You’ve probably used Bluetooth in your daily life. It powers everything from smartwatches to wireless headphones. But did you know it can also help your residents open doors and gates on your property? With a Bluetooth gate opening system installed at your gated entrance, residents can use this technology to gain access. This guide helps you decide if a Bluetooth gate opener is right for your building.
In this post, we explain what a Bluetooth gate opener is and how it works. Then, we go over the pros and cons of installing one and offer possible alternatives.
This post covers:
- What is a Bluetooth gate opener?
- How does a Bluetooth gate opener work?
- Pros and cons of a Bluetooth gate opener
- The best Bluetooth gate opener alternative
What is a Bluetooth gate opener?
A Bluetooth gate opener is a system installed on a gate that allows users to open it wirelessly with a credential powered by Bluetooth technology. These credentials come in the form of key cards, fobs, and smartphone apps.
You can find Bluetooth gate openers on all kinds of properties, from residential to commercial. In fact, wherever there’s a gate, there’s a Bluetooth-enabled motor that can open it — whether you’re talking parking lots, gated communities, or office buildings.
Simply put, a Bluetooth gate opener is one solution to allow residents to open gates with their cell phones.
Bluetooth gate opening systems consist of:
- Credential. If the resident has a Bluetooth card or fob, they hold that up to the credential reader. Otherwise, they use Bluetooth on their smartphones to send a signal to the credential reader.
- Credential reader. Bluetooth credential readers are always active and ready to receive signals. When a reader receives a signal from a credential, it forwards that data to the gate opener’s control panel.
- Control panel. The control panel is the “brains” of the gate opener system. It compares the credential data it receives with an internal database of credential data. Then, if there’s a match, the control panel signals the gate to open.
- Gate opener. The gate opener is a motor that physically moves the gate out of the way to let residents in. After a resident enters, the motor activates again to close the gate.
Watch how to open gates with ButterflyMX:
How does a Bluetooth gate opener work?
A Bluetooth gate opener works by receiving wireless signals from a Bluetooth-enabled credential (usually a smartphone) and unlocking the gate if that credential is authorized.
Like other wireless networks, Bluetooth depends on high-frequency radio waves to allow for communication between two devices.
While Bluetooth is commonly known, a recent development in the field has big implications for gate opener systems: Bluetooth Low Energy, or BLE. BLE devices use less power than traditional Bluetooth devices and have larger ranges. However, they’re also more expensive.
Additionally, after the remote gate opener and the credential communicate, there’s the matter of the motorized gate opener itself.
There are two main types of motorized gates: swinging and sliding gates.
True to its name, a swinging gate swings outwards or inwards to let somebody in. However, they usually swing inwards so they don’t hit the person or vehicle that just requested entry. In contrast, a sliding gate slides left or right in order to let the resident in.
Pros & cons of a Bluetooth gate opener
- Opening gates with a smartphone. These days, every resident has a smartphone in their pocket. As a result, opening the gate is as easy as one swipe in a mobile app.
- Easy vehicle access. Does your gate opener control a gate for vehicle access? If so, your tenants can say goodbye to the tedious process of holding a credential close up to a sensor.
- Limited range. Under ideal conditions, Bluetooth devices can connect up to hundreds of feet away — but in real-world conditions, it’s more likely a range of up to 30 feet. Conversely, there are other networks, like WiFi, that allow users to unlock the gate even if they aren’t in the same town.
- Credential hassles. Handing out physical credentials instead of depending on residents’ smartphones means you must purchase and keep track of these credentials.
- Possibility of WiFi interference. WiFi and Bluetooth use the same frequencies to communicate. While this isn’t usually a problem, you may encounter interference issues if too many WiFi and Bluetooth devices are in the same area.
- Resident access without a smartphone. If your residents use an app on their smartphone to connect to the Bluetooth gate opener, they’ll need another entry method if their phone dies or they don’t have it on them.
- Often designed for single-family homes. Many Bluetooth-powered gate opener systems are designed for single-family homes rather than multi-tenant properties.
The best Bluetooth gate opener alternatives
A Bluetooth gate opener is a great addition to any property — and residents will surely appreciate the convenience of using their phones to open the gate. However, if you look at the limitations of Bluetooth devices, you might be wondering if Bluetooth gate openers are the best solution.
The best way to use a Bluetooth gate controller is by augmenting it with other access control devices. Instead of solely depending on Bluetooth, you can choose a system that combines Bluetooth with other networks like WiFi. This way, your system doesn’t entirely depend on one network.
Take the ButterflyMX access control system for example. Our suite of intercoms, keypads, vehicle readers, and smart gate openers with cameras uses the internet and RFID tags to create a unified access ecosystem that extends throughout your entire property.
The centerpiece of the ButterflyMX access system is an intercom residents can use to open gates with smartphones. But alongside that, property staff can also choose to assign anything from a fob to a vehicle sticker for maximum versatility and convenience.
- Bluetooth credentials include keys, fobs, and Bluetooth gate opener apps residents use on their smartphones.
- Blueooth gate openers might have range limitations. You’ll also need to accommodate tenants without smartphones.
- While Bluetooth electric gate openers for driveways are convenient, you can increase convenience by instead investing in gate intercom systems and vehicle access control systems like ButterflyMX.