Time to throw your keys away as smart locks become norm for home security

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Could office and house keys become a thing of the past? Hady Abdelnour, co-founder of Smarke, certainly reckons so once a universal standard for home security is established

In a few years will you still need a traditional metal key to access your home or office? Personally, I don’t think so.

Instead, it’s likely that our personal voice-activated virtual assistant will control almost everything in our property including opening the front door. This will be done through a merger of Face Recognition and other biometric data with Artificial Intelligence and fixed hardware.

To arrive at this point there will need to be a standardisation in the way locks and doors are delivered to market. Millennials and digital affluents will drive the consolidation of different approaches into one universal standard with a secure digital touch point.

Property access (whether that’s your home or your office) and safety is changing; innovative companies are introducing products that will replace antiquated keyholes, peepholes, and doorbells with smart locks, sensors, monitors, cameras, and alarm systems.

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Voice controlled devices, like Amazon Echo pictured above, will be used to control everything, including home security

For example, August Smart Locks sells digital keyless door locks and doorbell cameras that allows the property-owner to provide third-party remote access to their office or home.

One of the main challenges is the connection of these front- and back-end technologies with other devices. They need to be able to exchange data, while keeping a high level of cyber security.

Security and convenience are the two most important issues; our homes and offices have to be secure and prevent unwanted access, while at the same time allowing us to enter without jumping through inconvenient hoops or making the process overly complicated.

Ultimately, the property Access and Safety market will be ruled by the devices that can connect and integrate seamlessly with other home and office technology, offering maximum security, alongside simplicity and convenience.

This is important because all home devices will ultimately run in an invisible background mode, controlled by an overall intelligent system such as Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Biometric detection

We’re already getting closer to this perfect synergy, with products like Smarke’s smart access solution, which can be used as a standalone product or integrated with other smart home hubs.

Smarke focuses on allowing people to access their buildings and properties using their mobile phones – and it also allows them to share this access with others.

Smart locks might still be new to the market, but they will gradually become more prevalent as the concept of smart cities, connected buildings and homes spreads. Smart locks will be part of a broad property safety and access module that incorporates locks, external cameras and possibly even drones detecting people who are nearby.

Future smart homes and offices will incorporate doors with built-in smart locking mechanisms and smart doors, possibly working on magnetic fields between the frames. Access to your building, home, car and/or office will be controlled by a central hub that runs face, eye or other biometric detection.

What we now refer to as a smart lock will in the future be a connected lock that communicates with other connected devices via one truly smart hub controlled by an autonomous intelligent software and monitored by users via their mobile app or wearable devices.

Building access and safety technology will be one function of an end-to-end multi-functional smart home system controlling multiple sub-devices via a software and protected by strong cyber security controls.

It is too early to predict accurately which type of connectivity these access and safety products will use in order to communicate between themselves and other external devices. However the race is on between Wifi, Bluetooth, Mesh network standards such as Zigbee and W-wave or other newcomers on the market. Look out for mobile operators trying to make a comeback on connectivity.

When it comes to access a controlled lock will run in a back-end mode. Alongside this front-end external cameras and drones will run multiple step processes, continuously monitoring activity. Once the system detects and finds a face trying to enter the property, it will run a facial recognition and identification test.

If the person is identified, the system will decide autonomously whether to grant access or not based on its data or it will ask the tenant for instructions. The tenant will be able to monitor these activities instantly and interfere at will.

Today, the technology is still not quite there for homes, residential units and small offices. However it is already used in high security facilities such as banks, military restricted zones, corporations, and government institutions. The challenge is to replicate this for commercialisation and for office/home use.

One final thought; what will happen to all the data that our smart devices collect? Or are we, as has been shown in the past, willing to sacrifice privacy for convenience?

Hady Abdelnour is co-founder of Smarke, smart lock solution that allows property managers, hosts and guests to share secure, scheduled access to their rental property with their guests. http://www.smarke.com, Twitter: @sharingsmarke

 

Chris Price