Monday, 21 January 2013

Digital Keys - Conveniently Non-Conflictual

In our last few blog entries we looked at how digital keys can improve security and bring massive cost savings. In this blog we are going to look at another great attribute of digital keys - convenience.

In this day and age 'convenience' is a word that is so easily tossed around and can come to mean almost anything. So what better way to describe 'convenience' than through an examination of its antonym - 'inconvenience'. Inconvenience is defined with words such as 'discomfort', 'trouble', 'annoying' and 'nuisance'. And all of these types of words can in turn be associated with 'drama' and 'conflict'. Where do we commonly find 'drama' and 'conflict'? How about movies and TV shows.

Metal keys are conflictual

It comes as no surprise that those horribly, troublesome things called 'metal keys' often feature in memorable scenes from TV shows and movies. Most of the time we don't realise it, but metal keys do bring conflicts in our lives. Think about when you were last locked out for example. But there are so many more examples. Take the hilarious conflict scenes in Night at the Museum where Ben Stiller slaps the monkey for stealing his keys. Or Mr Bean poisoning the Art Gallery security guard with laxatives and stealing the keys to the toilets, so he could distract him while breaking into the Gallery to replace the painting he had originally spoiled. With digital keys the monkey could never have stolen Ben Stiller's keys, and the Security Guard would've been able to immediately open the door. Digital keys will take the potential conflict out of your lives.
The conflict over the metal keys

There is even an entire episode of Seinfeld devoted to metal keys called "The Keys"(Season 3, Episode 23).  In "The Keys", Jerry gives his spare set of metal keys to Kramer to look after the house whilst he is gone. Jerry returns home from traveling, to find Kramer has overstayed his welcome (i.e Kramer is using Jerry's spare set of keys to let himself into his apartment at anytime he feels like it, even after Jerry has returned). So Jerry demands his spare sets of keys back from Kramer, who has "broken the covenant of the keys" and can no longer "be trusted". A verbal fight ensues, and Kramer realizes he is now free to come out of the shadows of Jerry, and he moves to California.

The covenant of the metal keys

With digital keys, the storyline would be very different. Jerry would simply use his smartphone to generate a digital key in seconds for Kramer to work only for the days that he is out of town traveling. Jerry would then send that digital key to Kramer via SMS or NFC. Upon Jerry's return, Kramer would not have Jerry's keys, and so Jerry wouldn't be concerned that Kramer was letting himself in whenever he had to pop out to the shops or wherever.

Finally, with digital keys there would not have been a fight over Jerry demanding Kramer return his spare set of metal keys because he is not 'trustworthy'. Kramer would've had to find a new excuse and reason to move to California. Or he wouldn't have gone.

Further, when Jerry was out of town traveling, he could have his digital keys set up so that he was notified with a text or email everytime Kramer opened the door. Kramer would be aware of the text notifications, and would not abuse the 'covenant of the keys'.

If Kramer did abuse the covenant of the keys whilst Jerry was away traveling, Jerry could simply revoke his keys in seconds from his smartphone.

Digital keys spells the end of lockouts

"The Keys" storyline continues with Jerry giving his spare set of metal keys to Elaine. She is the new trustworthy purveyor of the 'covenant of the keys'.  Elaine has Jerry's spare set of keys, in case he loses his other set, or if he locks himself out, or if there is an emergency and Elaine needs to access his apartment. Soon after, Jerry desperately needs to get his spare keys back, so he goes to Elaine's apartment with George (who has the spare keys to her place) to search for his spare set. While there, they find Elaine's writing project for an episode of Murphy Brown. As they read and laugh over it, Elaine walks in and screams at them to leave because they've invaded her privacy.

With digital keys, here's how that part of the storyline would go - Jerry would never have to give his spare keys to Elaine in the first place. There is no threat of a lock-out with digital keys, and you can never lose your keys.

Here's how this works - you can set up a 3-5 digit PIN code as a back-up if you lose your phone, or if its stolen, or if your battery dies. You then enter this PIN code on the keypad on the lock on the door, or on the reader connected to an electric strike to open your door. You can set this PIN code to something you remember, such as 111. So you will never be locked out.

If for some reason you happen to forget your personalised 3-5 digit back-up code, then you simply need to log into your web-based account, or your email account and get your stored code. You could go next door and ask your neighbour if you could borrow their smartphone for a minute, log into your account, and see the stored back-up PIN number. Or you get a new one-off digital key sent to your neighbours phone, and open your door with their phone, and then return their phone. If your neighbour's weren't home, you could go to the nearest public phone box, dial the 24 hour support toll-free number, identify yourself with your special secret questions or with passwords (like you identify yourself when you ring up the bank), and then get the operator to give you your back-up PIN code, and then let yourself in.

Have you ever been locked out of your house or your office, or perhaps your hotel room? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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