Throw away those keys... almost

For years we not only accept central locking in our cars, we demand it. How convenient is car central locking? We can unlock the car from metres away and just open the door when we approach it. Why do we not demand the same convenience with the home? The technology has been available for many years with a range of keyless options.

In the corporate world key-less access has been available for decades. Swipe cards enable employees to access lifts between floors, car parking and doors. Staff movement in, out and around a building can be monitored if required.

For residential homes, cost has been the major factor against the concept becoming mainstream. With outlay costs now being lower and a greater range of products available, key-less access systems can now be considered for any home.

Incorporating the key-less access systems into new home construction is much easier and less costly than retro-fitting into an existing home, however, new products incorporating wireless technologies do make the installation less complicated.

The required hardware components can be expertly fitted within the door furniture with cables and wiring discreetly installed within the frame construction. Integration with an advanced security system provides a level of convenience that can only be experienced.

Windows and skylights can automatically open and close if the appropriate window furnishing are specified. Motorised blinds and curtains provide an additional level of privacy and convenience.

Inexpensive radio frequency key-chain fobs are familiar to most people and can contain RFID (radio frequency identification) chips that allow 'swiping' against a reader for access.
A single button press from a remote key-chain fob can disarm the alarm system and unlock the home. With a modern home automation system other events can be activated simultaneously to enable lights, heating and cooling, blinds and other devices to operate automatically.

Likewise, the home can be armed by pressing another button on the key-chain fob ensuring that all doors and windows are locked behind you as you leave.
Attractive keypads allow key-less access by requiring the resident to enter a unique number are an alternate for active home owners who leave their home without keys.

The ultimate key-less access solution are biometric readers. Seen by many people as a technology of the future or as a movie prop from a science fiction movie, biometric readers offer the ultimate security and convenience.

With everyone having unique fingerprints, a compact fingerprint scanner allows the user to simple 'swipe' their finger for access. Additional fingers can easily be programmed into the reader for alternate access to different areas of the home and for additional users.

Advanced devices such as iris scanners are available but their cost and specific installation requirements may be prohibitive. For this reason iris scanners are generally utilised only in extremely high security projects.

Together with a well designed home automation system, keyless entry can almost be taken for granted by the home owner just as we do with our motor vehicles as one of the most used modern convieniences of a home.

The days of having to carry around a keyring of keys is almost gone.

Simon Lakey
Advanced Lifestyle Solutions

01-Mar-2011