Key Fobs Replace Keys

July 2021

Key locks have been popular since people became uncomfortable leaving their doors unlocked.  They provide a simple way of limiting access to those with a proper key.  Keyless entry systems offer a superior solution that has become standard in high-rise condo communities.

Keyless entry system technology has proven more effective in controlling and managing access to residential buildings where not everyone has access to all areas of a building at all times.  As cost has dropped the technology has grown in popularity.

The movement from mechanical keys to keyless entry systems began in the 1990s with transponder keys originally used for vehicle access.  These were mechanical keys containing a computer chip that sent an authentication message to the locking system before it would operate.  Today’s keyless systems can integrate with intercom and video security systems.

Any community concerned with security is installing keyless entry systems along with intercom and video surveillance upgrades.  Mechanical keys are being eliminated because of difficulty in tracking them and ease of duplication by unauthorized individuals.

Keyless systems allow management to know who has entered the building, when entry occurred and which secure areas have been accessed.  Key fobs can be disabled if lost or stolen, or when someone has moved out of the building.  This is easier and more economical than having a locksmith change locks or replace hundreds of keys.  The need to keep track of hundreds of unique keys and their duplicates is eliminated with keyless systems.

Each keyless fob is unique to the individual – individually coded and recognized by the system.  Each system can maintain a log of when and where each fob is used.  This digital fingerprint can identify who accesses areas of a building and can be used by management or law enforcement to solve crimes by placing an individual where an offense has occurred.  An alert can be sent to security or management when someone may have attempted to gain access to an area or door without permission.  Integrated WiFi systems allow lights or heating systems to automatically adjust when someone enters an area.

Keyless locks to an outdoor patio can deny access to anyone when the area is closed.  The concierge can grant access to a party room without leaving their station.  Visitors or service contractors can be provided with a fob granting access to certain areas.  If not returned or lost a fob can be deactivated.

When someone moves out it is faster, easier and more economical to deactivate fobs rather than attempt to recover physical keys and duplicates including those which may have been provided to unknown individuals, or changing locks.  When a fob is deactivated within the software no other resident is inconvenienced.  Keyless entry systems allow you to know exactly who has access to, and has accessed, the building.

Fob systems do have drawbacks.  They will not work when the power is out so backup systems need to be in place.  All access information resides in a single electronic system.  For these reasons keyless systems are unlikely to replace mechanical keys for suite access in the foreseeable future.

While key fobs can be duplicated, keyless system reporting features make it easier to identify who may have created a duplicate.  Both duplicated and duplicate fobs can be deactivated.

Keyless systems in the form of electronic key fob systems have improved security in condo communities while saving time and money.

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