Arizona State University (ASU) is committed to the ongoing use and management of advanced technology, including solutions that optimise security and convenience for students, faculty and staff.

In August 2011, the university launched a ground-breaking project to evaluate the benefits of moving its student housing keys onto NFC smartphones. Pilot participants accessed a campus residence hall and selected resident rooms using HID Global’s iCLASS® Secure Identity Object (SIO™) Enabled (iCLASS SE) credentials that were embedded into a variety of popular smartphones connected to all major networks.

Extending physical access control capabilities

HID Global’s iCLASS SE platform is based on a new, standards-based, technology-independent and flexible data structure that significantly improves security, portability and performance. It also extends physical access control beyond traditional physical cards and readers to enable the deployment of digital keys and secure identity credentials on smartphones and other devices.

Initial feedback from the ASU pilot project has been very positive. Participants report that, while they have often left their rooms without their keys and Sun Card campus IDs, they never forget their phones. Carrying their Sun Card credentials inside their NFC smartphones gives them confidence that they can always get back into their residence hall or room.

Focus on student safety and security

A leading innovator and long-time user of iCLASS access control credentials, ASU organises on-campus housing for approximately 13,000 students living in residence halls across four campuses. The university first adopted iCLASS technology for its Sun Cards in 2004 as part of a major safety and security initiative that was initially focused on ASU’s labs and other sensitive spaces. The initiative was extended over the years to include residential areas with a focus on student safety and security.

Today, students, faculty and staff carry a Sun Card for secure access to a variety of facilities. The university also was familiar with NFC technology and could envision providing services similar to its Sun Cards in smartphones. “When I first saw this technology used in other applications, I recognised the benefits it could bring to a university campus,” says Laura Ploughe, Director of Business Applications and Fiscal Control, University Business Services, at Arizona State University.

Making the most of mobile phones

As with any campus housing program, assigning rooms and distributing keys is traditionally a significant endeavour that takes many days and involves a large number of campus staff members and volunteers. Throughout the school year, residential life and facility management also must handle room re-assignments and the tasks of retrieving old keys and issuing new ones. There also is the matter of lost keys and associated costs. Although Sun Cards make the administrative tasks of key management easier, Sun Card management, too, is onerous. Moving access credentials to the phone seemed easier.

"Mobile phones are at the heart of campus life and play
a major role in facilitating the students’ social connections"

ASU was also keenly aware of the role cell phones play in students’ lives. “Mobile phones are at the heart of campus life and play a major role in facilitating the students’ social connections,” Ploughe says. “We are always looking for ways to help students succeed, and to engage with and deliver services to them in the same manner they engage with each other using their phones and social networks.”

ASU felt the cell phone was an ideal platform for carrying digital residence hall and room keys alongside the device’s other voice, data, memo, music, navigation, camera and game functionality. The university wanted to gain student feedback about the convenience and perceived security of using their smartphones for physical access control. It also wanted to determine the viability of transferring identity to a ubiquitous device that provides secure identity and can also be used for all functions associated with student life around campus.

HID Global iCLASS SE access control platform

HID Global deployed iCLASS SE readers and HES® electric strikes from ASSA ABLOY on secured doors to ASU’s Palo Verde Main hall. The readers communicate with a Lenel OnGuard® system installed by Kratos®. HID technology-enabled Sargent Profile Series electromechanical locks from ASSA ABLOY were deployed on selected resident room doors in the hall.

The 27 students and five staff members participating in the pilot were given NFC smartphones carrying next-generation iCLASS SE technology. To open door locks, pilot participants presented the phones to a door reader just like they do with their existing iCLASS-based Sun Cards. The embedded NFC short-range wireless communications technology in each of the phones enabled them to exchange access control data between the phones and door locks.

Significant improvements to security, portability and performance

All participants used their phones for residence hall access, and some also used them with a unique additional digital key and PIN to open individual room doors. The technology also supports over-the-air provisioning and management of digital keys, which simplifies access control administration. The underlying technology that makes this all possible is HID Global’s next-generation iCLASS SE access control platform and its SIO data structure.

Arizona State University student Sun Card
55% of students reported that the mobile access transactions were at least as fast as using traditional Sun Cards

SIOs on the credential side and SIO interpreters on the reader side perform similar functions to traditional cards and readers, with significantly improved security, portability and performance. SIO technology operates within HID Global’s Trusted Identity Platform® (TIP™) framework, which is designed to support a secure and trusted boundary for cryptographic key delivery.

The TIP framework ensures that SIO digital credentials can be securely provisioned on a variety of credential platforms, including smartphones and other mobile devices, no matter where users are located or how they are connected.

Results of pilot project

According to Ploughe, the pilot project has proven that a ubiquitous device can converge secure identity credentials and physical access control, and has endorsed the promise that NFC technology holds within the campus environment. The results from a participant survey included the following highlights:

  • Almost 79% of respondents reported that using a smartphone to unlock a door is at least as convenient or more convenient than using their existing Sun Card.
  • 55% reported that the mobile access transactions were at least as fast as using traditional Sun Cards.
  • Almost 90% of respondents said they would want to use a smartphone to open all doors on the ASU campus.
  • 85% of respondents said they were approached by others who saw them using their smartphones to unlock doors and had questions or comments about the technology. The majority of questions were how and where to get a similar smartphone for themselves, and the majority of comments were about the “coolness” of the technology.
  • Nearly all respondents expressed an interest to use their smartphone for other applications including meal, ticket and merchandise purchases, student recreation centre access, transit, and other typical Sun Card applications.

Remote credential management

Mobile access control delivers benefits to both administrators and the cell phone owner. Lost phones carrying digital keys are more likely to be noticed and reported than physical keys or ID cards. The mobile access control model also streamlines credential distribution and retrieval by enabling remote credential management throughout its lifecycle. It is also easier to modify applications and security parameters via software downloads and firmware updates, which eliminates the risk of key and/or card copying and simplifies the task of temporarily issuing new keys and cancelling them when lost or stolen.

“We were very impressed with the convenience of putting Sun Card credentials on NFC smartphones, as well as the enhanced security that is delivered by this next-generation of advanced access control system,” Ploughe says.

Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Smart home access control growth and the future of door security
Smart home access control growth and the future of door security

There’s growing noise around smart homes and smarter security. You’ve probably heard it. But there is a place where access control and more have been smart for decades: the workplace. Home automation and IoT are still playing catch-up with the commercial sector. A new insights report from ASSA ABLOY and IFSEC Global — “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018” — measures just how fast consumer smart technology is running. According to a survey conducted for the report, 61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system. Energy monitors, home CCTV cameras, intruder alarms and smart door locks are the most popular, according to the report. All these functions, of course, have been available to businesses for years.61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system Educating the smart home consumer Paradoxically, report data also questions how much consumers really know about their smarter home. A surprising 42% of those surveyed, for example, were unaware they could control a smart door lock from their phone. In fact, many leading smart door lock models offer this feature, delivered by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and an app. Despite a wealth of features offered by the latest smart door locks — remote and location-based locking/unlocking; voice activation; timed access; emailed entry alerts; and integration with smart camera and lighting systems — most people still have limited knowledge of their capabilities.  Smart technology is increasingly becoming the new norm in terms of home security  Only 14% of survey respondents described themselves as “very familiar” with what a smart lock can do. Even though most of them probably use smart access control solutions at their workplace. Secure homes through smart technology Monitoring and security are not the only drivers for smart home adoption. We humans also love convenience, and modern living presents us with problems that smart home technology can solve. Ironically, given the report’s findings, it takes a smartphone to really unlock the convenient possibilities of smarter living. The device that’s “always to hand” is central to the newest generation of smart door locks.A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out If homeowners wish to remotely manage property access for friends and family, many smart door locks oblige. You let in guests remotely, send them a virtual digital key, or provide a temporary or single-use PIN to unlock the door. It is just as easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore. This is a significant improvement over sharing physical keys — or hiding one under the doormat. We cannot be totally sure where a metal key ends up and have no way to track or cancel it once it’s “out in the wild”. Commercial access control offers such functionality as standard, of course.  In addition, smart door locks offer more than just stand-alone operation and clever functions. In a domestic setting, magic happens when locks work in harmony with a home automation system, connected by protocols like Z-Wave, ZigBee or Wi-Fi. "Smart" security on the move  The smartphone is becoming a remote control for managing a connected life beyond just home (and even workplace) security. According to Accenture, the parcel delivery services market will grow by $343 billion by 2020. Just like home security, convenience is a major driver of change. Homeowners can send guests a virtual digital key to their phones, or provide a temporary or single-use PIN to unlock the door A recent PostNord pilot in Sweden aimed to remove the inconvenience of waiting home for a postal delivery. Selected customers of some major Scandinavian e-retailers could choose to have parcels delivered inside their front door, if it was equipped with a Yale smart door lock.  Home delivery is among potential smart services covered in “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018 ”. When asked whether the ability to receive parcels securely in a porch or lobby would make them more likely to invest in a smart door lock, 79% said it would.It is easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore Holiday rentals and smart home tech ASSA ABLOY research published in 2017 forecasts continued growth in the European holiday rentals sector (at 5.8% CAGR). Smart door locks are also making an impact here, at both ends of the market: for service providers — agents and homeowners — and for travellers. A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out, without creating extra work or staff costs. Both Intersoft, in Croatia, and Hoomvip in Spain have built holiday rentals management systems around an app and the ENTR® smart door lock. Agents issue, revoke, track and manage virtual keys for all their guests, saving everyone time and hassle. Travellers use their phones and an app to unlock their apartment. For these visitors the smartphone is already an essential travel accessory. It is a boarding pass, a credit card, a travel guide, and a postcard home... why not a door key, too? And if this key is backed by a trusted home security brand — and a company with vast experience in the mature market for commercial “smart” security — better still.

Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry
Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry

Security and Safety Things GmbH (SAST) is a new company that has announced its vision for an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for the next generation of security cameras. The Bosch startup plans to build a global ecosystem for the development of innovative security camera applications. Based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), SAST provides libraries, an API framework, and codecs for developers to work with. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications. We presented some questions to Nikolas Mangold-Takao, VP Product Management and Marketing, about the new venture, and here are his responses: Q: Why a new company now? What technology innovations have made this a good time to launch this company? The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform"Mangold-Takao: From a technical perspective we see two main drivers: increasing computing power at the edge and increasing internet connectivity, which will enable devices to directly communicate with each other and bring new technologies such as artificial intelligence also to the security and safety industry. At the same time, we see that this industry and its users are hungry for more innovative solutions – addressing new security needs while at the same leveraging the possibility to improve business operations for specific verticals, e.g. retail and transportation. The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform for this industry. Q: Why does SAST need to be a separate entity from Bosch? Mangold-Takao: SAST is setup as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group. We wanted to make sure that SAST is able to underline its role as an industry standard platform across multiple players. SAST is open to get additional investors and is being setup as a startup in its own offices in Munich to foster the environment where speed and innovation can more easily take place. Having said that, several entities of the Bosch Group are very interesting partners for SAST. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications Q: Please explain your "value proposition" to the industry. Mangold-Takao: We will bring new innovations and possibilities to the security and safety industry by providing an open, secure and standardised Operating System for video security cameras, to also address pressing issues such as cyber security and data privacy concerns. Devices that run then with the SAST operating system will work with an application marketplace provided and operated by SAST. Integrators and users can then use these apps from this marketplace to deploy additional functionality on these devices. With our platform we will be able to build up a community of app developers, including the ones not yet developing for this industry who have expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence. Q: It seems what you are doing has parallels with the Apple and Android "app" stores. How is your approach the same (and how is it different) than those approaches? We are setting up SAST as a user-centric company and involve selected users very early on in the process"Mangold-Takao: The approach is similar in the way that we plan to generate revenue by operating the application marketplace and thus participate in the app revenue. The difference is that there is much more needed than apps and cameras to create a complete working solution addressing a user problem in this industry – we need to make sure that our own platform as well as the new applications being created will work as a part of an end-to-end solution. Q: "Critical mass" and wide industry participation seem to be requirements for your success. How will you achieve those goals? Will you involve integrators, consultants, or other parties in addition to manufacturers (to drive awareness)? How? Mangold-Takao: SAST is in close exchange with device manufacturers, integrators and consultants, as well as application developers and large end-users at the moment to ensure that we are building the right platform and ecosystem for this industry. We are setting up SAST as a user-centric company and involve selected users very early on in the process. We will run dedicated programs and hackathons to attract app developers, already active and new to our industry. We will also run selected pilots with end-users throughout 2019 to ensure we have all partners involved early on. SAST sees the industry is hungry for more innovative solutions – with the retail vertical market a target for these solutions Q: What timeline do you foresee in terms of implementing these initiatives? Mangold-Takao: While we start with first app development programs and plan our first pilots already for this year, we are planning our commercial launch for end of 2019. Q: How does your new company relate to the new Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA)? Mangold-Takao: The Open Security and Safety Alliance has been working very closely with SAST over the past year, defining some important concepts and elements required. One of the most important elements is an open and standardised Operating System, specific to this industry, which will then bring forward new innovative technologies and solutions. SAST is actively working on this Operating System, based on Android Open Source Project (ASOP), but is evolved and hardened with industry-specific features. Q: What's the biggest thing you want the security industry to understand about SAST? What is your "message" to the industry? Mangold-Takao: Our message is simple: let’s build better security and safety systems – together! But for real, innovating an industry is a joint effort, we can only bring new innovation to this industry with partners who share our vision and are excited about new technology. At the same time, we strongly believe that our platform allows every partner to bring forward what they do best but also invite new partners to our industry.

What is the value of remotely monitoring a system's health and operation?
What is the value of remotely monitoring a system's health and operation?

When is it too late to learn that a video camera isn’t working properly? As any security professional will tell you, it’s too late when you find that the system has failed to capture critical video. And yet, for many years, system administrators “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” And when they found out, it was too late, and the system failed to perform as intended. Fortunately, in today’s technology-driven networked environment, monitoring a system’s health is much easier, and a variety of systems can be deployed to ensure the integrity of a system’s operation. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can remote monitoring of a security system’s health and operation impact integrators and end users?