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App lets NFC BlackBerrys open electronic locks

Now you can lose phone, wallet and keys in one go

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HID Global, makers of electronic locks for everything from server keyboards to student halls, has created an app that allows NFC-equipped BlackBerrys to be used instead of ID cards.

The application will launch next year, but only runs on RIM's Bold 9900/9930 and Curve 9350/9360 handsets, as they have the necessary NFC hardware. The app uses same cryptography as the iClass cards already deployed, and works with the same locks. Given that quite a few of those locks are already deployed, that means many companies could very quickly replace their plastic key cards with remotely-manageable BlackBerry applications.

Being able to remotely manage a key is obviously useful where the locks themselves aren't networked, but it should make the keys harder to lose and will also discourage employees lending keys to each other – for better or worse.

Electronic keys is one of the applications of NFC which really hasn't been much explored yet. Last week Yale announced it would be retailing an NFC-based lock for early adopters, but its ability to work with existing infrastructure makes the app from HID Global much more interesting, even if it does provide one more way for the BOFH to screw up your day. ®

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