The Brooklyn Access Startup: Kisi

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Apr 12, 2016

Straight from the hipster startup hotbed of Brooklyn comes a new IP access control system. And if the tough streets of NYC do not offer enough credibility, Kisi also claims German engineering:

True to startup form, the company offers big claims like 'remote access control, compatible with any door', even those currently equipped with intercoms or other access systems.

But how does it work? In this note, we examine Kisi, its strengths, and weaknesses.

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Reader *********

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Comments (13)

Brian, do you think approach of cutting / controlling power has a future? Is this an innovation or mistake?

Cutting lock power is not a new thing; it is how maglocks are controlled normally, for example.

Kisi essentially is introducing another set of relay contacts in series with other controllers/power supply/relay contacts. It is crude, but not likely a problem for most doors.

It does introduce another potential point of failure with door security, though. If Kisi sticks unlocked/locked, the other systems (ie: intercom) for the door will not be able to fix it.

Cutting lock power to unlock is terribly inefficient. For one, it requires constant electricity to remain locked. For seconds, I hope you live somewhere where you have a stable grid. Any power outage will unlock your door or require additional battery backup, which will drain when the power is out for longer periods.

If your power supply dies, your door is unlocked, as well.

I just don't see it. This is a step backwards from where we have come in my opinion.

Just to be clear, Kisi comes with a set of either NC (normally closed) or NO (normally open) contacts.

It doesn't only interrupt power. If a device like a strike (typically unpowered until activated to release) is at the door, Kisi can be configured to issue power as well.

I think Scott's comments are less a criticism of Kisi and more a direct contrast between maglocks and electric strikes. If maglocks lose power, they are unlocked, period. Strikes typically are configured to 'fail secure' on power loss (stay locked), however 'fail safe' on power loss (become unlocked) is an common option.

See Fail Safe vs. Fail Secure Primer and How To Use Maglocks With Battery Power Legally for more.

Thanks Brian,

Yea, i don't know anything about Kisi, first I'd heard of it.

I thought it very strange to have an access control system limited to a fail safe configuration of lock.

So this is essentially a web relay with a sophisticated interface to control it. I feel like this should be less expensive. Interesting concept if the price point was better i could see this as maybe an option in multi tenant spaces.

"Tough Guy" Partner Portal:

Kisi My Access

I can tell you put some thought into this...

It takes a good deal of thought to be spontaneous.

It looks like a niche product in a market that is growing rapidly more crowded every month. It is expensive, does not offer me any technology I don't already have access to, and while I have not examined it closely, it does not seem to offer any particular level of sophistication. Some of these startups are not able to imagine a person who does not carry a smartphone on their person at all times. I often wonder if their development is more geared towards being acquired by someone as opposed to actually producing a product that stands on its own. Oh well, good luck to them.

Our hosting provider is a Kisi customer:

Should I feel better or worse about this?

The hipster affinity is strong.

"...it was just a pain in the ass.."

There doesn't seem to be standards in appropriateness in marketing now.

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