Mobile phones as room keys – whatever next?

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an interesting post on the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, which has just introduced a pioneering new scheme allowing guests to use their NFC-enabled mobile phone as a room key. And just in case you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s a video…

The technology is the result of a collaboration between locksmiths, Assa Abloy AB, and telco provider, Teliasonera AB. Guests check-in with their phone and are sent a room key directly to their handsets, which allows them to enter their room without having to queue at reception.  After an eight-month trial, it proved a success among hotel guests, with almost all of the guinea pigs saying that they would use the service again.

If NFC is capable of revolutionising such a long-established process in such a short space of time, then one is entitled to wonder what other areas of our everyday lives one day could be NFC-enabled.

Earlier this year we saw the first demonstrations of NFC being used as a car key, for both accessing and starting the vehicle. It may not be too long before we see the same system being adopted for commercial, or even residential, premises.

What is clear is that these innovations are taking us even closer to a world where the mobile phone is central to everyday activities: communicating, working, sourcing information, buying items and now entering premises. Despite BMW’s predictions earlier this year that car keys were set to compete with the mobile phone to become the new wallet, it appears the mobile phone is still winning.

So where will NFC technology take us next? Answers on a postcard please.




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