Mechanical digital locks - Expert commentary

How smart access control will improve rental and landlord security
How smart access control will improve rental and landlord security

Until recently, the convenience and security of “smart” electronic locks have been exclusively enjoyed by owners of homes, with renters largely being left out in the cold. Locked out by the temporary nature of their living arrangement, and not allowed to make structural changes to their temporary abodes, these renters have been unable to enjoy the many benefits of these connected devices. But today, smart lock capabilities are becoming available to renters and rental property owners, thanks in large part to new smart lock conversion products that let renters add smart capabilities without having to remove or alter their original lock hardware.Altering the functionality and aesthetics of your home exterior and interior is entirely your call as a homeowner, but it's more difficult for renters Rising influence of smart locks  According to a Nov. 2017 Research and Markets report, “The smart lock market is expected to reach USD 2.67 Billion by 2023 from USD 1.28 Billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 13.11% between 2017 and 2023. Rising adoption of smartphones and other connected devices acts as a driver for the growth of the smart lock market. Moreover, growing security and safety concerns and enhanced features compared with traditional lock systems also drive the growth of this market.” Until recently, the growth in this market has been created by homeowner purchases, and for obvious reasons. When you’re a homeowner you can update your home however you want. Want to swap out your locks, lighting, thermostats, or add an entire home automation suite of devices?  Go for it. Altering the functionality and aesthetics of your home exterior and interior is entirely your call. But when you’re renting a property that someone else owns, an entirely different set of rules applies. When apartment dwellers make any physical alterations to their unit, they may be in danger of violating their lease agreement, upsetting their landlord, and ultimately losing their security deposit. Utilising smart lock conversion kits There are flexible and affordable DIY products that let you add smart technology to your rented home while still playing within the rental rules Fortunately, today there are flexible and affordable DIY products that let you add smart technology to your rented home while still playing within the rental rules. Smart lock conversion kits can replace the interior half of an existing lock without changing the exterior. In so doing, they quickly transform these mechanical locks into smart locks. And, just as with all smart locks, they can do it without requiring any screwing into walls or wiring. Other products can maintain the style of the existing front door hardware and allow the renter to preserve the exterior and match to an existing handle set. This is certain to please landlords and renters who want to maintain a consistent look. According to a “Smart Lock Audience Segmentation Study” produced by Kwikset, “The ability to work with an existing deadbolt ranks with renters as the number one attribute desired for the smart lock” (tied with auto-locking at 61%). These conversion kits address this desire while providing apartment dwellers and other renters with all the benefits of smart locks previously enjoyed solely by homeowners. Renters can control their electronic locks by using a web-enabled device, meaning they can use their smartphone to lock and unlock their home Remote access for lock administrators Renters can now access the greater access control of smart locks. With a partner home automation hub, renters can control their electronic locks by using a web-enabled device, meaning they can use their smartphone to lock and unlock their home from any location, inside the home or from miles away. According to that same study, locking and unlocking the smart lock while away from home was important to 43% of renter respondents. The smart lock can become the most convenient place for users to control their entire home automation system In combination with any one of dozens of home automation hubs, converted smart locks can also become a connected part of a complete home automation system, including lighting, heating, A/V, and more. They can even bring control of an apartment’s home automation system directly to the front door. And when a home control or security device is located at the front door, it can very easily become part of a renter’s routine. The smart lock can become the most convenient place for users to control their entire home automation system. Modernising physical key security  Another huge plus that renters can enjoy with smart locks is that they can put away their apartment key. Not only can they now use their smart phone to enter their home, but they can also remotely unlock the door for any vendor or anyone else that they want to allow access to their home. Information is power, and apartment dwellers can become much more powerful with smart locks. Renters can now have access to an information audit trail of whether a door has been locked and unlocked, and when this took place.Information is power, and apartment dwellers can become much more powerful with smart locks They can receive notification via text message of when their teen arrived home safely, or when the plumbers came and when they left.With these new smart lock conversion kits, bringing smart lock technology along to a new dwelling. Of course, renters don’t necessarily stay in their apartment forever. But that doesn’t mean they have to give up the benefits of their smart security system. Who said you can’t take it with you? With these new smart lock conversion kits, bringing smart lock technology along to a new dwelling may be the easiest, most stress-free thing about the move. Smart lock benefits for landlords The benefits of smart locks and smart lock conversion kits are not limited to renters. People who own rental properties can also reap the benefits of the newest connected lock products. First, rental property owners can discover the joy of maintaining complete access control without managing dozens of keys. Fear of losing keys and having to constantly swap out hardware can become a thing of the past. Not only can renters now use their smart phone to enter their home, but they can also remotely unlock the door for anyone else that they want to allow access to their home With remote locking and unlocking controlled through a smartphone, tablet or internet-connected device, property owners no longer have to take the time to come to the property to physically hand off a key. Nor do they have to put a key in a storage locker, hide a key in a shrub (or use one of those fake key-hiding rocks). Frequent resident turnover?Rental property owners can still enter their property by using their own smart phone, or via the old fashioned way with a master key even with smart locks Owners don’t have to constantly be making new keys. Need to facilitate a repair?  Neither the owner nor the resident need to be at home to let the repair person inside. Tradition meets modernisation with smart locks Of course, having complete access control does not mean foregoing access to their property. Rental property owners can still enter their property by using their own smart phone, or via the old fashioned way with a master key. Perhaps even more important than the convenience is the peace of mind enjoyed by rental property owners, which comes from always knowing who is coming and going to and from their property, and when. Airbnb co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk, agrees. He told Lifehacker.com, “Whether it’s my Airbnb guest, house cleaner, or someone else, electronic locks make it easy to manage access to my house while I’m away at the office or traveling.” The information provided by the smart lock to their phones and tablets lets them monitor lock usage and lock status. No matter how far from their property they may be, owners will have an information trail of all the activity that revolves around their door lock. Protecting holiday homes These home automation devices can even allow rental property owners to charge a bit more for rent The vacation rental market can be highly competitive, especially in the most desirable vacation destinations. Smart locks, and other connected devices, can also give rental property owners a competitive advantage over other properties in the area. Offering potential guests the security and convenience of smart locks, smart thermostats, doorbell cameras, and connected lighting can be the difference maker in closing that rental deal. These home automation devices can even allow rental property owners to charge a bit more for rent. Whether you’re managing a vacation rental from afar, or actually using or living in a rental, the benefits of smart locks have never been easier to access. And with new smart lock conversion kits, this technology has never been easier and faster to install. What this means to smart lock dealers and integrators is that there’s a whole new market for home automation and connected security products, and a market of renters and rental property owners ready to make their rental units and their lives significantly “smarter.”

Smart access control is essential to the future of smart cities
Smart access control is essential to the future of smart cities

Throughout the UK there are many examples of smart city transformation, with key industries including transport, energy, water and waste becoming increasingly ‘smart’. A smart city is a one that uses information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve both the quality of government services and resident welfare. Smart access is an important step forward in providing technologically advanced security management and access solutions to support the ambitions of smart cities and their respectively smart industries. Explaining smart access If we used the standard definition of smart, it would be to use technology to monitor, control and manage access, but the technology must be adapted to both the physical and management characteristics of smart cities. Smart access is an important step forward in providing advanced security management and access solutions to support the ambitions of smart cities For example, it would not make sense to install an iris biometric sensor at an isolated water storage tank, which is out in the open and may not even have electrical power. Nor would a permissions management system work, one that does not let you update permissions simply and easily and cannot be customised. With high volumes of people entering and exiting different areas of the city, it is important to be able to trace who has been where, when and for how long. Advanced software suites can provide access to all operations performed by users, including a complete audit trail. This information is often used by business owners or managers for audits, improvements or compliance. When initiating a new access control system it is important that the supplier and customer work together to understand: Who can enter a secure area Where in the building each individual has access to When an individual can enter a secure area How an individual will gain access to a secure area This information can be crucial in the event of a security breach, enabling investigators to find out who was the last known key holder in the building and what their movements were whilst there. Installing an electronic lock does not require electrical power or batteries, much less a connection to send information Modernising locks and keys Installing an electronic lock does not require electrical power or batteries, much less a connection to send information, which means that it can be installed on any door as you would a mechanical lock without maintenance requirements. Permissions are stored within an intelligent key. If you have authorisation for that lock, it will open. If you don’t, you won’t be allowed to enter and all of the activity carried out by the key will be recorded. You can update permissions from a computer or using an app on a mobile phone at the time of access, which will update the key's permissions via Bluetooth. This allows shortened validity periods, constrains movements to be in line with company access policy and removes travel and fixed authoriser costs. This then delivers increased flexibility and higher levels of security. Remote access control utilities Access rights can be set at any time and on any day, and if required can allow access on just one specific occasion Using an app improves access control by updating access rights in real time with the Bluetooth key. It also provides notification of lost keys, joint management of access schedules, protection of isolated workers and much more. Combined with new technological solutions, an app allows contextual information to be sent, such as on-site presence, duration of an operation, authorisations and reporting of anomalies. Access rights can be set at any time and on any day, and if required can allow access on just one specific occasion, for example to repair a failure. Access can be restricted to enable entry only during working hours, for example. Permissions can be granted for the amount of time required, which means that if permission is requested to access a site using a mobile app, the company should be able to access it, for example, in the next five minutes. Once this time has passed, the permission expires and, if a key is lost or it is stolen, they will not be able to access the site. The rules for granting permissions are infinite and easily customisable, and the system is very efficient when they are applied; as a result, the system is flexible and adapted to suit company processes and infrastructures. Using an app improves access control by updating access rights in real time with the Bluetooth key Finding applications to create solutions In many cases, companies themselves find new applications for the solution, such as the need to obtain access using two different keys simultaneously to prevent a lone worker from accessing a dangerous area. The software that manages access makes it smart. It can be used from a web-based access manager or through personalised software that is integrated within a company's existing software solution, to automatically include information, such as the employee's contractual status, occupational risk prevention and the existence of work orders. In some companies, the access management system will help to further improve service levels by integrating it with the customer information system, allowing to link it for instance with alarms managers, intrusion managers or HR processes. With over one million access points currently secured worldwide, this simple and flexible solution will play a strategic role in the future of security.

Surveillance in 2017: 360-degree cameras  a primary device for total situational awareness
Surveillance in 2017: 360-degree cameras a primary device for total situational awareness

The physical security market continues to experience growth as users look to capitalise on the promises of emerging technologies and because of this, 2017 proved to be a great year for Oncam. In fact, this year was the best year in Oncam's history in terms of sales, as 360-degree fisheye cameras have gone from being a “specialty” camera used only in certain applications to a primary device for enabling total situational awareness. Today, many of our customers leverage 360-degree cameras exclusively to provide extensive coverage inside a facility or in a large outdoor area, with traditional narrow field-of-view cameras used only at “choke” points. Increase in cybersecurity threats and breaches At the end of 2016, we predicted a major trend this year would be an increase in cybersecurity concerns for users of physical security systems, and we were right. An increase in cybersecurity threats and breaches have put organisations on watch. Based on this and the adoption of more IT-centric infrastructure and protocols, there is significant collaboration between IT and physical security, and true “convergence” is finally starting to happen. The adoption of video analytics also continued to increase this year, as most video surveillance projects involved the use of some form of analytics and data analysis. Demand for safeguards As we move into 2018, the trends of 2017 will roll over, and cybersecurity will continue to be a major issue. Suppliers of hardware and software will put an even greater emphasis being cyber secure and end users will increasingly demand safeguards. Additionally, the deployment and use of advanced analytics based on newer artificial intelligence-based technologies will continue to increase. It will be the technology providers that find ways to allow users to capture additional value from the information collected by security systems that will accelerate growth. Oncam made significant investments in new products that leverage analytics and cloud technologies. In 2018, we will continue to invest in the development of new products, with a focus on solutions for particular applications across industry segments. Beyond our technology advancements, we've invested significantly in boosting our sales force in the Americas and adding industry experts to ensure sustained customer and partner success with our solutions. From our vantage point, Oncam is well positioned to capitalise on opportunities for growth in the coming year.