Answer: Anywhere your access control card takes you now.  Using smartphones to control a security system is not unheard of. In fact, for homeowners, operating their home security systems from the convenience of their smartphone is becoming commonplace.
Many home security companies give homeowners the ability to arm and disarm their system, lock and unlock their door, and check on their home remotely.
Is this convenience now becoming acceptable in the world of corporate security? In a SecurityInfoWatch.com article, Security Technology Trends for 2014, John Fenske, vice president of product marketing identity and access management for HID Global, says it’s already happening with access control.
An access control system determines who is allowed to enter or exit a building, which entrances and exits they are allowed to use, when they are allowed to enter or exit, and where in the building they are allowed to go. With a traditional access control system, employees are assigned a credential (i.e. swipe card, RFID key fob, etc.) that is programmed with their access level. Employees must present their credential to a reader and the system determines whether or not the door can be unlocked.

According to Fenske, “During 2014, we expect to see the first phases of mobile access deployments in which smartphones will function similar to that of a card transaction…. Looking forward, the connectivity of smartphones will be used to perform most tasks that today are jointly executed by card readers and servers or panels in traditional access control systems. This includes verifying identity with rules such as whether the access request is within a permitted time and, using the phone’s GPS capability, whether the person is actually in the vicinity of the door. The user can then be validated using a cloud application and granted access via a trusted message over secure communication to the door. “
Fenske goes on to explain that organizations will no longer have to pay for the “expensive infrastructure required for connecting servers, panels and readers” and will only need to install “electronic locks that respond to a mobile device’s encrypted ‘open’ command.”
The advantages are clear. “This simplified and more economical model will enable the industry to secure more assets; interior doors, filing cabinets, storage units and other areas that have been prohibitively expensive or complex to secure in the past.”
Imagine the positive impact this technology could have in a healthcare setting. Countless numbers of people enter and exit hospitals each day. The facility is responsible for protecting the health and well-being of its patients, safeguarding patient health information and securing drugs. To fulfill these tasks, it’s important for hospitals to know who enters their facilities, who they are visiting and whether they meet security requirements. This can be a monumental and costly undertaking, but in the future, it might become as easy as sending the right encrypted message to the right smartphone, granting access to rooms, file cabinets and medication dispensing units ONLY to the appropriate people at the appropriate times.
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