Think back for a moment about the janitor at your school when you were growing up. If your school was anything like mine, that person had a lot of keys. So many keys that you probably wondered how they could remember what everything went to. Sometimes people just can't keep track of that. Large buildings with multiple locked entries and closets can present a logistical nightmare for people who need a lot of keys or those who have to control access. Sometimes, organizations end up learning this lesson the hard way.
While traditional keys can present major access control challenges, key fobs can simplify the entire process and give facility managers the control they need to keep everybody and everything safe. This is especially true in multi-tenant dwellings, where there are plenty of people who need access to facilities and any errors in the access control system can lead to considerable damages.
Considering the benefits of key fobs
A recent Habitat report explained the value of key fobs by telling the story of one apartment building that experienced a theft a few years ago and has completed a major lock system upgrade since. At the time, a thief was able to, somehow, gain entry to the building and an apartment without forcing any doors, breaking any windows or showing a single sign of forcing entry. However, that person was able to leave the apartment complex with an extremely valuable stamp collection that could not be tracked down.
According to the news source, the problem became clear pretty quickly – there were too many locks and public access areas to make sense of. It was also too cost inefficient to maintain a robust key-based access control system. If a superintendent moved away the owner was left with a huge ring of keys that opened plenty of doors. At the same time, there is no way to prove that no keys were copied. As a result, every lock that the superintendent may have had a key for had to be changed.
After taking stock of the situation, the apartment owner turned to an electronic key fob that could be given to every resident, service staff member or employee. If a renter has a maid, that maid could be given a fob that is programmed to only access the main entrance and the employer's apartment. At the same time, public areas could also be protected. A room that provides bicycle storage for tenants could be locked to all residents except those who regularly use bicycles. Similarly, maintenance staff members do not need dozens of keys, they only need a single fob that is programmed to let them in any doors they have to enter. An electronic key system provided the flexibility and adaptability needed to reduce long-term costs and enable better access control.
Evaluating the value of key fobs in multi-dwelling housing units
Actual key fobs may have a few long-term limitations, but the concept that makes them popular is clearly a viable one for apartment building owners or managers. Replacing traditional locks can be extremely expensive and developing secure access control protocols can be a major hassle, especially since tenants do not always follow the rules. As a result, electronic locks that allow for programmable locking and unlocking through radio frequency technology or similar means can pay major dividends. Over time, key fobs may be replaced by smartphones with secure apps that can be customized for a dwelling, but the concept is still the same – programmable locking solutions can simplify and improve access control in large facilities.