Are Physical Keys Going to Become Obsolete?

Physical KeysThe world is going digital and everything around us is changing fast. So, what does this mean for the future of the good, old-fashioned physical keys jingling right now in your pocket?

When you buy your first home, your first car, or your first office building, one of the most memorable moments in those transactions is when the seller hands over the key. Just the weight of it is inspiring and then you turn it in the lock, open the door… and it feels like your brand-new space has so much potential!

With the world obsessed with everything digital – whether it is smart phones, smart appliances and even smart homes, your keys and locks are no exception. Push-start ignitions in our cars, apps that operate like keys, biometric scanners that allow access to our homes, all these futuristic technologies afford us convenience and the great luxury of not having to worry if we drop physical keys or misplace them. And we still have our security.

Does this spell doom for your good old physical keys? After all, physical keys are easy to copy and there is always a fear that duplicate of your key may be out there somewhere. On the other hand, digital keys are super convenient and highly secure not to mention that you are not forever worried about losing your keys. However, it seems the world is hesitant to go completely digital when it comes to locks. And for good reasons!

As with any new technology, there always are new concerns. The sheer price is one valid concern, as installation and upkeep of digital locks at the moment far outpaces the cost of installation and upkeep for a regular mechanical lock and key. Digital locks require frequent changing of their power sources (usually batteries). A faulty computer chip or a dead battery is going to leave you locked out and unhappy. Another concern is the functionality and security of these locking systems. For instance, what if all your locks are electric and the power goes out? There could also be a chance that you forgot your password.

In the situations described above, not only are you going to find yourself locked out and/or exposed to intruders, you’ll also need to hire a highly skilled locksmith; someone who specializes in the specific “smart lock” you use to secure your door, cabinet, safe, or whatever else you have behind lock and no key.

Going digital makes your life easy and convenient but if you are not too careful you can get hacked and in that case your locks opens up the door to a whole slew of new vulnerabilities. The best solution, according to security experts, may be a hybrid approach. While we want to take advantage of new technology and provide our private spaces with added security, it’s a great idea to have the old physical lock and key as a backup in case of a power failure or a system vulnerability of any sort.

Most industry experts agree that the good old mechanical locks and keys are here to stay.

Leave a Comment