It is well known that Bluetooth® technology opens doors in a figurative sense. But now, it also does it in the literal sense. Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) member companies like Tapkey make this a reality. The Viennese company has developed a solution that uses a smartphone app and Bluetooth technology to open entrance doors, hotel rooms, delivery boxes, shared offices, or cars. We spoke to Gregor Zehetner, co-founder, and co-CEO of Tapkey, about this.

Q&A With Gregor Zehetner From Tapkey

Mr. Zehetner, Tapkey has been in the market for seven years. How did the business idea come about?

The idea for Tapkey came from a personal need. In the early 2010s, we had the challenge of managing office access for larger, changing project teams. With metal keys, this was anything but easy to manage. With our background in secure and scalable mobile solutions, we started by creating our own prototype reader that could be accessed with an app. After spending three months in Silicon Valley at a time when the first smart locks were coming to market, we quickly realized that this would be a promising business area.

Was your solution designed as an open platform right from the start?

Initially, we wanted to eliminate the annoying problem of handing over keys and the repeated loss of keys. That was the birth of our Tapkey mobile app. In the meantime, however, Tapkey has evolved into an open platform with extensive integration functions. The key is Access as a Feature. This is because many manufacturers of access control systems, as well as providers of car sharing solutions or real estate, require industry-specific functions that they develop and offer in their own mobile app. This creates an end-to-end user experience for the customer, for example a tenant app in which the tenant can not only communicate with the property management company or view their rental agreement but can also open their door directly. This is what we call Access as a Feature.

Are automotive and real estate the most important markets?

Currently, they each account for about half of our business. But our platform is suitable for many other applications. These include not only classic areas such as hotels, coworking spaces, or apartment rentals. Storage, bike sharing, or smart logistics providers are also recognizing the benefits of digital access control.

How did you come to integrate Bluetooth technology?

At the beginning, we worked with NFC (Near-Field Communication) because the locking devices already available at the time could be used with this technology. But with the advent of Bluetooth® Low Energy (LE), a completely new market emerged around smartphone apps. Compared to NFC, Bluetooth LE scores points above all, with a wider distribution among devices and a greater range. This means that doors or barriers can be opened from a distance of several meters and do not have to be within a few centimeters. Ultimately, however, both technologies complement each other so that we use the optimal technology depending on the use case.


The Myths & Facts about Bluetooth® Technology as a Positioning Radio

Watch this detailed discussion into the challenges and opportunities in front of indoor location services systems and how to tap into their potential in manufacturing, logistics, retail, offices, and more.


Developers and integrators can develop their own solutions based on your platform. What do they need to keep in mind?

We offer a publicly accessible developer portal at, where developers and technical decision makers can find all relevant technical information about our interfaces. For a collaboration, an integrator signs an Integrator Licence Agreement with Tapkey and can get started immediately. It is important to keep our constantly evolving SDKs (software development kits) up to date in the integrating of products to ensure a high security standard.

Speaking of security, how do you prevent unwanted access?

Cybercrime is, of course, omnipresent today, and the issue of security is business critical for mobile credential platforms like Tapkey. That’s why we work with proven external subject matter experts in this area who give us an excellent report card for our basic security concepts. On the one hand, every Tapkey-enabled locking device has individual security features that reliably ward off potential attackers. On the other hand, we double secure the transmission path between the smartphone and the locking device. To this end, we combine the state-of-the-art security of the Bluetooth® protocol with a specially developed security protocol that offers additional protection against attacks, regardless of the transport protocol.

Depending on the specific specifications, Bluetooth security functions are mandatory or only recommended in certain application scenarios. It is the responsibility of the product manufacturer to analyze the specific security risks, as well as those of the people who will be using the product. The same applies to the conditions under which it is to be used. Given the range of measures we have implemented, Tapkey-enabled products are very well protected against unauthorized access or entry. Of course, it is always possible to add additional security elements to the hardware. But too many of those elements not only drive up the cost enormously but also the user experience sometimes suffers. Therefore, we try to position Tapkey ideally in the triangle of security, costs, and usability – without compromising on our established high level of protection.


Bluetooth® Location Services Infographic

See 8 use cases for enhancing building efficiencies and creating a better visitor experience, discover new data that supports the latest trends and forecasts, and find out what’s driving the rapid adoption of location services solutions.


More Storage Space At The Push Of A Button

Thanks to Swiss-based Fruchtlänge 7, LEGIC and dormakaba, everyone can acquire additional storage space…

Bluetooth Location Services Device Growth Is Trending Up

From personal item finding and indoor navigation to asset tracking and digital key, Bluetooth®

2022 Bluetooth Market Update

Featuring new market insights and industry forecasts from ABI Research and other analyst firms...

Tapkey Enables Mobile Access

Key-based locking systems are going out of fashion: Today, cars are opened by radio…

How Tapkey Combines a Cloud Platform and Bluetooth Technology to Create an Innovative Solution for Access Control

It is well known that Bluetooth® technology opens doors in a figurative sense. But…

Bluetooth Location Services

See 8 use cases for enhancing building efficiencies and creating a better visitor experience, discover new data that supports the latest trends and forecasts, and find out what’s driving the rapid adoption of location services solutions.

Adapting Digital Keys for Commercial Access Control, Car Sharing, and More

Out of all the various Bluetooth® solution areas, Bluetooth Location Services has been one…

Intelligent Mobility Solution for E-Motorcycles Achieves True PEPS

Mobility as a service (MaaS) is shifting from a hot concept to becoming an…

Top Bluetooth Digital Key Resources Released in 2021

Throughout the years, Bluetooth® technology has been integral to and is best known for…

Mobile Access Senior Living White Paper

How advanced access technologies are working to equip senior citizens, their communities and facilities…

Disneyland Resort App Offers Even More Magic, More Convenience at Your Fingertips

Earlier this spring, the Disneyland Resort introduced a new online check-in service for our…

Bluetooth Low Energy Innovations in Connected Vehicles That You Didn’t Know Of

The automotive industry is evolving at a fast pace. Modern automobiles are far from…

Connect: Car Access Demo

In this demo, Texas Instruments will discuss and demonstrate Bluetooth 5.1 and its cutting…

How PEPS technology is opening the doors to the evolution of car access systems

Car access has become more convenient as design engineers take advantage of technologies that…

Secure and Accurate Distance Bounding for Bluetooth Secure Access

Are you involved in the design and development of products that rely on secure…

High Accuracy Distance Measurement Demo For Keyless Entry Systems

In this technology demo Lambda:4 shows their phase based ranging with a standard Bluetooth…

Using Wireless Technologies to Replace Cables in Car Access and Battery Management Systems in Automotive

Is this cable replacement really possible? How reliable it is? Well these are just…

Angle of Arrival with Bluetooth Low Energy for Car Access

Experience how Bluetooth 5.1 and its cutting edge localization tools with angle of arrival…

 Get Help