Mobile Credentials for the Masses

Guest Contributor: Greg Hetrick, Marketing Manager for PCSC

For the past few decades, physical proximity cards were standard issue. Businesses assigned plastic cards to employees and visitors and cards opened doors where permission was granted. Cards were lost, stolen, and no one was sure the person using the card matched the authorized user. Fast forward to today, where roughly 77% of adult Americans carry smartphones on their person, with increasing numbers worldwide. It’s no secret that mobile credentials are quickly replacing the physical card you once carried dangling from your neck or in your wallet or purse. While physical cards may have some advantages, i.e., never needing a battery, virtual credentials are rapidly gaining ground and for good reason. If you’ve got your phone on you, you’ve got your credentials with you. The excuse not to go mobile is also losing traction.

Credentials on your mobile device just make sense. For starters, your device is usually locked by a PIN, fingerprint, or facial recognition. This added layer of security eliminates a lost or stolen physical card. Often a mobile device can be located or remotely wiped in a worst-case scenario, making virtual credentials that much more secure. Society is obsessed with their devices, we adorn them with fancy covers, we store family photos, passwords, personal and financial information deep within their circuitry. We notice quickly too when our mobile phone is not nearby. Having our physical access card within a secure digital wallet is just another part of daily life, akin to keyless car entry or push-button ignition switches.

Bridging the gap between physical cards and mobile credentials requires a physical door reader capable of communicating to a mobile device. Often, this means ripping out older conventional proximity door readers and replacing them with newer Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) integrated readers. Replacing readers can get expensive, not just the product cost, but the labor time involved to remove the old reader, rewire the electrical back box, possibly patch the wall and remount the new reader. Depending on the number of readers a location has, this could be a daunting task.

What if a whole new reader replacement wasn’t necessary for mobile credential access? What if you could upgrade nearly any existing proximity reader in a matter of minutes with minimal effort? Imagine a retrofit mobile upgrade device so small it rivals the size of a postage stamp, and weighs just 2 ounces. We’re talking about a mere decal, with no battery power needed; instead utilizing the readers existing RFID field for power. Enter the Safetrust SABER Reader module, a peel and stick reader upgrade. Compatible with nearly all existing technologies, BLE, 125 kHz, and 13.56 MHz proximity readers, MIFARE Classic, and MIFARE DESFire. The SABRE Reader module translates secure PLAID / AES 256 encrypted badge data into proximity data, which is transferred to the host reader. The installation process is simply adhering the module to the inside or outside of a readers enclosure, configuring virtual credentials in the cloud and within minutes you’ll have the capability of mobile access with your existing readers. Employees and visitors alike can be assigned virtual credentials, all of which can be managed via an online portal. Each credential is uniquely tethered to each of their devices. Over-the-air credential issuance, means you grant or revoke access in real-time. This translates to rapid deployment for all users, in large or small batches, including those in remote locations.

It sounds too good to be true, you ask? It gets better, at just a fraction of the cost and time involved in replacing a reader with a newer BLE capable model. Your upgraded readers will also continue to work with physical cards too if you choose. The Bluetooth read range is between 1 to 100 feet (.30 to 30 meters). It’s compatible with Apple iOS and Android mobile devices. Beyond door access, a relay module is available for use with gates, overhead doors and other entry control devices. Physical access for local computer desktop or laptop login is also an option. The Safetrust mobile credential can also be used with certain other BLE compatible readers available from other manufacturers. This makes it a seamless transition option to newer technologies. For example, you may want to install new readers at the building’s entrance where appearances are more important, while only upgrading existing readers in the less conspicuous areas.

There’s no knowing just how many door access readers are currently installed around the globe within facilities and campuses; hundreds of thousands, millions maybe? The opportunity to retrofit and bridge the technology gap is mind-boggling. The term retrofit for this device is underrated, this product is truly an upgrade, affordable, feature-packed and convenient. It’s time for mobile credentials, for the masses.

More details about the Safetrust Mobile Solution can be found at: