Near Field Communication for Access Control

Assigning the credential to a smart phone is significantly less expensive than preparing and delivering a personalized badge or ID card.


On March 26, 2012, Breg Insight presented a research report indicating that global sales of handsets featuring Near Field Communications increased ten-fold in 2011 to 30 million units. Other reports say that roughly half of the smart phones will be NFC enabled by 2015 or 2016.

Outside of the United States, the number of NFC-enabled smart phones is quickly becoming a significant percentage of the population with Europe has leading the way in wireless communications. Europe did not and does not have a telephony monolith, like Ma Bell, to lay down the vast copper and fiber network. As a result of the growth of the wireless network, the European acceptance and implementation of NFC technology in phones started about a decade ago.

Because of limited advertising and other factors, implementation in the United States is slow as the percentage of NFC enabled smart phones are not the majority. The majority of smart phones are purchased by and for those individuals more comfortable with technology. Practical implementation is waiting for the number of consumer owned smart phones to increase.

At this time, Apple has not publicly released an NFC enabled iPhone. For the United States market, it appears that Samsung, Nokia and RIM smart phones are equipped with NFC capabilities

A number of NFC enabled locks and readers are already in production as these security manufacturers are in process of introducing their interpretation of the NFC enabled access control. Depending upon the manufacturer, NFC enabled locks will be available using proprietary or open architecture based operating systems. NFC locks and readers install the same way as the RFID products.

However, NFC goes far beyond just controlling access. For many years, NFC enabled credit cards and smart phones have been used to make purchases. Companies like Google Wallet and MasterCard Pay Pass offer this technology. For Near Field Communication to be successful, smart phones must be able to do everything the owner wants.

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