As we make our way through Q3 of 2018, our team has been working hard alongside industry giants to develop and deploy the latest in physical access control technology and solutions. Since the company’s humble beginning in 2010, it’s seen several product launches, partnerships, and internal growth. For a company that is rapidly innovating, it’s only natural that its website should follow suit and reflect the same level of ingenuity UniKey is known for. From launching a new website to delivering industry-leading solutions, this quarter and the ones to follow in 2019, are going to be momentous for the mobile access control pioneers.

Find your way to UniKey’s new homepage by clicking the UniKey logo in the upper left-hand corner or here.

“Swipe from the best, then adapt”

A quote from the author of In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters.

Today in physical access control we’ve reached a point where we’re doing just that- swiping and adapting. Every great piece of technology was most likely adapted from another. The automobile was adapted from the horse and buggy, from the loom we got the sewing machine, and from the invention of key cards and mag-stripes we now have mobile credentials. Thus, is the way of progress, as adaptation is the birthplace of innovation and life-changing inventions. As the physical security space progresses, there will be a few challenges to address along the way however, this is something that is only natural in the cycle of innovation and change. Our Founder and CEO, Phil Dumas, discusses this topic in greater detail in his latest post.

 

UniKey’s very own, Lee Odess, flew out to Birmingham, UK, for the annual FIT Trade Show in order to give us some insider knowledge on the what’s-what in the smart lock and access control industries. The trade show hosted several big names in the industry like ERAIceni Windows, and Avantek; showcasing the exceptional tech advancements in the field. Moreover, the show certainly did not disappoint when it came to exciting developments and even entertainment. After the show, Lee gave us a quick run-down on his main takeaways, as well as the apparent trends he noticed throughout the event.

The UK and Europe are ready to bring on smart devices

With the rise of smart homes, smart cities, and even autonomous cars, the UK and Europe are developing some of the most sophisticated, game-changing technology in order to make these concepts a reality. Lee explains that when it comes to Europe’s technological devices, “historically it has just been about connecting things or just powering them. Now it’s about making them smart”. Overall, the industry is ready to reshape the way we use our smart devices in order to create a safer, more sophisticated and convenient ecosystem.

Manufacturers are paying careful attention to aesthetics and experience

When it comes to their hardware, manufacturers are not only recognizing the importance of their products’ connected security, but also the overall aesthetics and experience their customers can appreciate.“They care about the finishes, how it feels, how it sounds…they are also focused heavily on the user interaction and making sure it’s seamless and adds value,” Lee points out.

The customer is always right (from end-users to locksmiths to fabricators)

This is something the industry vets understand and is sometimes overlooked by the new companies looking to “disrupt” the industry. When it comes to the security and peace of mind of their homeowners, industry leaders like ERA always deliver the finest security and stand behind it with guarantees; promising that if anything happens to a user’s home due to a faulty ERA product, the homeowner will be met with immediate response and care. It’s known as ERA Total Security. After seeing all of the remarkable hardware, technology, and a huge event full of innovative minds and ideas, there’s no doubt that the unveiled products are sure to deliver impressive experiences for homeowners and manufacturers alike.

The Ideation

One of UniKey’s greatest assets is its employment of some of the most talented students at the University of Central Florida. While working as a test engineering intern at UniKey, Mohammad Hammad, was also wrapping up his last year of UCF’s Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) Program. This is the year a lot of our team members, who are also UCF CECS alumni, remember very well as it’s one of the most demanding years in the program. Why is that? Because this is the year seniors of the program must design and execute the infamous senior design project.

Instead of letting the project keep him from sleeping at night, Mohammad immediately began to work on it. With the help of UniKey’s mobile key platform he was able to develop his “Smart Cabinetry;” a new take on the way we store our valuables. When asked about what initially spurred the idea for his project, Mohammad stated, “I wanted to make a more convenient way to secure your belongings in your own home, since most safes, cabinets, and other mechanisms for safekeeping have always seemed to work against their users – making it a task to access their assets”. To make a system that could simplify the everyday safe, Mohammad utilized UniKey’s mobile app SDK and PbU (Powered by UniKey) module to integrate mobile access control technology into a traditional cabinet lock. “The timing could not have been more perfect, actually. I knew the PbU module was set to be released around the beginning of the semester and that it would make my project easier to develop,” he adds.

The Product

Mohammad also took this specific mobile access control based project on because he wanted to add value, not only to his project, but to UniKey as well. Leveraging several pieces of UniKey’s platform, Mohammad aimed to create a differentiated piece of technology for his project. Additionally he was looking for a way to show individuals everywhere how simple it is to use UniKey solutions to build mobile key products. “I had previous experience testing UniKey’s products, but never had a the chance to really go through the entire building and development process. Even then though, it was easy to use thanks to the provided documentation for each of the platform’s pieces.” As one person, Mohammed was able to have his smart cabinetry product perfected and ready to use in 6 months; 3 months of which were for the design, documentation, and prototyping of the project.

The Final Result

The final result of Mohammed’s senior design project was a fully automated “smart cabinet”, capable of supporting mobile access control and of course, a more convenient way to secure your personal belongings. The Smart Cabinetry also has the ability to track the location of the objects you wish to keep secure, giving users a means to monitor their items in real-time through the implementation of pressure trackers. “It also features automatic door controls and remote control capability,” Mohammad adds. To learn more about how simple it is to integrate UniKey’s platform into any traditional lock, reader, or pincode, keep an eye out for the upcoming editions of our “How it’s Made” blog series where we gain a more in-depth look at how Smart Cabinetry was made. In the meantime, visit www.unikey.com.

As a majority of you already know, last week’s ISC West was a big success with over 30,000+ security professionals making their way to the Sands Expo for a look at the latest security trends and technology. UniKey was lucky enough to have a few members of our Senior Leadership team attend the show and come back with some insights on the trade show. We sat down with, Roy Johnson, our VP of Strategic Accounts to hear his thoughts.

What trends stuck out to you?

Roy: The idea of the mobile credential is starting to mature and gain adoption. There was a lot of interest in the technology last year but this year we’re seeing a shift in adoption beyond just the early adopters and first movers.  This is starting with crossover reader products that can process both mobile and legacy card credentials. I expect us to quickly see a shift to readers that abandon legacy card technology entirely.

How can these trends be applied to UniKey’s platform?

Roy: These trends are at the center of what UniKey does, clearly.  However, what sets us apart is that our platform and IP portfolio were built from the ground up to achieve a user experience that is more convenient than a standard access card or fob.  To truly realize proliferation of the mobile credential it has to be better than what we have now. In some cases, it’s way more complicated to use a mobile credential with some offerings than a standard card. Opening a door with your phone is interesting. Opening a door with a phone that you never have to interact with or remove from your pocket is actually easier and more convenient than standard cards.

What do you think the trends will be at next year’s ISC West?

Roy: We will see more collaboration and partnerships in the space. Keeping mobile apps up to date, managing complex backend server infrastructures and service level agreements is miles away from the core business expertise of most reader OEMs. Beyond that, the mobile credential really transcends the PACS industry in the long run. These credentials are being used to open the doors to homes, automobiles, hotels, and of course the office.  The opportunities for innovation when all of these doors are connected and the data that provides from an ecosystem point of view is a game changer. That will be the foundation for truly intelligent and adaptive security that doesn’t inconvenience the people that should have access to an area while keeping others out.

What do you think differentiates UniKey from other companies you saw at the show?

Roy: Experience. UniKey is the largest mobile credential platform in the world with over 350,000 locks powered by us across 65 countries. We are experts when it comes to mobile credentials and the technologies surrounding them, it is our sole focus. More importantly, we recognize the immense value that our partners bring to the table in the form of manufacturing, distribution, and domain expertise for their vertical. When you work with UniKey to put a mobile credential in your product, you are working with a true partner. That is something we believe very strongly in.

Roy couldn’t have said it better. Working with our partners, Unikey aims to provide the very best in mobile access control solutions. To learn more about our platform and how you can work with us, visit www.unikey.com.

Next week thousands of security companies and experts will be making their way to Las Vegas’ Sands Expo for ISC West 2018. At last year’s ISC West all eyes were on video surveillance and biometrics, however, this year several different security technologies will compete for showgoers’ attention. Below, we have a list of just a few of the key access control technologies that will reign at this year’s show.

Internet of Things

The adoption rate for IoT technology has grown significantly since 2013 when it was reported to be an important factor for only 12% of organizations across all industries. Today that number stands at almost 30%. Industries, organizations, and entrepreneurs all over the world are finding ways to build on the IoT and its remarkable ecosystem in order to gain better insights on their customers that can help fine-tune unique customer experiences for each user. Additionally, IoT For All writes that when “your security measures are paired with IoT-enabled devices that bolster interconnectivity, you will have almost unlimited access to a digital trail of security events.” This kind of data holds the potential to give companies and users a better understanding of who and when individuals are accessing connected entry-points; giving them more control over their system. With that being said, security professionals can expect quite a few ISC sessions that will delve more into how the industry can utilize IoT and cloud-based access control solutions in order to create smarter, more intuitive products and more productive office spaces.

Biometrics

This year, biometrics will be making a reappearance at ISC West with many organizations showcasing facial recognition and fingerprint technology. However, this year’s biometric systems seem to be implementing more frameworks constructed on neural networks to boost the efficiency of visual data processing. As the name suggests, neural networks are more or less modeled after the human brain, and consist of “thousands or even millions of simple processing nodes that are densely interconnected.” Neural networks are also able to function in similar ways to the human brain, in that they’re able to process information in a similar fashion; something that can be used in object recognition systems such as facial or eye (retina and iris) recognition and even signature verification.

Video Surveillance

Yet another piece of access control technology that’s no stranger to the ISC spotlight, video surveillance, is expected to be another major focal point of the show for the second year in a row. Video surveillance systems are getting smarter through the use of video analytics which utilize machine learning methods like deep learning, artificial intelligence, and cognitive learning (like neural networks) and as they get more sophisticated, they’re able to be stronger threat detectors and data gatherers. Erin Harrington of SSI adds that “today’s cameras can track and analyze motion, sound, colors and even temperatures. They can recognize people, packages, pets, fire and specific activities like falling and breathing.” With all of its capabilities, video surveillance is generating more interest from security experts because of its daily opportunity to gather and process a massive amount of rich visual data. In the future, this data could be used as a foundation for predictive security systems.

Mobile

The final piece of security technology that will be a must-see at this year’s ISC West is mobile key technology. Mobile credentials have been a hot topic of discussion ever since the release of the very first smart lock, the Kwikset Kevo. While mobile keys are arguably one of the most secure and convenient forms of credentials, they’re also one of the most versatile. Mobile access control technology can be applied to all of the above security trends, giving several organizations and their products the ability to enhance their key offerings and features. For instance, using a mobile connected surveillance system, users can keep an eye out for potential threats from any remote location. Coupling this with mobile keys and their remote locking and unlocking abilities you get a similar system to Amazon Key, and a more protected front door. Additionally, adding mobile access control to biometrics could give systems an added layer of security and additional functionality. Take Samsung Pass and Apple Pay’s Face ID for example, where users can securely pay and/or verify their identity with their eyes and face; creating a more seamless and secure cashout process. With mobile access control, a smarter, connected security ecosystem is within reach.

Meet with UniKey at ISC West 2018

As you prepare for ISC West, we encourage you to schedule a meeting with UniKey’s Founder and CEO, Phil Dumas, and our team to find out how UniKey’s leading mobile access control platform can work with your legacy products. To find out more, visit https://www.unikey.com/isc-west-2018.

Whether you’re a startup or a company that has long been in the physical access control space, the question: ‘Do you Build or Buy?’ holds the same amount of weight for organizations that are looking to incorporate mobile access control technology into their portfolio of solutions. Today, with the rapid developments in technology, standards, and devices, companies can feel overwhelmed by the pressure to innovate internally. To respond to the pressure, organizations are either looking to build their own proprietary technology or build on a third party’s established platform. As a company that has had great success with building a mobile access control platform, even before it became a lucrative venture, we at UniKey believe that partnership and/or buying from a trusted mobile key vendor is the most advantageous route for most organizations. Below, you’ll find some market statistics and insights that validate this notion.

 

Today, we’re releasing our very first podcast on the topic of Women in Tech. In honor of International Women’s Day, UniKey’s Marketing Coordinator, Sofia Burton, sat down with two incredible women in the tech industry to discuss their experiences, how they arrived at their current positions, and advice they have for future generations. For Connie Klimko and Dr. Sarah Holderness, the path to entering the tech industry was full of perseverance, hard work, and commitment. Both Connie and Sarah not only work to exemplify the positive effects a woman can have on this maturing industry, but also the impact that diversity, as a whole, can have on an organization. To hear more about what motivated these women to be a part of the tech industry, check out the podcast below.

When you’re looking to integrate mobile access control solutions into your legacy PACS products, you want to do your homework before choosing the right system and partner. The primary focus for any valuable mobile access control supplier should always be on their diligent implementation of the latest security standards and methods of encryption. However, there are several other concerns and questions your company should evaluate before choosing a supplier. For example: What transmission standard does the supplier utilize? What advantages come with partnering with the supplier? How many companies and end-users have they served? What are their plans for future technological growth? And how much support can your company anticipate from this company? The list goes on. Nevertheless, let’s begin with the first question.

Methods of Communication

Understanding and identifying a mobile access control supplier’s chosen communication protocol can help your company narrow down a long list of potential partners. For instance, if your company already uses Z-Wave then you will want to find a company that uses the same communication protocol. This will make the integration process smoother for both companies. Although, if your company is looking to take an additional step toward incorporating other connected devices that can communicate with your upcoming mobile access control product, such as thermostats, video surveillance, and voice assistants, then considering a more ubiquitous transmission may be the way to go. Eifeh Strom from ASMAG, adds that “protocols such as BLE and Wi-Fi are the most common and have the advantage of being universally available, as they are part of every computer and smartphone,” making further integrations more applicable to mobile access control solutions using these protocols.

Gaining the Competitive Advantage

In addition to determining the most advantageous transmission protocol for your mobile access control product, companies should also examine their mobile key partner’s technology. Choosing a partner that maintains a unique mobile access control system can help distinguish your product from your competitor’s as well as deliver better experiences to your end-users. Moreover, in order to save your company a huge headache, you’ll want to question all potential partners’ ability to deliver a proven, scalable system. Creating a secure and seamless environment for your customers will hinge on your mobile access control product’s ability to uphold security and functionality, whether it’s for 1 or 1,000,000+ users. Another hallmark of a sophisticated mobile access control system is its adaptability to future technology. A system that is designed with extensibility in mind will be the one to help keep your mobile access control product future-proof.

Don’t get locked In

Finally, a significant indicator of a valuable mobile key partner is their ability to comply with partners’ and end-users’ needs. Jim Romeo of SDM Magazine states that another good way to identify the right mobile key supplier is by looking at their partner system. A sign of a solid access control supplier is when your “customers do not feel locked into a proprietary system that limits their options and means they’re stuck with greater expenditures to stick with the system and its unique maintenance.” In short, look for partners that will allow your end-users the freedom to choose their credentials. Something as simple as offering key cards as well as mobile keys can ease the transition from RFID/ Magstripe cards to mobile credentials for your company’s end-users.

Choosing the right mobile access control partner can be a difficult and overwhelming process. The above points are just a fraction of what companies need to consider. To better aid in your company’s search for the right partner and solution, visit www.unikey.com.

It’s hard to believe that since we posted this article a little over a year ago, there has been such a high level of advancement and change throughout the automotive industry. Tesla, which seemed to be at the forefront of the self-driving vehicle industry is now sharing the spotlight with car manufacturers like GM, Ford, and Volvo, which have taken strides into the future of automotives and even public transportation.

According to Ars Technica, companies like Alphabet’s Waymo and GM are leading the way in autonomous vehicle solutions by collaborating in a time when it’s a necessity for car manufacturers and software developers to team up and shape the future of transportation. For example, as far as autonomous public transportation goes, Lyft has teamed up with Ford to pave the way to the future of autonomous ride-hailing and sharing. Ford has intentions to build and deliver new innovations in commercial transportation with specific concentration on delivery services and ride-hailing patrons. Another example is GM. Since its acquisition in 2016 of Cruise, a San Francisco based autonomous vehicle developer, they have been working toward creating fleets of driverless vehicles. By the end of 2019, GM is expected to release its very own autonomous taxi-service, utilizing its proprietary, electric-powered Chevrolet Bolt.

But what about the experience and security behind these future driverless services?

In our previous article, “Connected Cars: Digital Keys in the Autonomous Era” we addressed the need for additional technology that will enhance the user experience as well as enable monetary benefits for consumers. In addition to automotive and AV software companies like Waymo, Ford, and GM, there will also be more unexpected companies like Facebook coming in to provide consumers with entertainment. The social media company has entered the automotive scene by sponsoring an initiative called “the new mobility world” which is meant to unite “carmakers, tech companies, and startups in areas such as autonomous driving and electric cars”. As we approach the more pivotal years for connected and autonomous cars, more tech companies like Facebook and their technology will bleed into the auto industry to offer AV consumers unique, in-car experiences.

Meanwhile, access control software developers will also make their way into the industry as someone or something will have to securely authorize, lock and unlock driverless ride-sharing vehicles. Moreover, once these vehicles have become the conventional means of transportation, car rental companies will also need a way for their customers to be authenticated and granted access to their cars. What’s more, autonomous delivery services will also be in need of a sophisticated credential to confidently authorize and authenticate the transfer of goods to consumers.

Altogether, there’s still a lot to be done until we see and experience driverless cars that are comparable to the ones in our favorite Sci-Fi movies. However, with all the collaborations, initiatives, and advancements in vehicle technology, the future of transportation looks promising and incredibly convenient.