Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Top 7 Announcements about Digital Keys

Last week we had the big announcement from Hilton Hotels about their plans to roll-out 650,000 digital keys systems in all of their rooms by 2016. In this post we’re going to look at the top 7 big announcements in the Digital Keys space in the last couple of years. 

7. Volvo's Digital Keys - Feb 2014

Volvo announces its moving to install Digital Keys in new vehicles– See article here 

Volvo’s announcement was not only about making its cars hi tech, and more convenient in the hope to improve sales, but it was also about trying to solve the online parcel delivery problem or the “last mile problem”. Well done Volvo for trying to solve one of the biggest problems of the modern age, with such a simple, yet creative solution of digital keys in cars!

6. Marriott Hotels Digital Keys - Jan 2014

Marriott Hotels announcement that it was trialing digital keys in hotels in New York and San Francisco went viral in January this year. See the original Wall Street Journal that started it all here

The WSJ article triggered the debate in mainstream media we all had to have about 'self check-in' vs 'the traditional check-in'. At the end of the day the consensus is that some people don’t like to line up and waste time when checking in, and they like to go straight to their room, and they would like to open their doors with digital keys on their smartphones. Whilst on the other hand others prefer metal keys or keycards and chatting to the reception desk staff. Hey why not offer all of it, and make everybody happy- and the guest can choose which they prefer!

5. Kwikset/Unikey Kevo announces its moving 30,000 smartlocks a month -Jan 2014

In February 2014, Unikey/Kwikset announced it had just moved its 100,000th smartlock to the US residential market in less than 3 months- see article here. Not a bad effort for a guy with an idea that found significant traction after appearing on the US TV Show Sharktank over two years ago now.  They racked up dozens of awards since their Sharktank claim to fame, including winning a gong at this years CES in January – go Kevo!

4.Google announces Near Field Communication Host Card Emulation(HCE) Mode in Android operating System Kitkat 4.4 in late 2013

Even after being made available in Europe by the end of last year, and USA at the start of this year, this announcement and implementation has yet to have the impact in access control and security which it will have in the near future. As of today 13th August the news is breaking that KitKat is now installed in over 20% of Android devices – see article here  – at the start of this year KitKat was only in 1.1%. But what has Kitkat got to do with Digital Keys rollouts I hear you ask? You can read more about HCE on Wiki here, but in a sentence you couldn't use a smartphone to replicate a smartcard unless you altered the hardware in each smartphone with what’s called a Secure Element.  Now with Kitkat HCE and NFC you don’t need to change the hardware in your smartphone to make it work like a smartcard anymore to open locks (and lots of other cool stuff too like making payments with your smartphone).

3. Assa Abloy announces SEOS Digital Keys - Sept 2012

You have to go back to September 2012 for the announcement by the world’s number 1 lock manufacturer Assa Abloy of the world’s first commercial ecosystem for Digital Keys on NFC mobile phones. According to the Press Release here, SEOS makes it possible to open a door by passing a mobile phone over the lock. This was a pretty massive announcement back then by the undisputed leader in lock manufacturing turning towards digital keys and away from all the previous technologies which had made it into the billion dollar powerhouse that it is today. The industry have been slowly following in its leaders footsteps since then. 

2. Apple announces its going to sell iPhone compatible smartlocks in June 2014

The announcement in June 2014 by the biggest company on the planet that it wants to endorse, develop and implement a range of iPhone compatible smartlocks finally puts digital keys and smartlocks into the mainstream. If you’ve never heard of smartlocks or digital keys before, then after this announcement you should know all about it. Thanks to Apple for shining the spotlight on digital keys and giving them the recognition they deserve!

1. Hilton announces its going to roll out 650,000 Digital Keys in all of its rooms by 2016 - July 2014

Yes you guessed it - this is number one for a very good reason – the internet hasn't stopped talking about the Hilton announcement over the last couple of weeks, and deservedly so. We don’t want to go on and on about this, as we already covered it in our last blog post, but what makes this announcement so special is that its the first big call for a serious investment ($550 million) and serious rollout in Digital Keys in a commercial environment. Everything else before was about adopting Digital Key technologies or trials, or pre-orders, or partnerships and plans to roll out, and residential sales, but this is about actually getting on and doing it in a commercial setting.

What this also means is that this is the first serious rollout of 650,000 digital keys, which is setting a precedent for all commercial facilities to follow – so you could say that this is the first 650,000 commercial installations in around 1 billion digital keys installations that will follow over the next decade or so.

Roll on Digital Keys!!

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