The Potential of NFC within Access Control
With NFC (Near Field Communication) technology receiving more and more of coverage in the media, its potential within access control applications is becoming increasingly relevant.
What is NFC and how is it currently being used?
NFC is the use of identification technology in mobile phones. Using radio frequencies, it allows a reader to identify the carrier. Currently it is being incorporated within mobile phones for the purposes of transactions, moving away from a chip and pin card towards a more seamless, faster solution which only requires the wave of a mobile phone to make payments.
What could it mean for access control?
There is considerable hype around NFC technology within banking, but its potential in the security industry is yet to be ascertained. As with other technologies however, magstripe cards for example, the early adoption and standardisation by banks could lead to NFC becoming widely accepted and trusted by the public in the future. At the point where it becomes a trusted technology, its use within access control is likely to increase.
NFC could offer a number of distinctive benefits:
We practically all carry smartphones now, meaning that members of an organisation have a potential security token in their pocket already and don’t have to carry any additional items.}
Rather than issuing tokens, NFC would allow controllers to quickly manage access remotely, and would reduce the financial investment in tokens for customers. For example once a hotel reservation has been made, you could download the room key and car park entrance straight onto your phone. You then just turn up at the hotel and go straight to your room. No checking in, no queuing.
If combined with other security measures, such as PIN or biometrics, NFC could deliver extremely robust and secure access control.
So what are we waiting for?
Understandably NFC has to reach the point where it is wholly trusted by the public. Undeniably we are now using our mobile phones for more tasks than ever, but it will not be until NFC takes off for making transactions that it will become viable in access control. That said, with many banks pushing its use, we could see NFC access control systems within the next 5 years.