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The Business Case for NB-IoT Smart Padlocks - Part 1

The Problem

Today we have smartphones, digital banking, everything is smart, yet most of us still use a metal key lock designed from the mid-1800’s to secure and control access to our assets and valuables.

How the problem effects Executive Managers

Executive Managers commonly deal with company risks and costs. Metal key locks are risky – they can easily be snapped, bumped, or cracked open in seconds by anyone who has watched a 5 minute "how to" YouTube video. Metal keys can also be copied from a phone photograph at the local hardware store for a few dollars in a few minutes – with or without authorisation.

If a lock is broken into, or breached in any way by an unauthorised person, it often leads to complaints about the company on social media. These complaints not only erode customers trust but can also put their safety at risk. It’s a bit like always leaving the front door of your house open and posting a link on Facebook saying ‘anyone come over anytime to my house, here is my address, the door is always open - take my stuff, and do whatever you like to me and my family’.

This lack of security reputation can in turn lead to less customers and a drop in revenue. Companies might also face higher insurance premiums. If an insurance broker does their due diligence properly and reads the complaints on the company’s social media pages, they might jack up their insurance premiums.

Many companies, especially large hotels, change their locks immediately if a metal key is lost. There is a good reason for this. Companies do not want the risk of someone finding the metal key, and/or the user lying about it being lost, and coming back at anytime and letting themselves in. Replacing a metal key lock is not cheap. The lock itself may be cheap – many hardware stores sell basic metal key locksets for $10-30, but the better-quality ones can be up to $100 each. Having to pay a locksmith around $150-$250 to come out and change the locks everytime quickly adds up to the company’s bottom line. We've surveyed hundreds of medium sized hotels (30-100 rooms) to find its common that they replace around 2-10 metal key locks a week because of guests losing their keys. That’s a cost of around $500-$2500 a week.

How the problem effects contractors and ground engineers and technicians

Engineers, contractors and technicians, often out on the street everyday visiting various sites/assets for maintenance, find metal keys inefficient and time consuming.

With metal key locks, engineer, contractors and technicians must physically meet someone to get different keys to all the sites they visit daily. This may also involve complicated arrangements for the handover too. For example, with telecommunication companies a technician can spend hours every day driving across town in the morning to a Head Office to pick up metal keys to unlock dozens of street cabinets throughout the day, and then drive across town again at the end of the day to return all those keys. If the technician loses the key, the company may fine him/her, or dock their pay to cover the costs for a replacement lock. This in turn could make the technician hesitant to lend his keys to subordinates for risk of them losing the keys too.

How the problem effects Mid-Managers

Mid-managers often concern themselves with management efficiencies. Efficiencies can usually be pursued only if data and information is available to carry out analyses. Metal key locks do not capture data or share any information. Unlike their digital key lock counterparts, a metal key lock is not going to tell you instantly what time your workers arrive on sites. A metal key lock is not going to tell you if the door is open or closed or locked or unlocked. A bunch of metal key locks is not going to tell you which order and at which times they were opened by which person for tracking purposes. A metal key lock is not going to tell you if an asset or site is occupied or unoccupied. A metal key lock is not going to compile information automatically into spreadsheets to share with insurance companies for lower premiums or meet government compliances.

Mid-Managers are often responsible for the paperwork for key management. When there are thousands of assets in the company with thousands of different metal keys, the paperwork can be overwhelming. Having to chase down co-workers to return metal keys when finished with them can also be exhausting and time-consuming.

If you are looking for a solution to replace your metal key locks with digital key locks, visit to learn more.


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