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NFC smartphones transforming access control

The proliferation of mobile devices in and outside the workplace is changing how professionals view access control systems. Many pundits believe that smartphones and other gadgets integrated with near-field communications (NFC) technology will be the future of access control.

As the private sector continues to adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategies, NFC-enabled gadgets will usher in a new era of access control systems, according to a report by Info4Security. While there are many reasons to deploy these initiatives, one of the most substantial benefits will be the ability to reduce expenses associated with distributing and replacing traditional identification cards.

In today's highly mobile environment, people rarely leave home without their smartphone, tablet or other gadgets – especially if individuals use the tools for work-related purposes. By deploying an access control system that uses NFC-enabled personal mobile devices, decision-makers won't have to worry about employees using the ID of another person or workers forgetting their authentication tool at home, Info4Security noted.

Converging digital and physical security
NFC-enabled smartphones can be used for several purposes, including physical access control and digital identities when using the gadgets to work remotely, Info4Security said. This multi-function capability is especially important in today's private sector as companies continue to look for ways to reduce expenses by any means necessary.

"Ultimately, the convergence of physical and logical access control on mobile devices is helping organizations to stay secure in a rapidly changing world, while the employee experience becomes both more fluid and easier," report author Harm Radstaak said.

Radstaak also said the emergence of cloud computing will make NFC-based access control systems more effective by making the provision process easier and more cost effective.

A separate report by Frost & Sullivan highlighted the growing market for NFC-enabled smartphones, forecasting the industry to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 118 percent from 2010 through 2015, at which time the devices will make up more than half of the overall smartphone market.

As consumerization of IT continues and next-generation mobile devices multiply throughout the private sector, it will only be a matter of time before access control and other security solutions integrate with the gadgets. Decision-makers need to prepare for this transition, as it will give their companies the ability to enhance physical and digital security while simultaneously meeting evolving employee demands.

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