HID Global and Inside Contactless to add employee ID cards to NFC phones

Employee ID card leader HID Global and Inside Contactless have partnered to offer support for HID’s iClass vicinity card technology to NFC phones.

iClass is HID’s top of the range ID card technology and includes both physical and logical access control functionality. iClass cards already use chips supplied by Inside Contactless but, although iClass uses the 13.56MHz frequency, it is not compatible with the current generation of NFC controller chips since iClass uses the ISO 15693 vicinity card standard rather than the ISO 14443 standard used by most contactless payments and transit cards.

Under the terms of the new deal, Inside will update its microread NFC controller to implement the iClass command set and protocol so that NFC phones equipped with Inside’s controller will be able to communicate with HID iClass readers and, says the company, “iClass support will be a feature of all the company’s future NFC products.” HID will then offer its customers an NFC-enabled version of iClass, with the company taking on the role of Trusted Service Manager (TSM) via its Trusted Identity Platform.

“Embedding iClass virtual credentials into NFC mobile phones will enable potential substitution of numerous plastic cards for a variety of commercial and consumer identity applications, including not only physical access control, but also secure PC log on, time and attendance monitoring, equipment and material checkout, authorized access to office equipment and manufacturing machinery, private label retail payments, prepaid transit passes, and customer loyalty and membership programs,” say the two companies.

Rival NFC controller supplier NXP is also working on adding support for ISO 15693 to its products. Earlier this month, NXP completed testing of a new multi-protocol version of its NFC controller, known as the PN 544 C2, in conjunction with disposable wireless sensors specialist Gentag.

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