Upgrading the locks

Changing keyed locks for electronic locks: What you should know

Hotels and holiday homes make the leap to electronic locks

Changing keyed locks for electronic locks: What you should know

Electronic locks are gradually being introduced into homes thanks to advantages such as their security and the convenience of not having to have keys. And if there is one sector that has joined this modern trend, it is the tourism sector: hotels and hospitality, as well as holiday homes.

At Omnitec, we are specialists in this type of solution. A very frequent question from our customers thinking about replacing keyed locks with electronic ones is that the process will be complicated. Nothing could be further from the truth, the changes are simple and fast, and for most electronic lock models you do not have to change the door. So in this article we are going to talk about precisely that: the installation of electronic locks.

How does an electronic lock work?

Most of our customers are surprised by how easy it is to change metal keys for card or Bluetooth opening systems; and these are of special interest at the moment, due to the health crisis in which contactless technologies are being promoted. This contactless technology is based on wireless communication between several electronic devices without any physical contact between them, usually via Bluetooth or RFID systems.

In this post we are going to explore different cases, since the type of existing lock determines the type of electronic lock to be installed. Let's look at some different options.

Types of electronic locks that can be installed

Electronic locks

There are many types of electronic locks, which you can find here. Let’s classify them according to their opening systems:

  • Mifare proximity card: The credentials required can be encoded, not just in card format, but also in a key ring or bracelet, for example.
  • Bluetooth: This technology provides customers with a completely secure mobile application to open and manage the lock.
  • PIN Code: opening with a numeric code, as if it were a hotel safe.

Electronic cylinders

An electronic cylinder is another option for modernising a door with a mechanical keyed lock and to increase its security, above all. Installation is very simple: you just remove the mechanical cylinder and install the new electronic device.

At Omnitec, we provide two models of this type:

  • X-Clusive Opening with a Mifare wireless card. This fits easily into any hotel or office room door lock.
  •  X-RP: Opening is via Bluetooth using a smartphone, a Mifare proximity card or remotely through Gateway connectivity; making it ideal for holiday homes and avoiding handing over keys.

Installing an electronic lock

In the vast majority of cases, installing an electronic opening system does not mean having to change the door. This keeps costs down considerably when modernising a system, especially in hotels and other types of accommodation with hundreds of rooms. What's more, many of our models even allow the existing mechanics to be kept, resulting in minimal intervention. Depending on the latch, just one or two holes in the door are required to pass the cables through; while, for other cases, more holes for screws and one or two more for through pieces may be needed.

If there is a mechanical key, the simplest and fastest way is to fit an electronic cylinder. This only requires loosening the cylinder (1 screw), inserting the electronic cylinder and replacing the screw that held the old cylinder. After configuring the cylinder with the app, it’s ready to go!

Taking advantage of the existing door handle and mortise lock is also possible with electronic locks. Specifically, with two of our novelties: the Fit-In electronic lock type (designed to maintain the existing mechanics) or the SLIM type (an elegant design with a narrow profile). If the holes in the door are wider than our lock, a trim plate is added to cover them. As these models adapt to the latch on the door, this means less investment and minimal intervention is required on the door.

Do you need to change the doors?

In the vast majority of cases, you do not have to change the doors to incorporate this system. It may be that in some old doors it is difficult to install some specific models (such as the EVO). However, this electronic lock is superb for new doors, as the batteries go inside the door; so we recommend this particular model for new doors.

For years we have specialised in electronic hotel locks to offer our customers as the most effective solution, adapted to the type of door that already exists. If you need more information about the suitability of the models for your own premises, our team will be happy to help and advise you in choosing the lock or cylinder that best suits your needs.

So what are the advantages of installing electronic locks?

The main advantage of these mechanisms, whose installation is much simpler than it may seem, is the additional security they provide. In addition, there are no copies of traditional keys; a record of all openings can be kept; and cards can have access permits that expire or allow entry only at certain times for extra privacy; so that service personnel, for example, can access only at a particular time.

Also, there is the ease and convenience of managing cards rather than keys: e.g. a card can be made to expire or be cancelled if lost accidentally; and extra cards can be given to each guest in a room. This can all be managed simply from Reception with software, an app or via both systems, as you prefer.

As well as managing cards, the codes on numeric keypads or on mobiles via Bluetooth keys can also be managed, as seen previously. In fact, these systems open up a wide range of possibilities for accommodation centres without a 24-hour Reception and for those in remote locations, such as rural houses or tourist apartments; as you do not have to physically meet the guest to hand over a card or key.