Cloud platforms for access control are set to transform campus life
- By Hilding Arrehed
- December 01, 2018
The use of cloud technologies for campus access control
has enabled university students, faculty and staff to
employ their mobile devices for valuable new experiences
that range from entering dorm rooms to making
cafeteria purchases with a simple tap or twist of their
phones. The next step is to make campuses smarter and safer as mobile
IDs on smartphones are augmented by other technologies in solutions
that can recognize people and customize their work and learning environment
on a more connected campus.
While these other capabilities can be achieved now, they must be
implemented on a building-by-building or, at most, campus-by-campus
basis, without the full benefit of cloud technologies that have
touched so many other aspects of university operations. This all changes
as mobile identities move towards greater adoption, and when
today’s installed base of millions of physical access control system
(PACS) readers, controllers, panels and locks, worldwide, are connected
to the cloud and IoT, and are married with location services capabilities.
This will unleash an avalanche of innovation as developers take
advantage of a common cloud platform to create data-driven trusted
identity solutions that give administrators many exciting new options
for improving the campus experience.
PHYSICAL ACCESS CONTROL TRANSFORMATION
The move to cloud-based platforms will ensure identity-aware, seamless
and more consistent campus service delivery and user experiences
while improving how identity solutions are delivered. For example,
bridging biometrics and access control has been challenging in the
past, because it requires a trusted platform designed to meet the concerns
of accessibility and data protection in a connected environment.
These barriers can be addressed through a secured and connected
cloud architecture that can remotely manage all readers and users
(including onboarding, template loading and enrollment activities for
supported authentication modes).
Cloud platforms will also provide the backbone for universities to
more quickly and easily add complementary applications to their
access control infrastructure, like secure print, virtual photo ID, and
vending, as well as other access control use cases and emerging permission-
based transaction capabilities yet to be developed. Universities
will have greater flexibility to upgrade their security infrastructure,
scale it as they grow, improve maintenance and efficiency, and get the
most out of their investments. Key to many new cloud-based capabilities
is a location services platform that delivers high-value data for a
host of applications and capabilities.
One of the most valuable benefits of cloud platforms for universities
is that they can adopt new, more flexible subscription models which,
for instance, enable more easy replenishment of mobile IDs when
smartphones get lost or need replacement. These models have the
potential to further streamline forecasting, budgeting and reporting
while pushing campus mobile credentials from a product-based model
to more of a service-based approach. Mobile ID subscription licenses
can be transferred across campus users and provide administrators
with an opportunity to register multiple mobile IDs across multiple
devices without incurring additional cost.
Many universities have already adopted the cloud services model for
ID card issuance, giving them the option for hardware, software and
other resources to be leased and their costs bundled into a service offering billed on an annual or monthly-installment basis. The service
model not only cuts multiple layers of program costs but also makes it
easier for administrators to scale the campus ID card office to accommodate
future technology capabilities or changing volume demands.
Moving forward, cloud-based access control will also fuel a new way
to look at campus design as the convenience of mobile apps is married
to the power of insights derived from data analytics (from both location
services and access control devices that are connected across the
university and its many buildings, labs and other facilities and common
areas). The result: more intuitive and seamless service delivery,
along with the benefits of remote access control hardware configuration
as well as predictive system maintenance capabilities. This cloud
model backed by analytics will also improve workflow planning across
processes ranging from administrative services to time and attendance
logging to booking labs, study areas and conference rooms, and pave
the way for new capabilities such as campus wayfinding assistance and
ENABLING A NEW CHAPTER IN
PHYSICAL ACCESS CONTROL
Millions of installed physical access control devices are poised to join a
global cloud platform for trusted workplace innovation, which is good
news for university administrators who want more choices for deploying
access control solutions and more opportunities to improve campus life.
These devices will be connected to the cloud and supported by software
developer kits (SDKs) and open application programming interfaces
(APIs) so that solution providers have everything they need to develop
new offerings tailored to the special needs of universities.
To enable these connections to cloud-based services, IoT functionality
will be embedded in access control panels as app extensions.
With these IoT connections, access control systems will deliver realtime
data to the cloud, which will facilitate remote diagnostics and a
more predictive approach to system maintenance and help protect
against emerging vulnerabilities. The complexity of reader configuration
will be dramatically simplified: no longer will it be necessary
to guess at the current reader configurations or make manual and
time-consuming changes to them. Cloud-connected readers will
enable remote inspection or changes to the reader configuration and
updates to reader firmware.
These cloud connections will also enable access control systems to
join advanced smart building solution sets through cloud-based monitoring
applications that deliver robust analytics capabilities used to
proactively pinpoint and troubleshoot potential system failures. The
applications will also monitor secure connections between access control
peripherals and trigger firmware updates to address potential
With the cloud model, the industry will move beyond siloed security
and workplace optimization solutions to the simplicity, scalability
and universality of mobile apps that can be downloaded anywhere
across a global footprint of millions of compatible physical access control
system endpoints that are all connected in the cloud and IoT.
AN EARLY ADOPTION PATH
Universities have been early adopters of cloud platforms for mobile
access control, students, faculty and staff can use their smartphones to
access parking garages, facilities, dorm rooms, and much more. These
universities are providing real-life examples of where other campuses
can take their mid- to long-range facility planning to streamline efficiencies
and dramatically enhance the user experience.
For instance, students surveyed at universities where mobile access
has been deployed have cited convenience as the top attribute of use
their phone for accessing buildings and campus services, since their
smartphones are always with them and they are less likely to lose them
as compared to an access card. Students further pointed out the benefit
of using their phone as a backup in cases where their cards were lost or
stolen. They also indicated they absolutely loved using easy gesture
technology to open the garage parking gate as they drove up to the
reader, including the convenience of not even having to roll down their
window as they approached. In addition, they validated the efficiency
and simplicity of installing and registering the mobile app, citing that
it required five minutes or less to complete the process, and it was a
self-explanatory and intuitive experience.
Campuses have reported using mobile access far beyond opening
doors and gates, where students can now use their phones to check out
library books and use campus computer labs as popular examples.
Cloud-based access control that is used in this way is poised to help
improve everything from registration and enterprise resource planning
to dynamically controlling lighting, temperature and other living
conditions as administrators leverage the power of connected technology
across more use cases.
Beyond the campus environment, co-working spaces are using
cloud-based access control to serve entrepreneurs who need professional,
reliable office space to build their businesses. In Paris, Deskopolitan
uses HID Mobile Access to enable building occupants to access
their co-working campus in the heart of Paris, conveniently and
securely, expanding how occupants and tenants engage, interact and
work in their more intelligent workspaces. Deskopolitan can easily
provision or revoke mobile IDs, streamlining management with zero
compromise on security.
In a similar example, the international property management group
Skanska is using HID technology for secure access throughout its new
office complex. The company selected HID Mobile Access due to the
ease of integrating all of its building applications into a unified mobile
experience, including secure access to its parking garage, virtual reception
capabilities, access to offices, and other IoT functionality. Today,
employees and their guests can now move throughout the building
with nothing more than a smartphone and enter restricted areas to
which they have been given access rights.
ACCESS CONTROL OF THE FUTURE
Cloud-based access control platforms will give university administrators
more information about how their campuses are used to optimize
efficiency, provide new capabilities like wayfinding and improve the
campus experience. They are also fueling new opportunities to dramatically
expand the choices universities have for getting the most out
of their physical access control investments, giving them the backbone
for adding new and emerging technologies, while improving how
identity solutions are delivered.
A trusted, cloud-connected campus that leverages an ecosystem of
millions of readers and other devices, applications and trusted mobile
IDs will give universities greater flexibility to scale and enhance their
security infrastructure while continuously improving efficiency. It
will also usher in new opportunities to deliver seamless, even more
secure and consistent user experiences, while taking
advantage of flexible service subscription models
and a new way to look at campus design and
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2018 issue of Campus Security & Life Safety.