Investing in smart technology

John McLoughlin, research and development manager at UAP, explains the thoughts and processes behind its latest product: an electronic smart locking system, launching under the Fullex brand in January 2020.

We have seen an abundance of smart lock developments in recent months, many of which are based on the same type of idea. At UAP, we have been involved in smart lock technology for the past six years, through our locksmith division and its work with car locking electronics and diagnostics.

We have known for a long time about the weaknesses and issues surrounding many of the electronic technologies and have designed our system to avoid them.

Our solutions have been designed from the ground up via our contract with a Hungarian electronics specialist and UAP’s in-house research and development team. We are currently applying for two patents.

As a business we also thought it sensible to undertake an extensive planning horizon research project with students at Manchester Metropolitan University. They have been heavily involved in the Manchester Smart City development. This gave us a lot of information about how the engineers and electronics experts of tomorrow see the future horizon.

We do not believe that there is a one-size-fits all solution to every type of door and lock, and so we will be launching three different products aimed at three very different lock types and markets, but based on our central electronics development.

We also wanted our solution to be very secure from hacking and bio-theft. Additionally, we wanted to use technology to redefine the way we design and develop door hardware, such as handles, and free up the manufacturers from using long backplate or short backplate handle options.

Furthermore, we know the limitations of power supplies and the difficulties of providing constant power to locks and handles on doors, especially when using Wi-Fi and advanced functions that drain batteries. Again, we are using state of the art concepts to overcome these issues.

Our first electronic lock will launch in January 2020, and will be aimed at standard multi-point locks requiring a lifting motion to lock the door. Our solution will work on both new doors and can be retro-fitted to existing doors. In essence, we can to go to almost any standard fitted door and upgrade the lock to an electronic system, at a very affordable price.

Our new smart locking system is very much consumer orientated, and we wanted a simple handling experience. So, after closing the door all the user has to do is lift the handle. And that’s it.

A count down beep will give the user the chance to re-enter the house, in case they have forgotten something, and the locking is audible. On re-entry, an electronic key fob, or our smart phone app, will unlock the door and the consumer simply pulls the handle down.

Our system has a useable range of 40m outdoors or around 20m indoors, and the ability to pass through two internal doors. This gives users the option to open the door from another room in the house, say the living room or bedroom. Ideal for the elderly and less mobile.

We have in-built extremely secure emergency by-passes in case of power failures, from both inside and out.

So, we are quietly optimistic that our solution ticks all the boxes of functionality, design and affordability that we think the market is going to demand.