The value of being able to remotely secure, unlock and open doors has been growing steadily, but there have been a few important inflexion points where the relevance and value has increased.
For decades, remote control of access and entry has been required in various settings, from government, security and industrial facilities, where access needs to be closely guarded and authorised in a secure manner. However, as technology has evolved, so has the accessibility of these technologies.
More than 7.0 million units of smart locks were sold in 2019.
With the advances in connectivity, battery life and security that the Internet of Things has fuelled, Smart Locks are finding their way into both traditional remote security roles as well as more convenience roles, such as hotel rooms, office entry, and enabling access to the home for guests, workers or care staff.
The convenience of Smart Locks is easy to see, however, the security of such systems has been a topic of debate. Whilst properly implemented smart lock systems can increase the overall security, poorly implemented systems have been seen as potential security flaws, more than anything else.
IoT Door Lock Examples
Here are just a few ways a properly implemented smart door lock can actually improve security:
Giving physical keys to people opens up the risk of loss, duplication or unauthorised sharing. Whether it's the cleaners, visitors or office staff, with smart locks you can revoke permissions, and even set a time limit for the validity of the key.
Using a smartphone to unlock your door means you can leverage the biometric features of the phone, such as finger print sensors, or facial recognition, meaning greater security that even if the phone gets into the wrong hands, it can't be used to open the door.
Alerts and alarms
Each and every entry can be logged. Alerts or alarms can be configured to immediately let the property owner or manager know there was an entry/exit.
Coupled together with other sensors, smart locks can provide security upsides that would otherwise be much more costly to achieve. For example, if you use a simple CCTV or IP Camera, or a more sophisticated video doorbell, you could also see who was attempting to access the property, recording it or using it to inform your decision to unlock the door, or not - effectively becoming your 24x7 personal 'bouncer'.
To find out more, I spoke with Keymitt about their Smart Access products.
Keymitt create IoT smart security solutions that easily integrate with existing door locks and handles, meaning they are simple to deploy and fit a wide variety of existing installations.
As well as being able to integrate with well known smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, Keymitt also provide integrations with the well known automation platform IFTTT, for scenario and trigger based routines. For example, using IFTTT I could set a rule to unlock my office whenever I was near (or in it) and to automatically lock when I left. Since IFTTT provides so many 'triggers' you could create rules based on time of day, weather, or even social media activity to lock or unlock doors.
Like many of us recently, Keymitt has been looking at how to apply their expertise and products to help in the new, post-COVID-19 world, and has come up with some interesting use cases.
Automatic Restricted Access
Keymitt was one of 15 startups, out of 300, to be selected by the Ministry of the Economy in Luxembourg to develop solutions to help in the fight against Coronavirus. With their technology, they are able to automatically monitor the number of people in buildings, allowing the building manager or owner to restrict access to the building at any one time. Additionally, the tech integrates with existing push switches, which can allow both remote and near-by proximity activation of switches to avoid users actually having to touch surfaces.
Remote Switch Activation
Beyond their smart lock solutions, they also have a bolt-on solution that applies the same remote activation technology to things like light switches and door buzzers.
An example of this in action is a high school that wants to enable registered students to be able to unlock the school gates via their smartphones, eliminating the need to manually press the gate-release button.
Security - Near and Far
Keymitt's solution is primarily based on bluetooth, meaning you need to be physically near the device with your smartphone to be able to operate it. They do, however, also have a "gateway" that means the devices can be controlled by authorised users remotely.
What I found really interesting was the use of 'gestures' as an identification method. As mentioned in a previous article on security and biometrics, patterns of movement can be both easy to remember, and difficult to copy. With Keymitt, the user can record their own unique pattern of movements by waving their phone around in the air, and this can be assigned as a verification of that user.
Demonstration of how a gesture could be used to activate a smart lock
Smart Locks can not only improve security, but in these times where we all want to touch things less, Keymitt are working hard to make contactless secure access systems an affordable reality for us all.
Let me know what you think. Do you use Smart Locks already? What's your experience?