Monday, 14 April 2014

Smartlocks - what a homeowner wants, what a homeowner needs

 A few blogs ago, we wrote about “what a hotel needs and what a hotel wants” in terms of ‘security, access control and locks’.

In this blog, we’re going to write about “what a resident/homeowner wants and needs” when it comes to ‘security, access control and locks’.

Just like the hotel “want/need blog”, we've arrived at some conclusions about wants and needs from interviewing thousands of people.

In addition as part of our market research, we've also spent a lot of time reading comments on all the online journal articles, and in blogs about ‘smartlocks’, ‘access control’ and ‘security’ in the home. There has certainly been no shortage of stories, articles, comments and online forums about smartlocks in the last year or so.

Before we jump into the list, here are a couple of general sweeping comments about access control.

Never before in history, until the last couple of years, has the homeowner had the choice to have access control in their house.

Metal keys and metal key locks are not ‘access control. With a metal key lock, you cannot control who has access over your house, and you can’t control what time they have access.
So why haven’t the homeowner ever had the access control option before?

The short answer is 'because the technology which enables access control has generally been too expensive and difficult to install until now'.

In the past, access control, generally involved ongoing human maintenance and onsite supporting network infrastructure.  For example when access control first came to hotels in the form of magnetic stripe card systems around 30 to 40 years ago, they had to have large servers in the basement to operate the software to manage the keycard systems (remember this was before the internet and personal computers).

In the last few years, the costs of electronic locks have now dropped to below $200. Technological advancements have enabled the supporting network infrastructure to be removed. Smartphones also mean the maintenance part of access control is user friendly and simple to operate from anywhere.

So suddenly the homeowner/resident has a choice. And it’s quite simple “stick with metal keys, and the way that they've always ever known for their home, i.e no access control”, or “choose access control”.

Can you think of any other time in history when as a society we've been faced with such a radical choice? Well firstly how radical is this choice? Is this really such as massive mind-shift in society? We think it is.

Lets have a look at some of the parameters here about the mindshiftness or the radicalness (are they even words?) when it comes to metal keys locks to smartlocks. Can we find another time or an analogy here;

  • It has to be something that a person has been using for over 4000 years (metal keys have been used for around 4000 years to secure properties). People have a choice now to use something else (so that means smartphones as an analogy are out, as we were only using telephones for a hundred years or so before that, not 4000 years).

  • It has to be something that has a little bit of sophistication, but not a lot of sophistication (for example there is a mechanical thing going on with small pins tumbling inside metal key locks).

  • Something you have to carry around and/or be responsible for everyday….you can’t carry around big screen TV everyday, so can’t use that analogy.

  • Something that was not electronic, and is now electronic

  • Something that you use everyday, at-least a couple of times everyday in your life.

Thought about anything yet? We will suggest something in next weeks blog.

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