Your cellphone has become more than just a tool for talking and texting. It’s a tool you use for a million different things throughout your day. In the last decade alone, smartphone technology has advanced more than most could have imagined. We now use them to access social media, do most of our online browsing and shopping, and as our preferred method of photography (can you believe that it took four generations of iPhone before the front facing camera?) But more than that, we use our smartphones as a place to store personal & vital information. With features like the iPhone’s Keychain, and Apple and Android Pay, not to mention Homekit and Google Home, each day we walk around with a brick of information that could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Luckily smartphone developers have made strides to make their devices much more secure as we put more and more of our trust into them. So much so that smartphones (and tablets) have even become a more integral fixture in the workplace, as well as our personal lives.
In as short as the last five years, we’ve seen a monumental shift in the way people use their phones. It stands to reason that developers would have to adjust to the way information is stored on these devices. We’ve seen the evolution from a simple numerical PIN to a fingerprint scanner built into the device’s home button, to – even further – facial recognition technology. Our phones are more secure than they’ve ever been, which instills confidence in a user when using their phone as access control for their homes, to store sensitive information, or as their main method of payment.
In the not too distant future, these credentials will be used to gain physical access to workplaces as well. Martin Huddart, President of the Access and Egress Hardware Group says, “In five to 10 years we will be using our phones to get into work, perhaps supplemented with mechanical devices and hard credentials. It’s hard to imagine that won’t happen and there are lots of implications of managing the change from a card to digital identity.” (Security Industry Association Megatrends 2018)
The Benefits of Going Mobile
When you think about the ubiquity of smartphones in today’s cultural landscape, it doesn’t seem far-fetched at all that we would use them to gain access to our workplaces. In fact, Security Megatrends points out that “The Predicts 2017 report from Gartner suggests that by 2020, 20 percent of organizations will use mobile credentials for physical access in place of traditional identification cards.” (Security Industry Association Megatrends 2018). We’ve already seen a move in the industry to many office tasks being offloaded to a smartphone or tablet, but replacing traditional physical access with mobile credentials would promote an open, cloud-based system as opposed to traditional proprietary physical access systems, and it would result in a cost-reduction for the building or business owners. These benefits to the end-user make the switch to mobile credentials for physical access a very appealing one.
There’s no denying the rate at which mobile technology has advanced, even over the last handful of years. The integration of biometric technology in a device that’s carried on your person nearly all hours of the day is something that – until somewhat recently – was thought of as nothing more than a gadget in a James Bond movie. But the extra security that has come as a result of sensitive information being stored on smartphones makes them the perfect devices to use as credentials for physical access to our homes and offices. What are the three things you check for before leaving the house? More than likely, your keys, wallet, and cellphone. With the way the mobile technology has advanced, before long, you’ll just be checking for one.