NFC-enabled smartphones used as virtual keys in HID Global trial at US university

HID Global has completed a trial at a major US university in which NFC-enabled smartphones were used to access a campus residence hall and selected residents’ rooms.

Participants in the virtual keys in NFC-enabled smartphones at the ASU trial were able to open door locks using their iCLASS-SE-enabled customized smartphones instead of the iCLASS-based campus ID cards as their identification key.The trial took place at Arizona State University (ASU), where selected students and staff used smartphones in which HID Global’s new iCLASS SE credentials had been embedded to open door locks.

ASU manages on-campus housing for approximately 13,000 students living in 34 residence halls. For the purposes of the trial, HID Global deployed iCLASS SE readers on secured doors to ASU’s Palo Verde Main hall, and HID technology-enabled Sargent Profile Series electromechanical locks from ASSA ABLOY on selected resident room doors.

Participants in the trial were able to open door locks using their iCLASS-SE-enabled customized smartphones instead of the iCLASS-based campus ID cards – known as Sun Cards – used by other students. All participants used their smartphones to access the residence hall, and some were also issued a unique digital key and PIN that they could use to open individual room doors. The technology supports over-the-air provisioning and management of digital keys, which simplifies administration of the access-control system.

“This project highlights the promise of taking NFC technology beyond cashless payment into new, complementary physical access-control applications,” said Denis Hébert, HID Global President and CEO. “ASU is a leading innovator and long-time iCLASS user, and now the university is helping us validate how bringing mobility to access control improves security while enhancing the user experience by making it easier to deploy and manage keys and more convenient to carry them. With this technology, any door that’s opened with a key or Sun Card has the potential to now be opened with a phone.”

In initial feedback, approximately 80 percent of ASU participants reported that using a smartphone to unlock a door is just as convenient as using their campus ID card. Nearly 90 percent said they would like to use their smartphones to open all doors on campus. While the trial was focused on physical access, nearly all participants also expressed an interest in using their smartphones for other campus applications such as accessing the student recreation center and paying for transit, meals, tickets and merchandise.

Here you can find out more about HID Global and access control and identification.