A Comprehensive Guide to Digital Locker Lock Types
Private Mode, Public Mode and Remote Allocation
In an increasingly digital world, security is of paramount importance. There will always be a place for key lockers, but this article’s focus is on digital lockers and some of the options within that category, to help you select the right lock for your environment.
This guide delves into three primary types of digital lock modes. Private Mode, aka Single User Mode, Public Mode aka Shared User Mode, and Remote Allocation Mode (with a variant: Single-Code Remote Allocation). Each type serves unique needs and applications. Our exploration will include an overview of how each mode operates, along with a balanced discussion of their respective pros and cons. By examining these options, this guide will assist you in identifying the right digital lock type that best suits your needs, whether you’re managing personal lockers, shared spaces, or large facilities requiring controlled access.
NB: The lock options may be available in networked, hardwired lock systems however the focus is on digital locks that are battery operated. These are universally accessible and have a much lower entry price point, making them the more frequently used type of digital lock for lockers.
1. Private Mode or Single User Mode
Private Mode, also known as Single User Mode, is a setting that is designed for exclusive, individual use. This mode is set up and operated by one user who has sole access to the lock via a unique code, card or RFID key fob. Ideal for securing personal belongings or sensitive materials, the Private Mode provides high-level security, owing to its exclusive nature. This is a commonly used mode for personal lockers where prolonged, individual use is required. Its application ranges from private offices, hospital staff lockers or even student lockers, offering robust security for long-term use.
- High Security: As the lock is solely tied to one user, this mode offers a high level of security, perfect for storing personal or valuable items.
- Simplicity: Operating under a single-user basis simplifies the process of access management as there’s no need to worry about switching or allocating codes.
- Long-Term Use: Ideal for lockers or compartments that require prolonged and repeated use by a single individual.
- Limited Flexibility: This lock type doesn’t allow for flexible, multiple user access. If someone else needs to use the locker or compartment, the access code must be manually changed, which can be inconvenient.
- Potential for Lockout: If the user forgets the code, there’s a risk of lockout.
- Potential for wasting storage space: Dedicating lockers to individuals may mean that the space is being used sub-optimally, in situations where the users are not actively on site.
2. Public Mode or Shared User Mode
Public Mode, also known as Shared User Mode, is a digital lock type designed for environments where multiple individuals need access to a locker or compartment. This mode operates on a shared access code that can be used by various users, either simultaneously or at different times. By far the most common is one user per time however, as multi-users with simultaneous access is a rare requirement and is limited to a small selection of locks. It provides a level of flexibility and convenience that makes it ideal for shared spaces such as gyms, public libraries, and communal offices. The digital lock in Public Mode typically resets itself when it is unlocked, making it easily ready for the next user. This allows for a quick turnover and smooth operation in high-traffic areas. Despite offering less individualized security than the Private Mode, it serves as an effective solution in shared environments where individualized access is less crucial.
- Multiple Users: This mode is suitable for environments where many people need to use the locker or compartment, such as public spaces, gyms, or shared offices.
- Flexibility: Shared user mode allows for the locker or compartment to be quickly reset for the next user, providing convenience and flexibility.
- Automatic timers and internal clocks/calendars: Public access locks can have their functionality expanded when coupled with auto-unlock timers, or real time clocks that force-unlock doors either after a certain amount of time passes, or at a set time each day or week.
- Forgotten codes: Given that users are selecting their own codes independently, they may forget their codes requiring administrative assistance.
- User Conflicts: As multiple individuals can access any lockers within the space, users may forget which locker their belongings are in.
3A. Remote Allocation Mode (RAS)
Remote Allocation Mode (RAS) is a sophisticated digital lock type that relies on remote management for code allocation. This system operates through a web portal where a locker administrator can allocate a unique code to a specific user. The user can then access the locker or compartment until the administrator issues a new code to another user. Once the new code is activated, the previous code becomes invalid, thereby preventing unauthorized re-entry. This system is particularly useful in environments that require tight access control and efficient turnover, such as hotels, rental facilities, schools, hospitals or large office buildings. The RAS provides a balance of controlled access and flexibility, making it an effective choice for complex locker management scenarios.
NB: RAS does not require a network connection. The way it works is the web portal shows a list of all the locks within a grouping, and each lock is assigned a number. This number, combined with a confidential algorithm, generates a predictable set of “next” numbers in the sequence. The lock operates on the same secret algorithm. Because the administrator is issuing new codes and the user is entering the codes in the lock, the web portal data and the lock are always in sync. This is great, because it ensures a long battery life and avoids needing to attach locks to an existing or new network.
- Controlled Access: The locker administrator has full control over the code allocation, enhancing security and management.
- Efficiency: Ideal for high-traffic environments, this system allows for quick turnaround between users without any manual intervention.
- Usage Tracking: Given that each code is unique and tied to a specific user, the system can track locker usage efficiently.
- Dependence on Administrators: The need for an administrator to issue new codes might slow down access allocation, especially in peak times.
- Technical Requirements: The successful operation of RAS requires access to the internet in order to view the admin portal, to allocate new codes.
3B. Remote Allocation Single Use (RAS-Single Code)
Remote Allocation Single-Use (RAS-Single Code) is a variation of the Remote Allocation Mode that incorporates an added layer of security. This digital lock system operates similarly to the standard RAS, utilizing a confidential algorithm via a web portal for code allocation by a locker administrator. The unique feature of this mode is that each issued code is designed for single use only. Once the user enters the code and accesses the locker or compartment, the code becomes invalid as soon as the door is closed. This immediate deactivation prevents any potential unauthorized reuse of the code, ensuring enhanced security. This mode is particularly suitable for scenarios requiring highly secure, one-time access, such as parcel pickup stations, sensitive medical storage, or high-security document compartments. It carries the balance of controlled access and flexibility of RAS but with increased security due to its single-use nature.
- High Security: Each code self-deletes after one use, ensuring that no other user can access the locker with the same code, minimizing security risks.
- Efficiency: Ideal for environments where each locker or compartment is used once by each user.
- Single Use Limitation: Each code can only be used once, which might not be convenient for users who require repeated access.
- Increased Administrative Workload: Given that new codes need to be generated for every use, the administrative workload is increased.
In conclusion, the digital age has brought about an evolution in lock and key systems, moving us towards more secure and versatile digital lock mechanisms. From private or single user modes to public or shared user modes, and the advanced remote allocation modes, the landscape of access control has changed significantly. Each lock type serves its unique purpose and is ideally suited to different environments, be it personal lockers, shared spaces, or complex facilities requiring controlled access. Understanding the pros and cons of each mode is crucial in making an informed decision that caters to your specific needs. Whether it’s the high security of private mode, the flexibility of public mode, or the controlled access offered by Remote Allocation Mode and its Single Code variant, each digital lock type presents a unique solution to security and access control. As we continue to navigate the digital age, staying informed about these options will ensure we maximize security and convenience in our homes, workplaces, and communal spaces.
If you need digital locks for your next locker project or office fitout, or just need assistance in selecting the best lock for your situation please get in touch with us on 1300 17 55 99, or email us at email@example.com