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From wood to Wi-Fi: The digitalisation of physical spaces

We are performing an increasing number of everyday activities on our computers and smartphones — and one aspect of our lives that is rapidly yielding to the digital revolution is the way that we access physical spaces.

Back in the Middle Ages, keys emerged as the technological solution to the challenges of accessing and securing buildings. With hiring a locksmith a costly enterprise, locks and keys were initially the preserve of affluent home owners and (out of necessity) prisons, leaving the less well-off to rely on more rudimentary methods such as barring their doorways and shutters with heavy beams of wood.

As the economies of scale worked their immutable magic, and the cost of this nascent technology fell, locks and keys soon became ubiquitous. For the past few thousand years we’ve gone on to build better, cheaper and more secure doors, locks and keys — yet throughout this time one thing has been noticeable: keys essentially remained keys. That is, until the age of digitalisation.

Before digitalisation, the evolution of locks and keys was centred on improving security, but recent trends have seen a growing focus on convenience. Activities such as personal banking, which not so long ago would have been considered too risky to conduct in the (perceived) Wild West of the digital sphere, are now done with little hesitation. And now we are starting to view access to physical spaces, such as our homes and offices, in a similar way.

Open sesame

Particularly in cities, a reliable and widely available network (the internet) now allows us to be constantly linked to their smartphones. This means that we carry with us the principal means which, in theory, would allow us to open doors electronically. Meanwhile the hardware of intercoms, fobs and swipe cards has been augmented by the software of code, opening up a whole new world of access-related possibilities.

But while the mobile phone has become a prospective universal key, it has not yet been fully “enabled” due to the lack of the infrastructure to support it. The question now is which solution, or solutions, will win the arms race for enabling electronic access of private spaces?


The doors of perception

The current impediments to realising the potential around digitalised access are threefold. Firstly, the barriers to physical spaces (doors) are not yet enabled to connect in a structured way to smartphones. In other words, most doors don’t have electricity provision, let alone access to the web or the means by which to open/close electronically.

Secondly, the physical infrastructure that does exist is diverse, with a large number of permutations of doors, locks, keys, intercom systems and security alarms. This suggests that a single solution (such as a “smart lock replacement”) is unlikely to work in all cases.

Thirdly, while consumer attitudes have begun to shift away from security and towards the benefits of convenience, people are still resistant to changing their existing set up, partly due to cost but also because of their emotional attachment to the haptics of traditional keys.

At Klevio, we’ve created a product that overcomes each of these hurdles. Here’s how…

Smartly done

Klevio tackles the fact that the majority of doors are not electrified by using electric strikes when necessary. So if your door needs one, we’ll retrofit an electric strike onto your existing locks, meaning no lock replacement is required.

As for the sheer number of permutations of doors, locks, etc, we’ve ensured that Klevio is compatible with a wide range of lock and intercom combinations, so most people who want Klevio are already set up to have it.

Finally, you can continue using your traditional keys in tandem with Klevio, so you get all of its benefits without giving up the familiarity of your keys. Think of it like carrying cash — it’s always nice to have some on you, even if you usually use cards (or indeed your phone) to pay for things.

Or to put it bluntly, we believe this is the future of access.

To find out more about Klevio, go to our ‘How it Works’ page. And if you want to view the various packages available, click here.

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