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.

Historically, the physical access control space has been slow to change, as companies took on more of a “wait and see” approach to some of the more innovative pieces of technology being developed. However, in 2018 this mindset seems to have shifted from “wait and see” to “try and see.” What was once something the security enterprise shied away from, is now something that is a must-have. In 2018, more companies began to integrate wireless security systems as well as cloud-based software and smartphone technology as security companies begin to realize the cost-effective and time-saving benefits ingrained in these systems. All of this isn’t news to those of us who are keeping up with the security industry, however, what is new is how the first wave of advanced security systems will impact the security world in 2019. From cybersecurity to data-driven decisions to the convergence of the digital and physical security worlds, here are the top trends we expect to see in 2019:

Cybersecurity

With the growing adoption of new connected security systems, one of the biggest topics of interest we’ll see in 2019 is cybersecurity. According to the Security Industry Association’s (SIA) yearly report, industry leaders envision the upcoming year to be primarily focused on the implementation of robust cybersecurity. One of the greatest motivators of enforcing strong cybersecurity practices is the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s decision to hold companies accountable for failing to execute standard cybersecurity best practices. With more security systems being housed in the cloud, the call for rigid cybersecurity will be greater than ever.

Data-driven Decisions

With cloud-based and wireless systems we not only have new ways to make physical access control more seamless and intuitive but also new ways to make effective decisions about security. Today we’re living in a time where security needs to be evaluated by something more than what Jacobs and Rudis call, “faith-based security.” Our security systems are growing in complexity and so are the opportunities for data and security breaches. However, with connected security applications, companies are beginning to make better decisions based off pools of actual data, which can facilitate in the establishment of stronger security practices and protocols.

Convergence of the physical and digital worlds

As was mentioned in the above paragraphs, the establishment of cloud-based, wireless systems like mobile access control and other credentialing systems will continue to impact the security industry well into the next year and beyond. With these systems, physical and digital (cyber) security have become codependent on one another. In using these systems we’ll see an overlap in concerns, best practices, as well as the personnel who handle the systems. Karyn Hodgson of SDM magazine writes that “with this change, large enterprise customers are waking up to the idea that not only is their 10- to 15-year-old (or more) access control system probably not secure from a cyber perspective, but that newer systems can offer them so much more return on their investment.” As a result, we’ll see more companies upgrading their legacy security systems to the more robust and innovative security solutions.

Onward to the Next Year

As we make our way into the next year, we envision these security trends maintaining a fair amount of the security industry’s attention. To learn more about the latest in mobile access control or how to better prepare you and your company for the next year, visit www.unikey.com

 

Before UniKey’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Tam Hulusi, came to UniKey he worked for several notable companies like Honeywell, Newmark Technology Inc, and HID Global. His leadership experience with these companies gave him an extensive amount of knowledge on the security industry as well as valuable insights on what keeps a company and its employees happy. In his latest article, Dr. Hulusi reflects on the changing work world and how company happiness depends on several important factors and generations of people. Find the article here.

Today, the average car has “the computing power of 20 personal computers, features about 100 million lines of programming code, and processes up to 25 gigabytes of data an hour.” Impressive right? You’d think automakers would be content with how smart their vehicles are, however as history has shown us, humanity will always try to keep improving on technology. Most of us already know that carmakers are working on developing their own fleets of autonomous vehicles. However, while auto OEMs do this, there are companies like Voxx Automotive that are always looking for ways to offer automakers the perfect complimentary products and vehicle accessories that will complete the car of the future. In our latest case study, we examine how Voxx Automotive worked with UniKey to create a car key that’s ready to take on the future. To check out the case study, click here.

7 Minute Read

It’s midnight and you’re making your way back home from a Halloween party that had way too many clowns and not enough apple cider. The night air is crisp and and uncomfortably still. Your house is about a block away, and you’re beginning to regret that last drink of “Witch’s Brew” as you awkwardly rummage through your belongings to have your keys ready to unlock your front door. You could’ve sworn you took your keys out of the festive, jack-o’-lantern embellished key dish, but now you’re beginning to question your memory. It’s getting colder and you’re now right outside the door to your home. It’s dark. It’s freezing. You’re exhausted and a tad dehydrated. However, your keys are nowhere to be found. Either you’ll have to walk another mile, round-trip to get your keys back from your friend’s house or you’re going to have to make a bed out of the front porch. In any case, this is a nightmare. One might even say it’s a scenario equivalent to a horror movie. A situation, you realize, that could have been avoided as you text your friend, asking if they see your keys among the pile of everyone else’s house and car keys. “If only my phone was my key,” you sigh, just before your friend confirms that your keys are, in fact, still sitting exactly where you left them.

Beyond the cheesy anecdote and attempt at making mobile access control relevant during the spookiest time of the year, there’s a feeling that most of us have felt in the pit of our stomachs when we realized we misplaced our house keys. There’s also skepticism about the new products and technology consumers are beginning to use to fortify their homes and offices. With the release of mobile access control products like smart locks and mobile key readers, many questions have come up. Such as: “How secure is it? Isn’t it connected to the cloud?What happens when your phone dies- how do you gain entry to your home or office when that happens?” All of these questions and concerns are valid, if you’re using a lock with hackneyed and vulnerable software. The fact of the matter is that mobile access control isn’t scary, and can even provide stronger security and more convenient access than traditional physical access control products. Here’s why.

1. The right mobile key software offers stronger security than the traditional lock and key.

Because of its ties to the cloud, most people question the security of mobile access control. However, if the lock is powered by software that uses tried and true methods of encryption, hacking into the system’s cloud should prove to be a nearly insurmountable feat. On the other hand, with the traditional lock and key, your home or office could be at much greater risk to intruders and bad actors. Traditional locks are susceptible to lock picking, lock bumping, and other ways burglars will find to circumvent the thousand year old piece of security. The other downside to the traditional lock is that it’s a bit rigid in the amount of options you have to recover access to your home or office. If you lose your keys, you’re stuck with having to pay a locksmith to rekey your lock, and having to print more keys. With RFID you have more options available to you. It’s much easier to reissue an RFID Key card than it is to rekey a lock, but as far as security goes you’ll find that key cards are no safer than traditional locks.

Thanks to several devices that hackers can find online, the security that RFID key cards are supposed to provide is relatively easy to dupe. With certain devices, if a bad actor wants to enter your office or (in some cases) your car, they can simply draw upon the signal that the radio-frequency is emitting, and with the device, copy the data onto their own key card. This is just one way that hackers can create vulnerabilities in RFID/ Key card access control systems. Moreover, both forms of physical access control don’t allow the same level of control and supervision over the system as mobile access control.

2. Mobile = More Control and Round the Clock Monitoring

With mobile access control, you can keep a better eye on your home, office, and car. Most mobile access control systems, take the Kwikset Kevo as an example, allow you to check on the lock status of the door (whether it’s locked or unlocked) and track the history of who has accessed the door and when they accessed it. Moreover, with mobile access control you have the ability to manage and govern when individuals can enter your home or office from any remote location, either by a mobile app or a web application. You also have more than one way to enter your home than through your phone. Most smart locks and readers work with key fobs and cards, so if you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t have your phone on you or your battery is dead, you always have a backup plan. With a traditional lock and key, you’ll be lucky to know who has a copy of the key to your home and/or office, especially if you have given a friend, family member, or dog walker a key to your home. With mobile you also have the ability to connect more supplemental pieces of security, which can also offer you a greater scope of control over your doors.

3. Mobile = Opportunity

It’s been about half a decade since the first smart lock was made available to consumers. Since then several other smart, connected devices like Ring doorbell, Nest Thermostat, Philips Hue Lights, and Amazon’s Alexa have integrated with smart locks to give homeowners and building managers more control over their properties. Imagine coming home from a lively, yet tiring Halloween party, unlocking your door with a simple touch to the deadbolt, and as you come home your smart thermostat adjusts to a comfortable 72 degrees, and your lights turn on to give you enough visibility to see where you’re walking at a nice, dim, night setting. Meanwhile, your connected security camera keeps a watchful eye on your front door. This same kind of experience (maybe minus the night setting) can be applied to your offices and at some point to your cars as mobile access control becomes a more mainstream means of physical access control and creating personalized, connected experiences.

Never Fear Being Locked Out

Most of us have experienced the haunting nightmare of misplacing our keys. However, now we don’t have to as several solutions, like UniKey’s mobile access control platform, have been produced to make sure we never have to feel the chill of being locked out of our homes and offices again. To learn more about the benefits and opportunities mobile access control can provide, visit www.unikey.com

Over the past couple of years there has been a lot of interest and global adoption of IoT devices and the smart and convenient applications they offer their users. Smart homes are now on the rise and following right behind this popular trend is the smart office. Below we discuss just a handful of IoT devices that can improve the efficiency, productivity, security, and overall company culture of any office.

1. Smart Thermostat

At one point or another, we have all sat in a stuffy or freezing office that has made us question whether the building had any form of air quality control installed. One of the better ways to prevent anyone from having to sit through an uncomfortable day at the office, is by getting a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats can notify the office manager when it needs any kind of maintenance before your air stops circulating and your employees shed their layers. They can also moderate the air’s temperature; keeping the air cool during work hours and raising the temperature at the end of the day. A simple and effective piece of IoT technology that could save your office from an uncomfortable day and electric bills.

2. Smart Coffee Maker

Most of your employees will appreciate a cup of coffee or two throughout the work day. They’ll also appreciate a smart coffee maker that can learn their coffee schedule, or can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the office through a shared mobile application. Some coffee makers can also learn how each person likes their coffee prepared and make them a latte or cappuccino. Others can also work with Amazon Alexa and the Google Home for voice control.

3. Smart Whiteboards

Smart Whiteboards, or “Smartboards”, are great tools that will ensure your team never misses out on any notes or concepts that were jotted down in a meeting. With these IoT devices, notes that have been recorded on the whiteboard can be saved and backed up to the cloud, and printed out later for anyone who missed any details. For best results, have a coworker with legible handwriting take notes on the smartboard.

4. Smart Conferencing Tools

Thanks to modern technology, we no longer need to be in the same room in order to hold a meeting. Video chat conferencing through Google Hangouts or Skype make remote work possible, while also providing a more personable and effective way for businesses and coworkers to work and communicate with one another from anywhere in the world. Additionally, tools like Google’s Hangouts Meet Hardware Kit makes it easier to sync up your meetings and keep everyone organized through seamless integration with G Suite, which includes Google docs, calendar, drive, gmail, and more.

5. eKey Kecards

Smart locks first made their way into our homes about half a decade ago. Now they’re making their way to our offices as a means of providing more secure and convenient access. The great thing about smart locks is that an office manager can keep an eye on the status of the main entrance from any remote location through a mobile app; ensuring that all points of access are secured at all times. They can also keep track of who has entered the office and when they were granted access. Moreover, if an employee happens to lose their digital eKey, a new replacement key can be sent to them almost instantaneously. Rekeying and spending more money on key cards is no longer necessary.

 

A Smarter Office is a Happier Office

As we mentioned, these are just some of the tools that can make employees happier and workspaces more efficient. With UniKey’s mobile key platform, many of these connected devices can be integrated and made to work with one another to create a smarter office space for all your employees. To learn more about UniKey, its smart lock technology, and all potential IoT integrations, visit www.unikey.com.

This year was the launch of the Global Security Exchange (GSX), formerly known as ASIS, and whether you’re a security director, end user, or OEM you had to be there to witness everything that is happening with today’s security technology. From Robotics to AI and Machine Learning to reimagined Mobile Applications, this year’s event was anything but your run-of-the-mill security conference. However, beyond the futuristic security robots and drones was a more subtle theme and the reason why developers are working to deploy such advanced solutions. This theme, according to UniKey’s executives was, “reinventing the consumer-security experience.” Below we have a list of the top trends that will contribute to the development of smarter, faster, and stronger security solutions for every consumer.

AI & Machine Learning
One of the many ways our team saw AI and machine learning being utilized was through video surveillance technology. With AI and Machine Learning, systems can learn to better identify people, objects, and even actions in order to keep a safer eye on facilities and the people within them. Systems can also learn to recognize and notify security directors of any required maintenance.
Mobile Security
Yes, mobile access control was an incredibly popular product at GSX 2018, however this time we’re talking about security that’s on the move. This year’s conference saw more security drones, droids, and counter-UAV defense systems than ever before. Companies were showcasing anything from security robots who could also detect spills and leaks to sophisticated drones that could effectively monitor building exteriors.
Passive Solutions
With the introduction of more advanced technology, security is beginning to see an emphasis on passive solutions. Consumers are looking for security systems that make access seamless and unobtrusive. One of the systems our executives noticed was Boon Edam’s Lifeline Speedlane Swing turnstile line. The turnstile utilizes IDEMIA’s MorphoWave™ technology which enables touchless fingerprint recognition, so that individuals need only slide their hand through a scanner instead of having to stop and have their hand be scanned.
Real-time Notifications
Companies like AppArmor and Sielox are introducing new ways to keep campuses safe. With push notifications, intelligent location sharing, and real-time crime reportings, these applications give campuses more tools to keep occupants informed of any dangerous situations. Some applications, like Sielox CLASS, even offer two way communication between occupants and first responders so they may exchange helpful details and instructions from one another during emergencies.
Mobile Everything
This year, and in the years to come, mobile applications will be prominent security trends. Mobile access control systems that enable remote sharing, revoking, and monitoring of user credentials are becoming a must-have option for consumers. Mobile Access Control is also becoming a highly sought after solution as it can potentially integrate with and enhance legacy security systems. From remote monitoring of video surveillance feeds to enabling frictionless and robust security solutions, the possibilities of what companies can do with mobile access control technology are nearly endless.

Mobile credentials are on the rise. They’re reaching popularity with consumers everywhere as people begin to experience the difference between using a keycard and using a smartphone to unlock their doors. Mobile keys mean more control, functionality, safety features, and lighter pockets as people no longer have to carry around traditional credentials. As mobile brings a greater user experience to consumers, more security vendors are looking to add keyless entry to their list of security solutions. However, breaking into the Mobile Access Control Industry isn’t always easy. You and your team will need the right hardware, software, and expert know-how to implement a mobile solution that will give your users an at-door experience that goes beyond the typical key, fob, pin code, or card. Our team can help you expedite the deployment of mobile access control solutions and bring more robust and convenient security to the front door. Go mobile in minutes with UniKey. Learn more.