Noki generates buzz with Europe-focused “smart” lock system

noki-lockThanks to the power of smartphones, leaving the home no longer means that we have to wonder whether we left the stove or lights on. German startup Noki has taken the age-old concept of the lock and looks to bring it into the modern age with a device that enables smartphone users to remotely check the status of their locks and to adjust them as necessary.

The Noki Smartlock is a simple black box that attaches to most current European locks, which ostensibly makes it pretty easy to set-up. Setup requires users to simply fix 3 screws, insert the key, and then insert the box on top of that. The startup claims that the battery in the device is good for up to 10 months.

The device takes advantage of Bluetooth and WiFi to communicate with the user’s phone through apps for iOS and Android. One of the advantages of Bluetooth is that it allows the device to sense when the user’s phone approaches, automatically locking the door after the person has left and unlocking it when they return. In addition to the device attached to the door, users can insert a “Bridge” into a wall-socket and take advantage of local WiFi for long-range control.

It has typically held that you would need to give your key (or make a spare for) your family or friends, but one of the advantages of this system is that users can offer access to the door by sending an activation code and then restricting it again later.

Those interested in picking up one of these locks will have to wait a little while, as they are not expected to ship until December. The cheaper, discounted devices for Kickstarter backers are almost sold out, but it is still possible to pick up a “combo” (Keyturner and WLAN bridge) for 199 Euro. The company tells me that they are currently planning to sell the Keyturner for 149 Euro and the combo for 229 Euro.

Noki got their initial backing in the form of 400,000 Euro from Up to Eleven. And then, like other hardware startups, they have turned to Kickstarter in order to obtain feedback regarding the design of the device and gauge consumer interest. It has proven to be a wise choice, as they set out to raise roughly $140,000, but have already flown past that, picking up just over $235,000 from 1,189 backers with another 37 days left to go in the campaign.

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