06.02.2024 | Lesezeit: 5 Minuten | 554 Ansichten

A conversation with a key experience

Philip Westphal, co-founder and Managing Director of the Westwerk agency, addressed the topic of key management during the Johanniter visit. Contrary to his expectations, there was only an inadequate process for managing the many customer keys. At that time, the wall of a well-secured room was adorned with 1,000 nails on which 1,200 keys were hanging. The keys were supposed to be documented in a complicated Excel spreadsheet, but the removal and return of keys was not tracked. The chaos in handling the keys was inevitable. Especially because a home emergency call requires urgency. “We would have expected that there would already be solutions for such cases. But we were working with carbon copies, paper and Excel spreadsheets,” says Dominik Knipprath, also co-founder and Managing Director of Westwerk. This was the birth of Log+Key as a platform for digital key management. Together, Philip Westphal and Dominik Knipprath founded Westrath GmbH, which has set itself the goal of eliminating key chaos with the Log+Key product.

One of the biggest pain points is the time it takes to maintain data for key management. Log+Key’s inquiries and previous customers confirm that complete documentation for the clear traceability of key movements represents an incredible administrative burden that consumes an unnecessary amount of time. This is a process that can be made leaner and, above all, more efficient through digitization.



The development of a key management app

Log+Key therefore began with the development of a key management app. The haptic counterpart to the app is an NFC tag that is attached to each key. This allows each key to be uniquely identified and managed in the app. “Right from the start, we had the option of scanning the NFC tags with a smartphone. In addition, for organizations where not every employee has their own mobile device, we simply set up a standard consumer tablet from an electronics store with an NFC reader and used it to implement this. That’s when we realized that consumer hardware, as used in private life, is not designed for continuous operation,” explains Dominik Knipprath, Co-Founder & COO of Log+Key.

Industrial tablet beats consumer goods

So we had to find another solution. After some research, a small selection of possible providers emerged. A consultation appointment was quickly booked via the gekartel website. After the first meeting to get to know each other, things happened really quickly: “Within four weeks, we sent out the first samples, i.e. the first devices; there was a concrete need for action. We first had to create a stable solution, so we went full throttle,” summarizes Jürgen Werner, Head of Business Development at gekartel AG.

This is also where the advantages of gekartel AG’s industrial tablets came into their own:

  • The built-in components comply with the industry standard, which means that electronic components are designed for continuous operation and do not wear out before the planned service life.
  • The same applies to the battery: in consumer devices, this is not designed for continuous operation. Batteries that are constantly connected to the charging cable will break and lead to instability in the device.
  • Consumer devices that run on the Android or iOS operating systems from Apple are already equipped with numerous pre-installed applications such as those from Google. However, some of these applications do not comply with the strict data protection requirements for corporate and IT security. In addition, uncontrollable software updates are often launched by the manufacturers, which can lead to instability and a malfunctioning application. Integrated peripherals such as scanners or printers can also be put out of operation by an update, as these are not tested for specific applications. Expensive service calls to rectify the problem on site are often the result.
  • The monitor runs continuously, so energy-saving mechanisms in the form of intelligent software are also an important criterion here: Motion sensors, standby and energy-saving modes overnight with automatic time switching help to significantly save energy and costs.

Stable solution for the rollout

After the first, very intensive four weeks, a stable terminal solution with industrial tablets was ready for Log+Key and its customers. The task now is to further optimize the solutions: For example, an NFC reader from an external provider is currently installed on the devices. Due to the exposed cable, this represents a source of danger or even encourages theft. As the modular design of the gekartel tablets also makes it possible to integrate an in-house NFC reader directly, without any exposed cables, all tablets are to be purchased from gekartel AG as a complete solution in future.

Goodbye to unknown time wasters

Most companies are not aware of how much effort and therefore valuable working time is tied up in outdated administration and documentation processes. For many, key management is an everyday task that is often accompanied by minor annoyances due to incorrectly documented keys. Without considering the time and personnel resources wasted, it is simply accepted. Only when companies are explicitly approached about it do they realize the need and the potential for optimization that the Log+Key solution offers. The tablet is placed directly in or next to the key cabinet. If the key is then removed from the key box or hung back, the tag only needs to be held in front of the NFC reader. The app installed on the stationary device recognizes the key and guides the user through the removal or return process with a single click. Once the solution has been rolled out with gekartel AG’s touch terminals at the customer’s premises, satisfied customers speak of lean administrative processes, low documentation requirements and an up-to-date overview of the current storage location of each individual key. A real added value for anyone who has to manage a large number of keys.

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