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SJUK Exclusive: Meeting requirements and exceeding expectations


Jaroslav Barton, Head of Product Marketing, PACS Europe, HID Global explains how mobile credentialling provides security, flexibility and convenience.

With ten billion mobile devices in use worldwide and smartphone user numbers closing in on four billion – including 78% of adults in the UK – leveraging the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology to enhance access control is proving to be a smart strategy for a growing number of security-conscious organisations.

The mobile credentialling trend is being driven by more than convenience, however. Because they eliminate reliance on physical cards or badges, support multiple security protocols and add layers of security on top of basic card encryption, mobile credentials are substantially more secure than physical access control.

Mobile access control is also more flexible and agile, so it can be tailored for use in multiple environments – this makes it ideal for mixed-use or multi-tenant properties. These were all factors in the decision by HB Reavis to integrate mobile credentialling into the access control system it implemented for Varso Place, a landmark structure in Warsaw, Poland.

Securing a landmark

HB Reavis is an international workspace provider whose designs are meant to enhance occupants’ wellbeing and productivity by creating synergies through a people-centric focus. Active across much of Europe, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic, one of its latest developments is the 144,000-square-metre Varso Place.

The three building project’s centre piece is the Varso Tower which, at over 310 metres tall, is set to become the tallest building in the EU. Designed using modern principles and technology, its 70,000 square meters of space is spread over 53 floors and includes public space on the ground level and an observation deck on the top providing spectacular views of the city of Warsaw.

HB Reavis applied its people-centric approach to Varso Place, incorporating spaces for business users and the general public that complied with key requirements that included allowing more than 7,000 people to move freely and easily throughout the building in a highly secure manner. It was also necessary to accommodate public access on the lower floors, including a covered walkway lined with shops and restaurants.

For Varso Place, HB Reavis wanted to provide a single access system for the entire building so that every tenant would have a simple, easy to use solution for security management. The system also needed to be modern, benefit users of the building and be in keeping with the high quality style of the landmark structure.

Addressing unique obstacles

Varso Place’s landmark, mixed-use status presented several unique challenges when it came to security. One of the biggest was how to create a unified access control solution, using a single type of reader that would support multiple tenants using different credential types and technologies. This would also deliver significant cost savings by eliminating the need to install other access control systems and readers. HB Reavis could also ensure a uniform look and feel throughout the building for a consistent aesthetic and experience – providing a single solution to support the entire user journey throughout the building.

Furthermore, HB Reavis wanted to ensure that the access control system would integrate into its More App which covers all building services, including events, room booking systems, concierge services, car and/or bike sharing and seamless access. The More App is central to the company’s vision to provide workspaces that increase productivity and wellbeing, so it is constantly upgraded and improved to ensure satisfaction and a unique experience for everyone using its buildings.

Finally, HB Reavis wanted a building security solution that would allow tenants to move away from traditional key fob or card-based options and instead leverage smartphones and digital credentials. However, the company also wanted tenants to have the option to keep using more traditional plastic badges if they preferred.

A familiar partner – HID Global – with whom HB Reavis already had a 15-year relationship, had the digital access control system to all of the unique needs of Varso Place. The system used readers equipped with Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and near field communication (NFC) technologies that support a broad array of high frequency 13.56 MHz and low frequency 125 kHz credentials and work with a variety of form factors including cards, fobs and smart devices (in both Android and iOS systems).

At Varso Place, HID readers are being deployed on parking barriers, lifts and all inside doors, while also providing tenants with the option of using their mobile IDs through the More App. With HB Reavis managing the security system going forward, tenants also benefit from the peace of mind that comes with having access to state-of-the-art security that does not require hands-on involvement in implementation or ongoing management. The company also supports card-based security for those tenants who wish to continue using the access control system through the same HID readers.

HID Global’s access control systems have already made a difference. The solution has helped with secure and seamless interaction during the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling touchless access around the building, as part of its integration into the HB Reavis More App.

Ticking all the boxes

At Varso Place, HID Global readers and access management systems demonstrate the power and versatility of mobile credentialling by making it possible to provide one solution for the entire user journey – from the general public passing through the building to tenants and employees. Mobile access provides not only state-of-the-art security control, but it also helps with wellbeing as the need to remember a pass or key card when leaving home or moving around the building is eliminated.

And, because HID Global’s solution includes a Software Development Kit (SDK), HB Reavis can integrate mobile access into its own More App and enhance and update it as needs change over time; this maximises the long term benefit realised from using mobile security. Tenants who opt for the mobile solution over physical cards or key fobs also benefit from seamless, touchless security controlled access that starts before they enter the building and follows them throughout their time inside and when they exit the premises.

It is frictionless security because most people always ensure they are carrying their smartphone or mobile device. Another key advantage of contactless mobile security systems is that they support health guidelines for disease control as they minimise surface contact opportunities and the human-to-human interaction that is typical for issuing and managing physical cards and key fobs.

By creating a safe and environmentally friendly space, HB Reavis can prioritise health and ensure a risk-free environment for Varso Place tenants and visitors by leveraging mobile credentials to limit or eliminate unnecessary contact.

By implementing an access control system based on mobile credentialling in Eastern Europe’s largest office project, HB Reavis is providing more than 7,000 people with the ability to move freely and securely around Varso Tower while providing a canvas for future enhancements that will ensure working at Varso Place remains a positive and secure experience.

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This article was originally published in the April edition of Security Journal UK. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.