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Going Keyless Is the Key: The Hotel Room Key Goes Mobile


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The hotel room key card may become as obsolete as the brass room key it replaced.


Door lock vendors have developed the technology to let smartphones function as keys, and the hotel industry is starting to experiment with it.


The keys are activated through smartphone apps. When guests check in through the app, the hotel sends them their room numbers and enables the phones to act as virtual keys. Sensors in the door can detect and verify the phone through technology such as Bluetooth LE. There's no need to wait in line at the front desk.


"We're eliminating keys," Phil Dumas, president of UniKey, which is partnering with Miwa Lock to offer keyless entry, said at this week's HITEC hospitality technology conference. "You can completely bypass the front desk."

Starwood Hotels and Resorts is testing out virtual keys on iPhones and Androids at the Aloft Harlem in New York and Aloft Cupertino in California. The company plans to roll it out to other hotel brands next year.


More details at usatoday.com