The Challenge

Since the introduction of Bluetooth technology, automakers have been searching for ways to leverage the secure communication protocol to deliver a more fortified and convenient means of physical access control for cars. As the company that’s well known for their Evolution Series (EVO), a rear-seat infotainment system, and a wide range of other vehicle electronics and solutions, Voxx Automotive is no stranger to innovating in the auto industry. In recent years they’ve even developed their own eFob product in which consumers can use their phone as a key. However, in late 2017, Voxx Automotive decided they wanted to take their eFob product a step further. To do so, they approached UniKey with the desire to build upon its passive, Touch-to-Open® technology and scalable, digital key sharing platform in order to provide the auto industry a unique keyless entry solution.

“The relationship with UniKey allows VOXX Automotive to further accelerate our drive to eliminate the need for consumers to carry their car keys or fobs. More importantly, it represents yet another way VOXX allows OEMs to differentiate themselves from other marques in the global automotive market. In UniKey we have a partner who shares our efob Phone-as-a-Key vision.”

– Michael Schroeder, VOXX Automotive’s Senior Vice President of OEM Sales and Business Development.

The Solution

Utilizing the core tenants of UniKey’s mobile key platform, Voxx found all the tools they needed to build upon their state-of-the-art, smartphone application.“When we first spoke to Voxx, we were incredibly impressed with the eFob product,” says UniKey’s VP of Product, Will Holderness. “With Voxx’s incomparable vision and products and UniKey’s continuous goal to eliminate the need for keys in our homes, offices, and even our cars, we knew the partnership was a perfect match that could lead to an incredible access control solution for the auto industry.”

Voxx’s efforts to combine their technology with UniKey’s has helped solidify their position as the auto industry’s leading designer, manufacturer, and supplier of electronic products. Their new smartphone-as-a-key, eFob product has since made the company a finalist for the PACE award by Automotive News and further recognition of their commitment to providing automakers with unrivaled electronics and solutions. The new eFob solution is expected to hit the market by the end of 2019.


Platform Solutions Used

Software Development Kits/ Firmware Development Kits/ Mobile Apps/ Web Services

Questions about UniKey's platform?

The Challenge

The Nest Thermostat is an industry leading smart home device that uses a combination of sensors, algorithms, machine learning, and cloud computing to save users money by automatically adjusting their home temperature when they’re away. The “Works with Nest” program was launched in 2014, to expand the capabilities of the Nest Thermostat by allowing it to talk with other devices. Nest was looking for integrations that would help improve the accuracy of their home/away detection, and expand the ecosystem its users could access through the Nest platform. The door lock was a clear target for providing users’ location information.

The Solution

Nest partnered with UniKey in late 2014 to build a complete integration with the UniKey platform in time for CES 2015. Over four weeks, the Nest team worked with UniKey to turn insights from their smart locks into actionable data for the Nest Thermostat. The integration provided several benefits to customers who had both a Nest Thermostat and a Kevo smart lock powered by UniKey.

Users were able to have custom profiles on their Nest Thermostat for the first time. Information from who was coming home was shared between the lock and the thermostat to set the temperature to the specific user’s ideal level. This data was also used to improve the home/away detection for the Nest Thermostat, and in turn save users money. Users were delighted to see that they could also control their Nest Thermostat from directly within the Kevo mobile app.

The result of the integration was an increase in sales for both products. The Nest Thermostat had improved functionality when connected to a lock powered by UniKey, and users who had one product were encouraged to by the complementary device.

 

Platform Solutions Used

Cloud-based Access Control features / App Templates, Reference Designs & Development

Ecosystem Integrations / Access Control & eKey Security

Questions About UniKey's Platform?

The Challenge

Haven is a new contender within the home security vertical, but they are no stranger when it comes to building a best-in-class lock. Haven’s flagship product, the Haven Mech, utilizes a sleek wedge barrier design that secures the lock onto the strongest part of the door, the base. Haven Mech’s physical security is unmatched when compared to a traditional deadbolt, withstanding multiple battering ram tests and front kicks to the door.

The most notable security attribute of Haven Mech’s design is the keyless form factor, making it unsusceptible to picking or bumping like traditional locks. Although this mechanical design eliminates many security threats, the major challenge that existed for Haven Mech users was the fact that doors could only be locked or unlocked from inside of the home. Users needing the additional security of Haven while outside of the home was growing, and this demand prompted the creation of Haven Mech’s counterpart, the Haven Connect.

“We developed a new and innovative locking mechanism that we think will change the industry. We realized that UniKey had already built a world-class user access system, so we felt like it would be the perfect match,” said Haven CMO, Daniel Wipert. “Haven is the lock, and UniKey is the key. The partnership is a natural fit.”

The Solution

In September 2016, Haven announced their partnership with UniKey during the week of ASIS International, one of the largest security conferences in North America. Integrating UniKey’s platform has enabled both teams to bring Haven Connect to market fast, launching in early 2018. The product extends usability, and solves Haven Mech’s limitation of “indoor only” locking by allowing activation from outside of the home through a smartphone or fob. Other benefits of Haven Connect will include, remote lock/unlocking from anywhere in the world, delivery of break-in notifications to a mobile phone, as well as the ability to integrate with other IoT devices within the home. For Haven, the opportunity to introduce a new smart lock segment is here as the Haven Connect is expected to be the first truly preventative smart lock, powered by UniKey.

 

Platform Solutions Used

IP Licensing / Cloud-based Access Control features / App Templates, Reference Designs & Development

Embedded & Hardware / Ecosystem Integrations / Access Control & eKey Security

Questions About UniKey's Platform?

The Challenge

MIWA Lock Company, Ltd., founded in 1945, is Japan’s foremost provider of high-performance locks and security systems. They have been providing electronic access solutions to leading hotel chains worldwide since 1980, but, in the past few years, their competitors have taken a lead technologically. The competition has started offering locks that can be accessed using a smart phone instead of a traditional keycard or even an RFID device.

MIWA needed to develop a mobile access solution to compete with lock providers that are offering a fully mobile solution to their client hotels. The family-owned company has developed a reputation for quality and reliability that has to be upheld with the development of any new product. A “good enough” solution is far from good enough for MIWA. In addition, they have a corporate mission to have environmentally friendly business practices. MIWA had to find a partner that could provide them the technological platform they required while meeting their exacting developmental and manufacturing standards.

“In partnering with UniKey, MIWA feels that we can deliver the first mass smartphone locking solution to the market, but also the most convenient and intuitive system. UniKey’s technology built into MIWA’s ALV2 enables a platform of automated tools to deliver the ultimate guest experience.”

– Chris Lawrence, Vice President of Sales, MIWA Lock Co. Ltd.

The Solution

MIWA entered a partnership with UniKey in 2014, rapidly developing a prototype access solution that was demoed at HITEC 2014. While the task of designing the manufacturing process for the AVL2 lock continued over the next year, they returned to HITEC in 2015 to demonstrate a cloud-based hotel key management platform to compliment the physical hardware. Using MIWA’s hardware experience and insights into the hotel industry alongside UniKey’s technology and cloud services acumen, they had created a complete package that would handle the assignment of eKeys along with the physical access control. When the software suite launches, hotels will be able to choose to use either UniKey’s full app for eKey management, or integrate the service with their existing hotel management system using UniKey’s newly developed hotel focused API/SDK.

The hardware design is still going through MIWA’s rigorous process of iteration to ensure the highest possible quality in the final design. Details of the release are forthcoming, but MIWA and UniKey have been able to design a solution that will work alongside existing lock installations, retrofitting them to work with both RFID and mobile access. Not only does this technique make the devices more environmentally friendly by reducing the need to replace whole locks, but it also opens up the technology for easy adaptation by MIWA’s expansive base of existing customers.

When MIWA launches the ALV2, they will be delivering the ultimate guest experience thanks to a great platform of automated tools powered by integration with the UniKey platform.

 

Platform Solutions Used

IP Licensing / Cloud-based Access Control features / App Templates, Reference Designs & Development

Embedded & Hardware / Ecosystem Integrations / Access Control & eKey Security

Questions about UniKey's Platform?

The Challenge

ERA has been selling state-of-the-art locks in the UK since 1838. In 2016, “state-of-the-art” means connected, and British homeowners are ready to bring smart technology into their locks. ERA has a legacy of excellence to protect as they strive to meet the changing demands of their customers. In order to incorporate a best-in-class tech experience to their locks, they needed a partner who understood the unique challenges of the UK market.

While smart locks have gained popularity in the US following the release of the UniKey-powered Kwikset Kevo in 2013, the UK hasn’t seen the same level of adoption. Deadbolts, which are commonly used in the US, are rare in the UK where nightlatches are the most used style of lock. The engineering and regulatory challenges to adapting smart technology to a nightlatch lock form factor were substantial. ERA had to find an established firm to help them tackle these challenges and uphold their legacy by bringing the first smart nightlatch lock to market in the UK.

“We have been a trusted provider of state-of-the-art locks for homeowners in the UK since 1838, but the time has come to throw away the key. By working with a great partner like UniKey, the ERA TouchKey will help revolutionize the lock industry for British homeowners, making home entry easier and more convenient without sacrificing security.”

– ERA CEO Darren Waters

The Solution

ERA chose to partner with UniKey, the technology company powering the first smart lock in the US, to bring their vision to the UK. UniKey was selected based on their history of being pioneers in the industry, and their record for delivering best-in-class products. The result of this partnership, the ERA TouchKey was first demoed at CES in 2015.

The ERA TouchKey will be the first Bluetooth smart lock in the nightlatch design to reach consumers in the UK. The engineering challenges were tackled by a team from UniKey working closely with ERA to make sure the product would meet and exceed the needs of British homeowners.

UniKey has since worked with ERA to create a new industrial design concept for the lock so the leading-edge technology on the inside is reflected by a striking case on the outside. ERA also relied on UniKey for management of the manufacturing process to get all of the pieces in place for a launch by the end of 2016.

When the ERA TouchKey reaches consumers this year, they will be greeted with a distinctive, and distinctly British, lock that brings ERA’s state-of-the-art dramatically forward.

 

Platform Solutions Used

IP Licensing / Cloud-based Access Control features / App Templates, Reference Designs & Development

Embedded & Hardware / Ecosystem Integrations / Access Control & eKey Security

Questions About UniKey's Platform?

The Challenge

Kwikset has been the leading residential lock manufacturer in the US since 1946.  In the early 2010s, their portfolio of products stood out for their patented SmartKey deadbolts and early Z-wave connected locks, but new challengers were emerging.  The Internet of Things was still in its infancy, and established lock manufacturers and startups alike were rushing to be the first to bring a Bluetooth smart lock to market.

Kwikset needed to act fast to be the pioneer in the smart lock industry.  If they moved too late, they could lose the market.  If they moved too early, they would risk shipping a rushed product. Kwikset had to find a partner who could combine leading-edge technology with the reliability their customers had come to expect from their brand.

“Kevo is not just another lock, it represents a shift in lifestyle for busy homeowners. Whether keeping track of your teenage daughter, granting temporary access to a housecleaner or monitoring your front door activity while on vacation, Kevo redefines the meaning of smart, simple security.”

— Greg Gluchowski, former president, Kwikset.

The Solution

UniKey Technologies was chosen by Kwikset to power their first smart lock. The two companies signed an agreement in 2013 and blew audiences away at CES 2013 with a demonstration of the Kevo smart lock. Combining Kwikset’s most popular deadbolt design with patented technologies from UniKey, the Kevo brought US homeowners the first truly “smart” home lock experience.

The package of technologies now called UniKey Passive Intent™ were introduced with the Kevo, giving users Touch-to-Open® functionality with intelligent Inside/Outside Intelligence™. Not only did Kwikset bring the first smart lock to market, through their partnership they leapfrogged the competition with a lock that simplified the user experience. Kevo owners didn’t even have to remove their phone from their pocket or purse to unlock their doors.

Since the initial Kevo launch in 2014, Kwikset and UniKey have released a series of complimentary products and platform innovations to expand the lock’s functionality. Kevo Plus allows users to control their lock from anywhere in the world through wi-fi connectivity. Kevo Home Connect Bridge brings Z-wave or Zigbee compatibility to the lock allowing for interaction with existing smart home devices. And direct partnerships with Nest, Honeywell, the Ring doorbell, and IFTTT allow the Kevo to be the start of true home automation for its owners.

The partnership between Kwikset and UniKey has garnered multiple awards for its products including accolades from CES, Mashable, CEPro, Electronic House, This Old House, The Wirecutter, and more. This relationship continued in 2016 with the announcement of the second generation Kevo, a refined take on the world’s first smart lock, and the Kevo Convert, which will bring smart technology to existing deadbolt installations. Both new products will be launching by the end of the year.

 

Platform Solutions Used

IP Licensing / Cloud-based Access Control features / App Templates, Reference Designs & Development

Embedded & Hardware / Ecosystem Integrations / Access Control & eKey Security

Questions About UniKey's Platform?