New technology increases security but simplicity of use still imperative in safes

This article is part three of a three-part series on hotel safes. Look here for part one and here for part two.

More companies are mandating their employees to stay in hotels that have in-room safes, which is ensuring the future of a product once considered unnecessary in hotel rooms. “Government employees, airline employees and others are mandated to stay in hotels with safes to ensure the protection of their processions,” said Ethan Mayeux, director of military sales for Assa Abloy Hospitality and product manager, North America for its Elsafe brand.

Online technology for safes is gaining popularity because the technology can improve the protection of that safe, some experts report. Online safes allow for monitoring anywhere in the hotel, Mayeux said.

“There’s an online locking system and it can have a board inside that will make it wireless, allowing hotel operators to be able to effectively supervise the safe,” he said.
With the new technology, an online audit trail is created. It can show who has entered a safe—a hotel guest or staff, creating an additional layer of security. When a guest is checking out of a hotel, staff can tell if the in-room safe is unlocked or locked before the guest leaves, decreasing the risk of guests leaving valuables behind.

“Staff can ask if they are forgetting something before they leave the grounds,” Mayeux added.

But not all hotel safe manufacturers agree that more technology is making safes more secure. Harvey Brodach, president of Global Safe, said that simpler is better for safes. A code that is set by guest and that is the only way to lock and unlock the safe is the solution to keeping items protected, Brodach said.

“The more complicated you make it, the harder it is for the guest and the hotel,” he said. “There’s more calls to the front desk, more engineering visits to the room. A simple four-digit passcode is best.”

Another technology that Assa Abloy Hospitality is working on for safes is allowing keyless, Bluetooth low-energy access, using cell phones. “It’s piggybacking on the same technology from room locks,” Mayeux said.
Brodach again warned against the use of unproven technology because “anything can be hacked, even the highest security systems—why not just a simple safe?”