Sunday, 14 June 2015

Who wants to be a crowdfunded smart lock?

It seems that there is a new crowdfunding smart lock project coming out every week now. In the last couple of months 4 smartlock projects have gone on crowdfunding platform's Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise funds to try to bring their product to market. These include;

These smart lock projects have essentially ridden on the coat tails of the first ever successful smart lock crowdfunding campaign by Lockitron from nearly 3 years ago now. Interestingly, back then Kickstarter actually rejected the Lockitron smart lock campaign from their site, as they considered Lockitron 'home improvement'. And home improvement projects were not allowed on the Kickstarter site then. So the Lockitron guys said, 'screw you Kickstarter', and they went at the crowdfunding thing on their own, raising over $2.2 million. Kickstarter obviously changed their mind pretty quickly about letting smart lock projects up on their site. But crowdfunding smart locks hasn't been all rosy for Lockitron - see this article from earlier this year titled, 'A crowdfunded startup explains why crowdfunding can be a complete disaster'.

Our company, LEAPIN Digital Keys first started building smart locks back in 2011. In the last 4 years we've been watching all the smart lock crowdfunding campaigns with great interest. We've seen what's worked, and what hasn't. And we've been tempted to do our own crowdfunding campaign on many occasions. But here at LEAPIN we've been more focused on the smartlock software, apps and technology, and what they can do when combined with other software, rather than one piece of locking hardware. We've also been more focused on bringing smart lock technology to other environments rather than just the home - such as hotels, offices, through to cars - and even poker machine and tennis courts. Our mission is simple - to get digital keys and smart lock technology into as many 'places' as possible, because we believe this will improve your life. And by 'places' we don't just mean buildings. 

So to achieve our mission, early on in our companies life, we decided the best way to get our smart lock technology into as many places as possible was not to develop one piece of hardware to attach to a deadbolt on a house lock, or to develop one house front door smartlock, like many crowdfunded smartlocks. Instead we decided to develop a Smartlock Software Development Kit(SDK) to provide to existing lock manufacturers and OEM's so they can make all of their locks smart.

But we haven't ignored the hardware side of things either. We couldn't ignore hardware. To bring smart lock technology to as many locks as possible, we quickly learned that we couldn't simply provide software/code to the existing lock manufacturers whose products rely on existing lock mechanics, design and parts and expect it all to work. We had to develop new mechanics, new designs and new parts to work with the new smartlock technologies. For example you can see a video and images below of a new electric strike we developed to accommodate smart lock technology. 

This smart striker does everything that a typical mains powered striker access control system does which you can see in many office buildings around the world, but it does not require any supporting on-site network infrastructure. It uses keycards as well as your smartphone to unlock doors. We believe this is a groundbreaking project, as until now, striker plates had to rely on mains power and solenoids to get enough power and torque to release the latch enabling a door to be pushed open.

If you are lock manufacturer, or a smart home product/kit provider, an OEM, or if you want to have a go at a smart lock crowdfunding campaign yourself, talk to us by emailing or visiting our website to see how we can help you make locks smart.

The LEAPIN Digital Keys Software Development Kit/API/Hardware Development Kit.

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