Smart Locking Solutions making headway in the Logistics & Transportation sector

As undercurrent technologies like automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) get stronger by the day, smart locking solutions are witnessing rapid growth. To put it simply, a smart lock is an electromechanical locking device that enables users to remotely access/unlock the locks. The device can be used by connecting it to smartphones and other smart devices through Ethernet/Bluetooth and allows remote authentication by verified and authorized users.

In the commercial realm, smart lock technology is quickly moving beyond being merely a concept – rather, it is becoming a reality as it merges with mainstream consumer solutions supported by factors such as rapid penetration of mobile communication technologies like 4G and 5G, falling mobile internet tariffs, development of smart microprocessors and connected devices, falling costs and ubiquity of sensors, and innovations in embedded system design, among others.

Other important factors that promote the demand for smart locks include increasing safety & security concerns, growing awareness of consumers about the benefits and comfort offered by smart locks, and the need to meet customer expectations.

“Building through the odds and delivering perseverance is the need for every critical infrastructure (CI). To uphold the service expectations and requirements, critical infrastructures like logistics, supply chain, telecommunication, power, aviation, etc. are on the move 24×7. There has always been immense pressure on every critical infrastructure business to meet the expectations of customers. Along with all the challenges that CI businesses face in the country, security is one of the most important challenges that they have to face day in and out. To ensure uninterrupted service, controlled operational expenses, and saving time CI businesses have to secure its asset from miscreants in terms of safety and security,” said Mr. Sanket Managave, Managing Director SAARC, Abloy High-Security Locks – an advanced locking and access management systems company.

While there are conventional security measures that CI businesses work with, the new world requires faster and smarter asset-securing solutions. Moreover, the pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of smart lock solutions.

“Covid-19 has affected every industry in the world, however, critical infrastructures like logistics, supply chain, power, telecom, water, etc. were still expected to function 24×7. During the pandemic, it was a great challenge for the CI industry as they had to operate within the limitations and guidelines as stated by the government and with less manpower. It is during this time, that the need for remote access management & remote monitoring and use of other smart solutions gained more importance for ease of operation,” Mr. Managave said.

As per a report by Research and Markets called ‘Smart Locks – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics’, the global market for smart locks is estimated to reach USD 4 Billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 13.9% over the period of 2022-2026. The market size was revised from a previous estimate of USD 2.4 Billion in the year 2022.

During the pandemic, contactless access control devices such as biometric recognition and proximity cards played a crucial role, as consumers’ unwillingness to touch devices grew and their norms of daily living changed. This birthed the opportunity for smart lock market players to not only expand but also restructure and revisit their product portfolios.

Abloy, without a blink, hopped on the opportunity to offer their clients much more than just enhanced security. ABLOY’s digital portfolio includes mechanical, electromechanical, and keyless solutions for securing assets and having complete control over the access of the assets remotely. With the ABLOY Digital Portfolio solution, one can manage all keys, locks, and access rights on the go and remotely from a single, highly visual, and easy-to-use interface.

Speaking on the offering and the benefits Abloy brings along, they have a bouquet of solutions up their sleeve:

PROTEC² CLIQ™: An electro-mechanical solution, PROTEC² CLIQ™ is an easy-to-use, double-secured access control system. ABLOY PROTEC² technology is based on the patented rotating disc cylinder mechanism, and takes care of mechanical security, while electronic CLIQ technology allows flexible control of keys, access rights, and audit trails. It combines both technologies into one effective solution.

PROTEC² CLIQ is suitable for controlled movements, direct monitoring, and the highest level of security. Ensures access to only authorized and proficient personnel, thus reducing the risk of theft and any operational interruptions. CLIQ technology provides a unique identification for every opening through encrypted communication. Calendar and time-based access rights are easy to change remotely. Abloy’s CLIQ™ solution enables integration with other existing systems.

ABLOY BEAT: A keyless, super weatherproof IP68-approved padlock, with a Bluetooth BLE 4.2 connection, operated with a digital key and mobile app heralding a new era of effortless mobile connectivity with Seos® credential technology for best-in-class security and privacy protection.

BEAT is operated with a digital, mobile key and managed with ABLOY OS and can be integrated into the existing workflow or 3rd party system, keeping the user in sync with the security situation. ABLOY Beat mobile app allows flexible access and activation for user rights from any location. The beat is useful in remote areas, busy schedules, and in case of emergency, online and offline. Travel and key logistics are drastically simplified, saving on emissions, cost, and time.

Cybercrimes: The Hot Issue

As smart locks witness growing importance and prominence more digital, cybercrime looms as a red-hot issue.

With production and process machinery and equipment in plants and factories becoming increasingly intelligent, automated and data rich and data-driven, access control for these systems also becomes equally important.

Ensuring right authentication to the right employee becomes more important than ever to ensure asset protection and prevent asset mismanagement and damage. This accentuates the need for smart locks. But, it should be noted that any smart or digital system is very much vulnerable to cyber thefts like Wi-Fi snooping, credentials theft through smart hub weaknesses etc, if it is not encrypted with latest cyber security technologies. Therefore, keeping an eye on cyber threats is also important to ensure safety.

Cybercrime is all about violating the individual or an entity’s privacy and security of the data. In this world of technology and humanity’s increasing dependence on it, the need to secure and protect data is of prime importance.

Selection of any smart solutions or services should be based on the authenticity of the solution in terms of its development, backend infrastructure, security standards, and source of the solution.

“There are many that claim to provide the best-in-class encryption for data protection but very few standbys for it. Hence, the service buyers should conduct thorough research and investigation including checks and tests to validate the same. ABLOY’s Digital Portfolio locks for securing and protecting the Critical Infrastructure asset enables a fully connected future across the entire operation, and all industries.  ABLOY electromechanical locks and keyless locks provide physical security to assets situated not only within the building premises but also in any remote location. These smart innovations by ABLOY are a step towards a new era of fully connected, digital access control. These solutions are encrypted with the best-in-class encryption technology which ensures security and privacy protection,” Mr. Managave said.

While smart locks are highly reliable and secure authenticators to access and operate operations, reliable protection is still needed to protect and secure smart factories of the future.

The Flip Side

Smart lock solutions growing in popularity in critical Infrastructure businesses worldwide despite their definite benefits implementing smart lock solutions has seen hesitance among many players in its adoption.

Abloy has been serving most of it globally for over 115 years. ABLOY solutions are specifically innovated and designed for critical infrastructure businesses like Oil & Gas, Electric Power, Telecommunication, Logistics & Transportation, Railways, Aviation, Mining, Waters, etc. witness the increasing need for more sophisticated and technology-driven systems in day-to-day operations, the threat about less human control and more dependency on technology exists.

Mr. Managave cites, “Advanced solutions come for an upfront huge price which primarily may be deemed as not an economical solution. Sometimes such a makeover from human-driven to technology-driven solutions involves a change in infrastructure and other related capital investments along with personnel training and technical know-how which is time-consuming and would deliver ROI over some time. Smart technology-driven solutions give long-term benefits but most in the industry take it with a pinch of salt.”

Though it’s the need today for every industry to adopt advanced solutions, above factors influence their decisions and is reluctant to change, Mr. Managave added.

To Conclude

The increased adoption of advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, IoT, and biometric recognition, is contributing to the growth of the smart locks market. Industries, like Logistics and Supply Chain, are utilizing the smart lock solution not only to secure operations but to also meet consumer demands and the changing daily life needs. While the industry is expected to grow multi-fold, it is still seeing hesitance among players and is plagued by cyber vulnerabilities. The need for today is smart lock solutions which when utilized through trusted leading players like Abloy can help eliminate the fear of adoption, secure operations through cyber threats, and further enhance operation security and efficiency.

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