Despite the rapid pace of technology that has overhauled many consumer goods, the front door lock and key is little changed since the 1800s. That is about to change - to virtual keys in data clouds, if the world's biggest lockmaker gets its way.
"I think most people will go digital. People will rely more on a secure identity than a physical key, provided over the net into your mobile phone," says
Electro-mechanical locks like key cards in hotels now account for almost half of
The digital keys can be embedded in SIM cards, within software or inside the phone itself, thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, or short range wireless that within a few years may be standard in most mobile devices. US research firm
The new key technology could also unlock higher recurring revenues. While traditional locks last on average four decades, electro-mechanical locks have lifespans of 10-15 years and software coupled with more fickle consumer electronics means these locks will need to be routinely replaced or updated.
It is a model Assa is confident that consumers used to frequently upgrading their phones and tablets will accept.
"People will have the same kind of relationship to their lock that they have to their computer. They will want to have the latest features, designs," Molin said.
Just this week Apple launched its new iPhone 5S, with a fingerprint scanner, replacing the need for passwords and PIN numbers with biometric security.
But selling locks is a delicate business and the market traditionally conservative. Some consumers, especially in
With this in mind the company has boosted research and development spending 129 percent since 2005 and in 2012 spent about
That 2.9 percent is around the industry average for R&D spending, analysts say, as Assa's U.S. rivals in particular,
"The challenge for
Alongside its own technological research
"We of course try and focus on our own innovation," says
There are newer and smaller competitors pushing forward in this area, like US-based Lockitron, which makes devices to lock and unlock deadbolts via remote control, or Spain's Salto, making lock software tailored to businesses. But in a still-developing market few can compete with
"High-tech locks, using phones, etc, are the future, but the question is how fast it will grow?" said Oscar Stjerngren, an analyst at
Most Popular Stories
- Hezbollah Chief's Assassination Claimed by Sunni Group
- U.S. Growth Stayed Steady During Shutdown, Fed Says
- Allstate Seeks to Invest in Minority Firms
- Newtown Massacre Heard on 911 Recordings
- SpaceX's Satellite Launch Is 'Game-Changer'
- Latin Music Conference Turns 25
- Climate Change Early Warning System Urged
- Guardian Pressured to Stop NSA Stories: Editor
- New Home Sales Shoot up 25 Percent in October
- Reid Confident Congress to Pass Immigration Bill