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Best practices for setting up a Homelok installation access plan

Overview

The way you set up the access plan for your installation can depend on a variety of factors. For example:

  • The size of your installation
  • The kind of devices you're using
  • The types of keys you assign to your users
  • Whether your installation contains units or not

This section aims to provide a series of best practices when it comes to setting up your Homelok access plan. Specifically it refers to the order in which you should create the different elements of the system (devices, access, users, keys, etc.) to ensure a smooth set up and ongoing management.

Basic Homelok architectureBasic overall Homelok architecture

Before you create the installation's access plan, you must first create an installation and set up a subscription. See also the sections on creating installations and subscriptions.

Creating and configuring devices

The first, and most important part of any installation set up, is creating and configuring the devices that belong to the installation.

There are two ways to create and set up devices in Homelok:

  1. Create the devices in Homelok web first, then set up and configure them via the Nebula app.
  2. Use only the Nebula app to create, set up and configure the devices.

For larger installations it's generally recommended that you create the devices with their names and properties (for example, connection types, parent devices, opening modes, etc.) using Homelok web, before configuring them using the Nebula app.

A large installation is considered to be one that contains over 100 electronic locks. For these kinds of installations it's assumed that you have a map of all the doors and a clear and coherent naming system worked out prior to installing "locks on the doors".

This means it's easier to envisage a high-level layout of the installation and replicate this plan in Homelok web. Within that plan it's also helpful to envisage where you will locate any other device types, such as gateways or controllers.

For smaller installations, however, you might find it more "agile" for an installer to directly create and configure the devices at the same time as they're installing them. This kind of set up might be useful for small aparthotels, or residences that have a small number of doors with SALTO locks on them.

Whichever path you choose, remember that you should first create and configure devices before creating the other elements that make up the system's access plan.

Nebula app 'Devices' sectionYou use the 'Devices' section of the Nebula app to configure items of Hardware

Even if you do create, set up and configure devices using only the Nebula app, once created, these devices will then display in Homelok web. This means that certain device configurations can subsequently be carried out in the web application.

This guide for property managers and owners generally assumes that the locks are "on the doors". Nevertheless, you can find more information about device configuration in the installer section.

Creating electronic locks

An electronic lock represents a physical electronic locking device such as an electronic escutcheon, cylinder or motorized lock. Meanwhile, doors, like apartment doors, lockers, turnstiles, car park barriers or any point of entry or exit, are the logical entities that manage the physical devices. Doors must always be associated with at least one electronic lock.

You might find it useful to consider that while doors enable the composition of the installation's access plan, electronic locks are the actual physical locking devices that allow or deny a user access.

Although not a best practice as such, be aware that when you create an electronic lock in the Devices section of either Homelok web or Nebula app, the door that governs that electronic lock is created at the same time.

Door creation screenWhen you create an electronic lock in Homelok, the associated door is automatically created at the same time

See the section on creating electronic locks for more information.

Creating access

Once your locks are on the doors and correctly configured, you can then create the installation's access. You should do this before adding any users to the system.

For the purposes of this section, the term "users" here refers primarily to keyholders. Users with management roles like other property managers can be added to Homelok before creating access for keyholders.

You should consider access in Homelok as groups of permissions that can be given to users to simplify the management of access to and within your installation.

Some examples of access could be the following:

  • Access to all perimeter doors
  • Access to car park and main entrances
  • Access to restricted areas
  • Access to maintenance areas

Creating access in HomelokFirst create the access by adding the necessary doors and schedules

Deleting access is not considered to be a task that you'll frequently carry out. However, if an access is actively being used by users, the system will block you from deleting it.

Deleting access in HomelokIf you try to delete an access that's already been assigned to a user, this message will display

See the section on access for more details.

Creating users

Only once you've created access should you then create users in your installation.

You should add access to users BEFORE you assign any type of key to them. If you assign a key first, you may find that users receive notifications indicating that they have a key, but their key won't work if there's no access assigned to that user.

Assign access to usersAssign access to users before assigning them a key

It is possible for users to have multiple types of keys, but the types of keys available to you will depend on the type of subscription you have purchased for Homelok. For example, Apple Wallet keys is a license-dependent feature.

Units

If your installation contains units, ensure you create them after the initial installation set up.

A key best practice when creating units is to separate out access. That's to say, separate access that relates to communal access points and access that's unit-specific. This will give the unit manager more granular control when it comes to giving access to unit users.

See the section on units for more information on best practices for creating and managing units.

System limitations

The following details some of the system limitations to bear in mind when setting up an installation. This is important when taking into consideration the memory available on physical keys like keycards or fobs as well as digital keys like app keys or Apple Wallet keys.

  • Both physical and digital keys can store a maximum of either 100 doors or 100 door groups in their memory.
  • Each door group can contain a maximum of 100 doors per group. A door group bundles all door entities into just one, thus reducing the number of elements that are present in the key from N to one. This means that using door groups is preferable when managing large installations as it allows you to increase the amount of doors contained in an access.
  • An access in Homelok, irrespective of whether it's at the installation or unit level, can contain a maximum of 100 individual doors or 100 door groups.
  • Users can have a maximum of five sets of access assigned to them at any one time.

Unlocking

Physical keys

If the users in your installation use physical keys (cards or fobs), you should make sure that they hold their key in front of the lock's reader until it blinks green (access granted) or red (access denied). When unlocking, make sure that they hold their key at the lock long enough so that the lock blinks green, allowing for it to be unlocked. The LED light on the lock may display short yellow blinks initially, before blinking green to indicate access granted.

This is highly important at online locks because the lock will also transfer any new data to the user's key as they unlock it using SALTO's SVN-Flex technology. This data could include, for example, new access permissions or an extension of the key's expiry time.

Digital keys

For digital keys like app keys, it's not necessary to hold the key at the lock. Mobile devices can unlock doors at a greater distance, although the length of that distance can depend on a variety of factors such as the device type, whether there are any obstacles between the phone and the lock, or whether the phone uses NFC or Bluetooth Low Energy to unlock.

Also, unlike with physical keys, data is sent over the air to the user's mobile phone. This means that the updating of data like access permissions, for example, takes place any time the user has a working internet connection on their phone.

The situation is similar for Apple Wallet keys.

You can also refer users to the section on unlocking for keyholders.

Summary

The process for creating an access plan in Homelok is broadly as follows:

Create devices
Create access
Create users
Assign access to users
Assign keys to users

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