Is Mobile Access Control the Next Big Thing in Building Security?

How some organizations are using smartphones as keys

If you’re like most business owners, your smartphone, tablet, or wearable device is a hub for your company’s activities. You use them to answer emails, write reports, crunch numbers, and even meet with employees. And soon you could be using a mobile device as a key to enter and exit your business with a simple swipe of your screen.

Take a look at where mobile access control is at the moment – and what several companies are doing bring it to the masses.

Early challenges to Mobile Access Control

One of the issues that’s challenged industry innovation is the wide variety of smartphones (both Android and iOS) that are currently on the market. With so many different pieces of hardware and versions of software, it’s been difficult to create a secure app that can work across multiple platforms and devices.
Some professionals in the security industry hoped that the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) chips found in smartphones would be the catalyst for a mobile access revolution. But Apple’s desire to limit NFC chip usage to Apple Pay has rendered it ineffective for that purpose. Others think that Bluetooth will become the mainstream method for mobile access, but this effort might be slowed by the wide variety of Bluetooth versions on the market. And the adoption of many wireless solutions is directly tied to the quality of an organization’s network security.
Current players
While these methods aren’t completely mature, a few companies, including Genetec, S2 Security, and AMAG Technology, have developed apps and devices which allow mobile access control for businesses, schools, and other properties.
Genetec’s Synergis: An IP-based Mobile Access Control system with encryption
Instead of using NFC chips or Bluetooth, one company is using encrypted networks for comprehensive security monitoring and access control. Genetec has developed an IP-based security software called Synergis, which can scale to meet different levels of security and integrates with third-party wireless locks and door controllers, allowing users to choose from a variety of hardware providers. An intuitive user interface provides control over a range of functions, including visitor management and badging, badge design and printing, dynamic interactive maps of the premises, and real-time area presence tracking of visitors.
All data transfer between the client apps, server apps, and door controllers are encrypted end-to-end and the entire system can be controlled through a web client or a mobile app. In addition, since the Synergis Master Controller allows mobile access control to work with different wireless locks and controllers from industry-leaders like ASSA ABLOY, HID, SALTO, and AXIS, users can deploy this software with existing hardware or gain flexibility when choosing a solution that meets both individual security needs and budget.
S2 Security: Physical appliances for Mobile Access Control
S2 Security, an access-security firm based in Massachusetts, has developed a small, Internet-connected appliance – a “NetBox” – which interfaces with smartphones to allow access control to buildings and other areas. Special features involve a panic button designed for teachers, and a mobile application for security officers which allows them to issue digital “badges” for employees and guests.
While technologies like Synergis and the NetBox are efficient and effective, using the internet to control access to your company’s facilities comes with caveats from some security experts. In essence, when instituting these solutions, strict network security is necessary to ensure that the premises also remain secure.
AMAG Technology: Bluetooth-based apps that interface with card readers
Symmetry Access Control, a Bluetooth-based app developed by AMAG Technology, allows smartphones to communicate with card reader systems to allow employee entry into facilities. The company has also recently developed a service called Symmetry Guest, which allows organizations to email guest passes to visitors. Using Bluetooth as a vehicle for mobile access control will require retrofitting or replacing each of a building’s card readers to interface with a security app.

The future of Mobile Access Control

Each of these mobile access control solutions is promising, and security developers are working hard on solutions for a range of industries. At POM Technologies, we understand that technology is constantly changing the security industry; as new threats and problems arise, new innovations adapt to face them – increasing efficiency and peace of mind, while giving customers more control over how they safeguard their organizations.

If you want to learn more about the current state of Mobile Access Control or how POM Technologies can create a customized security plan for your business, school, or other property, contact us today at 212.688.2767 or through our online form for a free consultation.