Celebrating Back to the Future Day

(Via 6abc.com)

(Via 6abc.com)

Great Scott, it is almost here! Wednesday, October 21st 2015, the day that film fanatics have been waiting for since 1989: Back to the Future Day.  This coming Wednesday will mark the very day that Marty McFly traveled 30 years into the future to from his present time of October 26th, 1985 in order to stop his children from making some huge mistakes that were detrimental to his family. The Bryn Mawr Film Institute in Lower Merion will be hosting a fly event in which people can celebrate a day that they have been anxiously awaiting for over 20 years now.

 

According to 6 abc News, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute will be celebrating with a screening of the movie, costumes, trivia, and a real life DeLorean equipped with a flux-capacitor. It is expected to be a great turn out and filled with lots of fun. The DeLorean will be accessible to attendees to pose and take pictures with, and the trivia gives the opportunity to win some cool prizes. In addition to that commemoration of the popular film, on a wider scale,  Pepsi has announced that they will be releasing bottles of Pepsi Perfect and we’re sure you’ve seen the magnetic, liquid Nitrogen-powered hover boards by Lexus that are all the craze.

 

It’s amazing to see that some of what was predicted years ago in Back to the Future 2 is starting to actually come to reality right before our eyes. Granted we may not have self-lacing sneakers (yet) but advanced technology is all around us. For example, there are locks that you can control simply with the use of your smartphone, or a touch of your finger. In fact, August (an advanced and innovative creator of smart locks) has recently released new technology with which you can control the locks on your business or residence simply by using Siri on your iPhone. There are also bio-metric locks that you can control by effortlessly scanning your fingerprint directly on lock in order to open it.

(Via amazon.com)

(Via amazon.com)

 
These locks are a great way to enhance the security of your home or business, and we at Phila-Locksmith have technicians that precisely specialize in the installation and setup of smart locks as well as bio-metric locks.  Whether you’re trying to amp up security, or make life a little easier by living key-free, Phila-Locksmith has both residential and commercial technicians who can come out to you and provide you with an estimate as well as same day service. Imagine, never having to fumble around looking for a set of keys buried in the bottom of your bag, or worrying about losing a set of keys. The power is all within your beloved smartphone (that is nearly always in your hand), or, in your hand itself. Give us a call at 215-554-6109 today and arrange to have the locks of the future right at the tips of your fingers.

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Smart Phones the Car Key of the Future? Not So Fast

As Phila-Locksmith has covered multiple times in the past, smart phones are becoming more ingrained in our everyday lives with each passing day. Whether it is simply the ever growing presence of social media, or the integration of home security there is no denying the keystone role that smart phones are playing in everyday life. Some automotive manufacturers have already begun integrating smart technology into their vehicles’ security systems. Some claim that this is the wave of the future, however; it may be sometime before this type of technology becomes common place. Not because of the cost associated with it, but because of limitations in functionality.

Auto Manufacturers Already Using Smart Phones

Despite the trepidation of many security experts, some automotive manufactures have already begun to integrate smart phones into their vehicles’ security. One of these manufacturers is Tesla. Tesla is an automotive manufacturer renowned for being on the cutting edge of technology. By downloading an application to their smart phone, a Tesla owner can complete functions such as starting the vehicle, unlocking doors and starting the air conditioning all from their smart phone. There is no doubt that this can be a useful function on a hot summer day, but there are still concerns which arise. Despite these concerns, in addition to Tesla; Volvo, General Motors and BMW also have a smart phone application which can be used to complete vehicle functions remotely.

Keyless Fobs Offer Greater Security

keyless fobKeyless fobs, like the Chevy model shown to the left, are the current standard barer for automotive security and convenience. A keyless fob allows for a vehicle owner to open and close their doors without having to remote the fob from their pocket. Additionally, the vehicle can be started without inserting a bladed key as long as the fob is located inside of the vehicle. Many vehicles equipped with a keyless fob can even be started remotely. This means that keyless fobs offer, just about, the same amount of convenience that a smart phone key would. However, there is a decreased security concern for keyless fobs. The first concern is the fact that smart phone battery life can greatly vary. If your cell phone dies and the vehicle owner uses their smart phone as the key, they will not be able to access the vehicle. Additionally, weak cellular service can cause delays of up to a few minutes when using remote functions. Volvo, one of the manufacturers to begin using cell phone applications, even has reservations about the usefulness of a cellular key. David Green, marketing director at Volvo, said that though useful in an emergency that cell phones as key are “not a viable way forward. Mr. Green went on to cite both the battery and cellular connection issues which we mentioned above. Neither of these issues are a concern for keyless fobs. In addition to limiting drawbacks, keyless fobs offer greater security because of the transponder chip inside of the fob. In order for the vehicle to start, or the door to open, the fob must be properly programmed to the vehicle’s computer. This new security system is unique and not many locksmiths can replace these keyless fobs, let alone criminals. It seems that until smart phone applications can begin to offer benefits which a keyless fob does not, their implementation will be limited.

Benefits for the Customer or Car Manufacturers?

With some many questions surrounding the use of smart phones as keys, and the comparable features offered by keyless fobs, it leaves one to wonder exactly why a car manufacturer would begin implementing this type of technology. While it is true that many people today prefer to complete as many processes as possible through their cellular device, there is also a big benefit to car manufacturers. If manufacturers are able to get their applications into customers’ smart phones it can open a large window of opportunity with regards to customer information. Targeted demographic information is more important than ever to companies, so car manufacturers want to use their smart phone applications to track location, preferences and much more. While this could allow for easy transition between two vehicles for consumers, the benefit is much larger for car makers. Vehicle manufacturers would be able to use the information about your preferences and locations to sell targeted ads from retailers and service providers. While some may find this convenient, many others could find it intrusive and a violation of personal privacy.

With many drawbacks to smart phone key applications, it will be increasingly interesting to see if auto manufacturers are going to find ways to overcome these drawbacks. It would certainly behoove auto manufacturers to find a way to use smart phone key applications because of the additional revenue source that it could provide. A key to the development of these application will be customer feedback. If customers find the ads which manufacturers will be able to sell intrusive, then it may not be feasible for car manufacturers to go in this direction. In the mean time, despite their own security concerns, keyless fobs will likely remain the top of the line product for automotive convenience and security.

From Keyless Ignitions to Digital Smart Keys?

At the end of 2014, we covered the move that General Motors was making towards the implementation of keyless ignitions in a majority of the vehicle models that they make. This signaled the beginning of what could be a slow death of traditional bladed car keys, but a Toronto company wants to take this idea a step further. The Globe and Mail in Canada has the scoop on Keyfree technologies, a start up which is aiming to revolutionize the car key game even further than the introduction of keyless ignition systems would.

Smart Phones as Car Keys

Keyfree’s aim is extremely similar to what August and Lockitron want to accomplish with their smart technology enabled residential locks. Users would be able to install the device on their vehicle and then operate that vehicle through an application on their smart phone. Not only would this allow for the car owner to start the vehicle while they were in the car, but also remotely. In addition to remote function, car owners would be able to send, and remove, key access to other smart phones in just a matter of moments.

While sending access via smart phone will certainly lead to some security concerns fro car owners, Keyfree is angling, at least initially, to dealerships and rental car companies. Without having to constantly grab keys, or have copies made, these types of businesses could certainly benefit from the convenience that Keyfree is offering. However, these initial security concerns are certainly not to be taken lightly. Residential locks faced heavy scrutiny due to safety concerns when they originally hit the market and the scrutiny is sure to be stronger for Keyfree due to the ability for criminals to easily vanish with a vehicle once they have access. One way to alleviate this concern is the additional GPS tracking feature which Keyfree uses. Using the GPS feature car owners would not only give police vital information if their car was stolen, but can also be used in everyday situations, like finding your car when you have forgotten where you parked. You can view Keyfree’s informational video below to see some of the features that they are eager to offer.

It will be interesting to see how the retail market will react to the introduction of Keyfree’s product, but the features they offer certainly fall in line with the technical advancements which are expected to come to the security market in the next few years. The introduction of this product will also make for an interesting dynamic in the development of keyless ignitions and their fobs. Will major automotive manufacturers continue to make a slow change over to keyless ignitions before making the leap to smart keys? Or, will they seize this new technology and take their vehicles further down the path of technical advancement? Stay tuned to Phila-Locksmith’s blog posts to get updated information, or voice your opinion in the comments below. Would you feel secure using your smart phone as a key for your car or do the security concerns scare you away? Major automotive manufacturers will have to make that choice soon as technology like this continues to find its way into more and more vehicles.

Assa Abloy Joining Smart Technology Fray

The largest producer o0f locks in the world, Assa Abloy, is turning its focus to the largest emerging market for locksmiths and lock makers. This emerging market is the production of smart technology enabled phones. The Sweden based company has already been beaten to the punch by numerous smaller American companies, but is still looking to use it clout as the largest lock maker in the world, to force their way into the smart lock market. Smart locks look to give home and business owners the utmost in convenience. Not only can customers easily access their locks directly from their phones, but sending time specific access to other individuals who have smartphones is as easy as pushing a button.

Why look to smart locks now?

There are many reasons that getting into the smart lock industry is a wise move for all established lock companies, however those companies which have selected to just begin development now are already behind schedule. The August Smart Lock has already begun to be shipped to those customers which pre-ordered the product and Lockitron is looking to do so in the near future. Specifically August will be available to the residential market by October of this year, making it one of the first mass produced smart locks to hit the market. This release should be buoyed by the fact that August now has a deal with Apple that will allow for the most easy access possible from iPhones.

This quick action by smaller start-up companies should not scare a lock manufacturing behemoth like Assa Abloy. Due to their large scale distribution and development capabilities it would not be a shock that Assa Abloy were able to quickly develop and send to market a smart lock which rivals the functions of August and Lockitron. Assa Abloy would be smart to capitalize on this as soon as possible now that smart locks are projected to be a 3.6 billion dollar industry within the next five years this would be a sharp increase of the current number of 261 million dollars. Assa Abloy have gone on the record to say that they know this is likely a technology that customers will desire and they want to be at the forefront of production once smart locks become common enough for mass production.

In Assa Abloy’s case, they must hope that they have not already missed the boat in regard to smart locks. With smaller companies like August and Lockitron already hitting the market, it would behoove Assa Abloy to develop a plan for expansion into smart technology as soon as possible. With technological prices decreasing, as smart phone use increases, these smart locks are poised to make a huge boom in use. It remains to be seen if it will be easy for Assa Abloy to enter the fray, when they do decide to, but the partnership that August has with Apple puts August in the best position to be successful going forward. It will be interesting to see what Assa Abloy is able to produce or if their share of the market will be much smaller due to delayed response to customer desires.

First August Smart Locks Begin Shipping

Coincidentally, last August Phila-Locksmith profiled the August Smart Lock which was getting ready to hit the residential security market. The first pre-orders for these locks began to ship last week and customers must be ecstatic about finally receiving their smart locks. August Smart Locks offer homeowners convenient access to their home’s lock anywhere in the world. This allows for owners to allow access to their friends and family, even if they are running late. Since you can arm and disarm your from anywhere in the world, you never have to worry about forgetting to lock your door again, you can simply double check from the app on your smart phone.

The shipping date for August smart lock pre-orders had been delayed, however, this may be a welcomed delay for customers. The delay is believed to have been caused by August’s integration with the Apple HomeKit on the iOS 8 system. Apple’s HomeKit allows for  iOS 8 user to be able to access multiple home security apps from one convenient universal home security app. This also includes Siri integration, for even easier access through voice command.

august smart lock

The August Smart Lock puts the security of your home right in the palm of your hand.

Pre-orders were available for the discounted price of $199.99, but once the August Smart Locks hits markets in October, the price will be $249.99. The August Smart Lock is one of a few smart technology enabled locks which Phila-Locksmith has profiled, however; it is the first of these residential smart locks to hit the market.

Customer reviews after these pre-orders ship should be very telling about the reliability and usefulness of the smart lock itself. At first glance, it seems that the August Smart Lock would be a smart and sensible purchase for anyone who is looking to improve the amount of convenience that they have in their residential access. Integration with the iOS 8 operating system should give the popularity of August a big boost, as they look at trying to capitalize on the popularity of Apple’s iPhone.

Smart Technology Revolutionizes Access Control

Businesses as well as property managers always want the best possible access control from their business to ensure that security is constantly achieved. Smart technology is allowing access control to become more secure and convenient without causing any additional hassle for the end user. By choosing a smart card over a proximity card for access control, you not only make the entire system more secure, but also have a myriad of options to add to the smart card. Many colleges are already taking advantage of this smart technology. Both Temple University and Drexel University of Philadelphia have implemented smart card technology that allows students access to dorms, classes, sporting events as well as using their campus dollars at stores throughout the university. This allows administrators to  implement just one single identification card in order to access everything the student may need without the need for multiple access cards.

smart access control

One smart card can be used for a range of purposes including identification and access control.

 

Due to the encryption that is available for smart cards when compared to proximity cards, businesses and property managers can get the most secure access possible. By having smart credentials all of the information that is stored on that card is much more secure than it would be on a proximity card. This makes them much more difficult for individuals to counterfeit, which is why many major universities have turned to smart card credentials for their access control.

Smart Phone Integration

As technology advances there will continue to be more and more convenience added to access control. The cutting edge of access control now is the use of smart phones within a smart card system. Many companies are joining the smart phone movement when it comes to access control and are allowing employees to access parts of their facility by using their smart phone as if it were a smart card. The smart phone features will only function when the access control devise is within a few inches of the phone, which helps users prevent unauthorized access from occurring.

With all of the technological trends in access control as well as security, locksmiths can no longer risk being just a lock and key service. Most locksmiths now have to be able to deal with an ever increasing flow of smart technology in their field. Whether it is transponder car keys, smart phone enabled locks, or smart access control, a locksmith must be ready to provide technical assistance, just as much as physical lock and key services. It will be interesting to see where this smart card technology begins to be implemented. Universities have taken the first steps due to their size and need to control the access and information of a student, but it will be interesting to see which businesses are next to pick up on this access control technology.

August Smart Lock looks to provide ease and safety

We have covered a wide range of advanced lock and key technologies which are now becoming more and more available. Smart technology is bubbling over into parts of our world which have long since seen technical innovation on a scale such as this. Locks have not been spared the innovation and the August Smart lock looks to push the envelop with its great amount of ease and accessibility. Ever wish your lock knew it was you opening the door? That would be pretty futuristic, or so you would think, but August Smart Locks are employing this type of technology right now. The August smart lock allows for you to unlock your door without even having to put your key into the door, all thanks to the power of your smart phone. Not only does the application for your phone allow you to get access to your home at any point but you can also send key credentials to someone else’s smart phone so that they can get in for what ever reason it may be. Have the cable guy coming but can not take off work? This is one of the problems the August lock can eliminate. Users can send their digital “key” to other phones and allow that phone to access the door only at a certain day and time.

There are a few questions that can arise about the feasibility of an August smart lock but the manufacturer has worked worked to eliminate any potential problems before they arise. For example at any time you can use your standard key to open the locked door since the August smart lock is installed on top of an existing lock. Having this option can be useful if, for example, if your smart phone runs out of battery while you are on the go. In addition to using the standard key for your door, the application can also be easily downloaded onto a friends phone in order to unlock the door. Even when the power goes out, the August smart lock is still operation and works with built in receivers so that you do not have to worry about outside issues effecting the usability of your locked door.

The August smart lock also includes a few other handy features that help to make the life of a person in the 21st century just a little more convenient. The lock can be programmed to automatically unlock when it senses your smart phone in the vicinity, You can even choose the distance from the door that the phone would have to be to automatically unlock. At $200 the August smart lock can be a great investment by saving on future lock out services from a locksmith or from having to get extra keys duplicated. That savings alone can make the August smart lock worth the money but add in the additional ease and accessibility and the August smart lock is a reasonably priced buy for those looking for just a little more ease in their lives.

Talk to a Phila-Locksmith professional about how an August smart lock could help you access and grant access to your home in one of the easiest ways yet.