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Successful co-innovation between Clay and KPN: smart locks worldwide

The traditional door lock has several major disadvantages. Keys are easily lost and the risk of a break-in attempt using a passkey is ever-present. In 2012, the Amsterdam company Clay devised an inventive yet simple solution: a lock that you open with your smartphone.

A prototype was quickly developed. “The founders purchased the necessary electronics and assembled it in a simple coffee pot,” says Kristin Pater, Clay’s marketing manager. “In three months they had a fully functioning solution. It consisted of a lock, a coffee pot full of electronics, a KPN SIM card, a website, and an app with which you open doors remotely.”

No harm done

The idea took off. In 2017, the start-up was incorporated in parent company SALTO Systems. Together they developed the product into a cloud-based solution for access control: “SALTO Keys as a Service”. A product that they say has numerous potential uses thanks to the ambitious cloud structure and a whole range of features. It did the company no harm at all. “Clay currently has 55 employees and we are still growing strongly.”

Heart of the solution is the “IQ”. As a “base station” this IoT device (Edge device) is the bridge between the cloud and the physical lock. The IQ has several variants. “The difference is in the way that it connects with the cloud: via WiFi, PoE or a cellular connection. The communication with the lock is effected via Bluetooth,” Pater explains.

Control via the app

The lock is controlled via a web app and a mobile app. This is not done directly: here too, the IQ acts as a bridge between the lock and the user. “The IQ receives and retains all the changes and settings of the SALTO KS application and ensures that all the locking mechanisms are updated within a few seconds.”

Clay was eager to work with KPN right from the beginning. “We needed a reliable supplier of connectivity that would enable us to be online everywhere in the world. Thanks to its SIM cards, solid roaming contracts and global coverage KPN proved to be the right partner for us.”

International roaming

In fact, KPN was one of the few suppliers with international roaming contracts and a variety of providers that the company could make use of. “This enabled us to extend our coverage and set up IQs in even more countries and unfamiliar locations. M2M is a tremendous back-up solution when no WiFi is available.

Thanks to KPN we also have IQs online in places where it was assumed that smart locks would not be an option in the local environment, such as a small island off the coast of Australia where there is no WiFi. Fortunately, mobile data roaming via KPN is indeed possible there, so smart locks can get online just as easily as WiFi hosted IQs.”

Always in control

Clay also uses the Cisco IoT Control Center. This solution gives the company an insight into the connectivity between the IQ and the KPN network. “We also use it to administer the customer contracts by supplying SIM cards to get our M2M connected IQs online throughout the world. In addition, KPN hosts the infrastructure and the dedicated fiber connections for a load-balancing access point (APN).”

The future looks promising and it is a given that KPN will be part of it. “We are proud to have seen the KPN IoT department growing and to have been able to expand accordingly. The KPN team is reliable and willing to pool its knowledge at all times.”

If you are interested to find out how KPN can be of benefit to your organization in the field of IoT and innovation, please feel free to contact us without obligation. We will be happy to put our heads together with you!

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