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Integrated BLE-NFC Solution Opens the Door to Mobile Access

Nedap has upgraded its two-year-old MACE solution to allow integration with companies' access-control systems, enabling them to provide mobile phone-based access to individuals with their own apps and access-control technologies.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 01, 2018

Nedap Identification Systems has upgraded its Mobile Access Control Enabler (MACE) access-control solution with a software developers kit (SDK) and a portal to enable companies to integrate wireless access leveraging smartphones into a company's existing system, and with a company's own app. With the MACE App SDK, businesses can integrate Nedap's MACE app functionalities into their own application so that users can interact directly with the companies' own app.

The system now comes with MACE REST API, which serves as an exchange command between the MACE administrators' portal and the company's own access-control system. The system also comes with improved Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) performance and added security features, according to Nora Roebers, Nedap's product manager.

Nedap's Nora Roebers
The MACE solution was launched in May 2016 as a way to enable companies to provide individuals with access to a facility without requiring that they acquire or turn in a physical access card or key. Instead, they can simply use their phones. The system consists of Nedap's MACE reader (see Nedap Intro's Slim Mobile-access Reader), which serves as a BLE beacon, a Near Field Communication (NFC) 3.56 MHz reader and a QR code scanner, as well as the MACE app and software to verify the unique identifier on an individual's phone in order to confirm that he or she can enter the premises.

In recent years, access-control systems have been evolving beyond physical access cards, the company has found. "We have seen a shift toward new solutions to enable users to identify themselves," Roebers says. Although many companies are still using ID badges, the ease of a mobile phone-based credential is providing firms with a way to quickly provide or revoke access for employees, contractors or visitors. "We don't think physical cards will disappear either," he states. For that reason, the readers and solution are designed to accommodate traditional ID cards as well, using both smart-card and proximity-card technologies, or with QR codes.

When a company chooses to provide an individual with access to a building or secured area, it can send a notice to that person, along with a verification code. He or she can download an app and create a MACE account, or use the company's own app, then input a verification code on his or her phone.

The system can be set up for users to choose from BLE, NFC or QR code technology, based on their preferences or their smartphone's functionality (for example, iOS-based phones cannot currently be used for NFC reads beyond Apple Pay functionality). Upon arriving at a site, such as at a building entrance, an individual presents his or her phone to the MACE reader. Users can configure the reader for specific read ranges (in the case of BLE) that best suit a particular use case. They can also require specific actions by a phone user, prior to triggering a BLE transmission, thereby preventing stray reads.

The reader comes with a variety of output options, including Wiegand and the Open Supervised Device Protocol, (OSDP) to forward data directly from the reader to a company's existing access-control system. Businesses using the technology have asked to remain unnamed, though Roebers describes them as falling into three general categories: businesses such as office complexes, as well as parking companies and residential buildings.

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