Assa Abloy AB, the world’s leading lock group, said Tuesday it is collaborating with Research in Motion to include key-card technology in upcoming BlackBerry models.
In a statement released Tuesday, Assa Abloy said the technology, known as Near Field Communication, will be incorporated in smartphones so they can replace regular access cards.
It said the technology will be included in the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 and BlackBerry Curve 9350/9360, which will be launched in early 2012.
Users will be able to swipe their phones in front of a door’s card reader to gain access to a building. For increased security, the phone can be combined with a PIN number.
Assa Abloy is a leader in mobile key technology and its HID iClass system already exists in buildings around the world.
The head of Assa Abloy’s mobile keys division, Daniel Berg, said the phones will work with existing door-opening systems and will mainly replace access cards at offices, but can also be used to open home or garage doors.
There is also a possibility to develop the NFC technology in the phones so it can be used for time reports and payments, Berg said.
In some countries, the NFC technology already exists in cards that are used for payments or as tickets in subway systems. Berg said the technology built into the BlackBerries could also work for such applications in the future.
The deal marks the first time the company's technology, which was tested at hotels in Stockholm last year, is incorporated into a mobile phone model.
Berg said the agreement with BlackBerry isn't exclusive and Assa Abloy is also in talks to sell its technology to other mobile phone makers.
The value of the deal will depend on the sales volumes of the BlackBerry models and how many people opt to use the key technology, he said.