Disrupting Residential Access Control? Lockitron

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on May 09, 2012

Can the traditional access control market be disrupted by new entrants leveraging consumer technologies and mobile phones? One startup, Lockitron, is backed by a powerful Silicon Valley investment firm and gaining significant attention in the technology press. Lockitron is reaching out directly to consumers with a simple mobile phone enabled key replacement system. In this note, we will examine Lockitron's competive positioning versus other providers such as Schlage and Kwikset.

[UPDATE 2012: This product has been discontinued and replaced by a far more disruptive lock adaptor.]

Overview

The Lockitron system consists of:

  • Wireless, battery-powered locks, available in cylindrical and deadbolt models, and limited mortise forms. An apartment building buzzer interface is also available.
  • Users with NFC-capable phones may scan stick-on tags to grant access, in lieu of launching the app.
  • An internet-connected base station transmitter (requiring an Ethernet port on the customer's router or LAN). This transmitter bridges commands between the Lockitron's servers and the lock on site.
  • Lockitron’s cloud-based service, which receives commands from users via mobile phone, either through text message or via dedicated apps, or a web interface. 

Lockitron explains its offering in this overview video:

NFC Capabilities

Lockitron's use of NFC differs from others, such as HID's heavily publicized implementation. HID is using the phone as a credential, actually writing identity information to the NFC chip, which is then presented as a credential to iCLASS SE readers, and authenticated to central servers. By contrast, scanning a Lockitron NFC tag simply causes the phone to start their app and unlock the door, passing no credential information. 

Strengths and Weaknesses

There are some distinct advantages to this product.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

  • Convenience: We believe the prospect of eliminating keys alone will sell quite a few of these locks. The ability to send unlock codes to guests via text message may be extremely handy for users, so they can let friends, babysitters, or other guests into their home or business without being there. 
  • Ease of install: Cylindrical locksets and deadbolts are also relatively easy to install, meaning homeowners with a do-it-yourself leaning will likely latch onto it. 
  • Direct sales: Lockitron is leveraging the massive growth of the mobile web and using a business model that cuts out the traditional channel.

With all these advantages, however, there are some drawbacks.

  • No failsafes: The base station requires power and internet connection at all times.  Losing either means lock and unlock commands won’t be sent to the lockset. Considering Lockitron’s cited goal of “one less thing in your pocket”, this is a major drawback. Assume a user leaves his or her house without keys, and there’s a power outage or internet failure in the meantime. Returning home, the lockset doesn’t open. Without keys, there’s no way to enter the house to investigate why exactly it doesn’t open. Keys and a mechanical lock, or even battery-operated keypad locksets, don’t suffer this same fate. 
  • Limited range: The distance between base station and lock is also limited, with Lockitron citing 15-30 feet as the recommended range. This seems fine for apartment dwellers, but much less practical for owners of single family homes, or those looking to install multiple locksets. Commercial wireless locksets often cite ranges ten times this (as discussed in our Wireless Access Training), while other residential options, such as Z-Wave enabled locks, offer about the same wireless range.

Competitive Comparison

A major difference between this and other keyless entry products on the market is its lack of integration to other systems. Manufacturers such as Schlage and Kwikset offer battery-operated keypad locks which are intended to integrate with other home automation systems. 

  • Schlages LiNK platform is intended to be an all-in-one solution, with lighting and HVAC control, as well as some surveillance and security options, accessible via web browser or mobile phone app. 
  • Kwikset offers a simpler solution, providing Z-Wave wireless enabled keypad locks, which may be interfaced with alarm panels and control systems. This Z-Wave capability allows doors to be locked when the system is armed at night, for example. 

Lockitron lacks the advanced capabilities of either of these options, instead choosing to focus on only locking, unlocking, and guest access. Whether these features will be added in the future is currently unknown.

Hardware pricing is the same or higher than as other residential/very small commercial offerings; Cylindrical and deadbolt locks are available with a base station from $295 and $335 with no recurring fees. This is approximately the same as a Schlage LiNK starter kit, which can be found online for between $150 and $300, but the LiNK system requires a $9/month recurring fee.  Kwikset’s Home Connect hardware retails for about $200-$250 online, which includes only the lockset, without basestation, since it’s meant to integrate with other systems.

Market Impact

All factors considered, we see Lockitron as a useful option for residential, SOHO, and small business customers who wish to do little more than lock and unlock doors. Lockitron’s locksets and base stations are currently sold in a 1:1 ratio, whereas offerings such as Schlage’s LiNK series are one-to-many, which limits Lockitron’s usefulness in multi-door environments beyond a handful of doors. This will be remedied in a future update, according to the manufacturer. We also do not see Lockitron as a realistic competitor to true online access systems, due to the lack of system-wide management, multi-user access and logging, and real-time monitoring. For customers who don’t require these features, and want to avoid the associated expense, it may be a good fit.

2 reports cite this report:

The New Generation of Crowdfunded Security Startups on Sep 02, 2014
New entrants to the security market are few and far between. However, there is one area that is clearly driving new security startups -...
Startup: Smart Security Padlock on Aug 22, 2014
Want to eliminate using keys or combinations? Replace them with your smartphone to control access. That's what startup Noke (pronounced 'no-key')...
Comments : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
Register for the Spring Access Control Course. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Apr 17, 2019
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Alarm.com Favorability Results 2019 on Apr 15, 2019
The once dot com startup has evolved to become a core provider for home security and is now expanding into commercial. In their first entry in...
ISC West 2019 Report on Apr 12, 2019
The IPVM team has finished at the Sands looking at what companies are offering and how they are changing their positioning. See below for 50+...
UK Installer CCTV Aware - Flat Pricing, No Salespeople on Apr 10, 2019
This is a different kind of company. They do flat pricing, they do not have any salespeople and 50% of their sales are sold and booked...
Spring 2019 50+ New Products Directory on Apr 08, 2019
We are compiling a list of new products for Spring 2019 and have over 50 already. Contrast to Fall 2018 New Products Directory and Spring 2018...
Spring 2019 IP Networking Course- Register Now on Apr 04, 2019
Register now for the Spring 2019 IP Networking course here. Just $299 for the course. This is the only networking course designed specifically...
Startup GateKeeper Aims For Unified Physical / Logical Access Token on Apr 04, 2019
This startup's product claims to 'Kill the Password' you use to keep your computers safe.  They have already released their Gatekeeper Halberd...
Airship VMS Profile on Apr 03, 2019
Airship has been developing VMS software for over 10 years, however, with no outside investment, and minimal marketing, the company is not well...

Most Recent Industry Reports

H.265 Usage Statistics on Apr 19, 2019
H.265 has been available in IP cameras for more than 5 years and, in the past few years, the number of manufacturers supporting this codec has...
ACRE Acquires RS2, Explains Acquisition Strategy on Apr 19, 2019
ACRE continues to buy, now acquiring RS2, just 5 months after buying Open Options. One is a small access control manufacturer from Texas, the...
Access Control Course Spring 2019 - Last Chance on Apr 19, 2019
Register for the Spring Access Control Course. IPVM offers the most comprehensive access control course in the industry. Unlike manufacturer...
Riser vs Plenum Cabling Explained on Apr 18, 2019
You could be spending twice as much for cable as you need. The difference between 'plenum' rated cable and 'riser' rated cable is subtle, but the...
Verint Victimized By Ransomware on Apr 18, 2019
Verint, which is best known in the physical security industry for video surveillance but has built a sizeable cybersecurity business as well, was...
Milestone Drops IFSEC on Apr 18, 2019
Milestone has dropped out of Europe's largest annual security trade show (IFSEC 2019), telling IPVM that they "have found that IFSEC in EMEA no...
The Fastest Growing Video Surveillance Sales Organization Ever - Verkada on Apr 17, 2019
Verkada has the fastest growing video surveillance sales organization ever. In less than 2 years, they already have more salespeople in the US...
Door Operators Access Control Tutorial on Apr 17, 2019
Doors equipped with door operators, specialty devices that automate opening and closing, tend to be quite complex. The mechanisms needed to...
Securadyne CEO: IPVM 'Entertaining For An Ignorant Few' on Apr 16, 2019
Securadyne's CEO Carey Boethel is unhappy with IPVM's report - Failed Integrator Rollup, Securadyne Sells to Guard Giant Allied. Indeed, he...
Dahua Repositionable IR Multi-Imager Camera Tested on Apr 16, 2019
Dahua has released their first repositionable multi-imager camera, the Multi-Flex 4x2MP, claiming integrated IR, true WDR, and flexible...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact