The PSIA approves PKOC Card Specification

Jan. 18, 2024
NFC card implementation offers secure migration path to mobile credentials

(SANTA CLARA, Calif.—January 18, 2024) The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) has announced it has approved the Public Key Open Credential (PKOC) NFC Card Specification-Version 1.1. The PSIA has been working with a broad group of industry leaders in the card, reader, and access control industries to come up with this specification, which is likely to have a significant influence on the future of secure credentials. 

Mohammad Soleimani, the Chief Innovation Officer of Kastle Systems, introduced this concept to the PSIA in 2023 and has had a strong influence in engaging other companies in its development. “A standard for a secure credential on a smart card is a perfect complement to the work we have been doing on mobile credentials featuring PKOC. The specification relies on established standards and the Public Key Infrastructure, to provide a simple, but elegant solution, with the added benefit of more robust asymmetric encryption” added Soleimani. 

PKOC addresses the need for a universally compatible secure credential for the physical access control industry in the form of cards, fobs, mobile devices, and wearables. Progress has been dramatic, with the apps, readers, and cards being demonstrated at industry events. In addition, customers are not only requesting the technology, but rolling out commercial implementations.

“The access control industry has been predicting a rapid shift to mobile credentials, but the reality is smart cards will remain as a staple for access control for at least the next decade,” said David Bunzel, Executive Director of the PSIA. “PKOC enabled on an access card provides two important benefits: 1) More robust security featuring asymmetric encryption and 2) A reliable migration path from cards to mobile credentials.”  

“Physical Access is the next frontier for smart cards. Our customers want a single credential that can be used for both logical and physical access. The PSIA’s introduction of a card version of its Public Key Open Credential (PKOC) specification will be a perfect complement to this objective, notes GW Habraken, co-founder and managing director of Taglio. 

The PSIA approved its PKOC NFC Card Specification in December of 2023. As noted above, it is already available in commercial products. 

PKOC is featured in products from ELATEC, Kastle Systems, INID, JCI, Last Lock, rf IDEAS, SAFR Scan (RealNetworks), Sentry Enterprises, and Taglio.

For more information on PKOC and its open card and mobile credentials please look at the PKOC White Paper. To access the PKOC Explainer Video, please click this link.

The PSIA has been active in developing and promoting open specifications that support interoperability in the physical and logical security industries. Industry publication, Security Technology Executive, declares interoperability “The Next Great Phase of Physical Access Control.” expounds on the predicted demand for PACS interoperability by saying, “Open protocols, standards and industry-accepted conformant products that focus on unbridled interoperability between manufacturers and vendors will be critical as advanced technology, such as analytics and ancillary devices, enter the realm of physical security and access control.”