According to Business Insider, the number of smart home/office devices shipped will grow to around 200 million in 2020, from a roughly 80 million in 2015. This includes smart appliances, smart home/office safety and security systems, and smart energy equipment.
But what about office and workplace access? How will we be access our properties a few years from now?
It’s unlikely that in a decade or so from now that we’ll still be carrying a heavy, cumbersome keychain loaded with keys.
Instead, it’s likely that our voice-activated virtual assistant will control almost everything in our property including opening the front door through a merger of Face Recognition or other biometric data with Artificial Intelligence and fixed hardware.
To arrive at this point there will need to be a standardisation in the way locks and doors are delivered to market. Millennials and digital affluents will drive the consolidation of different approaches into one universal standard with a secure digital touch point.
Property Access and Safety is changing; innovative companies are introducing products that will replace antiquated keyholes, peepholes, and doorbells, including smart locks, sensors, monitors, cameras, and alarm systems. For example, August Smart Locks sells digital keyless door locks and doorbell cameras that allows the property-owner to provide third-party remote access to their office or home.
One of the main challenges is the connection of these front- and back-end technologies with other devices. They need to be able to exchange data, while keeping a high level of cyber security.
Security and convenience are the two most important issues; our homes and offices have to be secure and prevent unwanted access, while at the same time allowing us to enter without jumping through inconvenient hoops or making the process overly complicated.
Ultimately, the property Access and Safety market will be ruled by the devices that can connect and integrate seamlessly with other home and office technology, offering maximum security, alongside simplicity and convenience. This is important because all home devices will ultimately run in an invisible background mode, controlled by an overall intelligent system such as Amazon Echo or Google Home.
Future smart homes and offices will incorporate doors with built-in smart locking mechanisms and smart doors, possibly working on magnetic fields between the frames. Access to your building, home, car and/or office will be controlled by a central hub that runs face, eye or other biometric detection.
Building access and safety technology will be one function of an end-to-end multi-functional smart home system controlling multiple sub-devices via a software and protected by strong cyber security controls.
It is too early to predict accurately which type of connectivity these access and safety products will use in order to communicate between themselves and other external devices – but the race is on between Wifi, Bluetooth, Mesh network standards such as Zigbee and W-wave or other newcomers on the market. Look out for mobile operators trying to make a comeback on connectivity.
When it comes to access a controlled lock will run in a back-end mode. Alongside this front-end external cameras and drones will run multiple step processes, continuously monitoring activity. Once the system detects and finds a face trying to enter the property, it will run a facial recognition and identification test. If the person is identified, the system will decide autonomously whether to grant access or not based on its data or it will ask the tenant for instructions. The tenant will be able to monitor these activities instantly and interfere at will.
Today, the technology is still not quite there for homes, residential units and small offices. However it is already used in high security facilities such as banks, military restricted zones, corporations, and government institutions. The challenge is to replicate this for commercialisation and office/home use.
One final thought; this sort of access technology may make us all feel like James Bond (albeit without Q), but we must always question what will happen with all the data that our smart devices collect. Or do we ignore this aspect in return for feeling like 007?
By Hady Abdelnour, co-founder of Smarke