The future of access is connected and battery-free

09 September 2019

It used to be that the only way to open a door lock was with a key.

While it is still possible to use a key, the new generation of locks offers many other options:

  • Using a phone app
  • Keying a code on a keypad
  • Through a centralized alarm system (e.g. switch your ADT system to ‘disarmed’)
  • By sensing the proximity of your phone
  • Through Alexa, the Google Assistant, Apple Homekit or various other automation platforms

For commercial locks, the options are even greater:

  • Using a fingerprint
  • With a retinal scan
  • With a key card
  • Using face recognition

These options ultimately require the lock to be connected – via Bluetooth, Zigbee, WiFi or even cellular communications. Imagine, for instance, that I own an Airbnb unit far away from my home and I’d like to change the access code remotely after every guest departure. I’d probably want to use a cellular connection for this and not rely on WiFi.

These features require connectivity and connectivity requires power. Power from batteries simply isn’t enough. If I just relied on batteries, what happens when the batteries in my Airbnb units run out? Who will replace them? Or if my home lock has batteries, how confident will I be that they won’t run out when I’m vacationing away from home, locking me out of my own home?

If more power was available, these access control products can offer elevated functionality. For instance, maybe the Airbnb lock has two-way audio so that I can speak with the guest if there is a problem, or an outward-facing camera so that I know that someone approached it. Maybe an access bar in a commercial door (the one you push to get out through an emergency exit) wants to flash some lights in case of danger or to show the way out.

Because batteries are inadequate and because installing wires for power is out of the question for many applications, we’re happy to see an increasing number of access control vendors turn to long-range wireless power from Wi-Charge. This is for a wide range of access control systems, not just smart locks.

With wireless power, one can deliver all the energy these devices need for both current and future functionality.  They can relieve the user of the effort, expense, and concerns related to batteries. At the same time, they can offer elevated user experience and do their small part to reduce the number of single-use batteries that need to be discarded.

The future of access is connected, on-line access, powered by long-range wireless power.

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