Assa Abloy Seeks to Tap Market For NFC Mobile Keys
Sweden-based door-lock system supplier Assa Abloy–hoping to tap what it believes will be a growing market for NFC-based digital keys–is tuning its sales pitch with a formalized offer, called Seos.
The company, which owns some of the biggest brands in hotel and office building access-control systems, including VingCard Elsafe and HID Global, along with large conventional lock makers, said it is offering applications for mobile keys that work on all major smartphone platforms and which can be loaded onto SIM cards or other secure elements. The company first introduced the offer last year.
Daniel Berg, vice president of Assa Abloy’s Mobile Keys unit, told NFC Times the company has developed a trusted service manager platform to deliver and manage digital keys over the mobile network for hotels, building managers and other service providers. The Seos offer also includes contactless readers and locks and software development kits for application developers, the company said.
Assa Abloy hopes to see its products enabling guests to receive digital room keys before arriving at the hotel and enabling them to check in and out with a tap of their mobile phones. The hotel could revoke the keys over the air after the guest leaves.
Security staff in office buildings could send temporary digital keys to visitors and service personnel over the mobile network and the keys could be protected by mobile phone PIN codes, said Assa Abloy.
The offer also would enable homeowners to send the encrypted digital keys to visitors, handymen and babysitters from their mobile phones and revoke the keys when necessary.
“Homeowners no longer have to lend out physical keys and worry about them being lost or copied,” said the company in an announcement this week.
For the system to work, Assa Abloy or the hotel chains or other service providers that use Seos would need to strike deals with mobile operators or other owners of secure elements in NFC phones.
Assa Abloy’s HID Global unit announced a deal last year with Research In Motion that would enable enterprises to store their corporate badges and other access-control and ID applications on embedded chips in NFC-enabled BlackBerrys.
The company’s TSM would work with the TSM for RIM, ensuring that mobile keys would be delivered to a secure domain carved out in the embedded chip in the BlackBerrys.
Berg told NFC Times that the mobile keys applets support Java Card technology, used in nearly all SIMs and embedded chips. The applet also could run on a secure element in microSD cards, said the company.
Besides the BlackBerry operating system, Berg said the Seos system could run on Android, Windows Phone 8 and Apple’s iOS devices. The latter would require an NFC-enabled add-on for the iPhone.
Berg declined to name any planned commercial rollouts. Assa Abloy launched one of the first pilots of its kind in late 2010, enabling about 30 guests and employees of the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden to check-in, receive their door keys and enter their rooms, all with their NFC phones. The pilot put digital keys on SIM cards in Samsung S5230 NFC phones.
Assa Abloy participated in other trials at Arizona State University in the U.S., and at office buildings in Europe and in the U.S., said Berg.