In this article
- Mobile Access
- What integrations are available?
Mobile access provides the ability for the Activate app to act as a mobile wallet that stores digital keys that can unlock and open doors, turnstiles, and gates in a building with support Physical Access Control (PACS) devices.
Simply put: The Activate app acts as a replacement for physical key cards. If their physical key card opens a door, the Activate app can open that same door. This is the same technology that powers tapping your phone to use it as a credit card.
What integrations are available?
We currently integrate with:
More integrations are in the works.
What is the process for implementing this integration?
Adding Mobile Access involves a lot of moving parts. A discovery phase is needed to review the building's current capabilities and limitations with respect to the hardware and the various teams involved. Our integration can only extend as far as our partner's SDK capabilities, which does vary.
We recommend a trial phase when first implementing to understand the unique quirks of a building.
Who do I contact if I have issues?
The first point of contact is the Help Desk (email@example.com) who can co-ordinate troubleshooting and actionable issues with the building team, the access partner, and VTS Activate.
The rest of this article is a collection of frequently asked questions regarding mobile access:
- Why does Apple Wallet appear when I unlock an entry?
- Why does Activate require Location Services to be on when using Mobile Access on the Activate App?
- When setting unlock preferences to open entries automatically the Activate App doesn’t always work as expected. What can I do to make this feature more reliable?
- Can I use mobile access without opening the Activate app?
- Can a member have two mobile access apps running at the same time?
- What if there is no WiFi and tenants are in the parking garage for example?
Question 1: Why does Apple Wallet appear when I unlock an entry?
- If you have an iPhone and have Apple Wallet enabled, you’ll see Apple Wallet appears when you place your iPhone next to any NFC reader (including HID, Safetrust, Openpath readers). This is an iPhone feature and does not relate to the Activate app.
- Currently, there is no way to turn off NFC or disable Apple Wallet notifications on iPhones. For more information, contact Apple support.
Question 2: Why does Activate require Location Services to be on when using Mobile Access on the Activate App?
- Activate does not share or sell your data to third parties.
- It’s recommended that Location Services should be set to Always on in order to provide the best experience for the background scanning mode. This will allow the app to open authorized nearby doors by approaching it with the mobile device.
- When Location Service is set to Always on it will keep the Activate app fresh and active in the background. The more the app is used and active the better it will respond to the Access reader. Inactive apps won’t respond to the reader and therefore background services won’t work until the app is woken up again.
- This is a recommended approach and guidance that our Mobile Access integration partners propose.
- Activate does not use a member's location for any other purposes than to keep the Activate app fresh and active in the background.
Question 3: When setting unlock preferences to open entries automatically (unlock in the background) the Lane App doesn’t always work as expected. What can I do to make this feature more reliable?
Note: The question includes Troubleshooting instructions
Explanation for the overall challenges with using the Activate app to unlock door while app is running in background:
- In order for Background scanning to work and unlock doors and entries as expected, the app needs to remain active in the background.
- Apple and Android OS apply a mechanism to terminate apps that have been running in the background but are not actively used to preserve battery and OS performance.
- Always which will keep the app active in the background. Without Location Services being turned on our Mobile Access integration partners cannot guarantee that background mode will perform as expected.
- Even with location services turned on and set to Always, the Mobile Device OS may still terminate apps running in the background. In that case it’s recommended to open the app from time to time to keep it active.
Based on the above explanation, the Activate team has put together a basic checklist for support and troubleshooting:
- Is Bluetooth on and the Activate app granted permission?
- Are Location Services on and the Activate app granted permission to Always Allow?
- Have other Mobile Credentials apps been removed?
- Have all other Bluetooth devices been disconnected?
- Is the mobile device running in power saving mode?
- Are physical Fobs or Access Cards interfering with reader communication with the phone?
- Can the credential be read by the reader in very close proximity (i.e. directly next to it) to the reader?
- Force close the Activate App and relaunch it, try to unlock entries again.
Question 4: Can I use mobile access without opening the Activate app?
Background scanning is a feature that lets users unlock an entry via the Activate app without needing to have the Activate app open and running. Users will need to select their door unlock preferences within the settings (e.g. set to unlock when the app is running in background or unlock automatically). Please note that in order to enable the optimal experience when app is unlocking the door in the background, members will need to set specific permissions (Location services set to always).
Question 5: Can a user have two mobile access apps running at the same time?
Only one app should be used at a time and only one app should hold the mobile credential. If a user has two apps that are both enabled for Mobile Access and the user holds the phone close to a reader, the reader will try to communicate to both Mobile SDKs and won’t be able to detect which Mobile Credential to use. The apps will cancel each other out.
Question 6: Why does my phone battery get used up faster when I use Mobile Access on Activate?
Mobile Access depends on integrations with 3rd party partners. Those integrations require continuous access to location services in order to perform automatic unlocks while the app is in the background. This can require OS level battery optimizations to be turned off, which can cause other apps on the phone to drain battery on the phone as well.
Question 7: Can I customize the email from the Mobile Access Integration Partner?
The building’s property team or admins will need to login to the Admin Access Control Portal, where they have the ability to customize the emails that are sent to users to register and set up mobile access on their mobile devices.
- HID: Admins can login to the HID Origo Portal.
- Safetrust: Admins can login to the Safetrust Credential Manager Platform.
- Openpath: Admins can login to the Openpath Access Control system OR the email will need to be triggered by Activate team as part of the integration and our team can help customize the content.
- Datawatch: Admins can login to the Datawatch DirectAccess manager.
Question 8: What if there is no WiFi reception, such as in a parking garage for example?
Members will need wifi or cellular data to first log in to Activate App and set things up for Mobile Access, but once that's done, Mobile Access will work after losing network connection - in theory. The following aspects needs to be considered so Mobile Access can still work even if network connectivity is not available:
- The members's unique Mobile Credentials are loaded to the phone.
- Bluetooth is enabled for the mobile device and the Activate app.
- App is set to run in the background (If apps are set to run in the foreground that will turn off the transmit of the Mobile Credentials).
Question 9: I reinstalled the app. How can I request a mobile credential?
Your building's property team is responsible for creating user accounts and setting appropriate rights and permissions to access the building premises. If you have deleted and reinstalled the mobile app, the old credentials will no longer work due to security reasons. Contact your property team to be issued a new invitation with credentials.