Yale demos NFC door locks using the ASSA ABLOY Mobile Keys platform
Posted by Seth PlanckSeptember 09th, 2011 at 7:30 PM Filed Under Latest News, Press Release
Yale, an ASSA ABLOY company, will demonstrate residential NFC door locks at CEDIA Expo 2011, September 7-10 in Indianapolis, IN
Yale Locks & Hardware is moving into the 21st century as it adopts residential NFC door locks. As a company, Yale has certainly been about for our whole lives. In fact, it was founded in 1868 Lenoir City, Tennessee. It has had such an impact on our vocabulary that to this day we still call a pin tumbler lock, a Yale lock. However, things over at Yale have changed a lot between now and when Linus Yale, Sr., who founded the company, was improving locks at his father’s lock shop. The company has passed hands a few times since its inception but has always remained (you see what we did there). As we have been writing this post we have wondered what Linus Yale would have thought to the NFC door locks.
These days Yale is part of the ASSA ABLOY empire that houses such power security brands as HID, ActivIdentity, FARGO, VingCard Elsafe and LaserCard to name but a few. You may remember that ASSA ABLOY completed the first ever trial of the NFC mobile keys platform at the Clarion Hotel in Stockholm, in which 28 frequent hotel guests were invited to use the technology over an eight-month period. That platform has since been released for commercial application and deployment within hotels by subsidiary VingCard Elsafe. This uses the very same system that Yale intends to use for its NFC door locks.
Yale moves forward and is gearing up to release residential NFC door locks
NFC is not only for payments, or even just for NFC door locks. If we had a dollar for every time we say that we probably would be sunning ourselves on a tropical beach somewhere. A big concept that is floating around at this time is green-chip technology which uses NFC smartphones and other communications protocols to control and help us manage our power usage. ZigBee and Google @ Home are other spaces to watch in this realm. Green-chip technology is part of a larger concept based around a digital life and we suppose an accurate description of green-chip would be the digital home. Yale’s new residential NFC door locks will be one of the available technologies to be released that fits into that category.
“From a residential perspective, the mobile phone is ubiquitous,” said Jason Williams, General Manager of Yale Residential. “We use it to make reservations, schedule our day, everything. By incorporating NFC technology into our Yale Real Living locks, we’ve extended the functionality of the mobile phone even further. What’s more, we’ve created a highly secure product that capitalizes on ASSA ABLOY technology that is being extremely well-received in other end-user markets,” he added speaking about Yale’s NFC door locks.
Yale using its parent companies Mobile Keys platform for the residential NFC door locks
ASSA ABLOY Group developed the Mobile Keys platform. Think of it as a Google Wallet type product that houses secured unlock codes instead of payment credentials. Just like mobile wallets, the Mobile Keys platform and NFC door locks use a scalable secure delivery infrastructure for the distribution and management of mobile keys. Yale is using that very same Mobile Keys platform in its residential NFC door locks, which will allow users to unlock doors with the wave of an NFC phone rather than scrambling for keys or using a security key card. The way we see it is you are gaining a lot more pocket space as your keys and wallet are moving on to your NFC phone. Car keys are widely expected to follow this new trend also.
Quick electronics lesson in technical challenges with NFC door locks
NFC has three main functions, one being peer-to-peer, another called read / write and a last function known as emulation. NFC in particular like its RFID big cousin works by having what is called an initiator and a target when using NFC tags, whether those tags be passive or active. What that means is that in an NFC data transaction, whether that be reading a tag, unlocking NFC door locks or making a payment, has one dominant device which connects to the other and reads information. However, when either a peer-to-peer or emulation function is used not only can information dynamically transfer in each direction, but two devices can swap which is the initiator and which is target.
The reason we bring that up is because we have a question about the Yale residential NFC door locks. What happens if you do not have any charge in your phone, or what happens if you have a power cut at home? The chances of both of these situations happening at the same time is slim. However, we want to know whether the Mobile Keys platform can switch dominance so you can always get in to your home when one of the devices (NFC door lock or NFC phone) is out of juice. At this time, there are lots of systems being developed that will help your NFC phone produce some juice using solar power and a whole host of other ways, but will NFC door locks be able to pick up the slack if your phone is dead?
A challenge in using NFC door locks is what happens when there is no power. There could be a manual system that takes over in the NFC door locks when one system is down, one system could charge the other, or each device could be configured to be powered by the other’s radio field. No doubt Yale will reveal the answers to these questions at CEDIA, but if you work for Yale we would love to know the answer to that question for our readers and because we are the curious types.
Yale residential NFC door locks at CEDIA
“Available with either a sleek capacitive touchscreen or pushbutton key pad, Yale’s new platform of intelligent locks supports both Z-Wave® and ZigBee®, allowing them to integrate seamlessly into a wide range of home control and security systems, including Control4, the Vera Z-Wave® home control system by Mi Casa Verde, and Alarm.com’s emPower™, among others.”
If you have heard of NFC but are yet to sample the delights of ZigBee, check out our post about ZigeBee by clicking the related posts on the top right of this text. Yale are calling their residential NFC door locks the first in the US, though we do have to burst that bubble a little and point you towards Lockitron NFC door locks, who have been doing this a little while now on a smaller scale. Again, our post on that is on the right. We have to admit we are probably more excited about Yale launching residential NFC door locks than we should be. That’s how we know we are geeks. As we mentioned in our title, Yale will be demonstrating its NFC door locks at the CEDIA Expo 2011. If you happen to be heading over to CEDIA and have a camcorder handy, we’d love to see the Yale NFC door locks in action.