Take your pick – Bluetooth or NFC for physical security
HID Global is piloting a new system called Mobile Access on both sides of the world, enabling virtually any smartphone to function as a physical access control credential using either near field communication or Bluetooth low energy. Both Vodafone in New Zealand and Vanderbilt University in Nashville are using the solution to provision credentials to smart phones.
At Vanderbilt, 15 pilot participants used their Bluetooth-equipped smart phones to open doors at six campus entry points and parking garages. Participants used their own existing handsets, including Apple iPhone 4S, 5, 5C and 5S devices and Android-based Samsung Galaxy S4 and Mini 3S handsets.
Vanderbilt University uses The CBORD Group’s CS Access system with VertX access control panels from HID. No changes were required to the CBORD system to use the smart phone-based credentials. Entry points were equipped with HID’s iCLASS SE readers, configured to accept both existing iCLASS smart cards and the HID mobile IDs.
Pilot participants cited convenience as the top attribute of the system and also highlighted the benefit of using their phone as a backup in cases where their card was lost or stolen.
They enjoyed using HID Global’s “Twist and Go” gesture technology to open the parking gate as they drove up to the reader – without even having to roll down their window. And finally, respondents noted that installing and registering the mobile app was simple and took just five minutes or less to complete.
Vodafone is using Mobile Access but is enabling employees to choose NFC or Bluetooth depending on the handset. Thirty employees have tested the app at Vodafone’s Viaduct office in Auckland, New Zealand and it’s a 50/50 split between NFC and Bluetooth.
Employees receive a message and then download an app that provisions the credential. The Vodafone Security Team adds the mobile ID key to the Vodafone Access Control System and the credential is ready to be used.
The system can be remotely provisioned for contractors so swipe cards don’t have to be issued and access can be revoked without having to turn in a card.
For employees using NFC, the mobile device is held close to the reader, similar to the presentation of a plastic card. For Bluetooth, however, when a user is two to three feet away, the handset is twisted back and forth to trigger the authentication.
For both NFC and Bluetooth, the app does not have to be opened to gain access, but the phone must be powered on and awake.