Today it is almost impossible to read a publication about the tech industry without some reference to the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is a natural evolution of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology and is the interconnection of intelligent devices and management platforms that collectively enable the “smart world” around us. From wellness and health monitoring to smart utility meters, integrated logistics, and self-driving drones, our world is quickly becoming a hyper-automated and connected one.
Wi-Fi is one way that machines can connect to each other and to the cloud, but the problem with Wi-Fi is that it is not designed specifically for devices that need to securely communicate only small amounts of data on a regular basis. Wi-Fi uses a broad bandwidth, and is designed for videos, voice, and large data files. It can be expensive to use Wi-Fi because devices have to always be switched on, thus Wi-Fi is also power hungry.
To ensure that the devices can better communicate with each other and the cloud, many Telecommunication companies around the world are rolling out networks specifically designed for Internet of Things devices to connect to the Internet called Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN). LPWA means low power, low costs, and low bandwidths. It works on the cellular network, where all connected devices have their own SIM cards, and own little modems, so there is no need for onsite Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Like many industries, access control, security, and smart locks are an example of an industry that will be transformed by IoT and the new LPWAN technologies. These LPWAN’s are branded with the names NB IoT, LTE-M, and CAT-M.
An NB-IoT smart lock solution implements all the typical features of smart locks that allows property owners, managers and staff alike to effortlessly receive and send keys, keep real-time awareness of who is accessing the locks, and even unlock doors remotely for guests with no keys without the need for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This means that the NB-IoT smart locks can be offered without the need for any on-site Wi-Fi infrastructure and it can be delivered for a more economical price, and it requires no on-site power. To power the device one only needs batteries typically that last around 4 years as compared to only 3-6 months for the power hungry Wi-Fi and Bluetooth smart lock solutions.
NB-IoT provides reliable and secure connectivity using the only licenced narrow band spectrum. With all of the drawbacks of Wi-Fi reliability and security, NB IoT smart locks are the solution the access control industry has been looking for to finally make locks smart.