director, Strategic Business Development and Innovation, HID Global

Author Bio ▼

Daniel Bailin joined HID Global in 2006. He is part of the Strategic Innovation group focusing on next generation solutions and has been working on NFC applications since 2007. Prior to joining HID, Daniel spent seven years in the Biometrics industry, including Authentec and Bioscrypt, in a variety of sales and business development roles. Daniel’s career began in the semiconductor industry where he held positions involving applications engineering and technical marketing. He has degrees in Chemistry and Electrical Engineering.
March 30, 2015


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Mobile Access Control: Exploiting the BYOD Trend

The latest access-control systems improve security by enabling mobile devices to be used as credentials, making it a more convenient process and delivering a better user experience.

Mobile access control simplifies the secure identity management process for facility access, while also paving the way for solutions that can integrate multi-layered physical access control (PACS) and IT security into unified systems.

Other exciting developments include the emergence of gesture technology that makes long-range door opening both safe and convenient, new mobile credential form factors such as smart watches, wristbands and other wearables, and the emergence of biometric authentication to further improve mobile access security and convenience.

With today’s mobile access technologies, smart devices can be used as universal credentials for accessing multiple buildings, IT systems and other applications using NFC and bluetooth. These devices provide users with extremely convenient vehicles for opening doors and performing other tasks that require the presentation of a secure credential.

Gesture technology

Today’s solutions enable organisations to immediately begin using Bluetooth Smart and NFC-enabled smartphones and other smart devices as an alternative to metal keys and smart cards in today’s increasingly popular BYOD mobility environment.

Some can also take advantage of new advancements in gesture technology so that users can unlock doors from a distance.

Physical access control has historically relied on close-range “tap” transactions (directly tapping an RFID card to a reader) to authenticate a user and open a door. Logical access control has used the same tap authentication model, but this precludes such desirable use cases as automatically locking the laptop when a user walks a certain distance away from it.

Achieving this longer-distance transaction capability results in a new model that increases security while also improving convenience – two concepts that have typically been mutually access control

While the most common RFID card technologies for tap transactions typically have a read range of one to three centimetres, Bluetooth extends the transaction distance that systems can manage from a few cm to many meters, making it an ideal choice for the longer-range authentication model with mobile devices.

A new and special feature of Bluetooth Smart is the ability to configure this read range allowing the user to determine if a phone should be tapped to a reader in order to open a door, or if longer-range activation should be used. When this Bluetooth connection is combined with gesture technology, users can open doors from these longer distances by twisting their smartphone as they approach a mobile-enabled reader.

The benefits of mobile access will only grow as new devices are added to the product ecosystem. For instance, adding wearables to the ecosystem will give users the freedom to leave home with nothing but a smart wristband carrying their ID.


Plus, as wearables join smartphones and other mobile devices for access control, we will see greater momentum behind biometric authentication models. We’re already seeing the growing adoption of mobile biometrics for payment applications.

The latest solutions focus less on technology and more on the user experience, taking a key step toward the long-time goal of killing PINs and passwords by making it easier to know if someone is who he or she claims to be. As this model grows in popularity along with the value of the transactions it protects, there will be new pressures to provide even better security.

Advancements in biometric technologies will help here, along with improvements in privacy, encryption, tamper protection and anti-spoofing capabilities. New innovative uses include “binding” a person to a device such as a key fob with a fingerprint sensor – all without deploying biometrics readers – for multi-factor authentication.

Growing adoption of mobile access will also drive the move to converged access control. This will not only make it easier to accommodate a combination of cards, phones, wearables, but also enable organisations to combine secure physical and logical access as part of their facility and IT access strategies.

The ultimate objective goes beyond supporting multiple form factors, though. Even more valuable is the ability to use a variety of devices for multi factor authentication – to secure access to the door, to data and to cloud applications, while providing a seamless user experience.

Mobile access has opened a new chapter in the creation and management of digital identities. Moving forward, the adoption of mobile access and new credential form factors such as wearables will create new opportunities for innovative use cases beyond opening doors and converged physical and IT security.

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Ash - Genie CCTV
March 31, 2015 2:53 pm

Great read Daniel, thank you 🙂
Just adding to what you’ve mentioned – not only is there the bio-fob and fingerprint sensors (we use fingerprint access for our own offices!), there’s face recognition too, like the AC7000SC Facial Touchscreen biometric terminal.
It’ll be interesting to see the development of this technology, and whether things like credit cards become redundant in replace of just our fingerprints perhaps??? 
In our business, we’re already seeing a big push in the direction of finger-based biometrics like the biofob…