(Photo : Digilock)
As technology advances, businesses are finding new and innovative ways to increase security and efficiency. One potent example is digital locks, which have evolved from ancient padlocks. The oldest known lock, a wooden pin-type tumbler lockset, was found by archeologists in Egypt dating back some 4,000 years. Padlocks were also used by the Romans and Greeks as far back as 500 BC.
While locks have methodically evolved over time, a dramatic digital shift has occurred as fully manual mechanisms have become electronic, and once stand-alone locks are now part of the internet of things (IoT). One innovator in the space is Digilock, which with nearly 300 patents, is behind many of the most impactful enhancements in lock technology.
Unlocking The History
In 1994, Digilock changed lock technology forever when it eliminated keys from the equation and introduced the first-ever electronic keypad lock. However, that was just the beginning and set the company on a path to introducing, among other lines, a tier of smart locks that could be upgraded on-premise or in the cloud, without changing out the physical lock. This fall, the company introduced Curve. Inspired by Digilock’s best selling classic model, the next-generation lock has all the modern advantages, including a choice of basic, advanced or networked cloud-manageable models. Curve also offers wireless connectivity through Bluetooth Low Energy, and customer choice of keypad, RFID, or Mobile ID access, to further simplify their options and deployment.
“Whether they’re used in offices, a hospital, a gym, or dozens of other settings, Curve is part of the latest era of lock technology,” said Julie Advocate, Executive Vice President at Digilock. “For more than four decades, Digilock has been quietly at the forefront of lock technology and we continue to push the envelope of features, design, and function. Curve is not only elegant and seamless but also packed full of the latest technology.”
Founded to simplify key management 41 years ago, Digilock was the first to introduce electronic lock technology to things like cabinets, furniture, lockers and more. Whether at Tesla, Salesforce, a Four Seasons, the 49ers’ facilities, or the Louvre, Digilock’s technology may not be known by every consumer, but it’s likely used by them. In fact, their locks have been installed by more than 32,000 organizations in 195 countries across industries ranging from fitness and retail to hospitality, and healthcare to financial services, among others.
“The team at Digilock has been very intentional about the advances we make in lock technology,” added Advocate. “We’re not building new systems so that we have more products to market. We’re building them to help customers simplify and solve complex challenges and address the changing physical security needs of this decade and the next.”
What Do We Need in a Modern Lock?
Over time, and especially in the last few years, there have been increasing calls to simplify lock management and offer flexible, shared access that can be managed remotely, and address both modern and traditional needs. This has facilities buyers across industries looking to upgrade access and control systems for secure and protected materials storage. As a result, Digilock has seen demand for its smart lock solutions skyrocket from customers in the retail, jewelry, healthcare, and financial sectors. In 2021 alone, Digilock’s overall sales grew by more than 30 percent.
According to Digilock, sales continue to climb due to increasing demand for easy to manage personal and professional storage security. And while traditional locks have become ever-easier to pick or force open, sometimes the biggest security issues arise when people simply forget to lock things back up. Smart locks, on the other hand, can require a code or electronic key to open. They may also be managed, opened or locked remotely, enabling multiple secure access options, as well as an audit trail. All of this makes it more difficult for unauthorized individuals to gain access. This is not to mention that metal keys in traditional locks are frequently lost, stolen, broken or easily duplicated, causing replacement and management burdens that may not seem important to some, but to facilities professionals, these are major chronic issues.
“While so much about lock innovation is driven by function, and of course security, there are also aesthetic considerations,” said Advocate. “Many of our customers prefer a design-forward lock with a variety of form factors and finishes that complement an environment while simultaneously eliminating the design and management limitations of unsightly locks and keyholes.”
Another benefit of smart locks is they can be integrated with and managed within facilities management systems, which can increase ease of use while also enabling greater efficiency with 24×7 remote access. This is significant, as many companies embrace hybrid and remote work options, but don’t always have facilities managers onsite.
“Advances in cloud-based systems have enabled devices of all types to securely connect and exchange data with each other,” said Advocate. “To remain relevant, locks needed to grow alongside and be compatible with these technologies. That’s why Digilock has invested so heavily in DigiLink® cloud management technology.”
Recent innovations in lock technology, including the ability to start with basic lock functionality and upgrade to smart technology without replacing equipment, is driving growth for companies like Digilock. Nestled in wine country just north of San Francisco, the company seems to have found a sweet spot in technology innovation that also keeps design in mind.