Market Disruption: Smart Access

June 14, 2017

It’s taken over 4,000 years, but we have finally reached a tipping point for how we secure our property. As we change from metal keys and mechanical locks to digital keys and smartlocks, we will to first go through a, hopefully short, adaptation period. While the millenials and younger seem to adapt to technology fairly quickly, there is a large percentage of the population that will need to adopt new digital technology, and has slowly adapted to the fast-changing landscape.

 

In the same way that sites like Amazon and Ebay revolutionized the retail market, they too had a slow-moving adaptation period. Part of the reason that the adaptation period is indeed slow is the fact that it causes discomfort in consumers. With the rise of the internet, the security of one’s personal information was a big concern through the 90s and early 2000s. While there were some instances of hacking that made consumers worry about whether or not shopping online was safe, the generation below began to adopt the new technology out of convenience and eventually created the ubiquity of the service as we know it today.

Not only has the fear and discomfort of shopping online gone away, but we have evolved on the technology to even create digital wallets that allow us to process a payment in an instance with the tap of a cell phone on an appropriate reader.

 

Like credit card technology, smart locks are in a similar position of growing pains. There are a number of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth solutions on the market, but as has been shown in various instances, they are indeed able to be hacked. Moreover, the service itself is unreliable because of the fact that it depends on the bloated technology of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to send a small bit of information that allows authorized access. In short, to produce a simple small function with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies, it’s the equivalent of trying to chat with a friend at a concert. Because the concert is full of music, and may other people, having a simple conversation can become daunting and almost impossible because of the congested environment. Wi-Fi, like the concert, is a massive environment that deals with large amounts of data, like videos or images, very quickly and sends the data to a network. The process of sending small bits of data is drowned out and is a rather inefficient environment to operate simple mechanics like locking and unlocking a door.

 

More importantly, because the network is so open and massive, it also makes it easier for those around you to listen in on your conversation whether or not you intended them to overhear what you have said. To remedy this exact problem, Narrowband IoT (NB IoT) was created to provide a network that was only meant for the products that need to interact with each other and their respective remote controls. NB IoT is the perfect solution for a smart lock because it is a much smaller environment for the communications to take place and is specialized in allowing for “intimate” conversations in completely secure data network. With NB IoT we take the smart lock conversation from a boisterous rock concert, to a private conversation in your living room at home.

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