Today I traded in my old Supra e-key for the new ActiveKEY. I was happy to get this new key - until I got home and started doing some research. It appears that, while 3 Associations in Chicago's far west suburbs (including my own) are upgrading to this new SUPRA Lockbox from GE - the rest of Chicagoland is upgrading in May to the Sentrilock Lockbox System owned by NAR. One key system is accessed through a wireless device the size of a small phone - the other with a smart card. Just when two of our local MLS boards merged - it seems contradictory to discover that two different lock box systems are being implemented.
SUPRA ACTIVE KEY LOCKBOX SYSTEM
According to NAR, Supra controls 83% of the lockbox market. The New ActiveKEY, as well as the old e-key, work with the blue i-box(pictured to the right). The ibox works with the key by infrared. The new ActiveKEY by Supra (below and to the left) is about the same size as a small flip phone and updates via cellular technology. No more plugging a keypad into a phone line for updates every day. Updates happen automatically through cell synchronization.
COOL ACTIVE KEY FEATURES
- email - ActiveKEY can email you when a keybox is opened. This means no more calls from the seller "Did that 2:00 appointment show up today?
Updates automatically - no more plugging the key into a cradle to update. Updates occur automatically via cell technology.
Built in LED flashlight - how cool is that?
Backlight for the screen - the previous ekey was not backlit.
SENTRILOCK KEY SYSTEM
Sentrilock is owned by NAR. This REALTOR lockbox (pictured to the right) was developed with input from REALTORS. The Sentrilock system is controlled by using a smart card (pictured below and to the left) to access the lock box. Since I haven't seen or used this system, I don't know as much about it as I do the ActiveKEY. The two largest REALTOR Associations in the Chicago area are both upgrading to this new system. MORE - Main Street Organization of Realtors (Formerly RWSCC) is the 2nd largest Association in Chicagoland and the 5th largest in the nation. MORE is upgrading to the Sentrilock system in May. CAR - Chiacgoland Association of Realtors, the largest Association in Chicagoland and the 4th largest in the nation, is also upgrading to the Sentrilock system in May.
The one differentiating feature seems to be that the key holding portion of the lockbox drops open from the front, rather than being accessed from under the box like the Supra ibox. Essentially - the Sentrilock puts the opening mechanism on the front of the box rather than in a separate device.
Overall, it seems like SUPRA is more on track. The new iBoxes can now be accessed by compatible smart phones. That's right - you won't even need the new ActiveKEY - just download some software to your phone. I like this extension of the phone technology and it seems on track with the way phones are becoming multi function devices. But, the sad thing is - my blackberry won't work. I spoke to a SUPRA rep during the key exchange - and he said each compatible phone must have infrared and a touch screen. My Blackberry Pearl does not have a touch screen.
If you're a REALTOR in the Chicagoland area and, like me, you're wondering how you are going to access two different keybox systems - check out this PDF Q&A file from MORE