HID’s Hébert evaluates ‘move to mobile’

Annual HID Global Strategy Briefing at ISC West focuses on potential and pitfalls of mobile access
Monday, April 15, 2013

LAS VEGAS—A talkative crowd had gathered and a long line formed outside of a Venetian ballroom well before the doors opened for Denis Hébert’s annual HID Global Strategy Briefing and luncheon on April 11.

This year’s address focused on the opportunities and potential pitfalls the security industry needs to be aware of as access control goes mobile.

The move to mobile access control holds great promise, especially in the hospitality vertical and residential space, Hébert said. The enterprise space, on the other hand “will be a mixed bag.”

The move to mobile will “redefine credential use and management,” Hebert told the crowd of more than 200 people. As a result, “best practices” for end users and integrators will become more important than ever, he added.
Citing a survey that HID did of 656 integrators, end users, consultants and manufacturers, Hebert said that when those best practices are not implemented by end users, the main reason is because the cost is perceived as too high.
That’s bad news, of course, because the cost of not implementing sound best-practices policy for access control with a mobility component can be very, very high.

Integrators and manufacturers need to work together to make sure all stakeholders understand the value as well. “We need a culture of vigilance and cooperation,” Hébert said.

Fortunately, “integrators and dealers are getting more involved in policy decision-making,” Hébert said. And that’s good news, because it will help end users understand the importance of best practices and help them justify the cost of implementing these policies to the C-suite.
Hebert discussed the complex ecosystem involved with new mobile access control products, with stakeholders who all move at a pace that’s considerably faster than what the physical security industry is used to.

Those in the ecosystem include NFC chip players, wireless radio providers, SIM card manufacturers and mobile operators themselves. HID is working with “four SIM card manufacturers, nine or 10 manufacturers of handsets that support NFC, and mobile operators around the world,” Hébert said.

“Rapid change is what these stakeholders live by,” he said.

Another theme of Hébert’s talk was the issue of privacy, which he said would become “increasingly crucial” as access control goes mobile.

A notable example is “location privacy” which “because of mobile technology is become a big deal,” he said.

The approach to privacy concerns in the United States is different than in Europe, he noted. Europeans, who consider privacy a “basic human right,” take a “mandated approach to privacy.” The United States, on the other hand, has taken an “opt-in” approach.

Will clear privacy guidelines emerge in the United States? Hebert believes so, and he pointed to the Federal Trade Commission’s “Privacy by Design” policy that was included in President Obama’s Privacy Bill of Rights. “[That] could become a solution,” Hébert said.

Hébert concluded his hourlong discussion by saying there is “a gap between where we want to be from a technology perspective and a policy perspective.”

“We sit today in a place of opportunity,” he said, but all stakeholders need to do their part. Manufacturers need to provide supplier-agnostic products that guard against escalating threats, consultants need to ensure that security plans support a business strategy that includes sound best practices, and end users and installers need to be cognizant of those policies as well.