Bluetooth Access Control: What Is It & How Does It Work?

In a world where our phones are practically extensions of ourselves, constantly in hand and ever-ready, their potential goes far beyond mere distraction. While they may be perceived as workplace nuisances, these devices hold a remarkable capability: access control.

As smart devices skyrocket and cell phones become indispensable companions, businesses increasingly turn to Bluetooth access control as the epitome of modern security solutions.

This innovative approach enables seamless entry via smartphones and RFID credentials and offers substantial cost savings for businesses.

Let’s talk about Bluetooth access control, uncover its intricacies, and how it’s revolutionizing how we manage access control systems.

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What Is Bluetooth Access Control? 

Bluetooth access control uses Bluetooth technology to control access to buildings and other areas on your property. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that allows you to exchange data between devices, whether playing music on wireless earbuds or for hands-free calling in the car. 

Regarding access control, Bluetooth allows users to gain access with just their phone. The technology allows access control system administrators to control access credentials with their phones.

One of the many perks of Bluetooth access control is that it does not require internet access to function. You just need to put your smartphone near a reader to gain access. 

Access control system

Bluetooth access control is a relatively cheap form of access control, especially compared to systems requiring the user to have key fobs or cards. With these types of systems, you need to pay for the physical credentials, they need to be replaced semi-regularly, and you need to keep some on hand for new users.

However, when users access the building via Bluetooth, you don’t need to pay for the device they access, as they’ll use their smartphone and mobile credentials. This also greatly reduces users’ chance of forgetting or leaving their access device in the car.

How Does It Work? 

Bluetooth access control works via an app on users’ phones and a Bluetooth proximity reader connected to your access control system. In this contactless system, when someone wants to gain access to your property, they must have their mobile credentials near the reader.

As a system administrator, it is up to you how close their smartphone needs to get and to what degree they need to open their phone. 

There are various ways users can activate the system to recognize their phones. Before their first use, users will need to install an app and register their phone. This will then store their phone’s unique ID as an authorized user. 

Then, as a system administrator, you can choose how you want your access control system to function. Users can open their app and show their phone like they would a QR code, shake their smartphone to activate it or press a manual button within the app to open the door. 

Optionally, users can always keep it on, so they only need to come near the proximity reader to be granted access. While this is convenient for users, security can be an issue because anyone who holds your phone can enable a door lock.

With this, users authenticate and enter the pin in the keypad or use biometric recognition for an additional layer of security.

Regardless of which system you use, the user’s phone or application communicates with the Bluetooth reader to grant or deny access. Every person’s phone has a unique ID recorded when they enroll and register. The system then remembers this ID in a database to allow entry. 

System administrators can also perform Bluetooth actions, including opening or locking the door to control access. 

bluetooth reader from phone to security system

Does Bluetooth Access Control Drain Phone Battery? 

It depends. Some uses of Bluetooth are notorious for draining your phone battery. This can be a concern for many users. Thankfully, most Bluetooth access control systems, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), use Bluetooth that doesn’t drain batteries.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) uses less battery power than traditional Bluetooth; in fact, devices can run for years on Bluetooth Low Energy without batteries dying. This is helpful for wireless Bluetooth readers installed with batteries. Additionally, a Bluetooth Low Energy system won’t drain the batteries on users’ phones.

Bluetooth Technology Evolution

Bluetooth 1 (with multiple sub-releases): The initial iteration faced compatibility issues and offered a modest data transfer rate of 1 Mbps in the market.

Bluetooth 2 (with multiple sub-releases): This version addressed compatibility concerns and boosted the data transmit rate to 3 Mbps.

Bluetooth 3: A significant advancement, it introduced the HS protocol, elevating the data transfer limit to 24 Mbps and enabling Bluetooth to utilize an alternative radio frequency akin to Wi-Fi devices, expanding its market penetration.

Bluetooth 4 (with multiple sub-releases): This version introduced LE (low energy) technology, enabling Bluetooth integration into wearable and portable Bluetooth-enabled devices with improved battery efficiency. It facilitated the entry of Bluetooth into the realm of physical security systems.

Bluetooth 5: The latest iteration brings enhancements focused on processing efficiency, connectivity, and IoT optimization. It extends range, speed, and broadcast capacity, making Bluetooth suitable for deployment in various physical security applications.

Are Bluetooth Access Control Readers & Access Control System Secure? 

Bluetooth access control is secure because it has built-in two-factor authentication, especially if you require users to unlock their phones to activate their Bluetooth. Requiring users to have their phones on and unlocked helps ensure they are who they should be. 

Most people don’t lose their phones regularly, and if they do lose their phone, they recognize it and trigger the alarm. However, when somebody loses their security key card or key fob, they may not realize it until the next time they go to work. It would be easy for anybody to pick up key fobs and enter your building, something they couldn’t do as easily with a lost phone. 

You can also choose the range you want the Bluetooth to work at, which can affect the security of your system as well. A closer range will be more secure even though a further range may be more convenient for users. 

Bluetooth isn’t typically a target for hacking, and as long as you keep your firmware updated, you typically shouldn’t have any major security concerns.

bluetooth-reader-access-control

FAQs

What are the benefits of Bluetooth access control?

Bluetooth access control offers several advantages, including convenience, as users can access secured areas without needing physical keys or cards.

It also enhances security by allowing administrators to easily manage access permissions, use other functions, and connect and track access activities in real-time.

Can Bluetooth access control integrate with other security systems?

Yes, Bluetooth access control systems can be integrated with other security systems, such as video surveillance, alarms, and building management systems.

Integration and innovation allows for a comprehensive security solution that enhances overall safety, performance, and efficiency.

Key Takeaways

It’s rare today that people go anywhere without their smartphones. Bluetooth access control offers a seamless and efficient solution for managing entry to various spaces.

By harnessing the power of our smartphones, this technology eliminates the need for traditional keys or cards, streamlining access while also providing cost-saving benefits for businesses.

Say goodbye to keys and cards and hello to seamless entry with just your smartphone. Discover the convenience and efficiency of Bluetooth access control today! Contact us to learn more and make the switch today!

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