#WhatIs: What Is Keyless Technology?

You probably might have seen those small circular shaped cards used at banks by bank tellers and security guards.

Upon seeing these cards being used at banks I have been wondering what these items are since they are small in size than those for vehicles.

By Kudawashe Pembere

These are key fobs, a  gadget that we see and use on a daily basis. Motorists have them and institutions such as banks, hospitals, hotels and even Universities in Zimbabwe have adopted these items for access entry into restricted areas. The key fobs can be used for home security as well.

Key fobs use this technology called The RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Chip. It is a wonder product for this century.

In case you might be wondering the etymology of the word key fob, key fob is also a word used to describe a key chain and several other similar items and devices. The word fob is believed to have originated from watch fobs, which existed as early as 1888. The fob refers to an ornament attached to a pocket-watch chain. Key chains, car starters, garage door openers, and keyless entry devices on hotel room doors are also called fobs.

Car key fob

Car key fob

What is a Key Fob?
Also known as a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Chip is an access control device invented in the USA by Charles Walton way back in the early 1970s.  The RFID chip is the quiet achiever behind many modern Industrial and commercial success story’s.

A key fob is a small, programmable hardware device that provides access to a physical object. Key fobs, which are also called hardware tokens, can be used to provide on-device, one-factor authentication to objects such as doors or automobiles. They can also be used as an authentication factor for objects that require two-factor or multifactor authentication, such as laptops.

The fobs which are water resistant Key fobs are an integral component of a keyless entry system. Locking and unlocking a car or office door with a key fob is as easy as pushing a button.
The key fob displays a randomly generated access code, which changes periodically, usually every 30 to 60 seconds. A user first authenticates themselves on the key fob with a personal identification number (PIN), followed by the current code displayed on the device.

The Benefits of Key Fobs and Remote Entry

One of the main advantages of a keyless door lock is doing away with the keys, you no longer need to carry a key thus not worrying about losing your key or fidgeting at the door to get it open.

Another advantage of keyless door locks is that you can provide entry to your home for others at your discretion. You will not need to make copies of a key or leave keys for dog walkers, housekeepers, or house guests to get in to your home. Rather, you’ll simply need to tell those people the proper code in order to gain access.

However, the  on the downside …

While there are many benefits to including a keyless door lock system in your home, there are also some major drawbacks to look at as well. Keyless door lock systems are generally safe and designed to alert police or other authorities if incorrect codes are entered too many times. It is nonetheless possible that an intruder may be able to gain access to your home, property, office through this system by guessing or hacking the code.

Just as you can forget your keys and be locked out of your property you can also forget the passcode to access your keyless entry system and be locked out. While it is safer to use a completely random code and avoid obvious choices like birth dates or simple, repetitive numbers, this can pose a problem if you have a difficult time remembering things.

Lastly, keyless door locks that are electrically-powered systems may not function properly in the case of a power failure. This can leave your door completely locked throughout the failure, or it may result in the door not locking properly and remaining open. Fortunately, most systems have battery backup systems as a fail-safe.


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