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Readers are Becoming... Interesting

Credential readers have undergone a quiet revolution in capability over the past few years, and LenelS2’s BlueDiamond™ readers represent a perfect example 

By John L. Moss
John L. Moss is Chief Product Officer of LenelS2

When designing your access control system, it’s easy to overlook the credential readers that rest, quietly, at the edge of the system architecture. The system software is way more complicated and demanding to learn. The panels have a much more complicated installation procedure. And, the administrative user interface often gets much more attention in the buying process. But credential readers have undergone a quiet revolution in capability over the past few years, and LenelS2’s BlueDiamond readers represent a perfect example.

BlueDiamond readers are equally valuable for new systems and gradual transitions from older technology. They support an enormous range of credential and communications formats, which is especially important if there are multiple generations of cards and fobs. Installations looking for data security that Wiegand wiring can’t provide can use the OSDP support built into every BlueDiamond reader. An additional benefit of using OSDP is the ability to update reader firmware centrally – a huge advantage when you need it. 

Having to handle physical credentials is tedious, but one can dispense with physical credentials altogether in many applications, by using secure virtual credentials that are completely managed from within your access control software. The BlueDiamond companion mobile device app augments the reader by securely transmitting a virtual credential. The virtual credentials are managed by the NetBox™ or OnGuard® platform, or even a third-party access control platform, and stored on the mobile device in a credential wallet. 

Deploying virtual credentials to a mobile app reduces friction in the access process by eliminating the need to carry and present a separate physical credential whose only purpose is access control. Instead, a multipurpose app enables a range of access control convenience functions. Siri Shortcuts, for example, are available for iOS users who can use voice commands to initiate door unlock. 

Most users start off by handling the mobile device as they would a physical credential, a mode referred to as “Phone-as-a-Badge” where the phone is presented to the reader as if it were a badge. There exists, though, an interesting and uniquely BlueDiamond feature called Pathways, available to OnGuard users. The Pathways feature supports the definition of doors that form access patterns that users often follow. With a pathway defined, a mobile user need not handle or otherwise specifically present the device to request access. Simply coming near the BlueDiamond reader requests the unlock. 

Apart from other benefits, the integration of BlueDiamond virtual credential management into LenelS2’s NetBox and OnGuard platforms makes it unnecessary to log into a third-party web site to create credentials prior to issuing them. This makes it easier to issue virtual credentials than physical ones.

Many of the same features described here, while frequently used to increase the convenience of using access control, are particularly valuable during a pandemic. Access control that doesn’t require touching readers or keypads is specifically part of LenelS2 parent company Carrier’s Healthy Buildings Program, which includes a range of products and services that help deliver healthier, safer, more efficient and productive workspaces. 

So, if you’ve been concerned that transitioning to a more secure, capable, maintainable and expandable access reader is a difficult ask, BlueDiamond readers and credentials may convince you that it’s not so.

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