Part 5 on Innovation: Truly Wireless and Smart Edge Devices.
Before we start, let's align on what I am talking about: true wireless. Not the "wire from a router to a hub then wireless down to the devices" architecture our industry has adopted. I am talking about true wireless in the device at the edge. OK... now that we are aligned.
Sure, wired systems are far from going away. For new construction, it will be the preferred "guaranteed" way for communication to happen, and it will also be the way devices on the same system, controllers to readers, will be designed.
But as the ecosystem outside of our industry becomes more important, the market continues to go more mainstream, causing us to go downmarket to serve this customer, and the retrofit/remodel market explodes (it is starting to happen now), the demand for wireless devices will increase the innovation and development prioritization.
The question is: Are you set up to take advantage of it, or do legacy platforms and budgetary constraints cripple you?
Our industry will not be the only one able to avoid the wireless trends. Here are some reasons why pressure will be put upon our industry, unlike years past:
- A significant player in our industry will see the opening, the opportunity, and will do it.
- Same with an up and comer manufacturer in our industry. They will look to differentiate with it.
- The Mega Techs are influencing the adoption and will drive development around it (CHIP and Sidewalk). They will market the user experience from it, causing end users to ask for it. Yes, it is focused on consumer right now, but it will come to the commercial market.
- The chip manufacturers are pushing it (Semtech with LoRa) at all levels of the market.
- A company that uses access control and locks but sees it as a feature of a much larger value proposition, like Verkada, will introduce a wireless lock or controller.
- Startups will design with it from the beginning as they are not iterating off of old platforms.
- 5G influence.
This leads me to the need for smarter edge devices. I am speaking to the readers, controllers, and locks. We are starting to see better attention to these devices' due to conversations around artificial intelligence and the desire for a more fluid at the door experience. Still, we need to reimagine what we are building. If we take a software-centric and, even better, a user experience-centric approach of which the hardware then supports, we would make something different than we see today. We spend too much time having a tug of war with yesterday's tech and tomorrow tech. At some point, we need to shift to prioritizing tomorrow over yesterday. We need more sensors at the edge, more computing power, and flexibility. More or less, we need to adopt an Internet of Things mentality. Just like in the wireless conversation earlier, the pressures to evolve will force the change.
Another question, will you lead, or will you follow?