Standard Access Has Key To Smart Lock Success

01 Jul 2016 | 09.40 am

Standard Access Has Key To Smart Lock Success

Kerry startup has developed a door key system using a smartphone

01 Jul 2016 | 09.40 am

Dingle-based tech startup Standard Access is focused on keyhole surgery of the blood-free kind. The Kerry company has developed a keyless system of unlocking doors by using a smartphone app that links to a smart box on the door.

Occupants are sent a virtual key via the encrypted app, which uses an audio signal that the smart box picks up, decrypts and green-lights. Aimed at commercial landlords, the package also includes software that can process property listings, leasing, rent collection and tenant information.

The venture was founded by Damien Browne in 2014. The Kerry entrepreneur has bounced back after his company, Damien Browne Holdings Ltd, entered receivership in 2014. A subsidiary company, Purefresh Fruit Juices Ltd, entered receivership at the same time.

Browne has assembled a strong team to help him push his new firm’s technology and a recent addition is Nicola Hopcroft, who was recruited for the role of chief operating officer.

Prototype Design

“We charge $500 per lock and the annual fee per key issued of $5 to $25 per key, depending on how many keys a client uses,” says Hopcroft. “The overriding goal is to remove the pain of physical key holding and introduce monetised, time-restricted digital access to commercial properties, providing an end-to-end access management system.”

The R&D phase for the keyless door technology was lengthy, says Hopcroft, taking over two years and involving market research and prototype design. “The cost was way over what we thought it would be, for two key reasons: available resources and selecting the wrong development partners. This was very costly and the biggest learning to date,” she says.

“As a startup, everything you do is new and you are learning to walk as you run a marathon. It is only when you look back that you realise that when you set out you don’t know what you don’t know.”

Standard Access is entering a market with US rivals, and Hopcroft says that her team examined the rival offerings and found them wanting. “We uncovered several flaws, particularly related to power and pairing issues which present some significant security problems.

“We leveraged these learnings and Standard Access is designed specifically as an enterprise-level solution. We utilise unique protocols to ensure our platform eliminates the issues competitor products experience.”

Target Market

The product is scheduled for launch later in 2016, and the initial sales focus will be on co-working spaces, vacation hosting and large office spaces. Standard Access recently inked a deal worth €220,000 with a commercial realty company in New York. The company has raised over €200,000 from private investors, as well as €50,000 from Enterprise Ireland.

Hopcroft adds: “Keeping motivated is always a challenge when you are resource-constrained, working on a tight budget and have shareholders who expect deliverables. However, the market reaction to Standard Access continues to be very encouraging. Winning the Bank of Ireland Tech Startup award was very motivating.”

For other new ventures, she advises: “Invest the time and energy upfront researching the market validity and client need. There’s no point building a product you think is great if the customer does not want it.”

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