What Is the LEAF Standard for Access Control and Identity Management?
LEAF is a new standard for identity credentials, providing an alternative to well-known platforms such as LEGIC or HID. Unlike these technologies, LEAF is an open platform created to support interoperability within the access control market. That means end-users would be able to use their LEAF ID card, keyfob or smartphone to unlock access via any LEAF-enabled reader. And because the LEAF standard is backward-adoptable with suitable existing reader hardware, moving to LEAF is easy and cost-effective for system operators and manufacturers.
The LEAF Standard was conceived by DSP and cryptographic engineer Hugo Wendling and has been carried forward by the LEAF Consortium. The consortium consists of industry partners (including ELATEC) representing hardware manufacturers, software developers and identity media manufacturers. The standard is based on MIFARE DESFire® EV2, which supports advanced security features within an open multi-application architecture. For added security, a LEAF Custom Cryptographic (Cc) key can be set by the end user so that only authorized devices that have been loaded with the key can read the encrypted media.
The Power of Interoperability in Access Control
As the “Smart Office” and “Smart City” move into the mainstream, there are an increasing number of applications requiring user identification and access control. But managing multiple user identities and identification media for different applications (transportation, building entry, EV charging, device sign-on, etc.) is a hassle for users. At the same time, implementing a user identification and access control solution can be daunting for equipment manufacturers and their buyers.
The LEAF standard ensures that all LEAF-enabled products are interoperable with other LEAF products. LEAF-enabled products include door locks for building access and RFID readers for both physical access control and logical access control. LEAF Access Readers can be integrated into a variety of different applications, including elevator panels, turnstiles, multifunction printers, computer workstations, vending machines, retail registers, EV charging stations, and much more. The open standard provides more flexibility and versatility for equipment manufacturers and owners, providing a future-proof solution that anyone can adopt without disruption to existing access control infrastructure.
An interoperable universe of access control solutions is easier for end users, too. The LEAF standard creates an ecosystem of products and devices from different manufacturers that work together seamlessly, so one credential can be used with everything. Instead of juggling a wallet full of different ID cards or a multitude of competing apps for digital identity management, they can simply use their LEAF ID card or app for all LEAF-compatible devices. If the standard takes off in the future, that could mean a single digital identity could be used across multiple applications at work and in the consumer realm.
An Easier Path to Access Control
The LEAF initiative makes implementing access control easier than ever. Suitable readers can be made LEAF-compatible with a simple firmware update, enabling backward-adoptability with existing reader technologies. System implementers can choose from standard ID cards, keyfobs or digital smartphone credentials—or a combination of identification media. The open platform makes LEAF exceptionally easy for equipment manufacturers and system integrators to implement. And it makes it possible to design an integrated access system for a building or campus that incorporates everything from the front door to the printer under one universal standard—even when using readers from different manufacturers. LEAF gives equipment manufacturers and their end users one more great option for physical and logical access control.
Curious about implementing LEAF? ELATEC can help you decide whether or not the LEAF standard is right for you.
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