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A ground-breaking smart-lock for industrial storage, utilizing patented technology through Bluetooth 4.0, mobile apps, and a cloud platform.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Noke (A ground-breaking smart-lock for industrial storage, utilizing patented technology through Bluetooth 4.0, mobile apps, and a cloud platform.)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-03-31

We investigated the complete market landscape for locks since our earliest inceptions and forays into the industry. Upon analysing the potential market segments and customer demographics, we first decided to tackle the consumer market for smart locks. Coming at a close second, was the prevalence of an industrial locking solution with easy management features. It was this construed strategy, where the conception of NCL was born. Upon attaining a significant market share with our pioneering Noke padlock, our adjacent market segments included the Noke bike lock (in final phases of development), and NCL (subject of this report).

The need for a smart, automated, and secure industrial lock solution has become more apparent, considering the growth of self-storage, warehousing, and shipping as part of overall globalisation trends. Other problem trends cited include losing of keys. The only solution derived since has been making copies of original keys as spare. In a large-scale context, unique keys matching to unique locks prove to be confusing and painstaking. Each key has to be labelled correctly, classified into the ‘correct bunch’, and kept in the ‘correct compartments’, whose location you must remember etc. This problem is exacerbated, where the whole process is repeated for all spare keys when dealing with multiple locks. This is extremely inconvenient on a scale of hundreds or thousands – especially affecting those in the storage space industry, buildings with industrial storage, as well as those in shipping and logistics. In addition, giving of access to a lock requires the physical passing of an original or spare key to the new user. This can prove extremely meddlesome if requiring long-distance access or multiple person access, where passing and returning of keys over distance can cause security concern through making of key copies for overexposure of access.

In essence, there is currently no way to track how many key copies have been made, and who they are passed to, compromising security of sensitive items and information. Finally, current industrial locks, though battle tested through upgrades over the years, are still susceptible to being picked by professionals, as well as being ‘jacked’ open.
Having performed the Phase 1 technical and economic feasibility assessment under the SME Instrument, a number of key assumptions and discoveries were corroborated.

The response derived high potential for the Noke Cylinder Smart Lock (NCL), where the exceptional operational ability, convenience, non-compromise of security, while coming in at less than a tenth of the cost were duly highlighted as cause for successful market uptake.

We defined our key members of the project’s value chain, which highlights third-party in-kind contributor Nordic Semiconductor playing a key role in the venture. We also defined our key target market, importantly defining our beachhead audience of self-storage, being a prime initial target in order to expand into the more resistant but larger segments of warehousing, shipping, and related logistics.

The feedback from stakeholders include those from the beachhead market and follow-on markets, as well as opinion leaders, and technical experts, to derive a comprehensive look on commercialisation strategy. The superiority of the NCL solution will be demonstrated in a pilot trial with third-party Space Storage, collecting the pivotal quantitative data required for communications and meeting of EU regulations.

The results of the trial will be compiled in a technical report which will be used in NCL’s declaration of conformity, in order to affix the CE mark for production. The confirmation of our value chain for the innovative project is further complimented by expression of interest from our 8 existing EU distributors, who will supply NCL locks to self-storage facilities in the go-to EU states of the U.K/Ireland France, Spain, and the Netherlands.

In essence, The Feasibility Study showed that NCL is viable technical and commercially, and the determination of the business plan shown that it is also a profitable investment. They can be summarised as:

-The quantification of production costs and the selection of NCL components suppliers with a target price for each component, and the definition of the value chain with involvement of main actors such as in-kind contributor Nordic Semiconductors, for the supply of core Bluetooth chipset nRF52840 required to implement our proprietary communication and encryption technology, as well as expertise in integrating chipsets with our proprietary technology

-Confirmation on commercialising NCL first in Europe considering the EMEA region continuing to have the largest in/outflows of global goods and related logistical handling.

-The EU commercialisation plan starting from the largest market base for self-storage (U.K/Ireland) before moving onto the subsequent French, Spanish, and Dutch markets being the largest growing segments after the U.K/Ireland

-The first paying customers identified coming from the beachhead geographic markets; includes companies such as Pilot Trial organisation Space Storage and other organisations found from National Self-storage Associations

-The definition of the work plan for the development of the finalised prototype, and the commercially produced version of NCL, to be demonstrated with Space Storage (customer) and people using the self-storage facilities (end-users).

Hence, it was decided to pursue the NCL project considering its mass potential in both the initial and follow-on market segments, and positive reinforcements of internal external factors supporting a highly gratifying, and lucrative business opportunity leveraged through cutting-edge innovation.
The NCL is a high security digital cylinder lock that utilises Bluetooth and Cloud technology being controlled by a user friendly software dashboard on a smartphone or webpage. The NCL is keyless and offers superior security as it opens only when an associated smartphone device is present, using highly encrypted communication for the pairing between the lock and the device. The application enables users to control a large number of NCLs, as well as provide and revoke access rights to other users. The NCL also offers access history records to the lock owner. The NCL electronically mechanised and infused with anti-shim technology, meaning its lock cannot be picked by professionals. It is also secured with boron-hardened shackle and steel, preventing its jacking. Apart from the much easier key management, transparency and security, the NCL 1) greatily improves on time savings due to superior key management 2) greatly saves on cost due to less spent on excessive security measures, as well as smoother supply chain operations cutting down accumulated extra business days in operations flow