The short answer is No. Now here’s the longer answer:
If you’re using the eKey app on your phone, the phone can “talk” directly to the newest lockboxes using Bluetooth.
So the only reason you would need the fob, which converts the Bluetooth to Infra-red, is if you’re trying to open one of the older lockboxes that don’t have the Bluetooth ability.
How do you know if the lockbox has Bluetooth ability? On the front of the lockbox you will see iBox BT LE and the word “Bluetooth.”
If the lockbox shows the label of iBox BT, but does not include the LE initials, it will only work with some phones.
How do you open a lockbox using only your phone? When you release the shackle or the key container, after entering the appropriate code, the phone screen will tell you to turn on the fob or turn on the lockbox. You turn on the lockbox by pushing the key container up until you see a red light appear in the purple infra-red sensor. That indicates that the infra-red is off and the Bluetooth is on. The phone screen will then move on to other messages, like “Communicating” or “Connecting.”
The use of your phone’s Bluetooth to communicate with the lockboxes does mean that you have to have the Bluetooth service turned on in your phone’s settings. If it’s not turned on, the eKey app will warn you, or it may not advance to the “Communicating” message depending on your phone type.
Because all of the Boards within our cooperating agreement range converted to the iBox BT LE lockboxes in 2015, you should not have any problem running into the older lockboxes.
If you already have the fob, please do not throw it away. There is a slight chance you would run into one of the older lockboxes. However, we have not sold a new fob since August 2015. Everyone who has been set up with the eKey since then has not come back in to get a fob.
I think that’s a pretty good indication that the fob is no longer needed.
Questions? Call me at 850-244-2411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Beck, MLS Director
Emerald Coast Association of Realtors®
Fort Walton Beach, FL