Is This The Tipping Point For Mobile Access?

By Andrea Kuhn, General Manager of Kastle Systems’ Midwestern Region

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Would you let your employer implant a microchip in your hand?

As crazy as that seems today it might one day be the standard for access control. These chips can be implanted under the skin and be used to open doors, log in to computers, reserve conference rooms and even pay for a bag of Doritos from the break room vending machine.

While some early adopters have started using this technology it is a long way from becoming the default, as this excellent article in The Wall Street Journal points out. The article goes on to highlight some of the biometric identification systems that may make their way into the workplace, including facial and gait recognition, and rendering the traditional employee badge extinct.

For those not quite ready to use physical body parts as an identification mechanism, there is another device that is nearly as ever-present to the average office worker as your hand or face: the mobile smartphone. As Pew Research reports, 81 percent of Americans today own a smartphone, making this ubiquitous device an ideal platform for identification that is far more integrated to a worker’s 24/7 whereabouts than a trivial access card or key fob.

While Kastle Systems and several other access control providers have led the movement to take advantage of smart technologies like Bluetooth-enabled smartphone access apps, it has been a surprising slow adoption rate with many facilities choosing to stick with the decades old prox card technology – but we may be reaching the tipping point soon.

One key cause for hesitation has been concern for security – would BLE signals be secure? Could it be copied of hacked? Interestingly, the smartphone BLE mobile credential is significantly more secure than today’s standard key card. With mobile Bluetooth credentials like KastlePresence, each access signal is uniquely encrypted with every use, tied to only one mobile device and is a direct signal that cannot be copied directly or from proximity. Additionally, users are far less likely to lose or share their smartphone so there is significantly less danger that the access device would fall into the wrong hands. Even if it were stolen, an access administrator can deactivate access rights immediately from a laptop.

Additionally, mobile  access control providers like Kastle typically operate from a cloud-based service platform where the client’s on-site system components “phone home” to transmit access data to the provider’s remote, highly secure operations center so that the access system doesn’t interact with the on-premise network, making it more cyber-secure as well. There are no passwords to hack or other on-premise network security interactions to undermine.

Biometric identification systems may or may not be the future, but right now they lack the reliability of mobile-based systems. Cloud-based systems offer building managers and tenants the proper mix of innovation and security to make their operation more efficient and their tenant experience more convenient. These systems are functional, reliable, and built for the needs of today’s commercial real estate market.

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