations will use smartphones for access, in place of plastic smart-cards.

According to the Wireless Access Control Report 2018: “Where access control is concerned, security departments have historically been tasked with fulfilling two major tasks as inexpensively as possible: tracking time and attendance; and preventing unauthorised entry.

“Rightly or wrongly, cards, fobs and keycodes are seen as fulfilling these jobs adequately. Security professionals are unwilling to jeopardise security by adopting innovations perceived as unproven.”

These reservations about mobile phone access are well rehearsed. Yet using a mobile phone instead of a smart-card also has advantages. How quickly would you notice if you lost your work access card? Everyone is more careful with their precious handset. And if a phone is stolen, password, pattern and fingerprint ID security can prevent a thief from gaining entry to premises, or even to the phone itself.

Phones can also be protected with biometrics much more cheaply than whole premises. Most of us carry our phones on us at all times anyway, and it will be quick and easy to keep credentials up-to-date without the need for seperate readers or a return-to-base.

For example, the new SMARTair ® Openow™ solution enables security managers and site users to manage virtual keys inside a secure app. Virtual keys can be created and sent from anywhere and facility managers can check and amend every virtual key’s access rights whenever they want, and wherever they are. Ultimately, this boosts security and saves companies’ administrations costs.

When Openow™-equipped phones replace plastic key-cards, there’s no need for a card activation terminal at reception. Access feels slicker.

ASSA ABLOY’s mobile solution CLIQ ® Connect has been a winner at the Detektor International Awards, recognizing outstanding innovation in security alarms, access control and CCTV. It also won the Gold Trophy at France’s APS Awards and Protector & Wik’s Golden Protector Award 2018.

In many sectors, mobile credentials are now expected to spread fast. IHS Markit’s senior analyst Jim Dearing comments: “The end users most likely to transition to a full mobile credential-only system are those who have to deal with large numbers of temporary visitors or who experience exceptionally high card turnover rates. Examples include building sites at which contractors require access to varying locations, as well as universities and hotels where large numbers of cards have to be replaced each year.”

Solutions for mobile workers are amenable to smartphone-based access; this exact constituency is a focus for CLIQ ® Connect. With this mobile-first extension to the CLIQ ® mechatronic access control system, a key-holder no longer needs to update access rights physically in person. All they need is a smartphone and the CLIQ ® Connect app.

To change a key-holder’s access permissions, an admin accesses the CLIQ ® Web Manager — from anywhere — and updates it. A key-holder makes an encrypted connection between their programmable Bluetooth ® key and the app to instantly update permissions from the cloud.

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