Bluetooth Low Energy (also known as BLE) is the latest keyless entry technology for mobile and smart phone access control credentials.
Bluetooth is an ideal technology for contactless mobile credentials for access control and door entry.
Bluetooth door entry utilises each individual user's smart phone with installed app for wireless transmission of access credentials and a Bluetooth Access proximity reader to receive the signal. When the device is near to the Access reader, the application communicates with the reader and exchanges the security key to authenticate and opens the lock to allow entry.
BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) is also known as Bluetooth 4.0. When comparing Bluetooth Low Energy with standard Bluetooth, the main difference is in BLE’s low power consumption. With Bluetooth Low Energy's reduced power consumption, applications can run on a small battery for up to 5 years. This is vital for applications that only need to exchange small amounts of data periodically.
In Access Control applications, therefore, BLE helps to significantly increase the battery life for users' smart phones (compared with standard Bluetooth transmission).
In addition, as wireless, battery-powered access readers enter the market, Bluetooth Low Energy will become the transmission technology of choice for increased battery life.
Exactly the same as Bluetooth, BLE operates in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. However unlike original Bluetooth, BLE stays in rest mode until a connection is initiated. BLE’s actual connection time is a few mS, whereas Bluetooth takes around ~100mS. The reason the connections are short, is that the data rates are so high at 1 Mb/s.
There are a gorwing number of applications and devices making use of Bluetooth BLE technology in order to benefit from the contactless and low energy characteristics.
And as more and more devices become 'smart' or interactive, wirelss connection our smart phones becomes an expectation, rather than a novelty.
BLE is already commonly used in systems such as:
In order to use your smart phone for contactless authentication with an access control or smart lock system, you will need to install the manufacturer's app on your phone, which will be linked to your unique account on the system's remote / cloud hosted environment.
Most access control smart phone apps will feature a number of functions, such as remote viewing of your access or intercom's camera, remote unlocking if you have visitors and you are out at the time, temporary key generation, etc.
In addition, the smart phone app will be used as your identity authentication for wireless access methods such Bluetooth and NFC.
Most apps will allow various activation functions to transmit to the access / smart lock receiver, such as:
Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy are used for different purposes. Bluetooth can handle a lot of data however it takes up battery life quickly and costs a lot more. BLE on the other hand is for applications that don’t need to exchange large amounts of data, and therefore run on battery power for years at a cheaper cost. Which one you use depends on the end goal of what you are trying to accomplish.
Smart phones use one or a combination of these authentication methods, meaning a mobile phone's credentials stay protected behind a smart phone’s security parameters, such as biometrics and PIN numbers. Once an authentication method is entered to access the phone, the user automatically has set up 2-factor access control verification.
You can’t have access to the Access Control credentials without having access to the phone first. So if the phone does not work, the Access Control credential will not work. The credential works the same as other apps on the phone. The phone must be turned on and unlocked for it to be used.
The availability and built-in multi-factor verification are the 2 main reasons why organisations want to use smart phones in their upcoming access control implementations along with the fact that the maority of people own and use a mobile device nowadays.
Find out more about Access Control and Door Intercoms:
Bluetooth is a wireless technology used to exchange data between devices over short distances using UHF radio waves. A Bluetooth connection can only transmit between 2 Bluetooth devices and works over a maximum distance of 164 feet between the devices.
Bluetooth is more secure than Wi-fi, however it can be unreliable security wise unless the devices security issues are not kept up to date. For example making sure phone firmware and laptop operating systems are up to date.
It is also advised to turn Bluetooth off when not in use for added security. As well as limiting app permissions for Bluetooth. Another security tip is to keep distance – most security attacks can only be carried out at close range, therefore be aware of your surroundings when you use it. However it is relatively rare for Bluetooth attacks/hacking.
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If you would like to discuss your next access control system or would like more information on our full range of security products, please call our team today on T. 0115 9770075 or email us now.