KeyRing Electronic master key

Researchers have created a solution called KeyRing – a reservation and key management system – for transferring key tokens securely and easily. This system can be used in a wide range of applications, including coffee machines, holiday apartments and charging stations.


  • Lead school(s) School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Institute Institute for Data Applications and Security IDAS
  • Research unit Digital Society
  • Duration (planned) 01.09.2018 - 31.12.2021
  • Project management Prof. Peter Affolter
  • Head of project Prof. Dr. Annett Laube
  • Partner Institute for Data Applications and Security IDAS
    Institute for Energy and Mobility Research IEM


Digital business models require solutions for transferring data securely and controlling access to buildings or equipment. In addition to security, ease-of-use is also a key criterion for this kind of key.


At the Institute for Data Applications and Security IDAS, Prof. Dr Annett Laube and her team have developed a system for creating digital keys suitable for use in a wide variety of applications – such as use of charging stations and washing machines or access to holiday apartments. The system generates a token containing all the relevant information on the intended use. Users can receive and also transfer the token via mobile phone app. The mobile phone is connected to the hardware, called the KeyRingbox, via Bluetooth. This solution was developed in cooperation with the Institute for Energy and Mobility Research IEM. After security verification, the KeyRingbox ‘serves’ the controlled resource – whether it’s a door lock or the on and off switch of a coffee machine.

The KeyRing system that has been developed meets all the requirements of a digital key: it is easy to use, can be individually adapted to the duration and/or frequency of use while encryption of security-critical data guarantees security. If the KeyRing identifies an attempt to manipulate the token, it can no longer be used. Several prototypes prove the system’s operational reliability – the project team is now looking for partners for transfer to industry.