Since their invention in the 70’s electronic locks have traditionally relied on reading information that is encoded on a magnetic stripe.
Contact smart chips were introduced in the early 1990s to allow greater retention of data within the card. This gave hotel staff greater ease and flexibility of information management.
A further step towards technological sophistication was taken with the introduction of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) contactless proximity locks and cards over the last few years. The benefits of this advanced technology far surpass those of the traditional magnetic stripe, although these are still used effectively by older establishments.
RFID proximity cards are capable of retaining the audit trail within the cards themselves and not only within the lock, as is the case with mag-stripe. This innovation allows accommodation management to effectively track the movements of the card user, and not just the activity of a single lock.
Because the card is merely presented to the reader, there is no mechanical movement in the interaction between the card and the lock reader. This leads to cost effective benefits that RFID lock readers do not have to be cleaned as they are encased, and there is less wear and tear on parts.
Yet, the biggest advantage of the MiFare RFID Proximity Card is that it is designed to carry information that can be used on multiple applications such as at point of sale, room management systems, cashless transactions, audit trails for staff, pool and gym coupons and other innovative applications within the organisation.
Go green with electronic locks
The preferred hotel/motel style electronic locks are battery operated which means no electricity is used to operate the locks themselves.
Innovative recycled cards are now available to hoteliers that biodegrade. Smart cards are simultaneously used to activate in-room energy saving devices, which in themselves, save establishments enormous amounts of unnecessary energy usage.
Exciting new technology replaces cards and allows guests to use their mobile phones as they would a room key.
Keyless entry via mobile phones
Encouraging customers to use their mobile phone technology to access electronic locks can cut keycard and staff costs. Access to this technology also motivates travellers to bypass the front desk and enter a booked room directly, using this method of keyless access. Some properties will use self-check-in kiosks or rely purely on internet bookings to provide an access method.
As is well known, NFC in mobile telephony is still not finalised worldwide. There is also wide debate about how it will be used. OpenWays has developed an easy and secure solution to these issues. To cover all contingencies, OpenWays lock devices will nonetheless carry the NFC chip within it, making it ready to adapt to any and all of the potential eventualities.
OpenWays has developed a very powerful, secure, multi-technology and fully inter-operable method of checking in to a pre-booked hotel room, using any mobile phone as a mobile key. Regardless of whether the phone is old or new, or whether it is a smartphone or not, it can be used to provide entry to the room in exactly the same way as a keycard would. The guest gains access by holding their phone against the electronic lock. The phone emits a sound which allows access only to that guest and only to that pre-booked hotel room – simple and easy keyless access employing the latest in technology for the benefit of guest, hotel and the environment.
The acoustic key signal is absolutely secure, using an impenetrable technology called Crypto Acoustic Credential (CAC™).
Studies show that, when given a choice, 87 per cent of guests will choose self service rather than assisted interaction with staff. 86 per cent of customers are more likely to do business with a company offering that flexibility. Statistically, there are 7 billion people worldwide. Remarkably, 5.8 billion of those people have a mobile phone in service.
More and more businesses are taking advantage of this and are using technology to change the way of doing business to take advantage of mobile applications such as OpenWays. Doing so allows these companies to reduce operating costs by allowing guests to bypass front desk key cutting and introduction and go directly to their rooms.
This application of technology also allows organisations to use direct sales channels to produce greater income from this mobile key service.
Hoteliers can take the initiative back by increasing direct e-transactions with immediate payment and reduced desk transactions increasing profit and cash flow. Other benefits of keyless entry via mobile phone key is smooth and efficient last minute room changes, extended or changed stay conditions, room ready notifications and more effective group management.
Ease and efficiency
The operating system requirements are an OpenWays chipset, listening device, an internet connection and an OpenWays acoustic credential translator.
OpenWays interfaces with Kaba electronic locks regardless of the card technology that is being used and Kaba already has working sites with more than 2,000 locks utilising the technology and operating successfully. Pending sales and market interest in OpenWays will reach up to 20,000 in 2012/3.
OpenWays already interfaces with the hotel’s PMS systems and can facilitate mobile bookings, mobile confirmations, e- payments and more.
With these exciting innovations, visiting a hotel will be easier and more efficient for both guest and hotelier in the future.