Businesses and organisations increasingly explore innovative solutions to streamline operations and enhance security at their premises. One area that has garnered significant attention is adopting mobile access solutions with the added advantage of using digital wallets. The allure of seamless integration, enhanced security, and improved user experience has driven many companies to consider these solutions. However, with every transformative technology comes potential drawbacks that require careful consideration.
HID is one of the pioneer companies in access control solutions. In this article, we talked to Jaroslav Barton, HID Director of Products, to delve into the mobile access solutions and digital wallet credentials. HID offers its HID mobile app, and now it also includes wallet solutions for both Operating systems Apple and Android.
Benchmark Magazine: Does HID Mobile Access truly provide a more secure authentication method than traditional physical badges or keycards? How does the encryption technology used in digital wallets contribute to increasing security?
Jaroslav Barton: The combination of HID Mobile Access and digital wallets provides enhanced security compared to traditional access control methods.
HID Mobile Access technology uses Seos credential technology, which we operate in smart cards. All authentication and encryption mechanisms are the same in smart cards as in mobile phones, but using the mobile phone instead of the plastic card gives you additional security.
Biometric authentication, such as Face ID or Touch ID, adds an extra layer of security to verify the user’s identity. If the organisation deems it important, users can be required to unlock their mobile devices before being able to use their access credentials. This means the second authentication factor— face, fingerprint or pin—are used to unlock the phone before the credential is given.
Smartphones are rarely forgotten. If they are lost or stolen, the owner will realize it and take action much faster than if they lost their plastic access cards. Hence the situation can be reported and solved quicker. The access token can be remotely deactivated or replaced with our HID Origo Cloud solution. This increases security.
Additionally, the encryption technologies used in digital wallets ensure the secure storage and transmission of digital credentials.
BM: How do HID Mobile Access and digital wallets provide convenience for employees?
JB: Today, most everyone has a mobile phone, as simple as that. You don’t need to think about carrying anything extra. Almost everyone is familiar with how to use a mobile app. This saves a lot of time implementing mobile access solutions because people already know what we are discussing.
HID Mobile Access is user-friendly and intuitive. Employees and visitors can easily manage and access their credentials, eliminating the need to carry physical badges or keycards. This streamlined experience enhances user satisfaction and productivity.
Users with access to different offices, organisations, and even car parks might be required to have several access tokens. With HID Mobile, everything can be integrated into one device, one app, so it’s more convenient.
Communication with the reader uses Bluetooth. This low-energy technology can trigger the reader from a distance of a few meters, which is very convenient. For example, accessing the parking gate is quicker, or, in the case of disabled people, they can build a twist-and-go on HID readers, and the door and gates open for them.
BM: Can adopting HID Mobile Access lead to cost savings for the company?
JB: If a company wants to use plastic cards, then they’ll also need to be able to personalise them, print them and have them encoded to work within the access control system. There will also be a need to manage this, which is probably the most expensive part.
To illustrate, using traditional access cards, a new employee will probably have to go to HR to be issued the credentials, and a dedicated person will have to carry out this task. The same would happen in a higher education environment, where hundreds or thousands of people will need to be granted access daily—with a significant bottleneck at the start of the scholar year.
With mobile access, everything is done remotely. It’s quicker, cheaper, scalable and much more convenient.
BM: How do digital wallets accommodate multiple cards, passes, and tickets in one place?
JB: HID Mobile Access with digital wallets, such as Apple Wallet, supports storing multiple cards, passes, and tickets in one digital wallet. This flexibility allows them to accommodate access credentials, including employee badges, event tickets and transit passes, in a convenient platform.
As each access control has specific encryption, there would be no confusion. You won’t try to pay for your lunch with your travel card, and you wouldn’t either try to enter your office using your credit card.
When a mobile device is presented to the access control reader, such as our HID Signo, it will automatically select the access control credentials issued for this premises.
BM: What administrative tools are available for remote management and updating of credentials? How does remote management simplify the process of issuing or revoking access?
JB: HID provides administrative tools through our HID Origo cloud platform, enabling remote management and credential update, including mobile access. IT departments or security teams can easily issue or revoke access, update access permissions, and monitor activity, reducing administrative overhead and ensuring efficient access control management.
The Origo cloud platform manages all the users from one central hub. The administrator can send an email invitation to access the premises and issue specific credentials from an easy-to-use online platform.
Users can choose to issue credentials directly from the Origo portal or, which is much more common, use the API to integrate the HID Origo platform into the access control systems. This automatically enables the management of credentials, including mobile ones, from a central location.
BM: Regarding potential disadvantages, are there any compatibility issues that may arise when adopting HID Mobile Access and digital wallets? Would a company need to invest in costly infrastructure or upgrades to support the new system?
JB: We don’t require extra infrastructure improvements; generally, there are no compatibility issues. However, you need to have HID readers to use HID Mobile Access.
In a new project, you might use our HID Signo readers, our leading family of access control readers supporting out-of-the-box mobile access. Older models of readers can be upgraded. HID readers can be connected to any access control solutions. Our controllers are flexible and have an open architecture to deliver security at the door and beyond.
BM: What challenges may arise if employees heavily rely on their smartphones for access? Are there any contingency plans in case of device loss, damage, or battery failure?
JB: This is a typical question from our clients, but the worst-case scenario seldom happens.
Contingency plans for forgetting the mobile are easy; a temporary credential can be created and used.
However, something that often occurs is that an employee might change their mobile device. On average, people tend to change their mobiles every couple of years. A new apparatus must be set up again, but this is not a problem. HID contract is based on a mobile access subscription model with various licenses allocated to the organisation. These licences depend not on individual users or smartphone owners but active mobile access users.
You have a couple of options regarding a mobile device being completely drained of battery. On the one hand, you can charge the device for a few minutes to get enough to wake it up, which should be enough to enter. If the organisation offers an employee badge in Apple Wallet, for example, the iPhone’s power reserve mode can be used for up to five hours for access control credentials even when the phone is completely discharged.
The integration of HID Mobile Access with digital wallets demonstrates HID’s pioneering expertise and commitment to providing cutting-edge technologies that address evolving industry needs.