When we dropped my daughter off at her dorm this year I found out something interesting: her dorm is now keyless.

What does that mean?

It means that when she enters he building, she uses an app or her apple watch to open the door. It means when she gets to her room, she uses as app or her watch to open the door.

I’m not quite sure how I like any of this.

What if your phone/watch is out of charge? According to my daughter, even if your phone is out of battery, as long as it’s been charged within two days, the phone should still open the door. Sorcery I call it, but apparently that’s how it works. My daughter said there is also a charger in the dorm’s common room, so if there is an issue, you can give your phone a quick charge and get into your room. What you do if you’re stuck out of the building is another thing.

What about the kids that don’t have smart phones? My daughter actually asked someone this question. As of two week ago, eight weeks into the semester, not one person has asked for an entry fob. Which I guess means that Gen Z has gone smart…with phones anyway. Smart phones have become a must have.

My last issue with this is kind of about smart tech, but really a flaw in the overall system. Because all buildings must be accessible, when my daughter opens her building door with her app, the door stays open for I think 70 seconds, to accommodate people who might take longer to get in the door. While this is wonderful, as you can’t shut the door manually, someone could easily follow someone into the dorm, or sneak into the dorm. I know there’s at least five cameras trained at every entrance, and there’s a small army of security, as a Mom I don’t feel so great about this. (there’s a school in DC located not far from the White House- the joke is that if you hit the blue light at that university, at least five different government agencies can/will respond to your summons as well as campus security)

So there you have it. Our world is starting to go keyless. What do you think of this brave new world we are about to enter into? Is this a better thing, is this progress, or is this just unnecessary change for changes sake?


72 thoughts on “Keyless

  1. It’s a ceaseless wonder, all this tech. Meanwhile, my own tech has been faltering for at least a week and although I can do a lot with my not-young android phone, I fell behind significantly at a key time in my business because I couldn’t access or execute certain things WITH my phone.

    Certainly an adjustment period of some generations…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate keyless stuff, or anything where electronics replaces some, perfectly good mechanical option (like a basic key). My phone died out of the blue a year or so ago. I had to order a new one online, and it took a few days to get there. How would I have gotten in without it? A key fob, sure, but what happens if their power goes out? What happens if someone hacks the door system? Give me dumb systems any day. I don’t want some person on the other side of the world to be able to hack my door or my refrigerator or whatever, just because they want to cause a stranger trouble.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know! There are so many what ifs to this scenario. It does freak me out a bit. And completely agree with these things being hackable!! Crazy!!


  3. I’m with you, LA. Using hackable technology to replace what a simple key or number pad could do, and having the door automatically stay open longer than usually necessary, would not be my first choices. Reliance on “cool” technology that often isn’t tested thoroughly (hence the continual updates) is short-sighted.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Was this necessary? Probably not at all, but it doesn’t surprise me. You can’t grocery shop anymore without an app involved, or fly, or access your bank info, or just about anything else if you buy into the smartphone/app revolution. Maybe some big benefactor at your daughters university is involved in tech so guess what the administration chose to do…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I shop at Giant and Wiess, I have a discount card but the card is just a barcode, no apps needed for discounts, believe it not I still see people using coupons.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I haven’t seen anyone use coupons here in years. I know some markets here stopped taking internet coupons because they weren’t getting reimbursed

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it’s the way the world is going. I’m not crazy about it but I’m old. I don’t like living in a world where people need to rely on a phone versus themselves.

    I also think of the flip side of the problem. Who can’t get in? A couple months back my daughter gave me a key to her apartment. She struggles with her mental health. I feel secure having the key if I’m ever in a situation where I need to check on her for safety concerns.

    Too bad they can’t have a hybrid sort of system where they use their phone and still have a key as backup. What happen if you lose your phone, want to go off the grid, someone steals it, or it needs repairs? What about power outages? What if someone is following you? What are the safety concerns there? Lots of what ifs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think switching to key-less has an economic benefit. My workplace has, over the last 5-7 years, switched to mostly key-less entry. Ours is RFID linked to fobs or ID cards (not an electronic device). After the initial outlay for the tech, there is a large cost savings in labor and materials. I work at a university that has ~5000 dorm rooms. Prior to key-less entry, keys had to be cut, distributed, and once a student moved or graduated, reclaimed. For security reasons, if a key was lost or not returned, the door had to be re-cored ($$). The transient nature of student occupation meant this process had to happen every year at scale and sometimes semester to semester. There is also no way to track entry with a key. Our system can tell you whose ID or tag accessed a door. The info is time/date stamped. Access can be granted or revoked with the click of a button. Is it perfect…oh no, no, no it is not. It has, however, cut dramatically the number of times a building has had to be re-cored because someone lost a master key. We don’t have the time delay your daughter has with entry. The doors lock back in seconds (sometimes before you can get it open) so the only way someone could follow you into a building or room is if you held the door for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Follow up…all of our doors are still keyed. Access is possible without “swiping”. Access control just doesn’t issue keys to very many people. Primarily the campus police, our environmental health and safety department, facilities, dorm directors and certain safety employees are the only ones who have keys to residential areas.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I see many points of conversation here, but I’ll stick to just a few – hackability (enough said there), the minimum stardard for basic quality of life is now set at smart devices (so much for food, clothing and a roof over your head), I would worry about the inability to manually close the door faster than the programmed alotment. I worked in DC for years and never locked my car because the homeless frequently sat in my car during the winter months to get out of the weather and if your car was locked, they broke your window…..

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wouldn’t be crazy about it. And I would think it might provide a false sense of security. Cameras are great, but how much info would they provide if the person is wearing a face mask and a baseball hat.

    70 seconds seems like a really long time.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert in dorm security–but I know if there is a power loss–even a short one–some of the doors where I work have to be reset and won’t consistently lock.

    Not exactly related to your post, but in the college town I live in, a kid froze to death when he didn’t have his phone/ID card and the vestibule(which was heated) was locked on that particular night due to the extreme cold temperatures. So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I worry that the signals could get mixed up and the wrong person gains access to the wrong room. I’m in favor of keys, but I’m old fashion, and like the idea that each has it’s own design. I don’t know what the future holds but I suppose we’ll have to trust the new technology, the new ways of doing things and being in the world. But I’ll miss the idea of keys! Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Someday this whole system will go down for some ungodly reason. What will these kids do? I think that your fear of their phone being dead is real but what can you do? I guess just hope for the best and make sure your washing machine is a large capacity.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s all great, until it goes wrong. Then, you wonder how the obvious flaws were missed, or if someone decided to ignore them. And it’s always a pain to sort out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I blame vehicle manufacturers, they started this nonsense trend and it’s starting to take over.

    My ex had keyless entry into his house, the whole time we were together, the damn thing just didn’t work for me. I guess the door knew more about our longevity than we did. Smart after all…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree, I don’t like it. 70 seconds is way too long, if someone is following you and yes, what if it malfunctions? Technology I think has hurt our common sense sometimes. There is nothing wrong with having to use a key, why do we think we need to constantly improve. As another reader said, just another step towards the chip. Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Not a huge fan of keyless, because what happens if it gets hacked or stops working? If you lost a real key, a friend can loan you theirs. But if the system breaks down, then everyone is locked out. I do think that technology will continue to evolve and will eventually be more dependable, but right now, we’re just doing stuff because we can. And don’t get me started on the push for totally electric cars when we don’t have the grid (or adequate charging stations) to handle them. Plus, what happens during a prolonged power outage?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I like old fashioned keys the best and think they should still be a back up. However, using my phone is way better than those credit card keys. I never got those to work. I was always having to-get new ones.
    But I’m on pain meds from surgery yesterday so maybe I’ll feel differently tomorrow. I have to wait for several biopsy results to get a diagnosis, but had a bad reaction from anesthesia this time. That experience deserves a blog. On pain and nausea meds right now so I’m flying…today I like keys. But I do recall getting a few keys stuck in the lock. So maybe I shouldn’t open doors at all. Orrrr maybe we just all need a fancy Apple Watch like your daughter and my youngest son have. I’m a thumbs for keys this second…

    Liked by 1 person

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