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Starwood starts testing smartphone-triggered door locks at hotels

updated 02:06 pm EST, Mon January 27, 2014

iPhones, Android devices will be compatible

As part of a pilot program, two hotels owned by Starwood Hotels & Resorts will soon start allowing people to unlock their rooms using smartphones as room keys. The hotels are part of the Aloft chain, and based in Manhattan, New York and Cupertino, California. Guests will need at least an iPhone 4S or a phone running Android 4.3 or better.

To actually unlock a room, guests will need a special Starwood app capable of receiving a virtual "key." The app will then communicate with a lock via Bluetooth, unlocking after a tap or twist gesture. Starwood is planning to launch the pilot before the end of March.

The company adds that it's hoping to introduce virtual keys to all its W and Aloft hotels by the end of 2015. It notes that the locks are battery-operated, and so shouldn't be affected if a hotel's computer backbone goes down. Hotel staff should be alerted as lock batteries run low.

by MacNN Staff



  1. GopherAlex

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 06-23-06

    Because cards weren't complicated enough...

    What is the over/under on how long it will take some enterprising 15 year-old to release iSkeletonKey on Cydia?

  1. DrSkywalker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-29-11

    A really bad idea on so many levels.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-21-99

    Terrible idea. It's only a matter of time before a smart crook figures out a way to request your room key from your phone out on the street, then go in your room and take your stuff.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    This method will save hotels tons of money reprinting the cards. Like how printed brochures and manuals are replaced with iPad.

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