The traditional lock-and-key method of building entry has been around for centuries. In fact, the first key was invented in the 6th century B.C. — an extremely long time ago! Society has drastically changed since then, and door entry systems have evolved, too.
Today, our smartphones are the key to everything. So, carrying physical keys to our homes and offices is becoming archaic. Read on to learn about the modern way of entering buildings – keyless entry systems – and why your property needs one.
In this post, we’ll discuss:
- What a keyless entry system is
- How a keyless entry system works
- Types of keyless entry systems
- The best keyless entry solution
What is a keyless entry system for buildings?
A keyless entry system for residential or commercial buildings allows you to secure and access your property without using physical keys. Instead, keyless door locks are activated and unlocked with keypads, smartphones, or even fingerprint scans.
One of the biggest advantages of having a keyless entry system is that building staff and tenants don’t need to keep track of keys. Therefore, property staff doesn’t have to waste time issuing replacement keys and rekeying locks.
In fact, nearly a quarter of Americans misplace their house keys at least twice a week, which often results in them being late for work or school. Even worse, some people report missing essential appointments, flights, trains, and bus reservations because of lost keys. On average, people spend five minutes and twenty seconds, each time, trying to find misplaced keys – that time adds up to 2.5 days a year!
What is the purpose of keyless door entry?
The purpose of keyless door entry is to facilitate access into a building without requiring a physical key. With keyless systems, no one gets locked out because there’s always a reliable way to gain access without a key. Many keyless entry systems also allow authorized non-residents to enter the building with a guest door PIN code.
What’s more, most — if not all — keyless entry systems record every door entry activity, so you’ll know each time a person enters your property. Overall, this door entry method offers a secure and straightforward way to access buildings.
Keyless entry in apartments
With keyless door entry systems, apartment residents never have to hide spare keys underneath doormats. Instead, they can let themselves in with their phone or PIN code.
Additionally, if you’re a frequent traveler, then the system makes it easy for trusted neighbors or family members to check in on your home, feed your pets, or water your plants. All you have to do is register them as authorized guests to generate unique access credentials for them.
Keyless entry for businesses
Electric door locks benefit commercial properties as well. Tenants and their employees enjoy a seamless building entry experience without the hassle of property owners handing out dozens of fobs or keycards. Physical keys can easily land in the hands of the wrong person, putting multiple businesses at risk of a security breach. But with a keyless entry door lock, only those with access credentials can enter the office.
How does a keyless entry system work?
A keyless entry system works by unlocking the door after verifying the credentials of authorized tenants or visitors. These systems require hardware installed at the entrance, often next to or above doorknobs. The main appeal of this system is that tenants don’t have to carry keys or access cards. Some keyless entry systems facilitate a touch-free access experience.
Instead of keys, a keyless entry system may use:
- Door PIN codes
- Biometrics, such as fingerprints
- Smartphone app
With keyless entry, tenants can grant access to visitors without going down to the lobby to open the door for them physically. Instead, the visitor can use a PIN or QR code sent to them by the tenant or property staff. This way, the visitor can access the property even if the resident isn’t home. And in office spaces, employees can give access credentials to job candidates and business partners to facilitate a seamless building entry experience.
If the guest doesn’t have a PIN code, they can look up the resident in the system’s directory and press a button to contact them. Then the resident receives an alert through a phone call or mobile notification. After speaking with the visitor and verifying their identity, the resident enables the keyless deadbolt to release, triggering the door to open.
Watch how ButterflyMX works:
How to enable keyless entry
Although “keyless entry system” is a broad term used to describe many types of building access solutions, they all share the same primary elements. Remember, the purpose of keyless entry systems is to allow property access without residents or guests needing keys or fobs.
Here’s how to enable keyless entry:
- Install hardware at the entrance. The first thing you need to enable keyless door entry is hardware – also known as a base station – installed at the door. The base station sends signals to the door’s magnetic or electric lock, allowing the door to open.
- Secure a strong internet connection. Since you’ll want wireless access control, the hardware needs a strong internet signal. Internet-enabled keyless entry systems allow residents to use their smartphones to open doors. They can also grant visitors access from anywhere in the world. We recommend using an Ethernet cable to avoid spotty WiFi connections.
- Enable in-unit or smartphone-based substations. The resident needs a way to grant access to visitors. So, in some cases, in-unit hardware – or substations – must be installed in every unit at a property. Luckily, most keyless entry systems these days are IP-based, meaning they communicate with other devices connected to the internet. So, residents just have to download an app on their smartphones to manage visitor access.
Keyless entry system cost
The cost of a keyless entry system typically ranges from $3,000 to $7,000. The cost largely depends on the number of apartments your property has and the specific kind of system you want.
Also, keep in mind the cost of installation. You’ll want to find a certified installer who specializes in installing and activating such systems.
Types of keyless entry methods
There’s a variety of keyless entry systems available. However, a select few stand out from the rest.
Here are the top four keyless door entry systems:
Keypad doorknobs have, as the name suggests, keypads instead of keyholes. The keypad either has a touchscreen interface or a numeric keypad. Tenants and authorized guests input their unique PIN or other access code on the keypad. Once the correct code is entered, the system releases the door, allowing entrance.
2. RFID scanner
Although RFID-enabled door entry systems are technically a type of keyless entry system, they defeat the purpose of not carrying a physical object for building entry.
Instead of inserting a key into a lock, residential and commercial tenants scan their fobs or access cards with the RFID scanner. RFID stands for radio frequency identification, and it uses radio waves emitted from tiny microchips inside RFID tags. If the person has authorized credentials, then the scanner signals the door to open.
3. Intercom systems
Intercoms are the most common type of keyless entry system. They enable video and audio communication between guests and residents and offer various property access methods for both multifamily and commercial buildings.
An intercom can either operate with in-unit devices or residents’ smartphones. The newest models are typically cloud-based, allowing for remote management. They also offer several ways to open the door, such as with virtual keys, delivery PINs, and voice commands.
Watch how virtual keys work:
4. Smart locks
Smart locks are “smart” because they connect to the internet, allowing residents to use their smartphones instead of physical keys. Most brands offer a mobile app to verify credentials and allow door entry. Smart locks enable residents to easily provide apartment access to guests, package couriers, and service personnel even when they’re not home.
You can install them on doors to shared spaces — like fitness centers or community lounges — or to individual units. When paired with an intercom at the main entrance, smart locks eliminate the need for any keys since a resident can enter the building, amenity spaces, and their apartment with just their cell phone.
What is the best keyless entry system?
If you want a keyless entry system built for today and prepared for tomorrow, choose ButterflyMX.
The ButterflyMX intercom is a robust entry system that’s powered by a smartphone app. Through one app, residents can open doors, send one-time delivery passes to couriers and food delivery people, and assign virtual keys to visitors. What’s more, the intercom runs on the ButterflyMX OS, powerful cloud-based software that empowers building staff to remotely update tenant information, manage access privileges, and review each door entry event.
So, what are you waiting for? Choose ButterflyMX as your keyless entry solution today.