State-of-the-art mobile technology means that the age of the smart office is now upon us, according to ELATEC.
The world has been moving towards the smart office for years, but 2020 and 2021 have accelerated these trends. Today’s workers demand convenience, mobility and the ability to work from anywhere. At the same time, both physical and data security for the company are more important than ever. The smartphone is the perfect passport to tomorrow’s smart office—whether work is in person or virtual.
What makes the smart office “smart”? In large part, it’s about giving everyone easy, convenient access to all the devices, locations and systems they need—while keeping unauthorised users out. With mobile authentication solutions, the smartphone unlocks access to everything employees require on the job, from printers and workstations to parking and vending machines. The right user authentication technology drives improvements in productivity and employee satisfaction while enhancing data and physical security.
Now, employees are free to move and work anywhere, with authorisation simplified by smartphone authentication. They can access business systems securely using single sign-on in a dedicated office, at home, or from a workstation at a sister office across the globe. They can move easily between office locations using the same virtual credentials. And they can take advantage of all the productivity tools, amenities and conveniences provided by the company, from EV charging in the parking garage to secure printing at shared printers—all without sacrificing security. Here’s what it looks like.
A smart office environment protects data, assets and people, while giving employees access to everything they need at every point in the day.
Throughout the day, employees have not had to enter a single password or PIN. They have not needed to carry an extra card or a physical key. There is nothing they need to remember. Access to everything is convenient, secure and practically invisible. All they need is something they all carry anyway—a smartphone.
All this may sound like a dream, but the technology to power and secure the smart office of tomorrow is already here. Universal radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers are now available that accommodate both traditional card technologies and smartphone-based authentication systems using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) or Near-field Communication (NFC). These readers give companies the power to decide whether they want to use ID badges, smartphones or both.
In the smart office, an ID card or phone can unlock access to virtually anything and everything—improving convenience for workers while protecting sensitive personal and company data. It’s simple for employees to use. And easy for IT to manage. A mobile authentication system can replace all the passwords, PINs and keys currently in use across the entire business ecosystem.
Many companies are making the switch from ID badges to mobile credentials on a smartphone. With mobile authentication systems, there are no cards to issue. Employees can simply download an app and self-register. Once their access levels have been set by IT, the phone is the key to unlocking productivity.
Users love mobile authentication because they don’t need to carry an extra card (or cards) with them. And smartphone use is nearly universal among office workers of all ages. Cards can still be issued for employees who do not have an Apple or Android device or who work in environments where smartphone use is prohibited for safety or security reasons.
So, what does the smart office look like in practice? Here are two practical examples.
A large US-based corporation required an authenticated workspace booking solution to manage and optimise the use of 2,400 desks and 200 meeting rooms in the US with additional meeting rooms in European offices. The readers needed to accommodate authentication technologies in use in both regions and interface with the third-party booking software they used for resource management. They also needed to support contactless check-in for employees at the desks or meeting rooms. They chose a compact universal RFID reader from ELATEC that could be integrated into point-of-use desk booking devices.
Now, employees can check into a meeting room or instantly book a desk or meeting space using the same technologies they use for building access. A green light on the desk booking device allows everyone to quickly see which workstations are free. Touchless authentication is fast, hygienic and secure, so employees can get down to work immediately.
A leading provider of meeting room displays needed an authentication solution that enabled easy, contactless check-in for meeting attendees. The reader had to support a variety of card and smartphone authentication technologies in use by their global customers. It also needed to integrate seamlessly into their slim displays. A compact reader from ELATEC met all of their requirements.
Meeting attendees simply wave a card or phone over the panel to book a conference room or check into the meeting. The system is easy to deploy and supports remote upgrades if their customers require new functionality or add new authentication technologies. That makes the system simple to maintain and future-proof.
The heart of the smart office is secure, individualised access to locations, systems, equipment and services. A reader that supports RFID, BLE and NFC makes it easy for everyone.
For employees: Authentication with an ID card or smartphone reduces “password fatigue” and other headaches for end users. Access is fast, simple and secure, so they can get on with their day and stay more productive.
For IT: It’s easy to manage access levels by group or individual with a centralised system. RFID and mobile authentication systems eliminate endless password resets and improve security with encrypted credentials that can be easily turned off if access privileges change.
For solution providers and system integrators: RFID readers are easy to integrate into all kinds of “smart office” devices, from multi-function printers to elevator panels. System integrators can provide a unified solution that incorporates all devices and systems into a cohesive security ecosystem, vastly improving user satisfaction.
The perfect RFID reader needs to be powerful enough to handle all of today’s security and functionality requirements and flexible enough to adapt to tomorrow. Businesses and solution providers planning to implement smartphone authentication should look for a universal, multi-technology reader that can accommodate both HF and LF RFID along with BLE and NFC. In addition, the reader should have a robust API that enables custom functionality to support a variety of applications.
With the right authentication solution, data and assets stay protected and employees can get down to business without missing a beat. Focused. Productive. Secure.
For more information, visit: www.elatec-rfid.com
This article was originally published in the December 2021 edition of International Security Journal. Pick up your FREE digital edition here