Preparing for the Future of User Authentication in Parking
RFID readers provide secure and convenient access to parking lots and garages for authorized drivers—just wave an ID card, key fob or smartphone, and you’re in! Universal readers provide flexibility for parking operators and open up new markets for OEMs providing parking infrastructure.
Easy Entry: RFID for Parking Authentication
Parking space is at a premium in most urban locations, creating a need to regulate who has access to a lot or garage. Columns—often with a built-in lift gate to control entry—are increasingly used to authenticate drivers as they enter the parking facility. User authentication allows parking operators to:
- limit access to authorized drivers;
- track who is using parking facilities and for how long;
- connect driver identities to back-end systems for payment or authorization;
- improve lot security; and
- track occupancy and manage visitor flows.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) offers significant advantages for parking access compared to competing technologies, such as magstripe cards or QR cards. RFID is a contactless technology; users simply hold their card, fob or smartphone up to the reader to authenticate themselves. This improves speed and convenience for drivers. At the same time, RFID is a highly secure and reliable solution for parking operators.
Parking facilities often leverage the same authentication technologies used within the larger access ecosystem. For example, a parking garage on a corporate campus is usually accessed by employees using the same ID card they use to enter the building, while a public garage near a transit center may allow entry using the customer’s transit card. The RFID technologies in common use vary by region; MIFARE is common across Europe, and HID-Prox is the dominant technology in the US.
In recent years, mobile authentication has grown in popularity, especially for consumer applications. Many parking operators now have mobile apps that allow drivers to check parking availability or reserve a spot in advance—a huge advantage in busy urban centers. With mobile authentication via Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) or Near-Field Communication (NFC), drivers can use the same app to authenticate themselves when they get there.
Most RFID readers only work with a few transponder technologies. With more than 60 transponder technologies in use across the globe and growing demand for mobile authentication solutions, this creates challenges for parking infrastructure OEMs wishing to serve multiple markets. It also limits future flexibility for parking operators; if they want or need to move to a different transponder technology or add mobile authentication, they may need to change out the readers in all the columns.
Universal Readers for the Future of Parking
A universal RFID reader that supports all common transponder technologies—including high- and low-frequency RFID and mobile authentication via NFC and BLE—is a flexible and future-proof solution for both parking operators and OEMs. With universal RFID readers, OEMs can serve all their markets globally and help their customers prepare for changes in the future.
That’s how we helped IP Parking, a Dutch company providing parking access and revenue control systems for hospitals, hotels, universities, airports, retail and more. When they wanted to expand into the US market, they needed a reader that would support HID-Prox. They initially planned to purchase new HID readers and connect them to their equipment via a serial converter. However, after talking to ELATEC, they realized that the ELATEC MIFARE readers they already used could also support HID and 60+ other HF and LF transponder technologies, including NFC. All they needed to do was update their software configuration to accommodate HID and other technologies. Upgrading to the TWN4 MultiTech 2 reader added BLE capabilities, too—all in an easily upgradable device with the same form factor as their previous ELATEC module.
Universal readers from ELATEC have become a major selling point for IP Parking. The readers can be easily updated in the field to accommodate different transponder technologies, giving IP Parking and their customers a future-proof solution. With NFC and BLE capabilities, migration to mobile authentication is simple, too.
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