BlueKey products from UniKey enable PACS OEMs with the fastest path to mobile access control. Read our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about BlueKey and what it can do for you. 

The BlueKey brand was created to offer a complete hardware and software solution to help PACS OEMs take the first steps into mobile access control with ease. UniKey’s goal is to be a partner to OEMs as we assist them on their path to building their own unique mobile key solutions.

The BlueKey brand offers OEMs several off-the-shelf solutions to help them get to market quickly with mobile access control products. The BlueKey offering includes:

BlueKey Prox + BLE Reader: With the BlueKey reader, you and your team can create new mobile solutions while maintaining backward compatibility with your legacy readers with an all-in-one Bluetooth enabled mobile access reader for prox cards. The reader can retrofit legacy PACS systems and easily implement features such as Touch-To-Open® for enhanced user experience at the door. No rewiring or paneling required.

Mobile App: A simple solution; utilize BlueKey’s mobile apps to deliver an intuitive application. The Mobile App securely stores eKeys and is remotely managed by the Cloud Management Portal enabling eKeys to be sent to a phone anywhere, any time. Currently available for iOS and Android.

Cloud Management Portal: For faster deployment, utilize BlueKey’s web portal. The portal provides a convenient place for security managers to remotely issue, manage, and delete eKeys on end user mobile phones.

eKeys: eKeys are the modern version of credentials that can be delivered remotely to a phone anywhere in the world. The legacy access control system continues to decide who has access and when. However, the insecure and easy to clone prox cards are replaced by state of the art eKeys utilizing bank-level encryption.

To fast-track your path to mobile access control, utilize UniKey’s BlueKey Launch Kit. The kit contains enough readers and eKeys to support 5-10 typical installations along with 6 months of portal support. Please click here to learn more about the BlueKey Launch Kit. 

BlueKey branded products are finished products, designed to help PACS OEMs bring a mobile access solution to market faster. However, if you and your team would like to customize any BlueKey components, UniKey’s team can leverage the same tools used to create the BlueKey products to create a custom, branded web and mobile application for your product. If your team would like to go even further and build your own app from scratch or to simply integrate UniKey functionality into your existing apps, then our team can provide intuitive web APIs and SDKs to enable a deeper level of customization. To learn more about our APIs and SDKs, please visit our blog.

In the case that you’d like to modify the BlueKey reader to meet your product vision, your team has the ability to brand the hardware, select colors for the reader’s LED ring, and even rework the structure of its plastic encasement. Similar to our mobile and web applications, additional customization is also available for the reader wherein UniKey can make our hardware reference design available, and offer engineering services to assist in the development of a custom BLE reader.

Go mobile. Go faster. Go BlueKey.

Still have questions about BlueKey or ready to get started with your mobile access control product? Please contact us and see what your team can accomplish with BlueKey.

In the previous post, we introduced you to UniKey’s APIs. Now we’re going into the other important piece to the puzzle: our SDK. In case you’re not familiar, SDK stands for Software Development Kit. In general, an SDK refers to a collection of software used for developing applications for a specific device or operating system. A few good examples of an SDK are the MAC OS X SDK and the iPhone iOS SDK, which enables developers to create applications on those operating systems. In the same vein, UniKey’s SDK allows partners to integrate our mobile application into their own pre-existing security application through straightforward documentation. This means that your team can skip the hassle of finding a way to deliver mobile credentials from the cloud to a Bluetooth lock or reader, and focus on creating a top notch user experience instead.

As we mentioned in the last post, with UniKey you have access to our mobile access control platform’s APIs and SDKs, which can be used to develop access control solutions tailored to a company or products precise specifications. The use of UniKey’s SDK can also minimize the amount of unique code a developer would have to write, preventing unnecessary duplications of developer’s efforts. Moreover, it builds security into the product, giving you one less thing to worry about. Access to UniKey’s APIs, SDK, and development team can reduce a product’s time spent in development and testing; cutting down the security and compliance risks encountered with in-house development of mobile key products. In this, your team can move through product development faster and smarter.

UniKey’s best-in-class technology offers end-to-end convenience, connectivity, efficiency, and market value. Because of the product partnership, you can go to market faster, and position yourself as a leader in the industry. You also have the ability to monitor activity in real-time and use data to make informed business decisions.

To learn more about UniKey’s SDKs and all of the other pieces to our mobile key platform, visit www.unikey.com

SDKs are currently available for iOS and Android.

If you’re reading this, then there’s a strong chance your web browser, also known as a client, interacted with the WordPress API in order to reach our website (which is hosted by WordPress). If you find that you want to learn more about our company and our mobile key platform, you may head over to our “Let’s Connect” page where we have a form. This form, hosted by a third-party, is able to be filled out on our webpage without you having to go to the third-party’s website. This is all possible through the work of an API or an Application Programming Interface.

According to Brian Lillie, CIO of global data center provider, Equinix, APIs are “the mechanism by which organizations can rise to the occasion of our new ‘always-on,’ extremely mobile culture.” In other words, APIs are what can potentially make the world, and your business, go around. They allow you to solve problems and pain points faster than ever before. The secret isn’t in a single API alone—though they often have benefits in and of themselves. The real magic happens when complementary APIs are integrated for greater positive impact.

The Power of APIs

UniKey provides customers with a mobile key platform to enhance products or bring new products to life. Whether you’re in the commercial, residential, or automotive industry UniKey has an API that can work with any solution; making it easier for you and your team to leverage our proven technology and mobile IP to bring seamless access control solutions to your customers.

The challenge, however, lies in getting them to work together. Not all APIs use the same standards, and the developers who make them may not follow the same security policies. UniKey mitigates the difficulty by following security and privacy best practices. And, UniKey removes the guesswork and complexity when it comes to integrating APIs, enabling an abundance of powerful integrations with your IoT device, platform, or application.

Through UniKey’s APIs, integrations are available for the following:

1. Cloud-to-cloud integrations streamline communication and ensure data is shared among relevant systems—on-premise and off—and parties. An example is an integration of Kwikset’s Kevo with Airbnb. The joining would not only facilitate data sharing and analysis but also provide a superior customer experience.

2. Mobile and Web App integrations already work with IFTTT, a free web-based service that allows your customers to create “recipes.” For instance, in a UniKey and Phillips Hue integration, end users can leverage the recipe that dictates, “If [user] approaches the smart lock between [hours], the lights will automatically turn on before [user] enters the building.

3. IoT Device integrations. The UniKey platform can be integrated with connected devices like SkyBell, Honeywell, and Nest. The aim is to create a holistic UX that benefits the building environment from end to end.

4. Copyrighted source code. While the APIs are for commercial use, the underlying source code is copyrighted. This facilitates the ability to produce one-of-a-kind access control solutions in a variety of verticals and industry sectors.

With UniKey’s open APIs you have the potential to join a thriving ecosystem of connected devices and give users a unique experience by combining your product with other smart solutions and integrations. To learn more about our platform’s APIs visit www.unikey.com

Not all roles at UniKey are engineering based. Emily Councilor, our accounts manager, kills it day in and day out with her exceptional ability to juggle UniKey’s accounts; acting as our customers’ voice and advocate inside the organization and working with various teams at UniKey to track, plan, and monitor the progress and delivery of projects. In this, Emily plays an integral role at UniKey, ensuring we exceed all customer expectations. This week we sat down with Emily for a well-earned employee spotlight.

UniKey: What is the best part of your job?

Emily: The best part of my job would have to be all the people that push me to learn new things and challenge me to keep learning. There’s a lot of great support here at UniKey, to the point where everyone has facilitated in creating an environment where I feel comfortable asking questions that may come off as completely “out of left field” for some.

UniKey: What is the toughest part of your job?

Emily: I would have to say the toughest part of my job is having to adapt and figure out how account management works externally. Every account is different, and takes time to understand how to specifically communicate goals and timelines with every unique customer/partner that we have. As an introvert, it can get very overwhelming but I had to adapt to be in the business world, and though it’s not a world I expected to be in at UniKey, I’m certainly glad to be here.

UniKey: What separates UniKey from other employers?

Emily: UniKey really does have something that I’ve never seen in my professional experience, and that’s true grit. Grit to hit a deadline, grit to remain passionate about technology and access control, grit to seek constant growth, and grit to collaborate openly and honestly without fear of failing. Coming from someone who fails extremely often, it’s rare and really refreshing.

To learn more about working at UniKey and our open positions, check out our careers page.

 

 

Emily Councilor, Accounts Manager

The workforce is changing; to say the least. Twenty-five years ago, the concept of work from home would have been outlandish and the idea of someone solely relying on contractor positions would be met with much skepticism and outcries of “workforce heresy”. Tack on the fact that the smartphone, a major catalyst for such rapid change and development in the workforce, wasn’t even a twinkle in IBM’s eye (yes, IBM technically made the first smartphone) and you have a world and labor force that’s entirely different from what we currently have today.

Today, the on-demand workforce- comprised of freelancers, contractors, and gig workers- makes up 20% of today’s employees. The rise of remote work has also taken the professional world by storm as it’s grown in popularity by 140% since 2005; leading to a 200% increase in coworking spaces across the world in just five years. With all the changes in our workforce, many companies and services have come to provide smart and convenient solutions to the modern business world. However, the modern workforce is still waiting on a physical security solution that can provide the same level of convenient and intuitive experiences to their work week, while also offering security and peace of mind. Enter: mobile access control.

For the On-demand Workforce

In a recent survey conducted by Endera, the security company found that “87% of security executives reported that contractors/freelancers are most likely to be the cause of workforce-related security incidents at their company”. The solution here needs to go beyond performing routine background checks on new employees and consistent evaluations of workforce risks. It needs to be attacked at the door; the first place these third-party employees will have an interaction with their new employer. With mobile access control, contractors, freelancers, and gig workers can be offered authorized credentials to a company’s office just as fast as they can lose that authorized access. The renowned mobile key that has become synonymous with mobile access control solutions can offer a building’s security manager more control over these employees’ access to businesses while also providing them with real-time updates of the use of these keys. Thus, supplying the business and building with greater security and convenience for all.

For the Remote Workforce

Today’s modern workforce also has the largest amount of employees working remotely, with 20-25% of self-starting professionals performing their jobs at a home office. However, this doesn’t mean these employers never work out of an office. Sometimes a collection of remote workers need to come together in person in order to collaborate on major projects, which is where we have a significant rise in demand for coworking spaces like WeWork and VentureX. Mobile access control can offer building managers of coworking spaces more jurisdiction over who is able to access the building and when through temporary and fixed schedule digital keys as well as mobile and web applications that can be accessed at any remote location.

Securing Today’s Workforce

Our modern workforce is currently experiencing quite a bit of disruption, as the way we work, where we work, and how we work evolves to meet the needs of today’s professionals. To learn more about how your company can help provide secure and convenient physical access control solutions to the modern workforce, visit www.unikey.com

Roughly ten years ago Coca-Cola, GE, IBM, Nokia, and HP were some of the top brands that seemed impervious to change, the unpredictable fluctuations of our economy, or any incumbent, rival company out there. However, with the advent of sophisticated technologies like cloud computing, machine learning, smartphones, and the internet of things the power quickly shifted away from the above super brands as smaller, more digitally strategic companies began to establish themselves. Today, companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google), and Apple hold the top positions as the most valuable companies in the world. Most notably, Amazon was a company that managed to skyrocket from the 15th most valuable company to being dubbed king of the enterprises in under five years. How does this happen? And how is it that 52% of Fortune 500 companies “have either gone bankrupt, been acquired, or ceased to exist” since the year 2000? The answer is simple: some companies just missed the metaphorical digital transformation boat.

The Times, They are A Changing

Today, it goes without saying that many companies are concerned about keeping up with the digital wave inundating every industry in practically every corner of the world. However, the ever more urgent need to have a digital business plan isn’t something that has to take on a negative, “why now?!” kind of connotation. It’s something that can be a godsend as it can add new ways to understand consumers, which in turn can yield products they really want and find useful. As such, more businesses are beginning to catch on to the important role smartphones have taken for consumers and have started to create services, products, and applications that offer them the convenience of doing everything from their phones.

Keeping Up with the New Mobile Consumer

In 2018 alone, smartphone users downloaded over 205.4 billion apps. While we wait to see what’s in store for 2019, more companies are developing more mobile applications that will be downloaded by more consumers. Many industries are aware of the rising impact smartphones have on the way we communicate, spend money, book doctor appointments, and even do business.

So where is the security industry in all of this? We’ll give you a hint: it’s beginning to tread water, but a buoy is within reach. As consumer demand for smartphone applications rise, security companies are taking notice, but not all of them are taking action. In a recent Mckinsey study, the company:

“surveyed 150 large companies to measure their digital strategy, capabilities, and culture, and found a large gap separating the digital leaders—the top 10% or so—from the rest. Big incumbent firms in particular are struggling to keep up as more agile digital challengers deliver products and services in faster and cheaper ways.”


In short: the costs for not taking action can be catastrophic and could even lead companies to a similar position as the superbrands we mentioned at the beginning of this article. In 2019, it’s now easier than ever to fall behind; no matter how long your brand has been around or on top of its respective market. But innovation can still be achieved by all through strategic collaborations and investments in consumer-inspired technology.

Don’t Get Left Behind

At UniKey, we help our partners meet the wants and needs of today’s consumers in order to provide the world with more fortified and innovative physical access control solutions. However, most of all, we’re here to make sure that the security industry doesn’t fall behind. To learn more about how your company can be a part of the future, visit www.unikey.com

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Volvo CEO, Hakan Samuelsson said, “It’s our ambition to have a car that can drive fully autonomously on the highway by 2021.” Last year, in an interview with CNBC, Ford Motors CEO, Mark Fields stated that by 2021, Ford’s cars will maintain level 4 autonomy, requiring no steering wheel or gas pedal and that passengers of these cars will “never need to take control of the vehicle in a predefined area.” While this is exciting and marks a milestone on the road to autonomous vehicles, we’re still half a decade or so out before we get to experience the luxury of sitting in the backseat of a self-driving car; leisurely sipping on coffee. In his new post on automotive access control, our CEO, Phil Dumas discusses the opportunities we currently have to create smarter vehicles that can offer us more convenient and intuitive solutions on the way to the actualization of fully autonomous vehicles. To read the article, click here.

UniKey has been hiring on more talented software engineers in the past six months, and Isidore Baldado happens to be one of our latest new hires. We sat down with him to get his overall impression on working at UniKey so far.

UniKey: What is the best part of your job? 

Isidore: There’s a lot of best parts about my job, I feel like narrowing it down to one best part would be a disservice to all the other best parts. Overall, I’d say the best part of my job is being surrounded by a lot of good people. Everyone wants to help and collaborate. It feels very much like we’re working on one team, and everyday it feels like I’m learning and improving by working alongside them.

UniKey: What is the toughest part of your job?

Isidore: Just learning everything. I came in still somewhat new to professional software engineering, so things like proper version control, design patterns, DevOps, and even Android best practices are things I have to ramp up to. And then there’s also all the products we sell and how our entire platform and technology works. Luckily, I work on a really good team that always answers my questions and a boss who also acts as a mentor and gives me tickets which are within my capabilities but still challenge me to learn more about our platform.

UniKey: What separates UniKey from other employers?

Isidore: There’s a good culture here that strikes a balance between aggressive performance and understanding their employees. A lot of startups have unlimited PTO, but I’ve been actively encouraged to use it because we know that we’ll have times we have to put in extra work and the vacation is well deserved. A lot of employees have kids and families, and personal life has always held an equal priority to professional life. I feel like I can be the best engineer I can be because I know that the company is there to support me both professionally and personally.

To learn more about working at UniKey and our open positions, check out our careers page.

Isidore Baldado
Software Engineer, Android Team
UniKey Technologies

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been two years since UniKey first published this article. Several things in our world have changed since then. Apple has rolled out four new iPhones,  Verizon turned on 5G Home, the world’s first 5G network, and there are now more voice assistants like Alexa out there than there are Star Trek remakes (hyperbolic but still, you get the point). Our technology and the consumer products that have stemmed from today’s tech are changing. They’re advancing and progressing into smarter forms of their predecessors and delivering new, intelligent, and exciting experiences. However, no matter the technology advancements that have taken place these past two years, there’s one thing that has remained the same, and that’s the importance of consumer experience.

 

With CES 2019 currently underway we’re seeing the future arrive in the products companies are debuting at the biggest consumer electronics show in the world. These products are becoming more consumer-centric; delivering more personalized experiences that feel unique to every user. This year’s consumer electronics show exemplifies this movement. With Intellithing’s RoomMe which is the first solution to enable person specific, room-level presence-based operation of IoT smart home devices to Philips introducing a whole host of personalized consumer healthcare products on the showroom floor, personalization is climbing the ranks in importance. While personalization has become a priority for product developers, the key to maintaining consumers’ loyalty still lies in consistency. Jakob Nielsen, dubbed the “King of Usability” by Internet Magazine states that “Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don’t have to worry about what will happen.”

 

Below is a graphic from retailtouchpoints.com that displays retailer’s continued emphasis and focus on creating a consistent user experience:

With this insight we can understand that: yes, personalization is becoming an evermore popular element to consumer products/electronics, however, the level of consistency in the products’ quality and reliability will always be the key to a winning experience and happy consumer-base.

 

At UniKey our top priority is not only keeping customers safe but also providing a consistently reliable at-door experience. To learn more about the platform and surrounding IP that makes this possible, visit www.unikey.com.