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Mobile Credentials: The Future of Access Control Unveiled

In the digital age, security is paramount. One key player in this arena is mobile credentials. They are revolutionizing the way we think about access control, offering unprecedented levels of security, convenience, and flexibility. But what exactly are mobile credentials, and how are they transforming access control? Let’s dive in.

Understanding Mobile Credentials

In the realm of access control, mobile credentials have emerged as a game-changer. They are the digital equivalent of physical access cards, but instead of a plastic card, the access control data is stored on a mobile device such as a smartphone or a wearable device. This shift from physical to digital has opened up a new world of possibilities in terms of security, convenience, and flexibility.

What are Mobile Credentials?

Mobile credentials are essentially digital keys that are stored on a mobile device. They are used to authenticate a user’s identity and grant them access to secured areas or systems. This could be anything from a physical location like an office building or a parking garage, to a digital system like a computer network or a cloud-based platform.

Mobile credentials leverage the capabilities of modern smartphones, including technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Near Field Communication (NFC), and even biometrics for enhanced security. This means that instead of swiping a card or entering a pin, users can gain access simply by bringing their mobile device into proximity with the reader, or in some cases, by using their fingerprint or facial recognition.

How Do Mobile Credentials Work?

The process begins when an administrator issues a mobile credential to a user’s smartphone. This is typically done through a cloud-based system, which sends the credential over a secure, encrypted connection.

Once the credential is stored on the user’s device, it can communicate with the access control system. When the user approaches a door or a gate, their smartphone communicates with the reader using BLE or NFC. The reader then verifies the credential and if it’s valid, access is granted.

This process is not only more secure but also faster and more convenient than traditional methods. It eliminates the need for users to carry around physical keys or cards, and it can be easily managed remotely.

Mobile Credentials for Access Control

Mobile credentials are transforming the way we approach access control. They offer a level of security and convenience that traditional keys and cards simply can’t match.

For businesses, this means enhanced security, as mobile credentials are much harder to duplicate or steal than physical keys or cards. They also offer greater control, as administrators can easily issue, revoke, or update credentials remotely.

For users, mobile credentials offer unparalleled convenience. There’s no need to carry around a separate key or card – your smartphone is all you need. And with most people carrying their smartphones with them wherever they go, access control becomes seamless and integrated into their daily lives.

The Evolution of Access Control

Access control has come a long way since its inception. It has evolved from simple mechanical locks and keys to sophisticated digital systems that leverage the latest technologies. Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of access control.

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EraAccess Control MethodKey Developments
Ancient TimesMechanical locks and keysThe earliest known locks and keys were made by the Egyptians around 4,000 years ago.
18th CenturyTumbler locksThe invention of the tumbler lock, which is still widely used today, marked a significant advancement in mechanical locks.
Late 19th CenturyTime locksTime locks were introduced, adding an extra layer of security by restricting access to certain times.
1960sKey cardsKey cards started to replace mechanical keys in some settings, offering better security and control.
1970sElectronic locks and access codesThe introduction of electronic locks and access codes marked the beginning of modern access control.
1980sMagnetic stripe cardsMagnetic stripe cards became popular, offering a higher level of security and convenience.
1990sProximity cardsProximity cards that use RFID technology were introduced, allowing for contactless access control.
2000sBiometricsBiometric technologies like fingerprint and facial recognition started to be used in access control, offering a high level of security.
2010sMobile credentialsThe advent of smartphones led to the development of mobile credentials, marking a major shift towards digital access control.
2020sIntegrated systemsToday, access control systems are often integrated with other systems like video surveillance and alarm systems, offering comprehensive security solutions.

This timeline illustrates the continuous evolution of access control methods, highlighting the shift towards digital solutions like mobile credentials. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see further innovations in access control, offering even higher levels of security and convenience.

Benefits of Mobile Credentials in Access Control

The shift towards mobile credentials in access control systems has brought about numerous benefits. These advantages span across various aspects, from increased security to enhanced convenience and cost-effectiveness. Let’s delve deeper into these benefits.

Increased Security

One of the primary benefits of mobile credentials is the enhanced security they offer. Traditional physical keys and cards can be easily lost, stolen, or duplicated, posing significant security risks. Mobile credentials, on the other hand, are much harder to compromise. They are protected by the security features of the mobile device itself, such as PINs, passwords, and biometrics. Furthermore, if a device is lost or stolen, the credentials can be instantly revoked and reissued, ensuring the integrity of the access control system.

Convenience and Ease of Use

Mobile credentials offer unparalleled convenience. With a smartphone almost always at hand, access becomes seamless and integrated into the user’s lifestyle. There’s no need to carry around a separate key or card, and users don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting them. Accessing a secured area is as simple as bringing your smartphone close to the reader.


In the long run, mobile credentials can prove to be more cost-effective than traditional keys or cards. While there may be initial costs associated with setting up a mobile access control system, the ongoing costs are typically lower. There’s no need to replace lost or stolen cards, and there’s no physical wear and tear to worry about. Additionally, managing mobile credentials is often simpler and more efficient, saving time and resources.

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Scalability and Flexibility

Mobile credentials offer a high degree of scalability and flexibility. They can be easily issued, revoked, or updated remotely, making it easy to manage access for a large number of users. This is particularly beneficial for large organizations or facilities with high turnover rates. Moreover, mobile credentials can be used across multiple locations, making them a flexible solution for businesses with multiple sites.

Integration Capabilities

Mobile credentials can be integrated with other systems, enhancing their functionality. For instance, they can be linked with time and attendance systems, providing a more accurate and efficient way to track employee hours. They can also be integrated with other security systems, such as video surveillance or alarm systems, to provide a comprehensive security solution.

Choosing a Mobile Credential Solution

When it comes to choosing a mobile credential solution, there are several factors to consider. These include the level of security provided, the ease of use for both administrators and users, the cost, the scalability of the solution, and the ability to integrate with other systems. Let’s review two popular solutions: BAS-IP’s UKEY and HID Global’s Mobile Access Solutions.


BAS-IP’s UKEY is a keyless entry system designed for multifamily apartment buildings. It uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow users to lock and unlock doors with a single tap of their mobile device.

Key Features and Benefits

  1. Increased Security: UKEY mobile identification is unique for each user and cannot be copied, providing a high level of security. If a phone is lost, the mobile identification can be restored, ensuring unauthorized access is prevented.
  2. Ease of Use: The system is user-friendly and designed for all generations. Users can open doors with just a tap of their mobile device, and the access card can be received remotely, saving time for both the service company and residents.
  3. Convenience: With UKEY, there’s no need to carry around physical keys or cards. Your smartphone is always at hand, making access to your property easy and convenient.

HID Mobile Credentials

HID Global’s Mobile Access Solutions leverage Seos credential technology to allow organizations to use a mobile device as a credential to access doors, networks, services, and more.

Key Features and Benefits

  1. Increase Convenience: HID Mobile Access offers “Tap” or “Twist & Go” gestures for easy access to facilities.
  2. Boost Efficiency: The solution comes with an online management portal, allowing administrators to create, manage, issue, and revoke credentials through the cloud.
  3. Maximize Security: The solution is delivered through a highly secure and reliable cloud platform, ensuring the security of your access control system.
  4. Native Touchless: The solution offers over-the-air provisioning and native touchless functionality, keeping employees and staff safe.

Both solutions offer unique features and benefits, and the choice between the two would depend on the specific needs and requirements of your organization. It’s important to consider factors like the level of security needed, the size of your organization, the need for scalability, and the budget when choosing a mobile credential solution.

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As technology continues to evolve, so does the field of access control. Mobile credentials have already marked a significant shift in the way we approach security, but this is just the beginning. Here are some future trends that are expected to shape the landscape of mobile access control.

Integration with Biometrics

Biometric technology has been gaining traction in the field of access control due to its high level of security and convenience. The integration of mobile credentials with biometrics is a trend that’s expected to continue. This means that instead of using a PIN or a password, users could authenticate their identity using their fingerprint, facial recognition, or even their voice. This not only enhances security but also makes the access control process more seamless and user-friendly.

Use of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize mobile access control. AI can be used to analyze patterns and behaviors, allowing the system to detect any anomalies and potentially prevent security breaches before they occur. For instance, if the system detects that a door is being accessed at an unusual time or by an unauthorized user, it could automatically trigger an alert.

Internet of Things (IoT) Integration

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical devices that are connected to the internet, allowing them to communicate with each other. The integration of IoT with mobile access control could open up a world of possibilities. For instance, a user’s mobile credential could be used not only to access a building but also to control various IoT devices within the building, such as lights, thermostats, or even coffee machines. This could lead to a more integrated and user-friendly experience.

Cloud-Based Systems

Cloud-based access control systems are expected to become more prevalent in the future. These systems store data in the cloud rather than on a local server, offering several advantages. They are more scalable, as they can easily accommodate a large number of users. They also allow for remote management, making it easier to issue, revoke, or update mobile credentials. Furthermore, cloud-based systems offer better disaster recovery, as the data is stored in multiple locations.


The world of access control is undergoing a significant transformation, driven by the advent of mobile credentials. As we’ve explored in this article, mobile credentials offer a multitude of benefits, including enhanced security, unparalleled convenience, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and integration capabilities. They represent a significant shift from traditional physical keys and cards to a more secure and convenient digital format.

The choice of a mobile credential solution should be guided by the specific needs and requirements of your organization. We’ve reviewed two popular solutions – BAS-IP’s UKEY and HID Global’s Mobile Access Solutions – each offering unique features and benefits.

Looking ahead, the future of mobile access control is promising. Trends such as integration with biometrics, the use of artificial intelligence, IoT integration, and the shift towards cloud-based systems are set to further revolutionize the field.

In conclusion, mobile credentials are not just a passing trend, but a fundamental shift in the way we approach access control. They are shaping the future of security, offering a more secure, convenient, and integrated experience. As we move forward, embracing this digital transformation will be key to unlocking the full potential of access control.

The journey towards a more secure future has already begun, and mobile credentials are leading the way. It’s time for organizations to embrace this change and unlock the potential of mobile credentials. After all, in the digital age, security is not just about keeping threats out, but also about letting the right people in, at the right time, and in the most efficient way possible.


Q: What are mobile credentials?

Mobile credentials are digital keys stored on a mobile device that grant access to secured areas.

Q: How do mobile credentials enhance security?

Mobile credentials enhance security by eliminating risks associated with lost or stolen keys/cards. They can be easily deactivated and replaced without compromising the system.

Q: What are the benefits of mobile credentials?

Benefits of mobile credentials include increased security, convenience, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and integration capabilities.

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