Yale Door Locks: Is NFC the Next Big Thing in Home Tech?
Yale demos first consumer-grade lock with near field communication -- just hold a smart phone near the lock, and the latch responds.
Soon you’ll be able to open your doors simply by holding a smartphone near the lock, thanks to new consumer-grade NFC-enabled door locks from Yale.
NFC (near field communication) is a fast-growing technology that enables simple data exchanges between two devices in close proximity.
Today, the technology is used almost exclusively in commercial applications, for example, to provide product information when users hold their smartphones near an NFC-enabled poster. NFC also is gaining traction for mobile payment and is the technology behind Google Wallet, expected to launch today with much fanfare.
During CEDIA Expo 2011, Yale demonstrated what appears to be the first consumer door lock that employs near field communication - just hold your NFC-enabled smartphone near the lock and the latch responds, as long as you have the right permissions.
Yale product manager Kevin Kraus tells CE Pro that parent company Assa Abloy owns the technology - called Mobile Keys - “that allows you to load these electronic keys onto the phone in a very secure way.”
In the past, Yale has shown a variety of motorized door locks under the Yale Real Living brand that integrate with a number of home automation systems via Z-Wave or ZigBee RF technologies.
But the NFC demonstration at CEDIA Expo 2011 was a first for the company, and possibly the industry. It appears NFC is headed to automated devices both in the commercial and residential spaces. Yale seemed to be the only CEDIA exhibitor this year to showcase NFC for residential applications, but AMX also is embedding the technology in its forthcoming line of Modero X touchpanels for commercial and big residential jobs.
Yale’s product is “a very simple system,” says Kraus. “You don’t need a back-end; you don’t need to use the Web.”
That is the case even though Yale demonstrated its new locks during CEDIA with partner Control4. While the locks work fine as standalone NFC devices, integrating them with home automation brings additional functionality. Yale showed, for example, how a Control4 touchscreen responded when someone accessed (or tried to access) a smart lock.
VIDEO: Yale/Assa Abloy smart locks with NFC technology
IMAGES: How it works (note: no home automation/Web service required)
Yale Debuts First NFC Door Lock for Homes (press release)
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Most technology products are not that visually appealing. Black boxes and tangled wires do not add to the character of a high-end smart home project. Luckily, our integrator readers have a number of clever solutions so these components don’t have to be visible in your next project.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at email@example.com
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