ekey is a German start-up that wants to make locks biometric.

The company wants every smart home to be accessed by biometric locks that are unlocked by the fingerprints of people pre-authorised to enter. The fingerprint sensor would allow people to programme specific preferences for things like heating and lighting which would be switched on automatically – not only making it quicker and easier to open the door, but also making the automated home super-efficient.

Smarter, faster, better homes

According to FutureZone there are 1.4 million doors produced annually in Germany alone, 840,000 of which are made from materials that would enable the installation of ekey’s biometric sensors. Mintel Market Sizes forecasts that 2015 will see the number of broadband subscribers in Germany reach 95.4 million – meaning that a great percentage of German households have the network infrastructure to enable smart homes.

In Germany we have already seen Danalock release smart home locks that link with a smartphone app to bring the lock into the 21st century. And in the US companies – August, Kwikset Kevo, and Lockitron to name a few – have been pushing smartphone-controlled smart locks for some time. Security issues are often cited as reasons to avoid these innovations – meaning that ekey’s fingerprint technology could well prove more popular.

And smart homes are developing in a real presence in Europe. Myxyty is a French home automation service that lets homeowners control almost every appliance in the home from a single app and even Swedish furniture giant IKEA is getting in on the act, announcing in 2015 that it is integrating wireless device charging into a range of its furniture.

Brands should be aware of consumers’ potential distrust of technology to handle such important and physical duties as locking their front doors. But it seems that the smart home’s rise is an inevitability and brands should prepare for this accordingly.

Alex Strang is Mintel’s Trends analyst for the European region. He works to uncover changes in the patterns of consumer behaviour to detect new trends. He publishes observations on Mintel’s Trends platform that cover innovations, creative marketing campaigns and product launches to inspire clients with evidence of trends in action.

 

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