Thomas Schulz, Director of Marketing and Communications, Digital and Access Solutions at ASSA ABLOY EMEA, talks with SMAhome about the latest smart lock innovation in the hospitality industry.
Q: How are your products different from your competitors’? What makes them stand out?
The first thing customers notice is our stable of brands. They are household names. Yale has been securing homes and businesses for almost 2 centuries. Mul-T-Lock, TESA, KESO, Vachette and others are all very well-known and trusted in their geographical markets. We have many decades’ experience keeping people and possessions safe.
Hand-in-hand with brands and experience is our deep understanding of doors. Locks can be complicated; they are different between, say, the UK and continental Europe and Scandinavia, and so on. Any market entrant must first learn the international complexities of something that seems so simple: the door! This is even more important if you want to build a smart service that crosses boundaries. We can supply smart door locks that work across countries with completely different door standards.
Q: What new technologies are you developing now? Are you planning to add new features or functionalities? When to you expect to launch them?
Of course, we have ongoing R&D, design, and product testing for new smart door locks and credentials across multiple markets. Watch this space! We are also fine-tuning our suite of integration services for new partners. We want to make it as easy as possible for service providers to work with us. If you have an innovative service that could benefit from an integrated smart door lock, we can potentially supply and integrate the lock technology to help make it happen. We also offer our help to integration partners when it comes to promoting their new solutions or services.
Q: What new use cases can we expect for smart locks in the future?
We’ve only scratched the surface of what is possible from a smart door lock — certainly in terms of service delivery. To give you one example, from Sweden, where customers of a PostNord pilot no longer need to wait at home for a postal delivery. They can have parcels delivered inside their front door, if it is equipped with a Yale smart door lock. This opt-in service works with a single-use “digital key” issued automatically to an authorised PostNord driver. A recent large survey we carried out ahead of our forthcoming “Smart Door Locks Report 2018” suggests around 4 in 5 people would be more likely to invest in a smart door lock if it enabled them to access delivery and other services.
Yet only 14% of respondents to the same survey felt they had a good knowledge of the features and functions available in a smart door lock. As the market gets more educated — and we have a significant role to play in that, obviously — use cases will proliferate.
Q: Are you forming new partnerships in the industry? What are they?
We have formed some really interesting partnerships in the fast-growing holiday rentals market. I can explain a little more about two of them, both involving our ENTR® smart door lock.
In Italy, Home at Hotel holiday rental apartments are secured with an ENTR®. The lock integrates with the SCLAK smartphone-managed access system, so guests enjoy their stay without key hassles. The integration also enables Home by Hotel to deliver value-added services, including grocery shopping and extra cleaning.
In Spain, HoomVip is another app-based service for managing rental properties, also built around our ENTR® lock. With HoomVip installed, apartment agents no longer manage physical keys. They can monitor property status at any moment, in real time. They can check guests in and out without an in-person key handover.
Q: Where do you think the smart lock industry is going in the next few years?
I am convinced we will see ever closer integration between smart devices, including smart door locks, and everyday life. Connected living, control from smart speakers, lifestyle convenience… these are all converging. I have seen forecasts from IHS Markit predicting smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo or Google Home will have made their way into over 328 million households by 2021.
It’s up to us in the home security sector to keep building products and services that enable the innovations to keep coming.