Mobile Access Control

Mobile phones have become an essential part of our day-to-day lives. We use them from morning till night via alarm clocks, search engines, checking emails and social media, paying for products, services and more. We’re in a mobile-first world where it’s impossible to imagine going a moment without one.

Mobile devices are shaping different systems we use, not only to connect with people but to manage our lives and businesses as well. In the access control industry, mobile devices (smartphones, smartwatches, tablets) can be used to gain access to secured doors, gates, networks, services and more. This technology can be an efficient solution for everyone. It is more convenient and secure for people to get where they need to go, and with more business technology moving to the cloud, mobile access control is perfectly positioned to fit into modern security strategies.

What is mobile access control?

Mobile access control uses devices like smartphones, smartwatches, or tablets as a user’s credentials to enter offices or other business facilities, instead of using key cards or key fobs. Mobile credentials are an authentication method stored in a mobile device; these credentials verify an individual’s identity. Each mobile credential is unique to an individual, and credentials are encrypted to protect the identity of users.

As more and more companies encourage Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes, app access control is becoming a great tool for adding an extra layer of security to an organisation. Electronic devices even enable biometric authentication (fingerprint or Face ID) without the need to invest in expensive biometric readers. Mobile access control systems can be used across a range of industries from employee ID and access to on-site systems and hardware, access for libraries and gyms, hotel key card check-ins, travel passes for public transport and more.

How does mobile access control work?

Mobile access control is easy to integrate. The process involves upgrading to a mobile-compatible door reader and purchasing mobile credential licenses. An administrator can instantly grant, disable, and manage permissions via a secure management dashboard – this portal is entirely remote, allowing them to be managed from anywhere at any time.

Administrators send end-users a secure invitation email which would include a link to download a mobile app and an invitation code. Once the end-user has downloaded the app and entered the code, they become registered. Administrators can then start to send mobile credentials securely to the device granting access to specific locations and IT assets, the end-user simply places their smartphone, smartwatch, or tablet near a compatible reader for it to unlock.

BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technology transmit data between the device and the reader to grant access – no physical card is necessary.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

Most mobile access control manufacturers rely on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology as it allows access readers to communicate with user devices without the hassle of manual pairing. It also provides sufficient bidirectional bandwidth to power a secure connection, allowing devices to communicate with access readers from a few feet away.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

Other than Bluetooth, technologies like Near Field Communication (NFC), can be used in mobile access control. Commonly used for payment applications and similar to Bluetooth, the device gets connected to a reader but rather than letting you connect from a distance, it supports a limited range of communication – only a few inches.

Benefits of mobile access control

Businesses are starting to move away from traditional key cards and key fobs in favour of mobile access control. Here’s why:

More Secure

From lost fobs to stolen ID’s and cards that are easily copied and cloned, traditional access control methods can lead to expensive breaches and major issues for security teams. Mobile phones are one of the most secure devices on the market and can’t be cloned like a keycard can as most require a passcode, fingerprint of facial ID to unlock. Built-in tools keep communication anonymous and encrypted which will help to ensure no impersonators enter your premises. Ex staff members can easily have their access revoked once they finish with the company and if unauthorised guests ever try to enter the building, your secure portal will allow you to deny access instantly.

Mobile access control can protect your staff, guests, and company data. By providing credentials digitally, you can be sure that no confidential information is ever on display. With credentials sent directly to a mobile device via a cloud-based server you reduce the risk of a security breach. Credentials are encrypted to protect each person’s identity, providing improved security measures.

For areas that require higher levels of security, you can enable Two Factor Authentication, meaning a user needs biometrics to unlock their phone (fingerprint or Face ID) before they can use their mobile credential for access. This will also provide an organisation with the ability to carry out live audit trails. Visual identity verification and access events will be automatically recorded in an activity log, allowing you to see exactly who is on the premises at all times.

More Convenient

With mobile access control, businesses can operate under high security standards, without sacrificing convenience. Many of us carry our smartphones throughout the day, which means employees are less likely to lose their phones than they would a key card. If they do lose their phone, they’re highly likely to know when it happens, allowing administrators to immediately revoke access to the credential. It can be reinstated again when the user logs in from their new phone.

There is no need to rely on and wait for third parties to control your access requirements as you can make changes instantly from anywhere at any time yourself via the management dashboard. Alongside being able to grant, disable and manage access to certain physical areas, mobile access control can limit access to computer networks, digital files, and classified data – crucial for businesses to shield discreet information. You also no longer have to worry about delays, stock shortages or supplier issues with regards to physical access cards as they’re no longer needed.

Cost Effective

Using access control that’s mobile and cloud-based is often less expensive in the long run. Mobile access control reduces the need for purchasing, issuing, and replacing key cards and key fobs. All credentials are managed in the cloud, meaning there is no need to have a dedicated physical on-premise server, eliminating the cost of licensing, maintaining and servicing. Mobile credentialling costs are predictable and can be reused, transferred, and remotely deactivated.

Implementing a mobile access control solution will help futureproof your organisation for the ever-expanding digital world. With easy access, amplified security and other benefits, this dynamic access control method is not only effective in providing secure, optimised physical access, users can also use the same device to connect to WIFI, log on to the intranet, check emails and access other IT resources. Their phone becomes the key to unlocking their day.

If you want help or more information about migrating your security system to a Mobile Access Control solution, get in touch via or call us on 01302 540571.