The latest Curve and BlackBerry Bold phones use NFC and BlueID to open doors with no need to install NFC readers.
Smartphones are being turned into door keys by German firm BlueID, which is using near field communication, or NFC, to achieve its aim. BueID's technology is being used in BlackBerry smartphones to enable them to control access in office buildings and open doors.
As well as taking away the need for access keys, tokens or cards, there is also no need to install passive NFC tags on the doors. This is because the phone is able to communicate with the access control system, which takes away the cost of installing NFC readers - smartphones that do not feature NFC can be utilised using Bluetooth and 2G/3G and 4G wireless internet connections.
Access permissions are issued as BlueID tickets or digital keys. This is done centrally within the BlueID Trust Center - these are then sent worldwide to the BlackBerry devices over a secure mobile interent connection. Once the BlackBerry, which is running the Blue ID Mobile Client app, has its digital key, it becomes a digital key ring, and the user can then use their handset to open doors.
Managing Director at Baimos Technologies, Markus Weitzel, explains how the system works: ‘At the door, the BlackBerry with NFC is held in front of the NFC tag. Immediately BlueID opens the door. The communication between BlackBerry and control unit is high-security RSA/AES-encrypted.'
The NFC tag is installed wirelessly, which makes it easy to upgrade existing access control systems.
To ensure security of the system, access permissions and every door opening is secured by RSA/AES encryption at a key length of up to 4,096 bits. In comparison with the costs of access cards and tokens and so on, digital permissions are reasonable, with a validity of up to five years costing between 0.24 (£0.19) and 8.39 Euro (£6.73).
The access permissions remain stored in the BlueID Trust Center, so they can be retrieved if necessary. Should the phone be lost, access permissions can be revoked in seconds, and then loaded onto a new handset.
All the BlueID products, including BlueID Access Outdoor, BlueID Appliance and BlueID Access Indoor, are capable of being used with 2g/3G/4g, as well as Bluetooth and NFC.
Handsets with NFC capability for opening doors are the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9790, along with the BlackBerry Curve 9380 and 9360. Other BlackBerry models with software version 4.3 and higher are also compatible with BlueID.