New Standard Aims to Introduce Cross-Platform Building Access

The intent is to allow mobile devices and wearable computing to allow common credentialing for physical security interoperability.

One of the frustrations in any form of technology is closed systems. It happens frequently — take mobile computing. What works on Android is typically incapable of being used on iOS, except for some obvious examples like JPG files or separate versions of the same basic app.

When it comes to corporate needs, this gets complex, and building physical access control has been a major example. Merger and acquisition activity creates the need to blend incompatible systems of all sorts, including authorization to get into physical spaces. Companies that move an office from one building to another may need to reassign codes or entry devices so employees can get into the new space. Or a building owner might want to test new entry hardware systems and face the need to have multiple identification systems for employees.

A move toward a solution seems to have come from the Connectivity Standards Alliance, an industry organization with 675 members looking to create open standards in Internet of Things  technology that is broadly used in CRE. They announced a new standard called Aliro.

“Aliro aims to reduce the complexity of partner integrations and acts as an arbiter for certification of interoperability for mobile devices and access card readers,” the organization says. “It is designed to reduce the high cost of R&D and simplify the integration process. The certified hardware then makes it easier for system owners and installers to select the best hardware and software for their needs, streamline installation, and support a wide variety of consumer smartphones and wearables. Aliro will also make management and maintenance of access control systems easier, eliminating the need to troubleshoot across multiple providers of hardware.”

Some of the companies involved include Allegion, Apple, ASSA ABLOY, Google, Infineon, Kastle Systems, Last Lock, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm, Samsung, and STMicroelectronics. This is the type of backing you might look for in standards that would have any chance of getting broader industry support.

But even though some are promoting the new standard — Kastle announced its EverPresence product, claiming a “truly interoperable physical access control system” — benefits will likely take time for most buildings. As hardware is involved, chances are that implementation will require either new installations or replacement upgrades. That would run into significant expense and a wait.

As Kastle wrote in a press release, “The open platform ensures the access system will be future-compatible, and upgraded to the Aliro standard when it is adopted, avoiding system overhauls, and minimizing the risk of being locked into proprietary solutions that might become obsolete.”

“When it is adopted” is realistic phrasing for anyone in CRE making plans.