Mobile Key Myths

Mobile Key Myths

Here are some mobile key myths that simply aren’t true.

Mobile keys are easy to ‘sniff’ and copy


Every smartphone has a secure element called a SIM card. This smart card contains a secret key. The secret key is initialized into the SIM card in the process of personalization by the telco. The shared secret is known only to the telco and the SIM itself.  In the initial handshake protocol in which the Mobile device registers into the telco network, there exists a challenge response protocol in which the identity of the SIM is established to the telco.

After this process in conjunction with the Mobile Equipment a session key is derived and the entire communication is encrypted using some variants of the A5 algorithm. This is how the communication is secured and how it cannot be intercepted. The ecosystem is designed in such a way that the handshake happens at some regular interval and so the session key keeps changing.

Guests don’t want to download an app


Users aren’t just downloading record numbers of apps, they’re using them. In most markets analyzed, the average smartphone user has more than 80 apps on their phone and uses close to 40 of them each month. This roughly equates to between one-third and one-half of the apps on users’ phones used each month on average.

J.D. Power and Associates has released its annual North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study and the biggest takeaway for hoteliers is this: pay more attention to mobile. Hotels that incorporate mobile apps and functionality into a hotel stay have higher guest satisfaction. And they are more likely to increase their number of direct bookings if they focus on mobile

Mobile Key Myths

Mobile key requires new locks

Not True.

Mobile key requires that a guestroom lock have Bluetooth capability to enable the lock to communicate with a guest smartphone.  Adding Bluetooth capability to an existing lock used to mean replacing the lock, but innovative new technology from mobile key providers such as OpenKey now allows hoteliers to upgrade any existing lock to add mobile key capability with a Universal BLE Upgrade Module.  This module is designed for self-install and provides an economical way for hotels to offer the benefits of keyless entry.  Many lock manufacturers also offer a BLE upgrade for newer RFID locks that can be used to add digital key ability.

Mobile key will reduce our personal touch

Not Necessarily

When it comes to the hotel industry, traditionally, the guest experience has been defined by human interaction(s) between guests and staff but over the past few years, as technology evolves and guest expectations change, self-service is now becoming an expected part of the travel experience. Guests expect ever more personalized, convenient and streamlined interactions with hotels and their staff. This leaves travelers preferring self-service options that prioritize convenience at every turn, whether it’s making reservations and check-in by smartphone or kiosk, accessing a virtual key from their mobile device, communicating with staff via text messaging etc.

Mobile key will kill your phone battery


Newer generations of Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi Direct drain little-to-no power while they’re not in use. Once you enable another device and begin transferring files, that’s when they’ll start eating your battery. Until then, just having them enabled isn’t going to cause any noticeable battery drain.

Guests have not adopted mobile key


The interest in hotel mobile key has peaked, driven by millennials and other technology-loving guests. Mobile locks and keyless entry are approaching a critical mass of installations as demand and popularity climb.

Digital Key will now be available at 362,000 Hilton hotel rooms across 2,000 hotels worldwide with the introduction of the exclusive technology at the Hampton Inn & Suites Washington DC-Navy Yard. Every new hotel that is opened worldwide, roughly one a day, is equipped with Digital Key technology.

Mobile key = skip the desk


When paired with mobile check-in, mobile keyless entry makes it possible for hotels to allow guests to bypass the front desk and proceed straight to their room upon arrival.  In most cases, the check-in experience is more of a toll gate than value-add to the hotel stay.  Research on digital guest engagement shows 73% of guests would prefer to skip the front desk entirely.  However, many hotels offer mobile key today in order to save money on expensive RFID keycards and reduce their plastic waste while still requiring guests to check-in at the front desk.  Mobile key offers a host of guest benefits beyond the obvious perk of potentially skipping the check-in queue such as increased guest security, convenience, reduced lock-outs, elimination of demagnetized keycards and many more.

Read a previous OpenKey article

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