Enhance security and sustainability

Issue 3 2022 Editor's Choice

With the world facing a turning point in 2020 with the Covid-19 pandemic, digital transformation became priority. Very quickly, schools had to embrace online education, medical offices had to implement telemedicine and businesses in every sector had to rely on a remote workforce to ensure business continuity.

Mobile connectivity also enabled people to keep in touch and access important information to support their lives and livelihoods during lockdowns.

It is no surprise that last year recorded, for the first time, more than half of the world’s population – just over 4 billion people – to be using mobile Internet, according to the most recent State of Mobile Internet Connectivity report by GSMA Intelligence (www.securitysa.com/*hid3), a research and analysis firm specialised in the mobile industry.

Meanwhile, the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) applications is growing exponentially. Cisco expects that by 2023 (www.securitysa.com/*hid2), M2M connections – think smart meters, health care monitoring, transportation and package or asset tracking – will account for half of the total devices and connections.

There is no doubt mobile connectivity plays a big role in our daily lives, but the growing consensus that governments, organisations and individuals must take immediate action to reduce carbon footprint places it front and centre as a means to replace traditional, environmentally-unfriendly technologies.

In the security space, specifically in the access control segment, companies are increasingly executing access with mobile devices as a mechanism for the authentication and identity verification of their employees and visitors. Mobile access eliminates reliance on physical cards or badges, supports multiple security protocols and adds layers of security on top of basic card encryption, making it substantially more secure than traditional physical access control.

Digital credentialling and passwordless multi-factor authentication, for example, have encouraged financial services companies to move from issuing plastic credit cards to digital payment methods. In the higher-education sector, universities are taking a mobile-first approach in lieu of plastic cards by offering mobile IDs with the ability to open doors, check out library books, make cafeteria purchases and more.

Much more than convenience

The benefits of mobile access control have been exposed on different occasions and in many scenarios, but its relationship with environmental sustainability and the optimisation of resources for the planet deserves a particular space.

According to a 2020 survey put forth by technology intelligence firm InformaTech (www.securitysa.com/*hid1), two-thirds of technology organisations stated that sustainability will be a top-three driver of product innovation and decision-making in the next five years. Sustainability is no longer a value-add, but a must-have practice for organisations.

What does this mean for the security and identity industry?

Forward-thinking providers know that sustainability plays an important role in technology deployment decisions. Technology, such as 5G networks and artificial intelligence (AI), are already enabling more end-to-end, cloud-based solutions while reducing its carbon footprint.

Another element of mobile access that is gaining recognition is the concept of multi-application, where a single product or solution can execute multiple things. This digital experience not only increases operational efficiency, but also helps reduce the number of plastic cards that users use and lose, which has a positive impact on sustainability and security. Mobile credentials are issued remotely over the air, which helps to reduce physical touchpoints both for employees and visitors.

Equally important, it provides a convenient, flexible and secure access control. Advanced access control readers in the market today are ISO/IEC 27001 certified and support the latest security credentials, such as Seos, as well as digital credentials on cellphones, enabling smooth migration from less secure legacy card technologies. This flexibility is enhancing the user experience and helping organisations to drive their digital transformation sustainably.

Additionally, mobile access can be seamlessly integrated into building management system applications through secure application programming interfaces (API) and software development kits (SDK). With robust API and SDK, organisations are able to collect, monitor and manage terabytes of data.

Data management, machine learning and AI

Data creates context around human behaviours and patterns of activity, whether in a physical space or in a network. These insights help to highlight anomalies, empowering security professionals to more quickly identify or predict abnormal behaviours.

The huge amount of data generated across devices and access points can be used to make security operations more efficient and effective. Adoption of data science powered by AI and machine learning make this data even more valuable to security and IT teams. In fact, AI and ML technologies are already improving the performance and accuracy of biometric solutions and are detecting financial fraud and enabling predictive physical security.

Tightly integrating these capabilities into unified physical and digital security systems ensures rapid response in threat detection and mitigation, helping organisations move from threat prevention to threat prediction, allowing for sustained growth and continuous improvement of their security systems.

Varso Place

Located in Warsaw, Poland, Varso Place is HB Reavis’ latest development and most ambitious project to date. It comprises three buildings in a 144 000 m2 area. The project’s showstopper is the fully glazed 53-storey Varso Tower standing at over 310 m tall. The mixed-use site features prestigious office and public spaces on ground levels, including shops, restaurants and an observation deck at the top of Varso Tower.

Due to the size and scope of the project, HB Reavis sought a single access system for the entire building so that every tenant would have a simple, easy-to-use, one-stop solution for security management. It wanted to move away from tenants having to use a traditional key fob or card-based solution and rather implement a high-tech system that also allows for the management of digital credentials using smartphones as a primary form factor.

The solution of choice from HID Global included mobile-enabled readers which are equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Near Field Communication (NFC) technologies, as well as a SDK that integrates with HB Reavis’ mobile app. The app covers all building services from concierge services, events, room booking systems, car or bike sharing and, of course, easy access when people enter and exit and move around.

As the SDK can be developed and upgraded over time as requirements change, HB Reavis is able to maximise the long-term benefit of mobile security. The mobile, contactless solution – which supports Android and iOS-based smartphones – has been particularly beneficial during the Covid-19 pandemic as it minimises surface contact and the human-to-human interaction that is typical when issuing and managing physical cards and key fobs.

“Not only does mobile access provide state-of-the-art security control, there is no need to remember to take a pass with you when you leave home or move around the building. When security is based on the phone, it is frictionless, because people always have their phones with them,” said Jakub Kacer, security manager at HB Reavis.

With this solution, HB Reavis can ensure a seamless access control solution that enhances the user experience for tenants and employees at Varso Place who access the building’s facilities every day.


The digital experience reshapes security, with interconnected devices raising the bar of what can be secured and how. The cloud will power implementations efficiently across physical and logical footprints, elevating the value of data and facilitating servitisation to drive specific business outcomes.

As consumers urge businesses to share information on things like energy use, waste reduction and resource optimisation, organisations must define a clear sustainability strategy to be better positioned to not only adapt to, but anticipate environmental, social and regulatory changes, both in the short- and long-term.

To succeed, systems integrators and end users should work with sustainably-minded suppliers. By identifying and working with suppliers who demonstrate sustainability efforts in their own organisations creates a sustainability component within the full value chain, helping to communicate sustainability KPIs and ROI.


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