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What's a Mobile Key?

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

With the rapid pace of cellphone technology and the flood of devices in the market, almost everyone you know owns a cell phone. It’s not uncommon for your whole life to be run on a cell phone.

Our phones are our connection point to everything in our lives. You can use your phone to control the temperature and lights in your home, to unlock the door at home, to open doors at work, to control air purifiers, to order food at your favorite restaurants, to shop for clothes, to order groceries, and even to operate and control your car!

From calendars, social apps, entertainment, shopping, and the ever constant new game apps, having a smart phone can help your life run more efficiently and smoothly. Nowadays, it’s almost strange if you don’t have a cell phone.

This technology helps make our lives easier and we are going to share some of the great ways to help make your life easy too by utilizing your phone to unlock the doors you encounter in your day to day activities.

Let’s break down some of the advantages and cover some features you should look for when choosing the right platform.

To get started, a mobile key or credential is able to be utilised on an access control system. These Access Control systems are usually in place on most commercial buildings, but if you don’t have one on your building, don’t worry, we can help with that.

Access Control Systems usually require a card or fob to scan at a reader. This is why they are commonly referred to as Key Card Systems since a key card or fob is utilized to unlock the door.

Once you scan the card or fob, your access to the building is granted and the door unlocks electronically. With an access control system, you eliminate the need for physical keys while still monitoring and controlling who comes in and out of your building. These systems are cloud based and can be complemented with a camera system to protect your people and property from intruders or unauthorized entries.

Now that we understand the system used to unlock the doors, how does it work on your phone?

It’s as simple as tapping an app! You will be assigned a Mobile Credential. This mobile credential is like a key but in a digital version. This digital key is sent to your phone through email and is assigned to your device.

Here are some of the Features of a Mobile Credential:

  • Tap a single button to open the closest door

  • Have one credential/ key for multiple facilities and building amenities.

  • Add favorite doors that you frequent to the main menu

  • Use Siri voice commands for hands-free operation

How do Mobile Credentials work?

The most common way mobile credential works is through Bluetooth and something called Near Field Communication (NFC). This is a way for data to to transmit over a short distance from the phone to the reader. It’s the same technology that you use on your phone if you use Apple Pay.

Are Mobile Credentials Secure?

The great thing about mobile credentials is how secure it is over a traditional

key card or fob. With all of the personal information on your phone, from pictures of your family to your emails, you wouldn’t just hand your phone to a stranger. While the average price of a cell phone is $633 dollars, some new phones cost over $1,000 dollars and they have so much personal data that people are very protective of them.

Think about the last time you handed over your cell phone to someone. It doesn’t happen often yet, we nonchalantly hand over a key, key card, or fob to a random person to access a building. While cards and fobs can be deleted or deactivated if lost, the security risk is there especially with the rise of kiosks that can quickly copy any RFID Key card or fob.

Once a mobile credential is installed on a smartphone, it is securely linked to that device. It cannot be replicated and installed on another mobile device.

No lets talk about the Benefits of Mobile Credentials:

Extra Convenience

When you have mobile credentials you no longer have to keep track of a key card or fob attached to a ring of keys. How many times have you forgotten your card and had to check in sheepishly at the security desk? Or have you ever had a key card or key fob not work at the security gate with a line of cars piling up behind you?

This no longer has to be a struggle. Every one of us carries our smartphones throughout the day wherever we go. It’s easy to tap a

button as you approach a door or gate and have it open for you!

A huge benefit to facility managers is the ability to assign a mobile credential to a visitor for a set amount of time in advance. The visitor would be sent an email with a link to download an app to their phone. They would then have access to the pre approved areas of the building. Once onsite, the visitor can immediately go to the approved area and the credential can automatically expire when they leave the facility!

Increased Security

Access control and key card access have been around for decades. The weakest link in systems like this is people. No matter how secure you make your doors, gates, or building, key cards and fobs can be lost, stolen and possibly used by people that aren’t authorized.

Using a Mobile credential gives you additional layers of security from the smartphone itself. Most everyone has a pincode, fingerprint, or face ID set up to open their phone.

This is a deterrent in itself since you wouldn’t hand your personal mobile phone to anyone (including Karen in Accounting) and if you did happen to misplace your phone, no one could access it without the password!

This small change reduces the likelihood of people borrowing a keycard to gain access to an unauthorized area! Most people may not remember where their key card or fob is, but they do know exactly where their phone is at all times!

Cost Savings

With a mobile credential, the pass is digital! This means no more ordering plastic key cards or key fobs! We’re definitely saving the turtles with this plastic reduction!

The great thing about Mobile credentials is that they can be transferred to a new phone if you are one of those people who likes to get a new phone every year. Also when the time frame of access is complete, like for a temporary employee or intern, they can be remotely deactivated! You eliminate the costs for key cards and fobs and your savings for operations just increased!

Using the average company size in the USA (500-10,000 employees) and calculating the cost to outfit that many employees the price is outrageous! It can range from $550 to $55,000. Mobile credentials are also a great use in University settings and dorm rooms.

With a constant turnover rate and new additions each year, these cards can add up to be a huge cost!

Mobile credentials have no cost associated with distributing them. Just select the right platform to install and watch your savings add up!

Many businesses are in high turnover industries, which means employees often come and go. This can include restaurants, call centers, etc. In these kinds of businesses, very often keys are given to the employee so they may access the building.

However, when that employee leaves this means that you must receive that key or else rekey the location again. Even then you cannot be sure the key hasn’t been copied.

It is important to protect the property and people in your business, but also to manage your resources properly.

However, every time a business is rekeyed that means everyone need a new key. If you have 10 employees each year and 5 of those employees leave each year, thats 5 rekeys and 50 keys each year.

Using a Mobile Credential allows you to issue “digital keys” which allow your employees in and out of your facility. You can set schedules and permissions for access, so your employee walks up to the door with their phone and Voila! The door unlocks.

The best part of the solution is this: Your employees leaves the company, so instead of a rekey, you can log into your app from any device connected to the internet, and remove the pass from the former employee! It immediately goes back into your account to be assigned to someone else.

Not only are you not having to spend money on rekeys and key, but this all happens in a matter of seconds from wherever you are, instead of having to schedule a locksmith to come out and perform a service.

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