Key Fob: History, Definition, & Benefits To Your Business

key fob
Photo by RDNE Stock project

If you have to give staff actual copies of building keys, you understand how difficult and time-consuming it is to track people’s access to your facilities. Physical keys provide a security concern since employees may misplace, copy, or use them after hours without your knowledge. This is where you will need to employ key fob.

In this article, we will look at how key fobs work, some of the benefits and uses, how to implement a new key fob access system, how to calculate the costs of key fob systems for businesses, and the factors affecting the battery life of a key fob.

What Exactly is a Key Fob?

The key fob is a solution for building owners and managers looking for more secure entrance solutions. They enable you to track, manage, and restrict entry to your building without the need for traditional keys.

History of Key Fob

The term “fob” was first used for a small handheld tag in the late 1800s, with the introduction of the “watch fob.” A watch fob was a little ribbon, chain, or pendant that was attached to a pocket watch back when they were popular accessories. The term “fob” is most likely derived from the German fuppe, which means “pocket.”

Throughout the twentieth century, before key fobs were electrical devices, they were another term for beautiful keychains. If you spoke “key fob” to someone in 1960, they’d probably see a small trinket tied to a set of keys—perhaps a sports team logo or a favorite miniature portrait. This older definition gave rise to the modern-day key fob.

When remote keyless entry devices became widely accessible in American cars in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the term “key fob” took on a new meaning. Infrared rays were employed in early generations of remote keyless systems, but they had significant drawbacks, such as requiring an unobstructed line of sight and being easily intercepted. Because of its better security and reliability, RFID eventually became the dominating technology.

Many advanced functions are now included in keyless systems. Some activate a motorized liftgate feature, which raises the back hatch door—ideal for consumers carrying a large load of groceries. Others may even remotely start the vehicle’s engine, which is perfect for warming up your vehicle on a cold day.

How Does the Key Fob Function?

RFID, an intelligent barcode system that employs electromagnetic fields to detect and track data on “tags” storing recorded information, is used in modern key fobs. The data is subsequently transmitted via radio waves.

The barcode system functions in the same way that barcodes on real objects do. The reader must obtain the information.

To use a key fob to open a door, hold or wave the fob in front of the reader. Each key fob is equipped with a microchip with a unique frequency that communicates with the reader and indicates that the door should be opened.

You may program fobs to allow different levels of access for different purposes. For example, you could set your building manager’s fob to open all doors in a facility, whereas a help desk worker’s fob might only open a couple.

How to Implement a New Key Fob Access System

When implementing a new key-fob access system in your firm, keep the following recommended practices in mind:

#1. Teach Your Employees How to Use Their Key Fobs 

When you give staff their fobs, take a few moments to go over the system with them, answer their queries, and provide a list of frequently asked questions. Include any key fob information that is relevant in your employee handbook.

#2. Highlight the personalized Nature of the Key Fob 

Inform employees that their file is personal to them and should not be shared with coworkers.

#3. Create a Key Fob Administration System

Establish a clear and simple procedure for employees to report missing or lost key fobs. If you misplace a fob, you should deactivate it right away.

How to Calculate the Costs of Key Fob Systems for Businesses

If you want to upgrade to a key fob system for your business, you need to budget for the following expenses:

#1. Initial Setup

For small and medium-sized organizations, the installation charge normally ranges between £894.97 and £2,683.91.

#2. Key Fobs 

Prices typically range from £4.50 to £17.98 per fob. When comparing the cost of a key fob system to standard lock-and-key systems, consider the long-term benefits.

#3. Maintenance Expenses

Maintenance expenses might range from £44.95 to £179.82 each year.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Key Fob Entry System

When looking for the best key fob entry system, keep the following in mind to make a good decision:

#1. Security Options

Built-in encryption protects against illegal access and cloning. Access control easily manages individual access, including different degrees of access.

#2. Flexibility 

Choose a system that can scale with your company, adding security features and accommodating more users as needed.

#3. Usability

Ensure that the key fob is simple and easy to use for employees and that administrators can simply manage users and access levels, acquire access, and monitor activity.

#4. Compatibility with Existing Systems

Check to see if the key fob entry system can work with your current infrastructure, including alarm systems or time and attendance monitoring software.

#5. Price and Return on Investment 

Consider the expense of the system as well as the possible long-term savings in terms of security and convenience.

Advantages of the key fob

Implementing a key fob entry system for your organisation has numerous benefits:

#1. Enhanced Security

Key fobs are more secure than normal keys since they are more difficult to replicate or steal. Electronic entry systems allow you to keep track of who is entering the building. Key fobs perform the same function as traditional keys but with added security. You may quickly revoke access to a fob if it is misplaced or if you want to refuse admittance to someone (a former employee or tenant).

#2. Convenience

Authorized users simply require a key fob to gain access. Key fobs reduce the need to wiggle a metal key in a lock. All you need to do is wave the fob over the reader. Proximity keys are another great alternative for easy entry because they detect the lock without you having to take them out of your pocket or backpack.

#3. Customizable Access

Key fobs allow you to regulate who has access to which doors and when. For example, you can restrict warehouse access to only necessary staff during their assigned work hours. Fobs also assist you in keeping track of employee attendance, monitoring visits, and evaluating worker mobility.

#4. Simple Monitoring and Auditing 

Track entry activity while speeding audits and investigations as needed.

#5. Cost-Effective 

While updating may appear to be costly, it saves money in the long run.

The Disadvantages of Key Fobs

A key fob entry method has the disadvantage of being more expensive than standard locks and keys. Furthermore, if you lose your key fob or forget the code, it can be difficult to gain access to your house or company when traveling overseas without a smartphone. Furthermore, if you don’t know what features are available and which ones would best suit your security needs, these systems might be tough to set up.

The cost of installation is a significant disadvantage; key fob entry systems can be more expensive than standard locks and keys. Furthermore, the installation of a keyless system frequently necessitates the employment of an expert or firm, which might cost you money that would not have been required with a regular lock arrangement.

Symptoms Of Key Fob Low Battery

Even if your key fob appears to be working appropriately, some small irregularities occur when your battery is on its last legs, which indicates that there is a need to replace the battery or other maintenance. Such signs include:

#1. Range Reduction

A shortened range of operation is one of the first indicators of a key fob’s low battery. If you need to get closer to your vehicle for the key fob to operate, this could be an indication that the battery is running low.

#2. Unresponsive Buttons

When the buttons on your key fob become less responsive or take numerous efforts to register a command, it could be an indication of a depleting battery.

#3. Warning Lights

Some automobiles have a dashboard warning light that lights up when the key fob battery is low. This indication can differ between car models, so check your owner’s manual to determine if such a function is available.

Causes Of Key Fob Battery Drain

Determining the cause of key fob battery drain is difficult because battery life can. After all, battery life is affected by many things. Some of them include

#1. Time and Usage 

Key fob batteries, like every other type of battery, have a finite lifespan. The battery progressively decreases with constant usage and you may need to replace it after a set period, which commonly ranges from one to three years.

#2. Environmental Factors 

Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can hasten the discharge of a key fob battery. Direct sunshine, high humidity, and frigid temperatures can all degrade battery performance.

#3. Interference

Electromagnetic interference from other devices or electronic components near the key fob can reduce its battery life in some circumstances. Mobile phones, other key fobs, and electrical devices in close vicinity are common sources of interference.

Solutions To Key Fob Low Battery Problems

The following solutions should be followed when your key fob shows signs of battery drainage

#1. Replace the Key Fob battery

The simplest solution for a key fob low battery is to replace the battery. To find the particular battery type required for your key fob, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or contact a local dealership. It is often a straightforward technique that can be completed at home or by a professional.

#2. Battery Preservation

You can take a few precautions to increase the life of your key fob battery. Avoid exposing your key fob to excessive temperatures and keep it in a dry area. Additionally, reducing the use of unneeded functionality, such as the panic button, can aid in battery power conservation.

#3. Replacement Key Fob

Keeping a replacement key fob with a fresh battery on hand can be a useful backup alternative. It enables you to continue driving even if the primary key fob’s battery dies altogether.

#4. Seek Professional Help

If you have attempted to replace the battery and the key fob continues to malfunction, it is best to visit a professional technician. They can troubleshoot the issue and offer a more comprehensive remedy, such as fixing or reprogramming the key fob if necessary.

Is The Key Fob Important?

Proximity keys are another excellent option for easy entry because you don’t even have to take them out of your pocket or bag for them to detect the lock. Key fobs are more secure than keys. Key fobs provide the same function as traditional keys but offer additional security.

How Long Do Key Fob Batteries Usually Last?

As with any battery, the key fob battery in your car’s fob or remote will occasionally need you to replace it. Typically, a car fob battery should last between three and four years. Additionally, several signs will tell you when your fob battery is dying. The first sign is reduced signal strength.

What is The Difference Between a Key fob and A Remote?

While it’s technically called a remote key, the word “key” evokes the image of a traditional metal key with a head and blade. Most people refer to remote keys as key fobs, and if you’ve got one of those with a couple of buttons on it, that’s exactly what we’re talking about.

Who Can Activate a Key Fob?

It may be surprising to learn that even car dealerships will sometimes have to call a locksmith to cut and program your new key fob. Some cars are even equipped with security features that can only be bypassed by professionals or you could risk immobilising your vehicle.

Why Are Key Fobs So Expensive?

One aspect that contributes to the cost is the process of programming the key fob. Locksmiths are often sought to perform this task, and the cost can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the key fob and the specific car model.


Investing in a key fob system is a wonderful method to increase the security and efficiency of your organisation. You can make your business safer and more lucrative for years to come by selecting the best key fob system for your needs, embracing its benefits, and properly maintaining it.


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