Mobile credentials: Quick. Convenient. Secure.

Mobile credentials

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Mobile credentials can extend the security standard of a workplace and facilitate the adoption of biometrics aligned with personal data protection, reports Sharry.

Does the following scenario remind you of something?

The alarm clock on your phone wakes you up in the morning.

Immediately after, you use your smartphone to check your emails.

You want to get some exercise on your way to work, so you rent a shared bike via a mobile app.

Then, you want to enjoy a cup of coffee; you can pay for it with a tap of your mobile phone.

Then it’s time to hurry up because your phone alerts you that the meeting starts in 30 minutes.

But, when you’re standing in front of your office, it hits you: You have to search through your pockets and bag to find your plastic access card to pass through the turnstiles in the lobby.

Then, you have to prepare another access fob to open the door to your office secured by a different system.

You go to retrieve your computer from the shared locker – but where’s the metal key?

Then, you enter the PIN and log into the laptop. To print out the meeting notes, you have to look for the fob again to log in to the printing system.

You also need to invite an external guest for the afternoon meeting, which means visiting the front desk and dictating the guest’s contact details.

However, you could do all of the above just with your mobile phone – quickly, conveniently and securely.

If we can use our phones to complete most tasks or book a holiday on the other side of the planet, why can’t we use it as a virtual key to unlock the office?

Strong demand

There’s a solution available on the market offering one employee badge to solve all the challenges mentioned above.

Mobile credentials are making authentication efficient for many enterprises.

With a virtual badge saved in employees’ smartphones, workers can access corporate spaces with just a tap of their device. Employees just need to hold their device near the badge reader to unlock it.

According to Omdia, we will be witnessing a massive adoption of mobile access technology in the next five years.

For mobile credentials, Omdia predicts a 45.8% CAGR for unit shipment – compared to only 4.5% CAGR for physical credentials, such as ID badges or plastic key fobs.

These statistics are supported by Matt Bennett, Director of Strategic Alliances, HID: “I spent the past few months traveling all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa, talking to end customers and partners and the one theme that I keep hearing over and over again is mobile credentials.

“There is strong demand for it out there and I think it’s because our industry is finally at a point where we can provide additional value above and beyond what a plastic card can deliver.”

What’s that additional value?

Take the mobile credential not only as a supplement to the plastic card, but think of it as becoming the cornerstone of the workplace experience platform.

It enables users and property managers to optimise space and amenity utilisation through badge data, boost tenant engagement through site-specific communication and events or optimise the guest experience and treat them like VIPs.

“The digital badge is just the first step,” adds Josef Šachta, CEO and Co-Founder, Sharry. “But it’s the essential element to connect people with their workplace.”

Even without a charge

One of the frequently traded misconceptions about mobile badges can be summed up in the question: What will I do as an employee if my cell phone battery runs out?

These concerns can now be solved with the employee badge in Apple Wallet. Previously, staff could use their iPhones to unlock office doors through Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE.

In 2021, Apple finally opened up the ability to leverage NFC technology to tap in faster, more conveniently and more securely.

Employee badge in Apple Wallet not only replaces a plastic card with a virtual pass, but significantly enhances user experiences.

Probably the most visible and appreciated improvement is a feature called Power Reserve.

This iOS feature ensures that even if the iPhone needs a charge, the employee badge in Apple Wallet will still work.

Power Reserve provides up to five hours of access.

Private and secure data

Moving to an employee badge in Apple Wallet raises not only the level of convenience, but also the level of physical security standards.

As Kamil Targalski, European Business Development Manager, HID explains: “A lot of organisations are still using unsecured 125 kHz credentials and many of them are not willing to migrate to secure standards like 13.56 MHz technologies.

“By leveraging NFC on iOS, we are providing encrypted secure transactions – every single session between the mobile device and the reader is secured with a unique session key.”

Employee badge in Apple Wallet also takes full advantage of the privacy and security features built into iPhone and Apple Watch.

The virtual credential is stored on the device, which means Apple doesn’t see the locations that employees or tenants access, keeping data private and secure.

If a user misplaces their device, they can use the Find My app to lock and help locate their device and suspend their key or remotely erase the device and its keys.

Biometric extension

“One of the major benefits of using mobile badges from a corporate perspective is the increased security,” claims Renata Hartle, Director of Strategic Advisory at Colliers and Smart Building Consultant.

As she explains, office building occupiers with high-security standards understand that employees protect their phones way better than plastic cards.

“It’s pretty simple – you immediately notice when your phone is gone. But if you lose a plastic entry card to your office on Friday night, you won’t realise it until Monday morning.”

Additionally with employee badge in Apple Wallet, badge readers – upon their proper setup – can use Face ID or Touch ID on iPhone to provide additional biometric security for spaces that require it.

“It solves two problems at the same time,” added Hartle from Colliers.

“People do not share entry keys to their workplace and companies can use biometry without installing additional devices and without having to deal with GDPR.”

On behalf of Colliers, Hartle claims that more and more international occupiers are making a global decision to shift to mobile badges.

Apart from security reasons, this decision is also driven by the ESG aspect, easy management of digital credentials and a better end user experience.

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