By John Moss
John Moss is Chief Product Officer of LenelS2.
You should know there is a trend in access control that deserves your attention: they’re taking your cards away.
From the beginning of electronic access control, we’ve always had cards. Mag stripe cards and proximity cards – even analog proximity cards – and cards with “Wiegand wires” in them and magnets in them and holes in them, and all manner of contrivance. But, now cards are going virtual. Digital certificates – blobs of data – that are served up from your mobile phone to a reader, typically by a temporary, low-power Bluetooth (BLE) wireless connection, are replacing them.
Our first concern at S2 was how to fit virtual credentials into the product ecosystem so that issuing and managing them would be easier and would involve less operational friction than their physical forebears. That was the major concern that originally motivated S2 Mobile Security User, a new mobile app from S2 Security.
S2 Mobile Security User (MSU) is a mobile app for every employee, guest, or anyone else who needs an access credential. It offers a broad set of capabilities that start with a virtual credential wallet to hold one or more digital credentials that are delivered to the app via our S2 Cumulus cloud service platform. MSU takes care of holding the virtual credentials and delivering them via BLE to readers.
Most manufacturers provide an app of some sort to hold their own virtual credentials, but we were also enticed by the fact that this is the first time that everybody in the enterprise can interact with the security system through an app. So, we began to look into what we could accomplish if everyone had an app that was indirectly linked to the S2 ecosystem through the cloud.
First, we looked at photo IDs. While there will continue to be demand for displayed plastic IDs, a virtual photo ID will work in many cases. MSU includes a virtual photo ID function that works with our existing badge production capability to create both physical and virtual photo IDs. The virtual ID can be produced using the typical badge creation workflow in S2 NetBox, and displayed on command.
To communicate with the MSU users, we added a mass notification capability that allows S2 NetBox, S2 Magic Monitor, or our professional app, S2 Mobile Security Professional, to send notifications to groups of people or individuals. These products communicate through the S2 Cumulus cloud platform to deliver notifications through the phone’s native messaging protocol, text message, or email.
We integrated our threat level escalation app into MSU. The threat level capability lets designated people respond to threats by, for example, locking down a facility. We also integrated a one-touch way to reach security for help. Finally, we perfected our mustering capability with a unique 3D barcode on MSU that can be read by the camera on S2 Mobile Security Professional, eliminating the need to be within WiFi range of the system. We also added a self-muster capability for those who manage to evacuate without mustering on the way out.
S2 Mobile Security User will be available for iOS and Android this June, and we have other capabilities in the works for it including defect reporting and crowd-sourced video capture.