The high cost of Free

We charge a subscription fee for our Teleporte keyless access control system. Our system is based on a license for each lock. We then allow an unlimited number of keys, users and administrators for each lock with an active license.

No one likes paying for a subscription to the keyless access network. However, we incur real costs to deliver and maintain a secure, reliable system that works around the world. They need to be covered. We are being honest about these costs when we put a price on them and charge for subscriptions. We are building a sustainable service.

We know that some other keyless access solutions don’t charge for the keyless access service, offering it “for free”. It sounds good. We think it’s dangerous or dishonest since one of three things are probably true.

It’s a pyramid scheme

Some vendors of keyless access systems recognize the costs of delivering keyless, but build their business models based on continuous growth. Their success requires them to grow year after year in order to afford to keep their keyless service online. When we stop and consider this, it is a real risk that grows over time. In case sales don’t always increase, what happens when they can’t afford the costs of the keyless network? The risk is unspoken, but is that a risk that you really want to take?

There are plenty of examples of keyless access control companies who have shut down their online service, leaving their customers scrambling for alternatives. This represents a crisis and is expensive to resolve. So much for “free”.

The real costs filter through management

Bigger companies who offer the keyless service without an added cost are often more stable. Unless they are being deceitful, they probably don’t understand the long-term costs associated with operating and maintaining a secure cloud system today. They are used to the cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) for the hardware they ship, but treat the software as an R&D expense only. After time, these costs reveal themselves to be ongoing and non-trivial. Management is predictable: they can’t have a business platform that loses money. So, after some years, once the smart locks are deployed throughout your operation, they will say “we can’t afford this” and they will start to charge some yet unknown fee to improve their bottom line. Since the switching costs are high, you will likely pay. Again, so much for “free”.

They’re selling your data

The third way that free is not really free is when your access control system provider is monetizing your data. This may be the most expensive kind of free because you lose control of some very sensitive information. It doesn’t matter what it is, if you’re locking it up you should care about who knows where it is and when someone gets in. When this kind of data is sold, it can lead to very dangerous outcomes. Another case where “free” is not free.

At Sera4, we charge a fair price to deliver a great keyless access system that protects and automates your critical infrastructure. We don’t sell your data to anyone. Our business model is self-sustaining, so we won’t deliver any nasty surprises in the future. We don’t have hidden fees for volume tiers or maintenance. With a Teleporte subscription, you get cost-certainty.

Reach out to us to talk more about the cost of free and how to get into keyless access without the hidden risks.