Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, manufacturer of Schlage contactless smart credentials and readers, released a report today that says “two-thirds of American college students are interested in using their cell phone in place of an ID card.” The press release I received said it was “independent research undertaken by Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies” but it did not include hard numbers, sample size or information about margin of error. While I assume I could get those numbers from IR, in this case, I’m not skeptical at all about their findings, even without seeing their numbers. If anything, I’d guess their numbers are low.
The press release points out that “people will almost always notice that their phone is lost faster than noting a card is missing.” During a presentation at ASIS, where HID CEO Denis Hebert, talked about their NFC pilot project at Arizona State University, Hebert said it takes a student like six minutes to realize that they lost their phone, whereas it could take up to 24 hours to realize they lost a key.
The release said that nearly half of all students identify their cell phones as their favorite personal electronic device. Again, that’s probably an understatement--and it's not just college students who are attached to their phones. Here’s a funny NYT OpEd from a month ago about how iPhone owners’ response to their phones is more akin to love than anything else.
Back to the release, in a statement, Beverly Vigue, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies VP of education markets said: “There are a great number of early adaptors in the college population that are already sold on cell phones being a credential, just like they were sold on the use of smart cards and biometrics previously … [this] ties in nicely with the budding discussion of NFC (near field communication) which will inevitably end up on cell phones. No Visa card; no MasterCard card…only your cell phone will be needed for cashless payments or to show your identity.” Further, she notes that “the solution is still in the testing phase and not yet ready for mass commercialization … plus, it is hard to determine what the phone providers will charge for having this attribute.”
So a variety of manufacturers are clearly all over this new technology, but how soon will phone credentials be ready for prime time in the commercial market?
Funny you should ask. This is one of the many topics that will be discussed at TechSec 2012 (Delray Beach, Fla. Feb. 7&8). One session: “The Smartphone: ID of the Future,” will explore NFC and its use for various physical access control applications. In addition to the ASU pilot, HID is doing pilot projects with non-education end users, and those end users will be at TechSec to talk about whether the love for “smartphone as credential” is just as strong in verticals other than education. More important, Hebert, the end users and an integrator will discuss what it will take to move this technology into the maintstream and what this emerging technology will mean for integrators' bottom line.