Smart Key

What Does Smart Key Mean?

A smart key is a key with digital or information features that can facilitate more functionality than just unlocking a physical or digital lock system. With the emergence of new technologies that can use radio frequency (RF) signals and convert them to digital information, the use of smart keys has become more widespread in many industries, including the automotive field and the hospitality industry.


A smart key is also known as an intelligent key.

Techopedia Explains Smart Key

Many uses of the term "smart key" in IT pertain to the auto industry. The types of keyless entry fobs and other modern auto products that facilitate keyless entry, auto-start and other features are often referred to as smart keys and are now endowed with more useful features for security, convenience and more.

Although the term "smart key" is often associated with these automotive key fobs, any type of key that uses digital or RFID technologies for either signaling or information handling may be called a smart key. For example, in a hospitality establishment, digital keys hold information about room entry history, customer identifiers and more. This helps the establishment with all sorts of objectives, from serving customers according to their documented habits, to providing much better access to security research in case a crime is committed in its premises.

Many types of smart keys are being designed using more advanced technology that can hold more information for devices that people use every day. Some of the work being done on smart key systems parallels other developments like the Apple Pay contactless payment system, which is changing the ways e-commerce is done. A smart key is a broad term that is likely to become even more common in tomorrow’s world, as smart security techniques like biometrics and encryption replace old physical lock-and-key systems.


Related Terms

Latest Emerging Technology Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…