Listen Up Hotels, Near Field Communication Room Keys are Here and They are Awesome



Elana and I are at our third stop on our “Jersey Shore Road Trip”. This time we are staying at a cute little boutique hotel just a block from the beach. The hotel was designed by Bob and Cortney Novogratz, owners of the NYC based design firm, Sixx Design, and stars of Bravo’s docu-series “9 by Design.”. It is a rather cool place that has some great design elements and some pretty neat tech built into it. The first that caught my eye was the key system that is used to access the elevator and open the room door. Before getting into it a little background.

The first hotel we stayed in was an old school resort that had, at one time, been a shore golf club. It still had that old world feel and only a few “new amenities” had been updated. Among them was the commonplace key system that uses a magnetized strip on a plastic card that, when slid into the slip in the door mechanism, unlocks it. Well at least that’s the theory. The reality was that no less than twice we had to go all the way back to the lobby because the key had become demagnetized and we couldn’t get into our room.

Annoying. 🙁

The next stop was the newest hotel and resort in Atlantic City. It was new, sharp and… used the same exact door mechanisim as stop one. And just to keep things consistent, we once again had two occasions when we couldn’t get into the room and had to go all the way downstairs (we were on the 27th floor) and key the keys remagnetized,

REALLY annoying. 🙁 🙁

Then came stop three. The keys look the same except that they don’t have the telltale black magnetic strip on them. To even get the elevator to let you access your floor you hold the card in front of the sensor. There’s no slot to put it in and no need for them to actually touch. Just hold the card in front of the sensor and you are good to go. The same holds true for the room lock. You hold the card in front of the sensor and within a second you can hear the locking mechanism opening.

It is a great use of technology that every hotel should consider moving to. Better still, with continued rumors that the next generation of smartphone will include some sort of Near Field Communication it is totally possible that with a year or two (ie during next summer’s visit here since we WILL be coming back) we won’t need a room key at all. We’ll simply hold up our smartphone and the door will magically open. (Well at least my phone will. Elana won’t let go of her BlackBerry and we all know how that is going these days.)


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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.

1 Comment on "Listen Up Hotels, Near Field Communication Room Keys are Here and They are Awesome"

  1. “Better still…we won’t need a room key at all. We’ll simply hold up our smartphone and the door will magically open.”

    Perfect! So in the near future if you lose your phone while on a trip, you’ll lose your means of communication, your wallet, and your hotel room! All we need to complete the circle is to somehow tie in NFC to plane tickets 😀

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