Leading Smart Access
Digital Keys builds smart access control solutions for safety, security and smarter business operations. We’re leaders in Smart Access – a new era in smart building management, which is about devices, such as locks and alarms, embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware (such as sensors), communicating and interacting with other devices over the Internet. The devices can be remotely monitored and controlled by people with software and apps or artificially intelligent systems. Our mission at Digital Keys is to disrupt the way companies and buildings secure access to their assets, and their management of security, data, and human factor related behavioral risks.
The Way to Smart Access
In the 2000’s, CEO Steve Dunn, an Asset Manager in Local Government, found himself constantly overwhelmed with the management of access to council’s assets such as community centres, swimming pools, sporting stadiums, art galleries, conference centres, and libraries. Being in charge of distributing metal keys to the staff, volunteers, contractors, and community groups to access the properties was time-consuming, expensive and an ongoing security nightmare. It was impossible to know who held a metal key to the assets (keys can be cut for a few dollars in a few minutes at hardware stores), and who was letting themselves in at any time.
Steve was also living an apartment building at the time with magnetic-stripe keycards, and he found the cards demagnetizing on a weekly basis, meaning constant lockouts of his apartment building. He soon learnt that its common for keycards to demagnetize when held against a mobile phone and other magnetized cards such as credit cards. Steve thought there had to be a better way to manage access other than metal keys and keycards.
Steve began investigating mobile phone unlocking solutions in the market, but he found zero existing solutions that could meet the council requirements, and for use in his own apartment. So Steve enlisted a team of software developers to build their first digital keys app in 2011, the first in Australia, working with a variety of property owners, and lock manufacturers to better understand their access management pain points. Steve entered the app in his University’s annual innovation competition (he was studying a MBA part-time) and won. He then assembled a team of other University students to become his co-founders, and they entered the prestigious Licencing Executives Society Annual Entrepreneurship Competition, representing his University and beating other teams from Harvard University, Standford and Yale to finish Runner up.
A strong interest from hotels and resorts for their digital keys app emerged, and the founders worked on adding extra features to the app such as complete end-to-end automated web-check-in system.
The year 2016 was a game-changing one for Digital Keys. It was then that the founders recognized NB IoT’s technology potential to ensure the security and reliability of access control systems that connect to the internet. This was a breaking point in answering the question, “How do you make sure that a lock can connect to the internet without being tampered with, and without any onsite network infrastructure”.
In 2017 and 2018, the Digital Keys team built a NB IoT smart access control system for the purpose of bringing the most secure, the most reliable, and the most affordable system to the physical security industry. The solution got significant traction in the UK, where it was awarded a R&D grant from the European Commission.
The usability of the technology was recognized in other verticals and industries as well. Digital Keys then developed a complete end-to-end smart access solution including a NB IoT platform, API’s, digital keys apps, digital keys management software, and NB IoT smart locks. The NB IoT platform and API’s means many more products/services can easily be made smart, and safely connect to the internet. In early 2019, Digital Keys launched their first commercial ready NB IoT smart access product into the EU marketplace and they have already sold thousands of units to construction companies, offices, sporting clubs, banks, hotels and security companies across Europe.
The Journey So Far
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Steve Dunn founds LEAPIN in Australia to address lack of adequate access control systems in marketplace
FOUNDED IN FEB 2011