Access Control isn’t Only for Doors Anymore

Access control tends to be relegated to the realm of doors and standard locks, but it shouldn’t be. When combined with mobile technology, access control transforms. It becomes capable of unlocking anything, not only doors but also gym memberships, medical devices, and public transportation.

The ability arises from ever-smaller hardware and finely tuned software. A mobile phone can communicate with something as small as a bike lock to something as gargantuan as a 3D printer set on the manufacturing floor. The size of the item in question is relatively inconsequential—the technology backing the interaction matters. It must be able to allow simultaneously convenient and secure access to any end user, be it the bicyclist or employee.

Some of the following five applications aren’t on the market yet, but they will be. The future of access control is coming and will arrive at an increasingly rapid pace.

Pedal Power

Bicyclists who race in the Tour de France spend more on a bike than they do on a car. They regard races as part of their professional careers and treat their bodies and bikes as investments. Even semi-pro bicyclists spend a small fortune on bikes and gear, with many quality bikes beginning somewhere around $500. And, bicyclists who rely on their bikes to get to and from work care equally as much about their rides. They might not shell out the big bucks, but they don’t want their bikes to go missing, ever.

Mobile access control technology could pair the bicyclist’s smartphone with their smart bike lock, if not the bike itself, which would thwart potential theft. The technology-enabled product would be hugely convenient; bicyclists typically carry a phone on their person or at least have it prior to taking off. They wouldn’t have to remember a code or find a key in the bottom of a laundry basket anymore. They would receive immediate access, thanks to their phone-and-lock combination.

Gym Memberships

Many gyms offer 24/7 access, making identity and security critical to long-term security and financial success. They need to keep unknown individuals out and, at the same time, provide easy access to existing and potential customers, vendors, and employees. ID cards work to a certain extent, but they get lost or have to be replaced when a contract comes up for renewal.

A mobile access control solution streamlines and improves the process on all fronts. Customers carry an identifier — their mobile phone — with them, and it gives them entry during open hours and for approved classes and equipment. For potential customers, the process differs slightly. They sign up online and receive a temporary eKey that can be used at their convenience. Vendors and employees aren’t left out of the equation; gym managers easily issue or remove mobile credentials with the access control system. As a result, staff and third parties quickly receive access or are denied entry to the building or loading bay.

Public Transportation

Most major metropolitan cities maintain public transportation systems, but security can be questionable. No system really checks the people who get onto the buses or Metro. And, if an individual causes a ruckus, it isn’t easy to keep them from returning and riding the following day.

Mobile access control could aid in the endeavor. By coupling people with their unique smartphone signature, public transportation systems could easily issue, monitor, and remove (if only temporarily) access credentials. The mobile-based system could even prevent overcrowding, a factor most commuters would view as a blessing. The system would be easy to implement, too. Almost everyone riding public transit carries a mobile phone in their hand, bag, or briefcase.

Medical Devices

Some medical devices, such as pacemakers, glucose monitors, and insulin pumps, already feature mobile components. For example, Dexcom’s constant glucose monitor (CGM) integrates with a mobile application. Either the end user or a family member (sometimes both) uses the app to monitor glucose levels and give appropriate care.

A worry, however, exists about the devices’ security, and it isn’t the stuff of nightmares. Some medical devices have been hacked, causing developers to look for new ways to safeguard the equipment and patients’ lives. Secure mobile access control, particularly the kind grounded upon UniKey’s best-in-class technology, could ease the concern. It would also help patients get back to the business of living their lives instead of worrying about an overdose of insulin or an unnecessary jumpstart to the heart.

Information Technology

The IT department continues its mission to protect computers and people from malicious hacks and viruses, but the job seems never-ending. Just as they come up with a method to protect devices and company data, the hackers deploy some new, ingenious attack.

Mobile access control could help ease the burden. By requiring a computer or other connected device to be “unlocked” prior to use, data would stay out of an attacker’s reach but remain readily accessible to employees. The use case doesn’t apply only to the commercial or business space; consumers could use a UniKey-enabled security solution to safeguard not only their homes but also their digital information.

Mobile access control is moving outside the door—literally. With a mobile access control solution like UniKey’s, you can prevent and grant access to anything, be it a bike, computer, or turnstile. If you’d like to learn more about integrating UniKey’s technology into your equipment, get in touch today. We’d be glad to speak with you about your specific use case.