Now and in the future, the smartphone will be a universal identification device in the office!
Today, more than 90 percent of all smartphones available are BLE-compatible. The growing market presence opens up new opportunities for BLE technology, which also draws more and more attention to the B2B segment – especially in the area of 'user identification and physical access'.
The white paper "BLE Bluetooth Low Energy" by Elatec comprehensively illustrates which technological potentials of BLE can be integrated into innovative and efficient solutions.
Additionally, in cooperation with RFID & Wireless IoT Global, Elatec experts Dr. Dominik Samson and Antonio Nabeiro will explain the technical principles of the technology as well as its practical applications.
What makes BLE Technology so appealing as a global application?
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is a short-range radio technology that can be used to connect devices in an area of around ten meters. Compared to the "classic" Bluetooth, BLE has a significantly lower energy consumption and the required hardware is available at a lower price. The global circulation of BLE-enabled devices ensures that almost every smartphone is equipped with a Bluetooth interface. Thus, for BLE solutions involving smartphones, intensive hardware acquisition costs are eliminated.
The BLE protocol stack is designed for applications with the lowest possible power usage. From a technical point of view, BLE is only compatible with versions of the Bluetooth specification 4.0 or higher. Bluetooth devices must utilize the BLE protocol stack to exchange data via a BLE connection. Downward compatibility is not maintained. Unlike all other Bluetooth versions, BLE enables the reduction of power consumption while maintaining a similar range. Like any Bluetooth version, BLE applications operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency band.
BLE offers developers versatile possibilities for the realization of applications: Data rates from 125 Kb/s to 2 Mb/s in power levels from 1 mW to 100 mW and different security options can be combined. For example, a physical access system based on smartphones with BLE connection can be updated at any time via a software-based administration of authorizations.
Multi-functional RFID and BLE Readers from Elatec
- The multi-functional RFID and BLE readers can be flexibly integrated as modules – or as stand-alone readers – into existing physical access infrastructures (physical access barriers, door closing mechanisms, etc.)
- The readers enable applications in which LF, HF and RFID cards or RFID key fobs as well as smartphones with a BLE interface are used as identification devices. Around 60 different RFID transponder technologies are supported.
- The RFID and BLE readers are distributed with a Software Development Kit (SDK). Via the SDK, each user can utilize their own or external software applications and/or apps on the readers.
Two distinct security levels
The functions of the BLE technology have proven to be enablers for security features. Not only do they offer operational potentials for the B2C sector, but also application possibilities for the B2B segment. When utilizing Bluetooth technology, a differentiation is made between two security levels. In cooperation with a technology consultant, the necessary security level is defined and the solution designed accordingly.
Used as an identity feature, BLE is suitable for applications in which the focus is on simple usage instead of prioritizing the security level. This solution can be used in both B2B and B2C sectors.
The second option is particularly suitable for company-wide applications in the B2B sector and is based on certificate issuance. Thereby, BLE applications can be used within a single, networked ecosystem, for example for physical access, admission, and vehicle access control.
Physical access in day-to-day office operations
The smartphone functions as a universal identification device for physical access, vehicle access, time recording, and admission physical access authorization to IT infrastructures such as PCs or printers. The central administration of authorizations enables individually tailored concepts even for temporarily employed staff or employees who work in one field of business at several company locations.
Physical access and car sharing
If BLE communication is used in car-sharing systems, there is no need to carry an additional RFID/NFC card.
The vehicles are locked and unlocked automatically via the corresponding authorization on the smartphone. Since a smartphone app is used for searching, finding, ordering, and booking vehicles in the first place, the use of BLE is an additional convenience for the customer. By using BLE technology, the supplier of the car-sharing solution profits from faster and more transparent transactions. The time-consuming issuing and/or sending of a card is no longer necessary.
Further practical examples
- Museums and events
Learn more about Bluetooth Low Energy
The white paper "BLE Bluetooth Low Energy" by Elatec outlines in detail the potential and technical principles of BLE technology. Best practice examples, ranging from 'parking' to 'printing', are illustrated. The following applications are featured:
- Physical access to buildings and parking garages
- Secure printing
- Event tickets
- Physical access to local public transport
- Airline boarding
The Elatec Experts for Bluetooth Low Energy
Dr. Dominik Samson works in the department of Business Development at Elatec. Part of his core areas of expertise are market influences and market entry strategies of BLE technology.
Antonio Nabeiro is constantly exposed to new physical access technologies in his position as Director of Business Development Access and has acquired extensive expertise in the field of BLE.