Improved security the key to smart lock growth

Improved security the key to smart lock growth

The high-tech nature of today’s world means nothing, including the locks on our doors, can be too smart. However, intelligence comes with risks, and companies have worked hard to address end-user concerns. By improving safety and security, user confidence in smart locks is helping to drive market growth.

In fact, a recent report by Research and Markets shows that the smart lock market is rapidly growing. The market is expected to reach US$2.7 billion by 2023 from $1.3 billion in 2017, at a CAGR of 13.1 percent during the projected period. Market growth is attributed to the rising adoption of smartphones and other connected devices. Additional growth drivers include growing concerns regarding security and safety, as well as enhanced features compared to traditional lock systems.

Not without concerns

When smart locks first came out security was a main concern; however, smart lock technology has advanced and so has its security protocols. Users, though, are still weary of security vulnerabilities. Locks, by nature, are meant to keep out unwanted intruders, so if a smart lock were to be hacked, the whole purpose of the lock is moot.

Residential consumers in particular have concerns with the ability to use alternative ways to open smart locks, for example, if they do not have their smartphones available, according to Todd Graves, SVP of Engineering and Technology at Allegion.

 Todd Graves,
SVP, Engineering and Technology,
Allegion

Omer Sagi, Business Development Director at ASSA ABLOY EMEA, noted that the biggest concern users have relate to the security and reliability of a smart door lock. “We often field questions such as: What happens if I forget to replace the batteries? Or how can you be sure both the mechanical side and the electronics in your lock are secure?” he said.

“ASSA ABLOY’s smart door lock range is built around our most secure mechanical cylinders — many of which are already deployed in homes and sensitive commercial premises all over the world. Furthermore, we test all our ‘smart’ products internally, and also hire external experts to perform rigorous independent checks. All our smart devices meet or exceed local and global security standards — and we’re always investing to make them even better,” Sagi said.

While security is a key concern, cost, particularly among commercial users, is also a hurdle. “Commercial end users are sometimes initially concerned about the higher acquisition cost of the lock itself compared to a simple mechanical lock,” said Graves. “But once they see the life cycle cost benefits of smart locks, and the operating efficiencies they provide, these concerns usually go away.”

Omer Sagi,
Business Development Director,
ASSA ABLOY EMEA

The cybersecurity element

As we know, cybersecurity has become a crucial element to any connected device and system. Hacking a smart lock could literally unlock a whole mess of problems if a secured site was suddenly open to unchecked physical access.

“Allegion takes cybersecurity very seriously, from the way we design our products to the way we operate our internal infrastructure and our customersupporting cloud. Our chief information security officer has a team of internal and external resources, both in engineering and IT, which is focused on protecting the safety and security of our customers,” Graves said. “One of the most important defenses is the use of the best possible methods to encrypt data every step of the way, from what is stored on the consumer’s mobile device, to what is kept within the lock, to what we transact and store in the cloud. Furthermore, we constantly review our products and systems against the latest attacks to help ensure we are staying ahead of the cybercriminals.”

Sagi emphasized ASSA ABLOY’s investments in security R&D, both mechanical and electronic. “Permanent, ongoing testing is the key to facing cybersecurity issues. Connected or not, our smart door locks are tested rigorously. We also hire external companies to conduct independent penetration tests that meet or exceed industry standards. We aim to be as transparent as possible, and are always willing to hear feedback from security professionals outside the company,” he said.

Benefits outweigh concerns

The number of smart products on the market has possibly gotten a bit out of hand, and with the amount of smart solutions and systems growing every day this is unlikely to stop. Smart locks provide convenience and an element of tech to the everyday, something that society has gotten all too used to. As we’ve seen over the last few years there is definite interest in the smart lock market, as long as security and safety concerns are addressed well enough to satisfy consumers. There is also opportunity for smart locks to grow as more IoT-based security systems are being adopted. As long as the benefits can outweigh the concerns of the consumers, we should be prepared to see more smart locks out in the world.
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