Keyless door entry


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. 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 is a keyless entry system?

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. 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 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.


Where are keyless entry systems used?

Keyless entry systems are used across all types of real estate, but they’re most common across multifamily properties and businesses.


Apartment keyless entry system

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 door entry system


Keyless entry system 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 reading a user’s credentials and determining if they’re authorized to enter.

The method by which the credentials are accepted and applied varies depending on the type of keyless entry system. Regardless, these systems require hardware at the entrance, often next to or on the door or gate. The appeal of keyless entry is that tenants don’t have to carry a physical key.

Rather, a keyless system may accept any of these credentials:

  • PIN code
  • Smartphone
  • Biometric scan

With that said, some keyless entry systems also accept physical credentials, such as a key fob or key card. But with many keyless entry systems, tenants can grant access to visitors without physically going down to the lobby to open the door.

Instead, the visitor can use a PIN code, or a tenant may grant remote access using their phone. This way, the visitor can access the property even if the tenant 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.

With smartphone-based keyless entry, guests can use the on-site directory to request remote access from tenants. Then, tenants receive a notification on their phones. From there, they can see or speak to the visitor requesting access before accepting or denying their request. Upon granting access, the keyless entry system will send a signal to the lock for release.


Watch how ButterflyMX works:


How to enable keyless entry at your property

Above all, the purpose of a keyless entry system is to allow property access without a user needing a physical credential. And while keyless entry systems vary, they all share the same primary elements.

Here’s how you can implement a keyless entry system at your property:

  1. Install hardware at entryways. The first thing you need is to install the system’s hardware at every entryway you’d like to control access to. Wiring requirements for every system vary, but the best require minimal connections.
  2. Configure the hardware. Next, your system will need to be configured with the appropriate settings and administrators. Depending on the system you’re using, this process may vary, but the best solution allows easy and simple management from one OS. That way, you can change settings and update information remotely.
  3. Onboard and train users. Lastly, you can begin onboarding tenants and training employees on the new keyless entry system. For an easy onboarding process, select a system that uses a mobile app for users. That way, they can edit their PIN code or credential information anywhere and anytime.


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 keyless systems.


mobile phone as keyless entry system


Benefits of keyless entry systems

Keyless entry systems are installed across all types of real estate because of the advantages they offer over traditional locks and keys.

A keyless entry system offers the following benefits:

  • Increased security: There’s no denying traditional metal keys put your property at risk because they’re easily lost or duplicated. A keyless entry system eliminates the need to carry a physical credential, reducing the risks of a security breach.
  • Remote access: With the right keyless entry system, your tenants can grant access to guests, delivery drivers, dog walkers, maintenance, and more without being at home or in the office.
  • Easier management: Organizing and managing keys can eat up a lot of precious time. So, eliminate the need to manage physical keys with a keyless entry system. Onboarding is much simpler when using a mobile phone or even a PIN.
  • Lower operating costs: Traditional metal keys and door locks require a lot of upkeep. Replacing one lost or stolen key doesn’t cost a lot, but it adds up when your building uses so many. Plus, you won’t have to spend money rekeying or repairing locks.
  • Multiple credentials: If you aren’t ready to throw away physical credentials completely, choose a keyless entry system that accepts key cards and key fobs. By giving users multiple credential methods, you can ensure they have the most convenient experience possible. For example, if a tenant forgets their key fob at home, they can still gain entry using a PIN code or their smartphone.
  • Future consciousness: Finally, a major advantage of keyless entry systems is they’re designed to last. Unlike a traditional lock and key system, a cloud-based keyless entry system stays updated for longer and can even receive new features. As a result, your property can save money on a long-lasting security solution.


Types of keyless entry systems

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:

  1. Keypads
  2. Key card and key fob readers
  3. Intercom systems
  4. Smart locks
  5. Vehicle readers


1. Keypads

Keypad entry systems 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 entry.


2. Key card and key fob readers

While not technically a keyless entry system, key card and key fob systems for businesses are extremely common access control solutions. Key cards and fobs can still be lost or stolen, but it’s easier (and possibly cheaper) to replace a missing fob than to recut a new metal key.

Additionally, many key card and fob systems also provide an alternative form of entry. In many cases, key fobs or cards are the primary methods of access, but a smartphone or PIN code is an alternative method.

Instead of inserting a key blade into a lock, tenants scan their fobs or access cards with a reader located on the door or wall. Key cards and fobs use a technology known as RFID or radio frequency identification. This technology uses radio waves emitted from microchips in RFID tags to “speak” with a card or fob reader. If the user 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 ButterflyMX 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.


5. Vehicle readers

Another form of keyless entry system is a vehicle reader. Vehicle readers are located at the entryways of gated communities, garages, and parking lots to let in authorized users. Rather than accepting a PIN code or mobile app, vehicle readers automatically detect and authorize access based on a windshield tag or license plate.

Vehicle readers work by scanning a windshield tag or license plate. Then, the reader sends data to a controller, which processes the information. If the credentials are approved, the controller will send a signal to the system telling it to open. Overall, vehicle readers are excellent for streamlining vehicle access.


What is the best keyless entry system?

If you want a keyless entry system built for today and prepared for tomorrow, choose ButterflyMX.

ButterflyMX is a robust property-wide access control solution powered and easily managed through the cloud-based ButterflyMX OS. The ButterflyMX OS empowers building staff to remotely update tenant information, manage access privileges, and review each door entry event.

Here’s how ButterflyMX enables keyless entry throughout a building:

  • Video intercom for exterior entries. The ButterflyMX video intercom is perfect for exterior entries, so guests can request access using the directory. The video camera lets tenants see who is requesting access. On the other hand, tenants may provide guests or delivery drivers virtual keys to use instead of requesting access.
  • Keypads for interior access. Keypads secure access to interior areas. ButterflyMX keypads also accept key cards and key fobs if you wish to keep a physical credential. Users may even access areas secured by keypads using the ButterflyMX mobile app.
  • Key card and key fob readers. Key cards and key fob readers are similar to keypads in that they work alongside the ButterflyMX mobile app. If users ever forget their card or fob, they can always utilize their phones.
  • Smart lock integrations for unit access. ButterflyMX integrates with a vast range of smart locks to provide multifamily properties with building-wide access control all the way to the unit level.

So, what are you waiting for? Choose ButterflyMX as your keyless entry solution today.


choose a ButterflyMX door entry system


Jeff Granger

I'm a native Texan and tech guru who is fascinated by technology's impact on the real estate industry.