Let’s start by defining a Master Key System. They can get very large with multiple tiers; I will not go into the large systems in this article. Let’s say that you have 10 doors that you want to put on a master system. Doors 1-4 all operate with the same key, doors 5-8 operate with a different key and door 9-10 operate with a third key. The door user keys can only operate their individual doors. For example, the key that operates doors 1-4 can only operate those doors and not the others. The master key can operate all 10 doors.
These system can get very large and very complicated. The systems must be designed before the locks are pinned and the keys cut. If a particular door needs to get put on another level, that door lock must be re-pinned and new keys cut.
With an electronic master system electronic locks are used. The master systems must be planned before the locks are deployed; however, if changes need to be made it is very easy make them. Electronic systems can grow much larger than similar mechanical systems. We are talking about master systems used for office buildings, hospitals and businesses.
There are basically two types of electronic door locks: wired and wireless. With a wired door lock, power is supplied to the lock by the wired connection. Communication also takes place through the hard wire. With wireless door locks the power to operate the lock is usually supplied through the key. This is where communication also takes place. With a wired system the lock can be changed and moved to a different level on the master system almost immediately. This happens through the control computer and software.
With a wireless system the communication currently takes place through the key. The key must be returned to the control computer where new programming will take place. These types of locks are used on smaller master systems. A Wi-Fi door lock communicates through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. With Wi-Fi, the communication and master system changes will operate much like the wired system.
The future is electronic or biometric locks all controlled by software capable of very large master systems. To make all of these electronic locks work together the manufacturers must come up with a system that will operate all locks from any lock manufacturer. If the lock manufacturers cannot or will not do this then software companies like Apple® just might.