HID Global completes NFC-enabled smartphone pilot at two enterprise businesses

 - 
Tuesday, September 25, 2012

IRVINE, Calif.—HID Global on Sept. 25 announced the completion of two pilot programs validating how Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones allow employees to open doors with a mobile device.

The pilots were conducted at the headquarters of Netflix, a digital TV and film subscription service, and Good Technology, a company that specializes in enterprise mobility solutions, using HID Global’s iCLASS SE platform.

This is the first time HID has tested the technology at commercial businesses. Last fall, HID conducted a well-publicized pilot project at Arizona State University.

Pilot participants lauded the improved security of using smartphones to open doors.

“I love the idea of mutually authenticated reader badges—it reduces the threat of badge skimming and replay attacks,” Bill Burns, director of Netflix IT Networking & Security, said in a prepared statement.

Netflix desktop analyst David Tsai added, “Technically, the physical security is better since it requires that a person know the phone can be used as a key, know the passcode to get into the phone, and know how to activate the key.”

HID embedded digital keys in the smartphones of Netflix staff, who previously used key fobs for access control. Employees were able to open doors via proximity tags affixed to the back of their phones.

At Good Technology headquarters, HID extended the company’s mobile-access pilot to evaluate the use of an NFC-enabled lock on the door to an executive’s office, which colleagues would use as a temporary conference room while he was away. The executive was able to control access to his office, offering it only to select members of his team during specified times.

According to pilot results, more than 80 percent of Netflix respondents felt the application for unlocking doors was intuitive, and nearly 90 percent described it as easy to use. Similarly positive perceptions were recorded at Good Technology, with 80 percent of respondents saying smartphones were more convenient than their current access cards.

More than 83 percent of Good Technology participants said the company’s physical security was improved by using a smartphone to unlock doors, and 87 percent of Netflix respondents said they would want to use a smartphone to open all locked company doors.

Last year’s ASU pilot involved 27 students and five staff members, 14 doors with HID iClass SE readers, four offline Sargent locks, various smartphones embedded with HID’s Secure Identity Object (SIO) and service plans from Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.  

The ASU pilot was instrumental in demonstrating that NFC-enabled smartphones could have commercial enterprise applications. In the wake of the project, HID tweaked the way its readers and phones interacted, and made alterations to phone applets to ensure phones could work as a credential even when out of power.