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Doors are the Kisi representation of physical doors. Each door is wired to up to four relays on the Kisi Controller Pro. On the admin dashboard, doors need to be associated with their corresponding controller, relay and reader, so they can be managed properly. The number of doors to be created in the admin dashboard will vary depending on how many controllers are in the system and if there are other devices such as elevators, gates, and turnstiles.

Access to doors can be managed through groups. Group members have access to certain linked doors subject to the group's restrictions.


The concepts of doors and locks are used interchangeably in Kisi.

The Lock resource represents a physical lock in a place. In Kisi, doors need to be equipped with an electronic lock that can be locked and unlocked through a reader that is connected to a controller. A Kisi user can open the lock by holding the phone, card, or fob close to the reader.

Check out all the Lock API actions you can execute at Locks. And for GroupLock endpoints check out Group Locks.

To create a lock through the API you must send a lock object to the locks endpoint. A curl call example would be:

curl '' \
-H 'Accept: application/json' \
-H 'Authorization: KISI-LOGIN {authentication_token}' \
-H 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data-raw '{"lock":{"name":"New door","description":"My new door","place_id":9749}}'

To retrieve all locks in your place, use the following query. You may change the parameters as needed:

curl '*&sort=favorite' \
-H 'Accept: application/json' \
-H 'Authorization: KISI-LOGIN {authentication_token}'

Types of locks#

The main types of locks used in Kisi are electric strike, magnetic and wireless ones.

Electric strike locks#

Electric strikes are a strike system that blocks the door latch. It's installed at the level of a door handle and is by far the most common electric lock you'll find on metal or wooden doors. The main difference between it and a traditional strike door is that, as the name suggests, it's electrified, and can be unlocked with electrical impulses. The impulse will also move the strike rather than the lock latch itself, as a key would do.

Electric strikes can be fail-safe (lock is unlocked when the power to it is cut) or fail-secure (lock is locked when power is out).

As well as wiring the electric strike lock to a power supply, it needs to be wired to the Kisi controller or reader — most basic electric strikes don't have wireless capabilities (by design). The electric strike will either lock or unlock when prompted with an electrical impulse, and the access reader will govern these electrical impulses.

To know more about electric strike locks, check the Kisi Academy article on How to Install an Electric Strike.

Magnetic locks#

For a more modern option than a traditional deadbolt or lock and key mechanism, besides the electric lock, a magnetic lock is a very good choice. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each specialized for a different use case and door configuration.

Magnetic locks, or maglocks, are comprised of two main parts, a mounting mechanism and some wires. The two parts are installed on the frame and the door so that their magnetic sides are facing each other. A mounting plate can be installed if the door frame or door doesn't allow direct mounting. The wires are then connected to the lock to provide electricity to power the magnet and are run either along or through the walls to a dedicated power supply.

They need to be wired to the access controller to know when it's being prompted to open. As magnetic locks are fail-safe, when triggered they cut their power to unlock. So when the access control readers send an impulse to the lock, the power will be temporarily cut (the length of time can be programmed), and the door will open.

You can check our Fail Safe vs Fail Secure article for more details about these methods.

In our Kisi Academy you can find more about magnetic locks, check the article on How to Install and Unlock a Magnetic Door Lock.

Wireless locks#

Kisi is a wireless lock, also known as a smart lock, and needs two parts to work: the lock and the key. In contrast to a traditional lock-and-key system, the key is not a physical key but a smartphone or a special fob/card configured explicitly for this purpose which wirelessly performs the authentication needed to automatically unlock the door. Also, it supports automatic locking when the user is on a distance level where the signal transmission is exceeded.

Wireless locks are hardwired directly into a door frame which requires an installation process with a reader and a controller to communicate with an access control system. By using a wireless lock, it's possible to monitor and track who is entering and leaving a facility.

To know more about wireless locks, check the Kisi Academy article on How to Install a Wireless Door Lock.

For WirelessLock actions through the API you can check out the Wireless Locks API reference.

Unlock a door#

Kisi works under the assumption that a door is locked by default. Admins can define which unlocking methods are available for particular readers in the reader properties section of the admin dashboard. Kisi offers the following methods for unlocking a door from the outside:

  • In-app unlock
  • Reader unlock
  • Link access

There are also methods to unlock a door from the inside of a place and to prevent intrusions. The door can have a sensor or a push to exit button for getting out from a place. And intrusion alarms can also be connected and configured on how and when to trigger in specific circumstances, for instance, if a door was kept open for more time than the maximum specified for it.

For more details on unlocking methods, check the credentials article.

In-app unlock#

Users can go to the mobile app or the web version and unlock their doors with just one click. From the app, they will see a list of their doors and must tap on the door they want to unlock. From the web browser, accessing the list of doors and clicking on press to unlock will unlock the corresponding door.

Reader unlock#

When presenting a card, tag, or fob to the reader, if the user has access permissions to the corresponding door, this will open.

The same happens when the user approaches with a mobile phone that has the Kisi app installed and has Bluetooth or NFC active. We call this last method Tap to Unlock.

Link access#

In some cases, a user can access a place by just clicking on a link. To send the link to the user, an Administrator or Manager has to activate the Allow Quick Access Link option from the user's details. At that moment, an email containing the link will be sent to the user.

To restrict the period of time in which this link is valid, an administrator must configure the Validity Dates of the group to which the user belongs.

Request to exit#

The Kisi controller has 4 requests to exit inputs. If added, Kisi can have push to exit buttons or wave to exit sensors on one or more doors.

In the Kisi Academy, you can read more about the request to exit method in the How to Install a Push-to-Exit Button class.

Door restrictions#

Door restrictions behave the same way group restrictions work, but they apply to the specific doors instead to a group of users. Door restrictions have more priority than group restrictions. If a door has a restriction it will be applied to all groups, even if they don't have any.

You can set up three types of restrictions to doors:

  • Geofence restriction: Only allow unlocks near the place. Check geofence restrictions for groups, as they behave the same for doors.
  • Kisi Reader restriction: Enabling the reader restriction for the door ensures that users may only unlock when standing in front of the door. The accuracy is magnitudes higher than with the geofence restriction but requires that your door is equipped with a Kisi Reader. Reader restrictions for groups have the same behavior, check for more in the reader restrictions section of groups.
  • Time restriction: Allow users to unlock only at specific times. Check time restrictions for groups, as they behave the same.

2FA for Tap to Unlock#

With two-factor authentication enabled, you can require users to unlock their phones before tapping against a Kisi Reader to unlock doors. This acts like a two-factor authentication (2FA) solution for your door.

This two-factor authentication protects against data breaches and usage of stolen or lost phones and is typically used for data centers, server-, IT- or communication room doors. The idea is to set up 2FA specifically for the doors that you want to have extra security. You will be able to activate the Two-Factor Authentication through the door settings page.

2FA Android

This new feature acts in combination with the Tap to Unlock method. When a user is about to unlock a door that has the 2FA activated with their phone, a message will pop up on the phone screen notifying the user that it is mandatory to first unlock the phone to unlock the door.

The feature is available for both Android and iOS.

2FA Android

The user has to unlock the phone and tap again with the phone unlocked. This time the door will be unlocked.

If the user has notifications turned off, they will see a pop-up when they open the Kisi app. The message looks similar on both platforms.

2FA Android

If an employee loses or has their phone stolen, this new measure prevents intruders from entering your facility, as they will not be able to unlock the phone. Of course, this feature is not mandatory and it can be fully customized through the Kisi dashboard, where you can choose how each door behaves.

Scheduled unlocks#

The scheduled unlocks allow users to unlock doors during certain days and at certain times. They have the same parameters as Time Restrictions.

There are three types of schedules:

  • Single event: an event that starts and ends on a specific date regardless of time zone.
  • Single all-day event: events that are interpreted based on the time zone of the place they're added to.
  • Recurring event: events that are interpreted based on the current weekday and time zone of the place they are added to.

To set up a scheduled unlock, admins need to go to the specific door and select Add scheduled unlock from the Scheduled unlock tab. Then they will have to select the type of event, the days of the week, and the dates, depending on the type of event.

The scheduled unlock can be edited afterward, for instance if setting up a holiday is needed. They can also be disabled or deleted anytime.


If you don't want scheduled unlocks to start until the first unlock has taken place, you can configure zone policies (part of the free Intrusion Detection add-on). Here, you assign doors to zones and define security levels for your zone based on weekday and time of day. The following logic applies:

  • If your zone is disarmed, scheduled unlocks will activate for all doors in the same zone
  • If your zone is in stay or away, scheduled unlocks will not activate for exterior doors
  • Based on your override rules, users that unlock a door can override from stay or away to disarmed, in turn activating scheduled unlocks for all doors in the same zone

To learn more about how to set up zones, check out the Intrusion Detection documentation.