Paul Bodell, VIZpin CEO

Many towns require building owners to provide emergency access to first responders. With traditional systems, an owner mounts a key lock box or electronic keypad near the door and programs an emergency code that all first responders know.

At about $20 per box, the key lock box solution is certainly cheap, but anyone who knows the combination can take the key out, make copies and then put it back, blowing building security out the door. Electronic keypads, which cost about ten times more, present the same problem. Once the code is out there (which typically happens within days of the keypad being installed), anyone can have access. If you don’t believe me, go up to a keypad sometime, type in 911# and see what happens…

So, we set out to find a convenient, secure and affordable way to grant first responders access with VIZpin. Clearly it wouldn’t be practical to ask every emergency responder to download the VIZpin SMART app or to have the owner of every building send every responder a key. We thought about a “first responder” key that worked on all VIZpin systems, but squashed that idea quickly because it would be no better than the traditional keypad solution.

VIZpin FOBsThen, a smart, practical Certified Partner fortunately solved the problem for us with a combination of old and new. Our VIZpin partner mounted a key lock box (cheap, remember?) near an entrance, but instead of putting a key inside, put a VIZpin Bluetooth FOB that was enrolled in the system. First responders know the code to the lock box so they can get the FOB out and use it – but not copy it – and the VIZpin system records when it’s used, so if it goes missing, access can immediately be revoked and a new FOB put in.

It just goes to show that sometimes the best solution is the simplest. K.I.S.S.