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Access control: from card-based credentials to mobile access

Access control: from card-based credentials to mobile access
Although card-based credentials have long been a mainstay in the access control industry, end users have begun demanding more secure and convenient methods of access. One technology tipped to address these concerns is mobile access.
Although card-based credentials have long been a mainstay in the access control industry, end users have begun demanding more secure and convenient methods of access. One technology tipped to address these concerns is mobile access.

The consensus among industry players is that mobile access will take center stage in 2019. Technologies like Bluetooth and PIR are increasingly being incorporated into readers, enabling users to leave their phone in their pockets and achieve entry simply by waving their hand near the reader.
IHS Markit expects strong growth in the mobile access market over the next five years. According to its report, global mobile-credential downloads are estimated to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) exceeding 100 percent between 2017 and 2022. Furthermore, it predicts that roughly 20 percent of currently installed access control readers will be mobile capable by 2022.
“While the most secure environments will continue to use cards as part of their multifactor credentialing schema, in the commercial/industrial/residential markets, the shift is to move away from cards and use smartphones as the primary credential,” said Jason Spielfogel, Director of Product Management at Identiv
Richard Huison, Regional Manager for the U.K. and Europe at Gallagher Security, said mobile access was no longer seen as a gimmick and had gained traction due to its convenience and added security. He added that mobile provided undeniable benefits, such as the fact that it could be used across multiple sites and that credentials could be sent remotely over the internet. “This is a huge benefit for the customer in administration. It gets away from all of the card printing and keeping those cards catalogued and in the correct hands.” 
Richard Huison,
Regional Manager, U.K. and Europe,
Gallagher Security

Francois Lasnier, SVP of Identity and Access Management at Gemalto, said the as phones became the central point of interaction not only in identifying and authenticating users, but also in initiating access requests (physical or digital), it would be easier to build global access policies and make access decisions based on the overall user journey.
Additionally, Rick Caruthers, President of Galaxy Control Systems, said more customers were requesting mobile applications where push notifications were sent from the access control system to mobile phones with video for review.
Gallagher Security’s Huison believes the ubiquity of smartphones gives them at a distinct advantage over access cards. “I think of it this way: how many people return home if they realize they’ve left their access card behind on the way to work? No one, realistically. But most people would do so if they realize they’ve left their mobile phone at home. They’re using their phone for paying for goods and to carry their cinema ticket or restaurant booking, so why not equip it to let them through doors they’re allowed through?”   
This view was echoed by Andrew Fulton, Head of Product Management for Access Control at Vanderbilt. “Mobile access control is in higher demand right now from end users looking for a way to incorporate their mobile phones with certain access levels within their organization. In today’s world, a mobile phone is a constant, and it’s natural for businesses to see this as an opportunity to integrate mobile access into offices and varying levels of access,” he said.
John Davies, MD of TDSi, said that while mobile access was already prevalent in residential spaces, research suggested some larger end-user organizations were already buying new readers in readiness for mobile-identification technologies. Estimates suggest mobile identity readers are likely to make up around 10 percent of reader sales by 2020.
Mobile was also being used for access control in ways beyond opening doors, with security departments using mobile solutions for remote monitoring, setting alarms and enrolling employees into systems, said Gaoping Xiao, Director of Sales for APAC at AMAG Technology.
“Mobile solutions provide more functional control (in your hands) of a system that is developed and deployed. A functional purpose is accepted and adapted. Mobile has not been widely accepted for opening doors, but it’s coming,” Xiao said, adding: “We will see it adopted in universities and in vertical markets where there are remote buildings such as the energy/utility market.”
Despite the benefits, there are sectors where Huison thinks it will not be adopted, such as the U.K.’s National Health Service and local authorities, due to concerns over a “lack of control of cards.”
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