Why NFC Is Going To Be Important to Locksmiths

End-Users want to use mobile phones as access control credentials, with college students leading the way

Using mobile devices is a common behavior for consumers and business people. In fact, 5.9 billion of us (87 percent of the world’s population) are mobile subscribers for one type of device or another, many of us using two or more. One visit to an airport and a glance at all the folks working their wireless computers, smartphones, iPads and Kindles will tell you that mobile computing is an imperative today. And mobile use has begun to permeate the consumer market in ways beyond simple communication, web browsing or ordering from e-stores.

Today, when you’re not home, you already can monitor your house through your web-enabled computer or smartphone. You can check the status of your door locks, grant entry to your home and turn your lights off and on. You can conserve energy and save money by controlling your lighting and thermostat. Contractors are already creating the infrastructure for such services in new home construction.

The under-30 crowd is even more tech savvy. Most prefer the smart card (One Card) solution that they used at college; smart cards are nothing new to them. Biometrics readers were on their residences halls and their recreation centers and created a convenience for them. No longer did they need to remember their cards. This generation has only one question when it comes to using smart cards and biometrics in the commercial world: Why aren’t smart cards and biometrics more widely used beyond the campus?

Allegion recently conducted independent research to learn more about North American students and their use of credentials. Here are some findings from that research.

“My One Card is my everything.” The ultimate student goal is convenience. Tools that support this goal must enable without intruding. Effective safety and security on campus must be unobtrusive and transparent to gain student acceptance. One Cards are viewed as the essential enablers to their lives.

However, the study didn’t limit itself to today’s credentials alone. Nearly half of all students identify their cell phones as their favorite personal electronic device. It, too, is their “everything.” Indeed, according to Morgan Stanley, 91 percent of all mobile users keep their phone within arm’s length day and night. Nearly half of students are using cell phone apps to perform their jobs. Campus apps include managing class work, checking grades, communicating with professors, and receiving notifications and alerts. They are also using apps for the bookstore, bus schedule, maps and local retailer discounts.

When it comes to credentials, two-thirds are interested in using their phone in place of an ID card. Why? They feel that they are less likely to lose their phone than an ID card, plus they know that ID cards are shared; phones aren’t. In fact, people will almost always notice that their phone is lost faster than noting a card is missing. Borrowing a friend’s phone, they make one quick call to the phone service provider and the phone is shut off. That card could be used by another for some time.

So, as they are using mobile applications in the rest of their lives, students entering the workforce will fuel demand for increased use of their smartphones. As businesspeople, they will expect office buildings and technical campuses, as well as services, to be mobile-friendly. They won’t want to remember and manage multiple cards, items and ID credentials when they could simply use their smartphone.


What Is NFC?

Near field communication, or NFC, provides simplified transactions, data exchange and wireless connections between two devices that are in close proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters. Many smartphones currently on the market already contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data a short distance (“near field”).

A Samsung Galaxy mobile phone commercial currently on television shows how it works. Remember how the two phones come together so that the couple can swap photographs? That’s NFC in action.

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