Analyzing the Financial Impact of Introducing Apple Wallet for Mobile Access
4 mins read

Analyzing the Financial Impact of Introducing Apple Wallet for Mobile Access

In the contemporary digital landscape, the prevalence of smartphones and wearable devices for various purposes, including building access, has become increasingly ubiquitous. One notable innovation in this realm is the integration of Apple Wallet for mobile access, enabling iPhone users to utilize their digital access cards and employee badges stored within their Apple Wallet for seamless building entry.

While this promises an enhanced user experience, it is imperative to meticulously examine the associated costs and potential challenges, particularly when interfacing with legacy hardware and existing access control systems.

Reader and Firmware Upgrade Expenses

The integration of Apple Wallet for mobile access is contingent on approved lock or reader manufacturers with pre-existing NFC readers within their product portfolios. Consequently, older access control hardware and infrastructure may necessitate updates or replacements to facilitate this integration. Readers manufactured before the 2016/17 timeframe may encounter compatibility issues with Apple Wallet, impacting a significant proportion of currently active readers.

To initiate an initial budget assessment, it is essential to evaluate the quantity and age of readers at your specific location. The costs related to hardware upgrades and installations can vary widely, often exceeding $1,000 per door, contingent upon local labor rates. For instance, the process of upgrading 20-30 NFC-enabled readers in a multifaceted building could incur expenses ranging from $20,000 to $30,000. Additionally, it is crucial to factor in potential disruptions during the upgrade process, encompassing phased departmental transitions, employee training initiatives, and the implementation of new applications.

In cases where firmware updates can be executed on-site, integration may require the involvement of an integrator to circumvent warranty issues. Typically, this process necessitates a two-person team, with one stationed at the reader location and the other at the command and control center.

An alternative, more cost-effective solution is offered by companies such as Sentry Interactive, which enables the retention of operational legacy readers through a software upgrade at the host level. This approach obviates the need for a complete “rip and replace” of hardware and capitalizes on NFC technology within users’ mobile devices for secure access.

Comparing Integration Expenses

When implementing Apple Wallet for access control, each building typically mandates its unique Apple key, even when employing the same type of reader. This can introduce complexity and increase system costs, particularly when contending with mixed reader types. Custom integrations for each building can incur expenses ranging between $10,000 and $20,000, excluding labor costs associated with reader firmware updates and software adjustments.

Moreover, coordination with reader manufacturers and authorized integration partners is indispensable. As integration extends across multiple buildings, expenses and intricacies amplify. Streamlined solutions like Sentry Mobile Access offer integrated support for both Apple and Android users, simplifying management and cost reduction.

Estimated Costs of Apple Wallet Implementation

Consider the following expenses associated with the implementation of Apple Wallet:

  • Apple License: Approximately $3 per user per month.
  • Seat License: Approximately $6 per user per year.
  • New hardware and installation costs: $1,000+ per door.
  • Software Single Sign-On (SSO) infrastructure (cost varies per device).
  • Facility credential management costs (varies by provider).

For instance, if a company with 1,000 users intends to implement Apple Wallet, with 53% utilizing iPhones:

  • Apple License: 530 users x $3/user/month x 12 months = $19,080 annually.
  • Seat License: 530 users x $6/user = $3,180 annually.
  • New hardware: 20-30 NFC-enabled readers + installation cost: $20,000 – $30,000.

This translates to a total cost ranging from $42,260 to $52,260 in the first year, representing a substantial investment to provide Apple Wallet access to only 53% of users. Additional costs may apply if Android wallet access is required.

Sentry Interactive offers NFC mobile access for both iOS and Android users without the need for additional hardware installation or firmware upgrades, resulting in cost savings and an enhanced user experience.

Broad Adoption Considerations

To ensure widespread usability and operational efficiency in access control, decisions should align with user preferences. While Apple Wallet enjoys popularity, its global user base is smaller compared to that of Android. For international enterprises where Android devices dominate, alternatives catering to both iPhone and Android users may prove to be more pragmatic.

In conclusion, businesses possess diverse needs and budgetary considerations. Exploring cost-effective solutions that offer NFC mobile access for both iPhone and Android users without extensive hardware upgrades is a prudent approach. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your requirements and explore alternative options available to efficiently and cost-effectively meet your access control needs.

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