The Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher Key Control System tracks keys and cards while providing a quick-and-easy audit trail at the newly renovated Plaza Hotel in New York City


The newly renovated Plaza Hotel in New York City reopened last year with 21st Century technologies now working behind the scenes to enhance the landmark hotel's old-world luxury and elegance. Among the new technologies is a system from Morse Watchmans to control and keep track of the substantial number of keys used by Plaza personnel.  

The Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher Key Control System releases assigned keys only to users with the proper authorization code (either fingerprint identification or a numerical code). Certain groups of employees at the Plaza Hotel have access only to certain keys, and management needs to be notified if a key is not returned within a certain time. KeyPro Performance Software provides activity reports that can be customized to trace key movements by time, date and user code or biometric access data, thus providing Plaza Hotel management with complete key control and a quick-and-easy audit trail.  

“It used to take hours of tedious research and cross-checking to determine who among our personnel had what room key and when,” said Don Smith, Plaza Hotel Director of Security. “Now it can be done in minutes with the Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher and KeyPro Software systems, part of the state-of-the-art technology that has been deployed at the Plaza Hotel.”  

Built in 1907, the Plaza Hotel is a treasured New York City landmark. It is the setting for the famous “Eloise” series of children's books and for several films. The hotel has, over the decades, hosted eminent guests from the worlds of entertainment, politics and popular culture. The Plaza was closed in 2005 to undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation, and the newly reopened property offers 282 hotel rooms and 167 private condominium hotel units. It is managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.  

The KeyWatcher Key Control System from Morse Watchmans is a custom-configured solution that enables the Plaza to maintain key integrity and control. The system's illuminated key slots make accessing and returning keys easier, and the system is configured to accommodate both metal keys and plastic key cards. The system automatically records the access history of each key, including user, date and time of key access/return. Morse Watchmans KeyPro Performance Software is a user-friendly PC application that delivers real-time polling transactions, status, alarm and reporting capabilities for the KeyWatcher System. The software is accessible and programmable remotely via an IP connection. Priority email alerts can be sent to management to inform them of the whereabouts of high-security keys or to alert them if keys have been accessed at odd hours.  

At the Plaza Hotel, the Morse Watchmans KeyWatcher system is used to control approximately 100 keys, most of which are key cards used by staff to enter guest rooms. Using KeyPro software, hotel security management programs access to the keys for each of eight different groups, allowing for overtime and for unscheduled work hours.

Accurate and detailed reports generated by the software lists which employees accessed the keys, when they were accessed and returned, and notifies management if keys are kept out too long. Logging transaction reports are generated several times a week, and the system can be queried anytime about which keys are out and who has them.