In today’s digital era, the use of smartphones and wearables for various purposes, including building access, has become increasingly common. One such technology is Apple Wallet integration for mobile access, allowing iPhone users to use their devices for building entry and digital access card storage. While this promises a seamless user experience, there are important cost considerations and logistical challenges associated with implementing Apple Wallet for mobile access in existing security systems.
1. Reader and Firmware Upgrade Costs:
- Apple Wallet integration often requires upgrading or replacing existing access control hardware and infrastructure, as it is only compatible with approved lock or reader manufacturers with NFC readers.
- Older access control readers (pre-2016/17) may lack compatibility with Apple Wallet, potentially ruling out a significant portion of active readers.
- Upgrading hardware, including labor and materials, could cost approximately $1,000 or more per door, depending on local labor markets.
- Firmware updates, if possible on-site, also incur labor costs and may require specialised integrator services.
Alternative Approach: Some solutions, like Sentry Interactive, offer a cost-effective way to keep existing functional readers in place by providing a software upgrade at the host and leveraging NFC technology in mobile devices for access, avoiding the need for costly hardware replacement.
2. Integration Complexity and Costs:
- Each building or facility may require its own Apple Wallet integration, even if the same type of readers is used in different locations.
- Managing integration with different reader types, such as HID’s Signo and Wavelynx Ethos readers, can add complexity.
- Custom integrations need to be qualified, vetted, tested, and approved by Apple, which can incur additional costs ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.
Alternative Approach: Streamlined solutions like Sentry Mobile Access offer integrated access control across multiple buildings, reducing complexity and cost.
3. Estimated Apple Wallet & Implementation Costs:
- Costs associated with Apple Wallet integration may include Apple licenses (approximately $3 per user per month), seat licenses (approximately $6 per user per year), and new hardware and installation costs.
- For a company with 1,000 users, assuming 53% are iPhone users, initial costs for Apple Wallet integration could amount to $42,000 – $52,000 in the first year.
Alternative Approach: Solutions like Sentry Interactive eliminate the need for additional hardware installation or firmware upgrade costs, potentially reducing the overall cost.
4. Broad-Scale Adoption:
- Apple Wallet primarily serves iPhone users, which may account for around 53% of users in the US but less globally.
- Globally, the preference for Android devices may be higher, with up to 71% of employees outside the US using Android devices.
Consideration: To ensure widespread usability and efficiency in access control, decisions should align with user preferences and consider the global user base.
In conclusion, while Apple Wallet integration offers a seamless mobile access experience, it comes with significant costs, especially when upgrading existing access control systems. Businesses should carefully evaluate their specific needs, user preferences, and budgets when considering mobile access solutions. Alternative solutions like Sentry Interactive can provide a cost-effective and efficient way to achieve mobile access without the need for extensive hardware upgrades.