Access Credentials and Touchless Entry in the New Normal
As I continue to present my thoughts on the New Normal, I am getting many questions about phone-based credential technology for both tenants and visitors. Many people are not totally clear on the capabilities of their current systems when it comes to touchless entry, and there is a lot of confusion regarding what is on the horizon when it comes to access control and touchless entry. Since the progress in the technology is not the same when it comes to tenants and visitors, I would like to address each separately.
Touchless Entry for Tenants
Progress around touchless entry for tenants has been significant over the last few years, and most of this technology is mature with a few caveats. Most major access control companies do currently have Bluetooth credentials. Our partners, Lenel, AMAG, BluBOX, Brivo, and Open Path all have Bluetooth based credentials and the cloud-based providers, BluBOX, Brivo and Open Path all have the ability to remotely activate readers from your phone without a credential. Here is an example from Open Path. HID’s Bluetooth credentials are probably the most widely known and used. When I discuss these options with people in multi-tenant environments, the following issues come up consistently:
- How do you get the Bluetooth credentials to the tenants? In most cases today, this must be done in bulk using a flat file (spreadsheet). This is still not very efficient but can be done.
- For building’s utilizing multiple entries, elevators, and turnstiles, how does the person choose the right elevator car, turnstile, etc. when using a phone-based app? This is still not terribly efficient and, in many cases, not practical.
The final thought around BT and other reader and app based touchless technologies deals with compatibility. Most of the technologies out today are proprietary. This means that whatever Bluetooth technology is settled on will only work on readers that are compatible with that company’s Bluetooth credential. This is especially important in multi-tenant environments and needs to get serious consideration as property management companies and building owners decide on a technology.
Touchless Entry for Visitors
While the thought of a visitor receiving a credential on their phone, accepting it, entering a building, and getting access without interacting with security seems simple enough, it presents many challenges. Some of these challenges are operational and some are technological:
- Currently, HID Bluetooth credentials, the most widely used, only work with Easy Lobby visitor management and HID SAFE. Neither can auto-process the credential, and they still require the individual to check-in at the desk. HID does not have integrations with any of the major access control companies at this time, but they are working on it.
- There are companies that can give a visitor automatic phone-based access to the building, but this does present issues with larger sites with multiple turnstiles and elevators.
- Procedurally, do sites want the credentials for their visitors to auto-process, or do they want them to check-in with security? This is an operational question, and in most cases the answer is no.
These are just a few of the topics that have come up recently. Touchless entry in the access control space is evolving rapidly, and many companies are moving quickly to find additional solutions.