OpenWays Responds to FAQs Regarding its Front Desk Bypass Solutions that Securely Open Hotel Room Doors by Cell Phone

  • OpenWays
  • 02.09.10
Even before the recent debut of OpenWays at the 2009 International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show in New York in November, the global provider of mobile-based access-management solutions for the security and the hospitality industries was inundated with queries from hoteliers, consultants, security professionals, vendors and the media regarding the release of its revolutionary solution that securely delivers a hotel room key over the air to the right cell phone in order to open the right door lock or access control reader.

OpenWays uses the principle of Crypto Acoustic Credential™ (CAC™) and text messaging or short message system (SMS) to enable travelers to use any of the 4 billion cell phones on the market to check in or out of a hotel, securely open their door, and more. 

“The number of calls and e-mails we received prior to IH/M&RS was overwhelming, and still is,” said Pascal Metivier, OpenWays founder and CEO. “Hoteliers want to know the costs, installation process, ease of use... security directors and technology consultants questioned us regarding data security, cryptology and our counter-cloning solutions... and numerous hotels simply wanted to know from which lock or PMS vendor they could purchase the system.

“Due to the sheer volume of requests, we feel it is necessary to broadly address these queries,” he said.

Frequently asked questions and responses to OpenWays include:

Q: What is OpenWays?
A: First and foremost, OpenWays is a company, not a technology. OpenWays is a global solution provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions. With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas, Seoul and Paris, the company has developed a very powerful and secured multitechnology and fully interoperable credential delivery platform dedicated to cell phone users.
The OpenWays Crypto Acoustic Credential (CAC™) principle is just one of the capabilities of the OpenWays multitechnology platform. OpenWays also offers a very unique mobile phone software tool kit allowing its customers to develop and deploy Web-based mobile phone applications with an automatic hardware (cell phone make and type) detection system. It means that the Web content of the application automatically adapts to the phone, avoiding seeing some strange renderings on the cell phone display while using the app.

Q: What drives the Return On Investment of the OpenWays solution?
A: OpenWays’ mobile key applications ROI  is driven by several factors:
• Better guest service and guest experience allowing the for the option to bypass the front desk
• Reduction of operating costs at the property
• Reduction of plastic card waste while positively contributing to the environment
• Increase of direct room sales at a greater margin versus sales through third-party channels
• Increase of prepaid sales vs. post-paid sales allowing for cash flow improvements
• Wow effect and innovative image
Q: What is the business model?
A: Beyond some license and set up fees, the OpenWays solution is mostly based on a pay-as-you-check-guests-in business model. A small fee is paid per checkin. It does not cost the property every time a phone opens the door as many were concerned. If a guest stays one night or six, there is only one credential issuance being charged.  In any case what is truly important is that the benefits are much greater than the costs.
Q: How do we get the solution?
A: The CAC™ solution is delivered to the hospitality and the security industries via a variety of integrating partners, including leading electronic locking system vendors and specialized channel providers, such as property management system, central reservation and kiosk companies. Retrofitting an existing lock to support CAC™ only requires adding an OpenWays decoding listen device to the existing lock or access control reader.
Best of all, the integrated CAC™ solution is compatible with the major electronic door locks on the hospitality market, compatible with all 4 billion cell phones on the mobile consumer market today, compatible with all cell phone network technologies (GSM, UMTS, CDMA, 3GCDMA, LTE, WIMAX, etc.) and compatible with all mobile OS standards (BlackBerry, Apple iPhone, Symbian, Google Android, JAVA J2ME, MICROSOFT WINDOWS mobile and more).

Q: Can the crypto acoustic key be fraudulently duplicated to open a door?
A: The benefit of using an acoustic key is that all phones are made to produce sound. The down side of sound is that it can easily be captured and reproduced. However, the patent-pending solutions developed by OpenWays have removed this problem.

Each sound produced is unique and becomes obsolete from the moment it is used. It is encrypted using modern cryptology. If someone records the sound during a door opening and attempts to use the recorded sound to open the door, this sound will not be accepted by the lock or the access control reader.

Q: How loud is the sound? Will this disturb other guests?
A: The emission of the OpenWays Crypto Acoustic Credential is no louder than what you hear in your phone when someone talks to you. It uses the normal speaker of the phone, use of the loud speaker is not required.

Q: Are guests obliged to use a cell phone?
A: The mobile key service is an option offered to the guests. It is always possible to get a key card from the front desk. CAC™-equipped locks can work with both phones and key cards.

Q: How does the OpenWays solution contribute to increase security?
A: The OpenWays CAC™ principle wraps the lock key-card data within an encrypted acoustic envelope while never compromising the cryptology on the key card data. In fact, an extra layer of security is added on the top of the key card data.

Equally important, the OpenWays solution allows management to control and track master keys in a real-time fashion. Today when a Master Key card is lost, the hotel staff must walk to each door in order to cancel the lost card in every lock of the hotel. It takes a lot of time and no one can really be sure that every lock was reprogrammed. With OpenWays, any lost credential is stopped real time by simply cancelling it online at the server level. In addition, as the server controls the credential issuance at all time, the OpenWays application allows real-time tracking and audit trail of all keys and master keys.

The same real-time online capability allows for features like “change a room” or “extended a stay” without having to ask the guest to come back to the front desk.

By controlling the credential issuance in online and real-time fashion, OpenWays offers online management capabilities to standalone off-line electronic locking systems. This is a major improvement on its own.

Q: Is OpenWays competing with the near-field communication (NFC) technology?
A: No. OpenWays is NOT replacing NFC technology. Instead it is “paving the road to NFC” by offering a solution that works today with every cell phone. This makes the deployment of mobile key applications possible today without having to wait for 2014 when NFC phones will start to become readily available commercially. Also, given the architecture of the OpenWays platform and its interoperability, the transition to NFC will be made very easy. It will takes years for NFC to reach critical mass and during that time OpenWays will offer multiple solutions to always allow serving 100 percent of the guests that want to use their mobile to get fast to their room.

OpenWays is not a technology, but a company.

Q: When, where and with whom will OpenWays deploy its mobile key applications?
A: Announcements will be made soon. Some major hotel chains and casinos (in North America and Europe) are currently preparing the introduction of their first mobile key service with OpenWays. Given the strategic nature of this new service, OpenWays' customers wish to control the communication.

Q: How does OpenWays operates on smartphones like iPhones, BlackBerry,….and others?
A: Later this month, OpenWays will unveil a new application for iPhone that enables users to securely obtain an encrypted acoustic room key in pure data mode by simply pressing a key icon on the phone.
Such application will be also made available on the other main smartphones.
OpenWays is a global solution provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions. With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas, Seoul and Paris, OpenWays provides technology solutions allowing for the secure issuance and delivery of access rights and keys process via any cell phone operating on any network. The OpenWays solution is truly unique as it is built on the concept of credential dematerialization. The OpenWays mobile room key solution works on all the 4 billion cell phones in service in the world today.

Related Articles
want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.