Why Bluetooth Access Control is the Most Accessible Touchless Solution

Boon Edam Limited Blog | September 2020

Compared to the many other touchless security options for buildings, such as facial recognition and fingerprint security, Bluetooth is arguably the most accessible of them all. A familiar technology paired with its ease of use has already shown it to be one of the most common forms of access control across industries in the UK. However, with Covid-19 forcing many businesses to reassess their access options, there are many signs that hint that Bluetooth readers are set to only increase in popularity as they position themselves as the most accessible touchless solution on the market. 

Rise of Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth technology has been around since as early as 1999 and its usage has spanned across many different areas over the years. While adoption was slow to start as many people commonly associated the technology with slowly transferring images and videos to a friend or family member’s phone, the technology has taken great strides over the years, and is now commonplace in products including cars, speakers, keyboards, and more recently, security.

From a security perspective, Bluetooth technology has become an integral part of many a building’s access control systems, with many security and building managers opting for Bluetooth card readers to ensure only authorised staff can enter key areas through the use of their own card or pass. The prevalence of card readers and controllers across businesses can also be seen in a recent study conducted by IFSEC Global, which found that 78% of the 154 industry professionals surveyed said they utilise controllers and readers within their buildings. 

Bluetooth and Mobile Access Control 

While Bluetooth card readers are a viable option, they do come with a number of disadvantages. Businesses must ensure a new card or pass is created for every new member of staff that comes on board, not to mention the very real possibility of a member of staff losing or misplacing their pass, which along with needing to create another pass also poses various security issues should the pass fall into the wrong hands. 

These issues have led to innovations in Bluetooth access control over the years, circling back to what Bluetooth technology was originally intended for - mobile phones.

Instead of using a card or pass, many modern Bluetooth access control readers operate by users using their smartphone as the authentication device instead. In doing so businesses are able to save money and time as the vast majority of staff will already have access to a smartphone. After all, 69% of the entire population already uses smartphones, which increases to 95% when narrowed down to adults aged 18-44, according to Gartner Research. 

With the vast majority of staff already having all they need when it comes to Bluetooth access control, staff need only work with the security or IT department to ensure their virtual credentials are installed on their smartphone before the required entryways can then be used. 

With the ease of use and reduced security risk associated with lost cards and passes, it’s perhaps little surprise that more than half of those surveyed by IFSEC Global said that mobile access will be one of the top trends to shape the future of access control.

User Experience and Bluetooth Access Control 

As for why Bluetooth access control readers are estimated to only grow in popularity, it comes down to two key reasons, the first of which is the system's ease of use.

Most people are familiar with Bluetooth, which makes them far less intimidating to users when confronted by them in the form of a Bluetooth access control system. By simply placing their smartphone next to the reader, the user’s device will be scanned and if the device matches one already entered on the system, the user will be given access. This form of access control, when compared to other systems such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, is not only less invasive but also far easier to use overall.  

When it comes to access control, ease of use is key for successful implementation and use by staff members. When it comes to upgrading security, IFSEC Global found those they surveyed ranked ‘improving user experience’ as higher than ‘security concerns’ when asked for the top reason they would upgrade their access control solution. 

The great news about Bluetooth access control is also its ability to easily be upgraded as required. While previously access control systems required a complete restructure when upgrading, many modern Bluetooth access control systems can be implemented easily alongside any current systems in place, saving both time and money in the process.

What’s more, once the system is in place, keeping it up to date is also simple. When we think of our smartphones, updates come easily and can be implemented at the push of a button. With the advances in Bluetooth access control, this approach to upgrading security can also be implemented, allowing for consistent updates to users to enhance the user experience, while also keeping security high by avoiding outdated versions and systems. 

Bluetooth Access Control as a Touchless Solution

Alongside ease of use though, Covid-19 has highlighted one other key advantage Bluetooth access control brings to security and building managers - the system is touchless by design.

With the focus on limiting the need for unnecessary contact, Bluetooth access control provides the perfect solution to limiting contact between staff without compromising on security. With mobile phones being the common authenticator of choice, users can ensure they only have to worry about their own form of access within the building.

An even greater advantage comes from the fact that Bluetooth access control is contactless in that the user does not have to physically place the mobile phone onto the reader itself. Depending on how many people need to access the entryway in question on a daily basis, there is a risk of contamination through its continued use. However, with a Bluetooth access control system, because the user does not have to physically touch the reader itself, the risk is greatly reduced.

Incorporating Bluetooth Access Control in your Building

For more information on how Bluetooth access control can help improve the security of your building and keep your staff safe, contact us today

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