“Smart Ki is the premium security version of Kiwi”
The lift company Schindler Germany and Berlin prop-tech company KIWI have entered into a strategic cooperation project and have unveiled a digital key safe in the form of the Schindler Smart Ki.
An interview with Sönke Mestemacher, Service & Digital Innovation Management at Schindler Germany and KIWI managing director Karsten Nölling.
Schindler and KIWI have developed a joint product in the form of the Schindler Smart Ki. It is a further development of the tried-and-tested keyless KIWI door access system. How did this cooperation come about?
Sönke Mestemacher: The basic question for us was how to make access to the building even more efficient and more secure for our technicians. Previously, this had occurred using a key safe on the outer wall of the building with all the associated problems. You can solve some of these problems by fitting the safe with a digital lock. We do this too. But we have now solved all of the associated problems by making the safe superfluous and regulating access otherwise. This is how we came across KIWI, with which we not only share a similar customer pool, but also have a wide range of overlapping concerns.
So what are the disadvantages of a key safe?
Karsten Nölling: The same as those of any door lock. On the one hand, there’s the question of security: keys can be copied, keys can get lost, after a short time, I don’t even know anymore who can access to the key safe, because by handing out the key to the safe I’ve also given up control of the key. On the other hand, the subject of efficiency: people keep forgetting to return the key to the safe. This then leads to waiting and travel times with a great many key transfers. All of this can be done very differently today, thanks to digitalisation and that’s exactly what KIWI provides: a solution where you can open a door without first having to collect a key: digital key management.
Sönke Mestemacher: Sometimes, you not only have one, but several key safes on a wall. Not just Schindler needs access to the building, but also other service providers, like the waste disposal service or the post office. This is only going to increase in the future - just think of all of the delivery services. This is why we need a solution that provides an individually identified group of users with access to the building and then also withdraws it again as needed.
A digital key.
Karsten Nölling: Exactly. KIWI’s basic idea of course is to put physical keys behind us. For cars, this is now a matter of course. After all, who still wants to insert a car key in a car door nowadays? That sounds really outdated. So why do I still do it with other doors? By contrast, a digital key has a whole series of advantages, both for residents as well as for the residential industry and service providers. It is above all a security feature, because as an owner I often today do not even know who has a key and as a result has access to my doors. It is also convenient for the residents: with a child on your arm and holding shopping, you simply push the front door open, because the transponder in your pocket has already unlocked it. Or alternatively with the KIWI app open the door from anywhere.
If you can already open doors digitally with KIWI, why did you then develop Schindler Smart Ki?
Karsten Nölling: Schindler Smart Ki is the security premium version of the KIWI system. KIWI is mounted invisibly behind the doorbell in the form of a sensor at the front door of the building. At the moment the doorbell stops working because of a power failure, KIWI no longer works either. Fortunately, this seldom occurs in Germany. But when there is a power failure, it is possible that the lift may get stuck and people have to be rescued. To enable the technician nevertheless to get into the building in order to be able to perform an emergency rescue, we would have to expand the KIWI in a way that ensures that even in the event of a power failure the functionality of the system is guaranteed.
Sönke Mestemacher: Consequently, we install the KIWI system in the Schindler Smart Ki with battery buffering, just as we do with our emergency call systems. Moreover, thanks to our national service network, we are able to monitor this technology and keep it running – irrespective of whether we have a contract for lift maintenance in this building or not. It doesn’t even matter whether there is a lift or not. This is because even if there's no need to rescue people, the additional security aspect of the Schindler Smart Ki convinces many customers.
So Schindler Smart Ki is a KIWI system with a battery?
Karsten Nölling: There is a second important functionality. Since KIWI only activates the buzzer, a door with a conventional lock cannot be opened if someone has locked it properly. Even if this isn’t allowed and the fire brigade firmly advises against this, it’s still normal in many residential buildings to lock the building door after 8.00 p.m. This is why the Schindler Smart Ki has a lock safeguard that prevents the door being locked from the inside. Either we install – this is what we recommend – a lock that can also be opened from the inside when locked or we prevent that the door can be locked with the locking bolt through partial bonding of the locking plate. This makes the Schindler Smart Ki even more secure than the KIWI solution. And in the event of fire, residents do not face the risk that their escape route ends at a locked front door.
What do you expect from the strategic cooperation?
Karsten Nölling: It’s great for us to work with a trustworthy and innovative market leader like Schindler. This trust factor is naturally also transferred to the industry. Moreover, thanks to the joint distribution strategy, we can reach more potential customers.
Sönke Mestemacher: I think strategic partnerships and alliances are extremely important in the digital world. KIWI and Schindler have a similar group of customers and overlapping joint concerns. Moreover, with Schindler Smart Ki we have contributed an innovative idea that we actually developed jointly and can apply widely via our distribution structure. And that irrespectively of whether a lift is involved, but instead wherever a customer would like to have it. A win-win situation.