All of the software programs provide you with the audit trail of each key and lock, thus telling you who gained access or attempted to gain access at a certain time to any machine in your company.
"We have heard from our customers that CyberLock has reduced internal theft just because of the fact that the employee knows of the existence of an audit trail of openings and attempted openings," said Andy Hilverda, vice president at Videx. "The software audit information has also helped with the legal aspect of providing factual data, whereas before all an operator had was circumstantial evidence."
Security of the software itself must be a consideration as well. Most electronic lock manufacturers utilize an encrypted data system.
"Electronic key products in a variety of industries that have become more prevalent in the field are being hacked," said Gary Myers, president of TriTeq Lock. "Recently, the automotive industry, a longtime user of electronic keys, has been targeted by the thieves. In a Wall Street Journal article it was reported that there is now a method of cracking the codes using today's computers on the simple RFID systems in automobiles. In vending, it's important that the level of security is well protected. Rolling codes and two-way encrypted data allow us to keep high levels of security in vending."
"We have been told by our customers that they have been able to reduce their trade loss substantially," said Bill Deutsch, marketing manager at Medeco High Security Locks. "Our customers have also told us that they operate their routes much more efficiently by using our software as they are able to see exactly how long a route person takes to fill his or her machine, including driving and break activities by time of a specific route."
Daily maintenance of electronic locks
A key element in building an electronic key system is ensuring that it does not become a job unto itself. Look close for systems that can work with minimal daily intervention. The "refreshing" of keys that allow them to be "active" to open machines during specific periods of time that is determined by the operator is a part of most electronic lock systems.
The process consists of a docking system connected to the home office or branch computer. The office "control" person utilizes the docking system to activate the keys for another period of time, usually 24 hours.
Another option offered by some systems allows route drivers to refresh their own keys by using a PIN number as they place their key into the docking system.
TriTeq utilizes a method in which the operator designates which locks are allowed to be opened by specific keys, or alternately using a one-key approach.
"The one-key approach allows the route drivers or service drivers to open all venders, but yet are tracked by the software when they are off their respective routes. This will eliminate the need for a route driver or service tech person to drive back to the office or alternately hook up online on the road to allow access to venders that have been moved," said Myers of TriTeq Lock.
Cellular network allows for faster access
Videx introduced a new addition to its software that allows the operator to authorize a key to open a specific lock in a machine via a cellular phone. "The new cellular CyberKey will be especially helpful for the service repair people who must have access to machines on a variety of routes at a moment's notice," said Hilverda of Videx. "We are also introducing software that provides the capability of the home office to manage their multiple branch operations. Rather than utilizing independent software for each branch, the branch will be able to do their own scheduling on a central system that can be monitored by the home office."
"Our software was specifically designed for daily route management," said Deutsch at Medeco. "If someone calls in sick on a particular day, the machines from that route are easily transferred to another route's keys for that particular day. Our Nexgen communication manager allows the computer operator to load the route schedule into the software the night before and shut the computer down at night. The next morning, the route driver is able to place his or her key into the docking station and download the schedule while the main application is down."