Communications: Bluetooth vs. *NFC
Smartphone access control
NFC, short for Near Field Communication, is a short range wireless RFID technology that makes use of interacting electromagnetic radio fields instead of the typical direct radio transmissions used by technologies such as Bluetooth.
By Paul Bodell
Aug. 9, 2013
Smartphone access control is well past the concept stage and every day more keypad, proximity reader and biometric based systems are being replaced by solutions that use your smartphone as your credential. Why are people making the change? The answer is simple; because smartphone access control is convenient, less expensive and more secure than those older technologies and your phone has essentially become your constant companion.
Keypad systems can be pretty inexpensive; however they lack any sort of real security as PIN numbers are easily shared. Keypads also do not offer activity or audit trail information. Finally, you have to reach out and touch the keypad which is not only inconvenient, it is also unsanitary.
Proximity reader based systems offer higher security, especially if used in conjunction with a keypad, but they are still inconvenient and expensive. Managing cards or fobs for tenants, visitors and temporary workers can be an administrative nightmare and the cost of the cards adds up quickly. What's worse, not all cards work with all readers so if you need access to multiple facilities, you will likely have to carry multiple cards; not very convenient.
Biometric readers offer a higher level of security as it is almost impossible to share but the devices can be very expensive, they are often standalone solutions where you have to enroll people in each device which can be very inconvenient and most require that 'touch' factor.
Alternatively, smartphone-based access control systems are convenient, less expensive and more secure. They are convenient because you are already carrying your phone with you and you are far less likely to leave your phone behind than you are a proximity card. In fact, some have called smartphone access control the new biometric since they are permanently attached to the users' hand, especially the under 40 crowd. Smartphone systems are also less expensive since you no longer have to deal with replacing cards and they are secure and can be protected with a PIN number so if the phone is lost, it can't be used. Since everyone has a sense of ownership of their phone, unlike their proximity card, they are far less likely to loan someone their phone to get into a building.
If you prefer something that is more convenient, less expensive and more secure, smartphone access control is the right choice for you and the only decision you have to make is what type of smartphone access control to use. There are two technologies that can be used for smartphone access control, Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication).
Bluetooth readers have a major convenience advantage and that is read range. They can work up to 30-feet away and the professional quality readers have the ability to adjust read range for each application. With a Bluetooth reader you can open a gate or garage without rolling down your window or open a door without taking your phone out of your pocket or purse. NFC readers only work from a few inches away forcing you to take your phone out of your pocket every time so they are really no more convenient than a proximity card.
Bluetooth readers also represent a lower overall cost of ownership than NFC readers as virtually every mobile phone already has Bluetooth and NFC is a new technology that is just being rolled out. It is expected that by 2016 not even 50 percent of the phones in use will have NFC on them so if you select an NFC- based system, you will likely have to purchase phone or NFC sleeves for your clients who don't have the latest greatest phone.
Both Bluetooth and NFC readers are equally secure from hacking. There is an academic argument that Bluetooth readers are more open to a man-in-the-middle attack because of the read range which technically is true but it is unlikely that someone is going to spend tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and engineers to foil a $300 access control reader.
Longer read range also offers a significant security advantage. With NFC readers you are forced to mount the readers on the unsecure side of the door where they are exposed to vandals, thieves and the elements. With Bluetooth readers, you can mount the readers on the secure side of the door, even put them out of sight behind a wall or in a ceiling where they are safe.
So if you haven't started thinking about smartphone access control, it's time to start.
Paul Bodell is the president and chief executive officer of ECKey, Lancaster, Pa.
Mobile Apps for
Access Control Systems.
Brivo Inc. September 21, 2015
Brivo Inc, the worldwide leader in cloud-based physical access control systems, today announced the release of Brivo Mobile Pass, a digital credential solution that lets users unlock doors with their smartphones.
As an enhancement to the existing Brivo OnAir® access control system, customers can immediately distribute mobile credentials to their entire user population without any on-premise equipment changes.
Available now on both iOS and Android, Brivo's Mobile Pass Application revolutionizes physical security by immediately delivering access control via smartphones without having to install new door readers. Brivo Mobile Pass serves as a mobile complement to physical key cards and readers, and is fully interoperable with existing door reader technologies.
"We are giving all of our customers five free Brivo Mobile Passes so that they can use it immediately," said Steve Van Till, CEO of Brivo. "Mobile credentials are changing the way access control works. It's not just about convenience and improved security-although that's a huge part of it. It's that we are improving the relationship with the people who come and go from the spaces we protect."
Brivo's previously released Brivo OnAir Mobile Application already provides administrators full accessibility to manage their system from a smartphone; now with Brivo Mobile Pass, all users can open doors using their smartphone.
"Our customers have been requesting the ability to open doors with their phone," said Taylor Carr, Sr. Vice President of Business Development at Securadyne Systems. "With Brivo Mobile Pass, we now have the means to service that need, all without changing any hardware or sending out a technician. It's proof of the value of a true cloud solution."
How Brivo Mobile Pass Works
Brivo Mobile Pass is a cloud-based mobile credential system that is part of the Brivo OnAir platform. From a workflow perspective, the Brivo OnAir administrator selects a user and creates a Brivo Mobile Pass invitation that is delivered via email. The user then clicks the "Add" button in the email to activate Brivo Mobile Pass on their phone. The user can now open doors as they would have with a key card, however, Brivo's cloud authentication is far more secure because of the cloud-based authentication. As with key cards, Brivo Mobile Passes can be revoked at any time by the administrator.
For users, the Brivo Mobile Pass Application is much more convenient and secure than traditional key cards. It travels with them wherever they carry their phone, and it's protected by passcode and biometric capabilities built into the smartphone. When the user wants to open the door he/she simply opens the Brivo Mobile Pass application. It communicates with the cloud using the smartphone's capabilities and requests that the door be opened. No key card is needed. Brivo
Galaxy Access Control Systems
Walkersville, MD (February 9, 2016) - Galaxy Control Systems has released two new mobile apps that enhance the unique capabilities of the company's powerful System Galaxy access control software solution. Each app is designed to provide users with greater control capabilities for common functions related to facilities and people from anywhere and at any time.
"Given the growth of mobile technologies, users expect to be able to control their facilities and people from wherever they are, without needing to be tied to a desk or terminal," said Robert Laughlin, President, Galaxy Control Systems. "These two mobile apps are designed to put the power of System Galaxy in the palm of authorized users' hands to make access control management more convenient, efficient and effective."
The DoorPoint app provides authorized security personnel with the ability to manage a facility's doors to enhance security. Through the app, users can remotely lock, unlock and pulse doors, view door status and activity report data from System Galaxy. Additionally, DoorPoint allows users to save certain doors and clusters for easy access and streamlined operation. In an emergency situation, the app also allows security personnel to activate and reset crisis modes if necessary and to view current crisis mode status.
PersonPoint allows authorized users to activate and de-activate cardholders remotely, with the added benefit of viewing e-mail activity reports provided by System Galaxy. Users can search for cardholders by name, department or other data fields, further enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of access control software.
Both DoorPoint and PersonPoint apps are available for download at Android and Apple stores.
, a worldwide leader in secure identity solutions, today announced the release of its
HID Mobile Access® solution,
which delivers a more secure and convenient way to open doors and gates while introducing a simple secure identity management process.
The solution includes everything necessary for organizations to immediately begin using Bluetooth Smart and NFC-enabled smartphones and other mobile devices as an alternative to keys and smart cards in today's increasingly popular BYOD
mobility environment. The solution also makes it possible for users to unlock doors and open gates from a distance using the company's patented "Twist and Go" gesture technology.
HID Mobile Access is used with the company's mobile-enabled iCLASS SE® and/or multiCLASS SE® readers, and includes Mobile IDs, HID Mobile Access Apps and access to the HID Secure Identity Services™ portal for managing users and issuing or revoking Mobile IDs. The mobile-enabled readers are also interoperable with 125 kHz HID Prox and high-frequency technologies including iCLASS Seos®, iCLASS SE, standard iCLASS®, MIFARE®, and MIFARE® DESFire® EV1, which optimizes flexibility for using both cards and mobile devices.
"Powered by our award-winning Seos technology, HID Mobile Access opens a new chapter in the creation and management of digital identities for mobile access by making it possible to open doors using the broadest range of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices - without the need for additional sleeves or other accessories," said Selva Selvaratnam, senior vice president and chief technology officer with HID Global.
"Already proven in a number of successful pilots at major universities and businesses, our
HID Mobile Access solution
offers more secure, convenient and flexible access control, along with a best-in-class Mobile ID delivery process that is as easy and straightforward as downloading music.