Physical Keys vs. Digital Keys: The Battle for Security

Featured Articles > Physical Keys vs. Digital Keys: The Battle for Security

digital keysIt’s no shock so many people are under the impression physical keys are about to go the way of the dinosaur, to make room for digital keys. It’s hard not to think with the amount of smart locks in the news. It seems every way you turn you’re met head on with more smart locks or digital keys.

It’s true. Yes, digital keys are on the rise, but that’s a given when anyone takes a look at the progression of technology. It doesn’t mean physical keys will be a thing of the past.

Physical Keys and Their Future

I asked several members of our sales staff their take on the chances the physical key really is on its way out the door they all disagreed. In fact, they were adamant physical keys would never fade away.

Elise Miller, our director of national accounts-sales says, “Digital keys will have a big impact on the market. While I would love to believe that eventually we will not have a need for a mechanical key, I think there will always be a need for at least one door at every location to need a real key—one that does not need anything special for it to work.”

She makes a very valid point. With digital keys come the chance of electronic failure. All it takes is one computer to go down or one electronic chip to glitch and you’ve lost access. Those are real risks and ones you won’t face as long as you have the tried and true physical key on hand.

Rob Owen, our director of national accounts-construction, is also on board with the idea physical keys are here to stay. “Digital keys will have a large presence, but they won’t replace physical keys…at least not in my lifetime. There are two reasons for this. First, physical keys aren’t affected by defective computer chips. Second, with the advancement of access control locking systems, there’s no need to spend the extra money on a digital key for the override key when the physical key will do the job at a significant cost savings.”

Digital Keys and the Unknown

I also got a chance to talk to Ian Greene, our technical support liaison. As a former locksmith, he isn’t threatened by the idea of digital keys taking over. “Physical keys will never fully go away simply because they’re cheap, don’t require batteries, and are familiar.”

It’s no secret many people prefer the easy route. The thought of batteries to change, a password to remember, or more money to spend and most people will balk. A physical key in your pocket or on your key ring feels safe and reliable. It also feels less complicated.

Granted the future of keys is still uncertain, but for now, it appears physical keys are in it for the long haul.

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