Access control systems have taken over the hotel industry in the last decade or so. Making the transition to these systems has been a necessary part of maintaining the privacy and security enjoyed by guests. It has also become an expected part of modern-day settings in the hospitality sector. Traditional locks are no longer considered an appropriate provision in establishments presenting themselves as contemporary or cutting edge in the market. Alternatives such as RFID key cards and Magnetic Key Cards have become the standard provision in such categories. and both RFID key cards and Magnetic Key Cards can be used for the hotel door lock access control system.
Also, the hotel door lock system has progressively developed over the years, first emerging in the form of magnetic cards before developing additional alternatives such as smart cards. The kind of RFID key cards chosen by an establishment is not always something that is taken into serious consideration. However, though both options may look the same – their operations significantly vary from one another. Knowing the difference between these two cards can help you decide which kind of access control system better suits your needs and preferences.
It should be noted that both smart and magnetic cards utilize the same platform implemented by all RFID key cards. With this in mind, knowing how these cards work can be considered the first step in understanding your options. Luckily, you don’t have to be an IT professional to distinguish the major differences between these alternatives.
How do the RFID Key Cards Work?
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and functions by using frequency waves to transmit data from one platform to another. Nowadays it’s primarily used as a means of tracking access qualifications in the security industry. When dealing with access control systems, RFID key cards function because their readers are constantly emitting an energy field which is energized when a key card crosses along its borders. Through this method, the details of the cards are transmitted to the reader, which after consultation with the control system – offers a particular reaction.
Smart cards are the latest generation of RFID key cards and consist of a plastic card containing a computer chip with relevant details. This chip is used to store and transmit data. It can be stated that the main difference between smart and magnetic cards is the manner in which the data is stored. They offer higher reliability in terms of the level of security provided to the stored data. They are also not easily influenced by their environment, ensuring that they have a longer lifeline than their magnetic counterparts.
Though they may be slightly more expensive than their counterparts, these RFID key cards prove good value for their money. They offer greater security against potential hackers and can store more data than the magnetic alternative. The enhanced alignment of their operations offer an overall lower maintenance cost as compared to many alternatives.
Magnetic Key Cards
As mentioned earlier, magnetic strips have been utilized in the creation of RFID key cards in the past. They are capable of incorporating an RFID tag thus its implementation in the hospitality industry. This alternative was the first option to be introduced into the market and thus is seen as a more retro choice in this category. It has maintained its popularity due to the fact that a variety of buildings are already equipped with magnetic card readers of some sort, lowering the costs of any potential transition. These types of RFID key cards also present a cheaper alternative as compared to more recent upgrades.
The main disadvantage of using magnetic RFID key cards is that they are less reliable than more modern alternatives. These cards can be easily demagnetized by simply wandering into a stray magnetic field. They also store less information than its smart card counterparts. Magnetic stripe cards have also become quite accessible to hackers with the proper tools in recent times. In conclusion, it can be argued that magnetic cards are mainly suitable for small operations that are not located around a tech-based environment. Should you be running a small family business that does not require high detail security, this alternative may be the best option for your needs.
Choosing Between Smart and Magnetic RFID Key Cards
If you’re running a hotel or similar lodging establishment, then part of upgrading your security protocol could be switching to a modern access control system. It should be noted that in a general perspective, both alternatives will more or less function in a similar manner – thus your decision will have to be based on matters such as your particular needs and the project budget.
Some of the issues that might come into play include;
1, the Target Market
The kind of clientele you are targeting can play a role in making your security-based decisions. If you are aiming for the affluent in society, for instance, then the kind of provisions you offer will have to match this objective. Such individuals would not expect a simple access control system that can be compromised through demagnetization. Smart cards can be seen as an ordinary expectation when dealing with such establishments.
If your services are aimed at the general public, on the other hand, then choosing from a variety of magnetic RFID key cards might save you some extra cash. Such options can upgrade your public image while having a lesser effect on the general expenses of the business. However, this does not mean that one should simply delve for the cheapest option available when looking for an electromagnetic solution. The kind of quality available with a particular option can greatly affect the maintenance costs involved.
2, Cost Incentives
The particular budget laid out for such a project will also play a major role in the final decision. Larger hotels dealing with hundreds of rooms, for example, may find it wiser to split the costs and install both types of RFID key cards. The magnetic alternatives can be placed in the economical rooms, while smart cards can be utilized for more executive options.
All in all, the particular option chosen should be based on the specific needs of the establishment involved. Smart cards offer more reliable service in general, but magnetic RFID key cards can also provide good value for money in the right environment.