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Hands Free Access Control

Access Control media allows you to enter a site without placing the media within close proximity of the reader
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What is Hands Free Access Control?

Unlike NFC (Near Field Communication) that needs to be activated within close proximity Hands Free Access Control (HFAC) media such as smart cards can be used at a greater distance. This enables people or assets to be granted access to a site without physically presenting the activation media. As an example a delivery driver could activate the opening of a secure door without retrieving the fob from his jacket, just approaching the door would trigger the door to unlock providing the driver is authorised to go through that door at that time on that day. Taking this a stage further we can introduce automation to the door or doors to ensure that the door not only unlocks but also opens automatically when the driver approaches. In both instances the smart media can be assigned to either the vehicle (where it may be securely fixed) or with the driver where it can also used for him to gain access to other access control doors in the building.

The big difference between HFAC media versus proximity media is the greater distance it can be used at. This is made possible by the fact that HFAC media has its own form of power provided by slim line batteries.

Another advantage of this type of system is that multiple users coming in to a building or area at the same time are recorded on to the access control system allowing a true record of who has entered or left a site to be recorded automatically. With proximity based systems each of those users would have had to present their individual media to the reader at the entrance as they passed through, something that is unlikely to happen.

What are the benefits of Hands Free Access Control?

  • Convenience – Just having HFAC media on your person or within the vehicle is enough to release a door to authorised users. All security protocols such as when media is permitted to unlock a door by day/date/time/user/door restrictions are still possible.
  • Multiple recording – HFAC controlled entrances allow the recording of all HFAC carrying individuals through an entrance/exit automatically which is extremely useful for knowing who is in a specific area or building especially if a roll call is required in an emergency. In addition assets such as tablets, portable devices and machinery can be fitted with HFAC media so that the assets are monitored in and out of HFAC controlled doors and can even trigger alarms if they are taken through the HFAC doors at unauthorised times or if they are being carried by an unauthorised person.
  • Speed – HFAC doors save time and can be important especially in times of need. For instance when a porter is transferring a patient from one part of the hospital to another a series of secure doors that open reliably and automatically can be lifesaving.
  • Advantages of Smart Chip Technologies – The advantages found in Smart Chip media such as cards, fobs, wristbands etc. can be found in HFAC devices. Smart Chip Technology offers the ability to introduce great flexibility and secure access control to almost any environment. For more information visit the Smart Chip Technology page.

Examples of how Hands Free Access Control can be used

Given that HFAC devices use the same technology principles as any Smart Chip device the applications can be many such as:

  • Main Warehouse doors
  • Main Entrance doors
  • Swing doors
  • Sliding doors
  • Revolving doors
  • Interlock doors


Hands Free Access Control can also work counterintuitively so that open doors remain open until someone approaches that does not carry authorised access credentials thus triggering the doors to close. This is a seldom used function but is often used to provide a feeling of no barriers in situations such as exclusive VIP areas where doors are required to remain open until an unauthorised person approaches them.

In hospitals

The opening of doors for paramedics, porters and any authorised staff.

This technology isn’t just limited to doors it can also be used for cabinets or any other storage areas.

Delivery drivers

When carrying or transporting goods you can open doors without presenting NFC (Near Field Communication) media. This can reduce risk by ensuring that the user does not have to use a spare hand to present their media to the reader.

Driving machinery

When manning mobile machinery such as fork lift trucks you can be granted access without leaving the vehicle. This can reduce the time that machinery is left unattended and also increase the time that the machine is kept safely e.g. if a particular vehicle is meant to be kept in a specific zone then people are more likely to return the vehicle to that zone if it’s easier and quicker to do so.

Quicker entry of high security sites

Security doors can be opened more efficiently for users when Hands Free Access Control is deployed whilst still retaining a high degree of security especially when an interlock area is deployed.

Receivers can be set up around a site to manage the flow of users depending on their authority level. Each individual personal can then have their own level of security meaning authorised users can pass through quickly and efficiently.

Learning user movements/ patterns and inefficiencies

Given that people have their Hands Free Access Control media on their person it is possible for you to gain useful insights about their movements as individuals and/or as groups. Time arriving or leaving an area is logged automatically by person providing useful data for shift or facility usage analysis amongst other things.

Hands Free Access Control media can also contain the same credentials as other devices such as fobs, cards and smart chips. This means you can use the HFAC media for other things such as Cashless Vending to not only support transactional security on site but also create useful data based on spend/location/time of day/number of users etc. 

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