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Why 2020 could be a big year for mobile credentials

Why 2020 could be a big year for mobile credentials
Needless to say, more and more people are now using their smartphones to open doors. And 2020 is likely to be a big year for mobile credentials, whose market size and deployment are expected to reach a new height.
In access control and identity management, authentication is done via three factors, namely what you have (keyfobs and access control cards), what you know (passwords) and what you are (biometrics).
In terms of the “what you have” factor, regular and smart cards have been in use for a long time, whereby the user either taps the card on the reader or bring the card close to it. Yet more and more, mobile credentials, or user credentials stored in the user’s mobile phone which can then interact with the reader, have become a more popular concept and are increasingly deployed in certain end user entities such as offices, college dorms and hotels.
In fact, 2020 is set to be a big year for mobile credentials as suggested by various stats and figures. Gartner, for example, has predicted that in 2020, 20 percent of organizations will use smartphones in place of traditional physical access cards, compared to just 5 percent back in 2016.
MarketsandMarkets, meanwhile, has forecasted that the mobile user authentication market size is expected to reach US$1.7 billion this year from $550 million in 2015, having grown at a compound annual growth rate of 24.9 percent.

Growth drivers

That the mobile credential trend is picking up is quite understandable due to their various benefits, among them the convenience factor. Whereas the user may forget to bring their keycard, they are less likely to forget to bring their smart device. Further, compared to keycards, smartphones are less likely to be lost as users attach greater importance to them. On a related note, since chances are the user already has a mobile device, the end user entity does not have to spend extra cost to make cards for their staff.
Besides those benefits, wider technology availability will drive growth as well. “When they first appeared about 10 years ago, mobile credentials used near-field communication (NFC). Since Apple never provided API access to its NFC capabilities, adoption was limited, because the technology was only available to Android users,” said a blogpost by Brivo. “Today’s mobile credentials use Bluetooth, which is supported by all smartphone manufacturers and many wearables, such as smartwatches, and is therefore available to virtually everyone with a smart device. Bluetooth also ups the convenience factor since Bluetooth readers allow users to open doors without even taking their phones out of their pockets. If your customer uses a cloud-based access control system, mobile devices can communicate directly with the cloud via Wi-Fi or cellular.”
Meanwhile, compared to cards, which can be duplicated or cloned, the mobile device has more security features. The biometric function that unlocks the phone in and of itself is a security feature that prevents misuse by others in the even the phone is lost. Meanwhile, the latest technologies also enable communications to be safer between the phone and the reader.
Finally, mobile credentials have the “wow” factor, according to Brivo. “Everyone loves new gadgets, especially ones that make their lives easier. Mobile credentials are no exception. Our salespeople tell stories of closing deals as soon as they show prospective customers that they can unlock their doors with their smartphone,” the post said. “Property managers have begun listing mobile credentials as one of their high-tech amenities to attract new residents. Users of mobile credential apps write glowing reviews about convenience.”

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