Image credit: Kisi
Smart phones have become indispensable, and savvy companies are finding ways to tap into the always-present availability of those phones. One of the most rapidly expanding industries is smart locks. While smart locks allow end users to access homes, businesses, hotels, and other areas using a phone app, token, or key card, the shift to phone-based access is undeniable.
Researchers at MarketsandMarkets predict the smart lock market to reach $2.67 billion in the next three years. The firm attributes that growth to the ubiquity of smartphones and other connected devices and the increasing adoption of IoT globally. Other factors driving growth are increased security concerns and enhanced features on lock systems.
Security in Flexible Workspaces
The changing work environment is pushing smart lock adoption up. Shared office space, for example, presents unique challenges for building managers. Without a lock, anyone can access the conference room, which means reserving the room can be moot. Often a building manager won’t relinquish the keys to shared spaces for fear of key loss or theft, which can result in staff seeking out one specific key master to open doors.
Smart lock manufacturer RemoteLock sees an uptick in smart lock use not only in offices, but in rental properties, where physical keys are problematic. Other growing markets are universities and hospitals.
The most advanced smart locks enable users to download an app on their phone, which they use to unlock the rooms, offices, and other spaces they have been granted access to. No more physical keys or ID codes needed; everyone carries a phone, so access is in your hand. IoT connectivity synchronizes with the user’s phone for access control. The building manager or IT staff can establish who can access which doors at what times, and they can get a log of all access activity.
New-age Access Control
Brooklyn-based Kisi has created an access control system that is built for today’s reliance on cloud computing. Because the system is cloud-based, all the data resides on the Kisi servers. That gives managers more control over who has access to which spaces, and changes can be made on the fly. End users don’t need physical keys, and system updates are made automatically and without service interruption. The Kisi system uses three components: the lock, the gateway, and the controller.
The lock is the combination of a wall reader and an access device. A phone app allows authorized users to press a button, tap, or swipe to unlock a door using Bluetooth and NFC technologies. Businesses can also offer access via key cards, passes, fobs, and tags that can be used alone or attached to existing key cards. The wall reader connects to a gateway—and the company’s internal firewall—to enable access.
Image credit: Kisi
The gateway communicates between the lock and the controller. Kisi systems can support up to 10 wireless locks, plus four access readers. The gateway receives Bluetooth signals from the lock, and it’s wired to the controller with Cat6 cable using an RS 485 port. The gateway sits next to the controller.
The controller communicates with Kisi servers via the cloud, where the cloud-based management is implemented. Managers install a dashboard, which allows them to assign permissions, grant and rescind access, set schedules, and more. It supports remote management and temporary admins. It also maintains an activity log and audit trails. Kisi’s open API enables managers to integrate with existing applications.
RemoteLock also has a Web-based architecture that administrators can use to control access. It uses WiFi connectivity, and open APIs allow flexible integration with existing systems. In addition to ease of use and more granular control, cloud-based systems reduce installation costs; they don’t require dedicated hardware, fixed client workstations, or software licenses.
Regardless of where we’re headed, we have become even more reliant on our smartphones to get us there. With access at our fingertips, at least we’ll have one fewer thing to carry: keys.