Creating Access Codes

Learn how to program an access code onto a smart lock with a keypad, and ensure the code is successfully set.

Overview

This guide explains how to create access codes on an online smart lock. With the Access Codes API, generate PIN codes on a door lock and share it with visitors, allowing them keyless access.

Seam supports programming two types of access codes for online door locks:

  1. Ongoing: Ideal for residents or long-term users. Ongoing codes remain active on a device until removed. Create one by leaving the end_at field empty. To remove the code, use the Delete Access Code endpoint.

  2. Time Bound: Suitable for temporary access like guest visits or service appointments. These codes operate between a designated starts_at and ends_at time window, granting access only during that period.


Before You Begin

To confirm that Seam supports access code programming for your device, use Get Device or Get Lock to query the device and check its capabilities_supported property. Ensure that the capabilities_supported list includes access_code. Additionally, for door locks compatible with offline access codes, check that the properties.online_access_codes_enabled property is set to true for your device.

Request:

pprint(seam.locks.get(device="6aae9d08-fed6-4ca5-8328-e36849ab48fe"))

Response:

Device(device_id='6aae9d08-fed6-4ca5-8328-e36849ab48fe',
       ...
       properties={
              ...
              'online_access_codes_enabled': True, // Device supports online access codes.
              ...
       },
       capabilities_supported=[
              'access_code', // Device supports access code actions.
              ...
              ],
       ...
       )

Programming an Ongoing Code

Ongoing Access codes are ideal for long-term users that wish to keep the same code. Ongoing codes remain active on a device until removed.

1. Create an Ongoing Access Code

Set an ongoing code by providing the device_id of the smart lock on which you want to create an access code. Assign an optional name to the access code for easier identification within the Seam Console and smart lock app.

To customize the PIN code, specify a desired PIN for the code property. Refer to the guide on access code requirements to understand any requirements specific to the door lock.

Request:

device_id = "6aae9d08-fed6-4ca5-8328-e36849ab48fe"

created_access_code = seam.access_codes.create(
  device = device_id,
  name = "my ongoing code",
  code = "1234"
)

pprint(created_access_code)

Response:

AccessCode(access_code_id='daf89de3-ad3a-49aa-93bd-25f27d58f699',
           device_id='6aae9d08-fed6-4ca5-8328-e36849ab48fe',
           type='ongoing',
           code='1234',
           created_at='2023-10-19T02:15:04.911Z',
           errors=[],
           warnings=[],
           starts_at=None,
           ends_at=None,
           name='my ongoing code',
           status='setting',
           common_code_key=None,
           is_managed=True,
           is_waiting_for_code_assignment=None,
           is_scheduled_on_device=None,
           pulled_backup_access_code_id=None,
           is_backup_access_code_available=False,
           is_backup=None,
           appearance=None,
           is_external_modification_allowed=False,
           is_offline_access_code=False,
           is_one_time_use=False)

2. Verify Successful Ongoing Code Programming

Seam may encounter some problems when setting an access code onto the lock. This could be due to weak internet connectivity, a low battery in the door lock, or someone unplugging the bridge that links the lock to the internet. Given these potential challenges, it's essential to verify that a code has been successfully programmed on to the lock to prevent unexpected complications later.

There are two methods to verify that an ongoing access code has been set on the device:

  • Polling: continuously query the access code until its status is updated

  • Webhook: wait for updates to arrive via webhook requests from the Seam API

Polling Method

Use the access_code reference returned by the create function to call the Get Access Code function. A basic implementation would involve polling this endpoint until the status of the access code updates to set.

If the status remains setting for a very long time, or if the access_code object contains any warnings or errors properties, consult the guide on "Troubleshooting Access Code Issues" for further guidance.

Webhook Events Method

To avoid polling, monitor for incoming Seam webhook events related to the code status:

  • The access_code.set_on_device event indicates the successful setting of the access code on the device.

  • The access_code.failed_to_set_on_device or access_code.delay_in_setting_on_device events indicate a delay or failure.

In the event of delay or failure, refer to the "Troubleshooting access code issues" guide for assistance and mitigation strategies.


Scheduling Time-Bound Access Codes

Time-bound access codes are suitable for temporary access, like guest visits or service appointments. These codes operate between designated starts_at and ends_at timestamps, granting access only during that period. Seam automatically ensures that the code is programmed on the device at the starts_at time and unprogrammed at the ends_at time.

1. Create a Time-Bound Access Code

To set a time-bound code, provide the device_id of the smart lock on which you want to program a code, along with starts_at and ends_at ISO 8601 timestamps to define the active time window for the code. For more details, see the Create Access Code endpoint.

As with ongoing codes, you can assign an optional name to the access code. A clear name helps users to identify the access code quickly within their smart lock app.

Similarly, to customize the PIN code, specify a desired PIN in the code property. See the guide on access code requirements to understand any requirements specific to the door lock brand.

Request:

device_id = "6aae9d08-fed6-4ca5-8328-e36849ab48fe"

created_access_code = seam.access_codes.create(
  device = device_id,
  name = "my time-bound code",
  starts_at = "2025-01-01T16:00:00Z",
  ends_at = "2025-01-22T12:00:00Z",
  code = "2345"
)

pprint(created_access_code)

Response:

AccessCode(access_code_id='1bbd1eba-e4a2-4f96-b1b9-8498a5405b2b',
           device_id='6aae9d08-fed6-4ca5-8328-e36849ab48fe',
           type='time_bound',
           code='2345',
           created_at='2023-10-19T02:21:58.738Z',
           errors=[],
           warnings=[],
           starts_at='2025-01-01T16:00:00.000Z',
           ends_at='2025-01-22T12:00:00.000Z',
           name='my time-bound code',
           status='unset',
           common_code_key=None,
           is_managed=True,
           is_waiting_for_code_assignment=None,
           is_scheduled_on_device=False,
           pulled_backup_access_code_id=None,
           is_backup_access_code_available=False,
           is_backup=None,
           appearance=None,
           is_external_modification_allowed=False)

2. Verify Successful Time-Bound Code Programming

The lifecycle of a time-bound access code is marked by distinct phases:

  1. Unset: When initially created on Seam, the access code remains in an unset state, indicating it has not yet been programmed onto the door lock due to its future activation time.

  2. Setting: As the scheduled starts_at time approaches, Seam initiates the process of programming the code onto the lock, transitioning the code's status to setting.

  3. Set: Upon successful programming, the status updates to set, signaling that the code is loaded onto the lock, and may grant the designated user the ability to unlock the door.

On door locks that support natively scheduled access codes, Seam will preload the access code into the device's internal memory bank 72 hours ahead of the starts_at time. Even if preloaded in memory, the access code will remain in an unset state ahead of the starts_at time and await the precise activation moment to toggle its status. When the starts_at time arrives, the access code becomes active and transition to a set status, granting the designated user the ability to utilize it for entry. If there's an issue programming the natively-scheduled code by its starts_at time, the code's status will display as setting. For more information on the lifecycle of access codes, please refer to this guide.

There are two methods to verify that an time-bound access code has been set on the device:

  • Polling: continuously query the access code until its status is updated

  • Webhook: wait for updates to arrive via webhook requests from the Seam API

Polling Method

Use the access_code reference returned by the create function to call the Get Access Code function. In a basic implementation, you would poll this endpoint at the starts_at time to check if the access code's status is updated to set.

If the status remains setting, or if the access_code object displays any warnings or errors, refer to the "Troubleshooting Access Code Issues" guide for assistance.

Webhook Events Method

To avoid polling, monitor for incoming Seam webhook events related to the code status:

  • The access_code.set_on_device event indicates the successful setting of the access code on the device.

  • The access_code.failed_to_set_on_device or access_code.delay_in_setting_on_device events indicate a delay or failure.

In the event of delay or failure, refer to the "Troubleshooting access code issues" guide for assistance and mitigation strategies.

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