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

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