Security and access control came a long way from the wooden sticks used as keys in Ancient Egypt and Babylon some 6,000 years ago. Modern access control systems are no longer just keys and locks, but sophisticated ecosystems with high-tech components that interact with each other. From mobile access to facial recognition, many innovative access solutions that look nothing like a wooden stick add value to millions of lives, in terms of convenience and security.
A novel methodology called frictionless access is most recently praised as a total game-changer to take comfort and security to the next level. Comprised of sets of hands-free access methods, frictionless access will likely remain in the vogue for the foreseeable future.
What Exactly is Frictionless Access?
As offices, homes, and other workplaces are having increasingly more complex security needs, the demand for security products is on the rise. However, the absence of suitable access technologies might hinder people’s movement and day-to-day lives.
An adequately designed access ecosystem must empower people to carry on with their daily lives freely while providing them a peace of mind and sense of security. Frictionless access is a method of permitting access to an area without interfering with the user experience. In other words, tapping into frictionless access allows a person to walk into an otherwise locked room or building, with hands in their pockets. Especially in hectic or crowded environments such as buzzing offices, hospitals, or factories, frictionless access can save time, optimize the people flow, and significantly enhance security.
Furthermore, as frictionless access is an innovative method to go hands-free, it promotes hygiene and public health. As the concerns about the two peaked due to the COVID-19 outbreak, hands-free access never resonated more with millions of people.
How Does Frictionless Access Work?
There’s no single way of facilitating frictionless access, as it’s a methodology that enables hands-free access with minimal interference with users. Hence, access solutions such as facial recognition, Bluetooth-enabled entrances, mobile phones or apps can fall under the umbrella of frictionless access.
However, after Apple introduced its iPhone 11, a model that supports an innovation known as ultra-wideband technology (UWB), shortly followed by Samsung and its Galaxy Note20, UWB came to the forefront of frictionless access.
Similar to Bluetooth or WiFi technologies, UWB technology typically connects a digital key – such as a smartphone or a watch – and an electronic reader on the door. In contrast to Bluetooth or WiFi, however, UWB technology not only communicates data to authorize the user but simultaneously measures the distance between the credential and the reader at centimeter precision. Once paired with the reader, only a defined distance grants the user access.
There is no possibility of compromising the system by a relay attack – i.e. feigning physical proximity by amplifying the signal of the wireless key. Therefore UWB is likely to dramatically increase the use of frictionless access and security in the near future.
What Does Frictionless Access Change in Access Control?
According to Thomas Herling, SVP and Global Business Owner of Electronic Access & Data at dormakaba, frictionless access can revolutionize access control, eliminating the need to carry or swipe cards or keys while enhancing security at the same time.
A digital key carried by mobile phone instead of an analog key or a physical card is more convenient, flexible, and secure. It can also improve privacy while reducing the admin and maintenance costs of facilities.Thomas Herling, SVP and Global Business Owner of Electronic Access & Data at dormakaba
“In modern life, most people are glued to their phones. It’s the single most important personal belonging,” he says. “People might lose keys or cards, but are much less likely to lose or misplace their phones or smartwatches. This also makes it nearly impossible to get to someone’s mobile credentials or the digital key,” he adds.
This revolution already began in the automobile industry, which is typically progressive for embracing access innovation.
“I believe that already in a few years, this will spread to homes and offices and change access as we know it today,” adds Thomas Herling.
After thousands of years of being dependent on keys, locking doors is an important ritual symbolizing security for millions of people around the world. However, the added safety and comfort brought of frictionless access is poised to initiate a new era for access.