Interview on Electronic Door Locks with Daryl Brett

Interview on Electronic Door Locks with Daryl Brett

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Hi, it's Brendon, the technology concierge and  today I'm joined by Daryl Brett. How are you   Daryl? I'm good. Thank you very much for having me  back. It's great Daryl, and I spoke about Minibars   a couple of weeks ago. It was a great session, so  if you haven't watched it, I’d encourage you to do   that (Link in the description) I learned a lot  including what the difference between a fridge   and a mini bar is? So, all these years, I’ve been  completely uneducated and now I know. When we were  

talking off camera just after that the whole  area of mobile key came up, and BLE, and NFC,   and where we currently stand and I said to Daryl  it would be great if we could do another session.   So, here we are today. So, Daryl, probably a good  starting point maybe if you could give us a little   bit of History on, you know, Electronic Door.  Not a problem at all, again not wanting to go   too far back into the history and where they all  started and which hotel etc. but the principles   of how do you get through a door? Now, you've got  to start off really with a key that's where this   whole story started. Now, how does a key work?  So, a key is a certain shape and in the door   is a receiving shape, so the male and the female  parts. So, you get given a key that matches your  

door, you turn it, you open the handle, you go in,  alright. So, literally the key is just a carrier   of information, a carrier that's unique to that  door. Yep, okay. So, effectively when you move   over to the world of hotel locks and where we  went from metal keys to cards bits of plastic   the principle remains the same. You get  given something of reception that matches  

your specific door. Okay. So, it has data now  there's a lot of history about what data is on the   card and I remember many years ago, 20 years ago,  when we were selling MaxTribe card technology,   there was this huge concern that when you had  handed over your MaxTribe card, it had your name,   your credit card, your birth date, your… you know,  everything about your personal history on there,   but the fact of the matter is, it had very very  small packet of data. Now, what information went   on to that card? Well, the card needs to know  which building it's in, so the Ritz Carlton,   for example, it needs to know which room it's  allowed into, so bedroom 101 of the Ritz-Carlton   and it needs to know the date and the time of when  it's allowed to work, so 10 o'clock on Friday when   you check in, and four o'clock on Sunday when  you check out, so effectively that's the key.   So, where it is, who it is, and the date, and the  time, now the lock itself is a battery operated   lock. It doesn't communicate to anything else, so  it has to be programmed for effectively the other   half of that communication, so the lock knows that  it's in the Ritz Carlton, it knows it's room 101,   and it has a true date and time. So, it's  got a clock in it just like in your watch,  

or your phone, or anything like that. So, you  get given your card, you present it to the door,   and like a metal key, the data is just checked, so  is this the right hotel? Is it the right room? Is   it within 10 o'clock Friday, and 4 o'clock Sunday?  Yes, I'll let the guests in, or, no, I won't let   them in, and that's it. It is as simple as that,  now there are other bits and pieces, you know,   whether it's a guest card, or a staff card, or  whether the deadbolt's been thrown but that's all   not really as important as those  critical bits of information. So, everybody use MaxTribe, MaxTribe carried  this bit of information, got you into your room,   everyone was happy. The problem with  MaxTribe Technology as with all technology   as it becomes older it starts  showing its weaknesses.  

So, MaxTribe Technology, it  used to be that if you held your   magnetic card next to your phone which has a  magnet in it, it would demagnetize the card. So,   there you are standing at the door sliding your  card in and out and nothing happens. Around 2002,   there's a technology brought out called RFID. RFID  stands for Radio Frequency Identification device.   So, it's another carrier for that bit  of information, so the same information,   the lock, where it is, who it is, the date, and  the time. Now, just gets put onto an RFID card   rather than put onto a MaxTribe card. So, from  MaxTribe Technology in 2002 they moved over to   RFID technology. RFID (Radio Frequency  Identification) is much more secure, it's less  

able to be corrupted, so you don't have the card  being wiped but the core information remains the   same in the building you’re in, the room you're  allowed into, and the dates, and the time.   Now, technology moved on everybody's happy locks  upgraded they had to change their readers but the   core functionality remains the same. RFID in 2012  had another small evolution and that was something   called NFC( Near Field Communication),  so effectively it's the same technology   but is a little bit more secure, there's a lot  less energy to it and means that the communication   carrier needs to be closer to the device,  so an RFID card can work up to a meter away;   whereas, the NFC card or carrier only  works up to about 10 centimeters away.   So, being a lower range read, it means the  batteries in the lock haven't got to reads   work so hard to effectively get slightly bit of  battery life, so this is really where in 2012   when iPhone, I think, was  iPhone 5 came out about, then   everyone said great iPhone, uses their app wallet  that's NFC built into the actual device itself.  

We all move over to that technology,  problem was at that point in time that   Apple decided that they didn't want to open  up the NFC functionality on their phones,   Android did but of course 50% of the global  market suddenly couldn't use that technology in   their locks, so the lock remained at RFID which  is pretty much where we are today. The hotel   industry, however, still wanted to a guest to use  their own device they wanted to move away from   having to issue a card. The only other real  solution available was Bluetooth. Bluetooth   Low Energy specifically, so again the same  information where you are, the date, the time, the   room number, but it's just a different carrier.  Again, we're now in the world of Bluetooth Low   Energy. Bluetooth Low Energy is transmitted  by the phone but it needs a supporting app   to actually operate and this is where the industry  has, sort of, should I say, stopped its evolution.

Yeah, so, RFID tried and tested works brilliantly  want to start using a mobile device great   we'll use NFC but Apple put paid to that other  alternative is then really problem is with BLE   because I now need to develop an app to put onto  the device to be able to carry this information   all the hotel chains suddenly had to invest in  software or software developers to build the app,   stop me if I'm going too far ahead I'm just  trying to, sort of, build this road map of   where we are today and how we can now get back  to it. This is good, this is good. So, this is   almost where we are now, really, as you said, I  think, it was 2012 or 2014 that Marriott was the   first group that pretty much came out with an app  that would support what we call “mobile key” which   is allowing your guests to use a Bluetooth  Low Energy to open their door. Correct! So,   you've got the Marriott Bonvoy App, they developed  it so that they could try and catch a guest. It   wasn't so much for the Bluetooth element, it was  more the fact that they could then capture a guest   and rather than a guest going through an  OTA(Online Travel Agency), to book a reservation   if you're doing it through their own proprietary  act, they can actually manage that guest, say, and   they can manage the guest information, and they  can get repeat business and rewards and everything   else, and as an add-on to that to encourage guests  to use it, you've suddenly got this new technology   to get into the room ID, the Bluetooth. So, as  a bonus of being a part of the loyalty program…   Correct! Correct! Now, this same information  still applies to get the property name, the   date and time, and everything else. It is just the  carrier so Marriott went ahead and they developed  

the Bonvoy App. They had enough financial clout to  be able to develop an app, that's unique to them,   so, they can capture this information and  allow the guests to use their mobile device.   Unfortunately, not every hotel chain or hotel  operator has deep enough pockets to do this,   so they then became a range of third-party app  developers that an hotelier could effectively pay   on a monthly basis or a weekly basis or an annual  basis to build this app for them. This really is   then got to the stage where the hotel  said, well, why am I doing this?   You know, why am I developing and paying for  an app to allow a guest to use their phone   to open the door? when I can still give them a  bit of plastic that does exactly the same job,   and so really Bluetooth has been around it has  been talked about by a lot of the locking vendors   to try and encourage an upgrade because  unfortunately Bluetooth is different to RFID. So,  

if you've got an RFID trip or an RFID lock,  you need to add in a Bluetooth antenna, so you   suddenly have an additional expenditure to make  your locks work Bluetooth, so it's pretty much   where we are at the moment. Some big chains do,  some small chains thinking about it, a lot of the   independent operators are going, it's just I can't  see the business model to actually do this. Yep,   and I think we've talked about it before, Daryl,  one of the reasons I suppose to actually do it   would be to eliminate that plastic key. From  this inability point of view, you know, to be   more environmentally friendly and I think they'll  certainly, in Europe, they're a bit ahead of us   when it comes to, you know, sustainability, but I  think, we'll see it here as well. I think there's   a lot of hoteliers’ stroke operators that want  to come across as environmentally friendly,   so, yes! We'll go away from using a plastic  card and you can use your mobile phone,   but in real terms they're actually doing  it for the cost saving of the plastic.   Now, you buy a plastic card and just  an arbitrary figure, it's a dollar,   you can get a lot cheaper than that, let's  just go for a dollar, now your average night,   say, is what two nights or three nights… well,  let's make Math’s easy and says one night stay,   okay! So, that's 365 bits of plastic that you  have to issue, you probably receive 50 of those   back. The other 50% go in the bin or they go in  the briefcase, you take them home with you or  

they just don't get recovered. So, all of a  sudden every room is costing you what do we   say 365 divided by two let's call it 180, so 180  dollars per room per year. Yep, that adds up. Now,   even if like that's worst case scenario you're  saying 50% to that, you know, is realistic.   So, let's bring that down to what we are saying  eighty dollars per room that's a hell of a lot of   money that a property has to spend just to keep  the bits of plastic flowing out the reception.   Now, Bluetooth what other locking vendors  do is, you actually buy the Bluetooth token,   yeah, so that's the token that gets  issued to the phone and they charge you an   annual fee for that token, but you can  use that token as often as you like,   and this seems to be the average of around $25  a year per room for the token so all of a sudden   you're at $60 worth of plastic now you're at $25  worth of token you're saving money and you then   multiply that to 100 beds or 300 bed hotel you are  saving a lot of money. So, yes there is this, oh!   Let's be environmentally friendly let's get rid of  plastic but there is also quite a big operational   cost that isn't really understood or talked about.  I'll probably get shot by my peers in the industry  

for putting it out there, so look the Bluetooth  there is a couple of pushes for it. (1) As I say   is the operational cost (2) is the environmental  friendly element, and (3) is the wow factor. So,   the problem is the app development and that's  the big cost and that's when nobody really wants   to send the money, so where is the future  going from here I suppose is really where   our conversation had we had after the last  meeting, it's back to NFC, believe it or not.  

So, what's happened is Apple have now  released the NFC functionality in their phone,   all right, so all of a sudden you now don't need  to develop an app, you don't need to host an app,   you don't need to do anything because the  phone already has that inherent capability.   Now, the downside to the industry is that if you  went for an RFID lock it didn't necessarily mean   it was NFC enabled, so all of these hoteliers  that have gone for RFID have upgraded to BLE   will now have to spend a little bit more money  again on their lock to upgrade the RFID to NFC.   And, are we at a point yet where we know that, you  know, NFC will be the winning technology always,   you know, jury's still out as … either working  with Apple it is a pilot that's my understanding.   Yes. There are obviously, I think, it was  Floor Bleeker from the CIO of the course said,   “Look it's a great step in the right  direction.”, but obviously it only caters to 50%  

of our guests, you know, what do we do about  Android guests, and the other question was,   you know, what will the business model be,  you know, what are Apple going to charge   a hotel. Yeah! Are they going to, you know, charge  per room, per month fee, or is it going to be   a per entry fee which could add up to be quite a  substantial cost. Yeah, and this is the way the   whole industry goes. It's this incremental  charges and yes, so NFC is now available,   or it has been available since 2012 to 2014, but  it couldn't be adopted and now can be adopted.  

You're right, nobody really yet understands from  Apple how they're going to make their charges.   we understand from, you know, inside the industry  that they are doing it on a per transaction basis,   so each time a guest presents their phone to the  door, Apple are going to get a little, you know,   half a cent or however much they get out of it,  which then is going to build up very quickly,   you know, rather than per each, say, it's per use.  So, these are still questions that aren't 100%   clear in the industry yet. The good things are  with NFC is, obviously, because it's an inherent   part of the iPhone, Android as well and because  it's very low energy it actually continues to   work even when the phone is flat. So, your phone  goes flat you've still got three hours of NFC use.   Yup, it also means you haven't got to touch  the phone, so you can walk up to the door and   automatically you can open it when you get close  to it, bearing in mind the NFC is very very close.  

It's almost touching the door, so it's not as  if you're going to open everyone else's door,   you have to go up to your own individual reader,  be within 10 centimeters of it, and it'll open.   You haven't got to get the phone out you haven't  got to open an app you haven't got to launch.   So, as long as it's in your pocket a little  bit like your card literally these days…   Yeah, it effectively exactly the  same technology it's in your pocket,   it goes up to the door, you touch the door,  and that's what releases it. Now, there will be  

options on that security that it might be like  when you're going to pay through Apple wallets   where you go up to the reader and you have  to present your thumb to it or you have to   face id it, it may be the same. So, you may still  need the operator who may still want you to get   your phone out to use it but it won't be in the  same way as you have currently with Bluetooth,   where you have to get the phone out, unlock  it, swipe through to the relevant app,   open the app, choose the room, click on open,  then present your phone. So, it's nice to have   but again is the guests going to be comfortable  doing that each time they want to go to the room,   and these are the drawbacks with BLE, it was  being sold as a great thing and you know,   it is great and as much as you can open  the door without having a bit of plastic,   but operationally is it actually the best for  the hotel industry and that comes back to what   we're talking about earlier on a separate  discussion over Kiosks(displays info), it   really does depend on your guest profile, are you  a business traveler? Are you a holiday traveler?   Are you a family? Are you staying at a resort?  And, every single property will need a different   solution to what is the best way of opening  the door. Yeah, I think I always say Daryl,  

you know, you've got to offer guest choice it's  not a one-size-fits-all approach there will still   be guests for some time, that are not that tech  savvy and won't be using Apple wallet, they won't   be using Google pay, or whatever it is. There will  always be a percentage of guests that will require   a traditional form of access to their room that  we haven't touched on and I think it is worth   highlighting and I see it as, sort of, one of the  stumbling blocks for the adoption of Bluetooth Low   Energy, is the fact that it does require a guest  to download an app to their phone. So, you know,   in North America, loyalty programs  seem to work extremely well,   you know, if you're hire or Hilton you've got  plenty of choices and property to stay at. You   can be quite loyal, you have downloaded the app  you can take advantage of mobile key, but here in   Australia with less, you know, sites to visit in  a sense we haven't seen that sort of loyalty. So,   you might stay at Hyde in Melbourne, and Hilton  in Adelaide, and then Marriott in Brisbane.  

So, you don't want three apps in a sense. So,  I think NFC is a step in the right direction   from that point of view, certainly, right?  Yeah, look that's a very valid point, and   each hotel operator will develop their app their  own way, with their own features, and everything   else which does then mean that if you're not  as loyal as the American market is and you're   going to jump from one brand to another brand or  operator to another operator, yeah, you're right,   you're going to have to each time download a new  app which in itself isn't a problem, but whenever   you download an app you then go to register,  you've got to pass all your personal details,   you've got to do everything else and then you get  the myriad of emails and subscription details and   everything else… I get enough emails in the day  as it is without downloading one specifically for   a brand that they're going to bombard me with  advertising now you can normally opt out of it   but I don't know about your brand, but if  I've downloaded I have to stay at a hotel for   whatever reasons, the day I check out I normally  delete it, just delete it, and then you know   because I'm not going to need it again, or  if I need it again I'll download it again,   it takes seconds to download. So, you're right,  if NFC wins the race then the whole app goes out   the window because it's the inherent app that's  built into the iPhone or the Android device. It does just mean, unfortunately, that all  the hotel operators that have now gone down   a certain route effectively are going to have  to change their hardware again on the door   to be able to accommodate NFC. So, it's going  to be a big brave person to make a decision   once they've gone down one route to another  one. Yeah, really good… I'm still not 100%  

sure which way it's going to go now this again  comes back to why are we doing this because   the other element that is never really talked  about is the energy management in the room. Sorry   to bring it back to another subject, but it's  all relevant only in as much as probably 80 to   90 percent of the hotels in Australia still have  a wall reader inside the room to turn the lights   and the AC on because it was a legal requirement  for energy efficiencies. Yep. Now, the moment   you say goodbye to the plastic because you're  using a mobile phone because the wow factor,   you now have no way for the guests to turn the  lights and the AC on. I've seen that there was a…   I won't mention the client, but just pre-covered  they started using mobile key for guests   and when they kicked off they had about 10 rooms  a day that they had to go up and they put the key   card into the slot before the guest's arrival then  it by the time of the COVID hit, I think it was 40   rooms a day that staff would have to go up and  in a sense pre-prepare the room for the arriving   guest which just doesn't make sense, right.  So, it's good… Yeah, you're 100% right . . .

2022-06-09 21:38

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