By Mark Hesse on Nov 20, 2012
With an earlier-than-normal departure this morning to avoid the stalemate known as traffic congestion, I suddenly realized what I had failed to grab on my way out the door... my company ID badge. Unfortunately, at the time of my epiphany, I was far enough into commuter no-man's land where turning back would completely negate my early departure and increase my overall drive time exponentially. Not being one to retrace my steps, I decided to press on.
Upon arrival at the office and with an hour to go before a security guard would be on duty, I started thinking about the number of times I had forgotten my ID vs. the number of times I had forgotten my phone. While rare on both accounts, my ID was most likely the missing artifact.
I then wondered why there isn't an app for my smartphone that allows me to verify my credentials with my employer and then, provided with a secure token for the day, have the ability to access my building's card entry system. On many levels, this seems much more secure than an ID card which can be lost, stolen or even forged and then used simply by tailgating into and around buildings at facilities where card scanning can generally be avoided.
As it turns out, another building on the campus has 24 x 7 guard coverage, so I was able to gain access in a relatively short time and secure a temporary ID badge. Once inside and online, a quick internet search on the subject of smartphone badge access shows that efforts are underway to do exactly what I was thinking needed to be done. Having not spent any time studying about the technology, I discovered that it relies on Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled smartphones (of which, mine does not provide). The only other option would require modifications to the security infrastructure to support alternative authentication technologies, such as barcode readers, which would be extremely costly to implement.
For now, my best option is to put my corporate ID under my car keys...