Key-Printing Kiosks Automate RFID Card Copying

Self-service key-copy technology company KeyMe has implemented RFID card duplicating capability at 111 of its kiosk, mostly in urban areas across the United States. The kiosks enable users with low-frequency (LF) 125 kHZ RFID keys—such as access cards for offices, parking lots or apartment buildings—to create copies of their RFIDcards. Once a card is read at the kiosk, KeyMe will separately create a duplicate using the collected card data. The duplicate will then be shipped to the individual’s home within two or three business days.

“KeyMe is changing the way people make and manage their keys,” says Greg Marsh, the kiosk company’s CEO. In that effort, he adds, “We believe there’s a massive demand to copy RFID cards,” primarily for access in the residential market. The company was launched five years ago to provide a convenient technology for copying spare keys, and now has at least one key-copying kiosk throughout 40 states, for a total of 1,500 kiosks deployed around the country.

A customer can first download the KeyMe app that is used to save key information. For very basic keys, he or she can simply insert the key into a slot in the front of the kiosk, which will capture details regarding the key’s shape, store that information digitally so it can be copied again if necessary, and then create a duplicate within approximately 30 seconds. The duplicate is provided to that customer on the spot.

The user can then create a “digital key chain” in the app with any of his or her keys, which is stored on the cloud-based server in case a key is ever lost and needs to be printed, or if that person ends up in a lock-out scenario. The key data is stored along with a fingerprint for security purposes.

More sophisticated keys, such as automotive keys with transponder data, can be copied, but this would take a few more days. Once such a key is inserted into the kiosk, the transponder data is captured and stored along with the key’s shape, and the duplicate is then shipped to the key holder’s address. In the meantime, Marsh says, “Our customers are aggressively asking for more opportunities,” including RFID key printing. “We think dense, urban areas will have the earliest demand.”


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