Last week, as my family and I were excitedly watching the images of Richard Branson and his crew penetrate the edge of space. Amidst all the excitement, I couldn’t help but wonder about the countless hours of persistent work and relentless attempts at perfecting the launch sequence that must have led to the success of Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flight ever to breach the space periphery. The same week Tesla announced its new release of Full Self-Driving capabilities which makes it two future defining events in the same week.
At OLOID, the last week was also very momentous for us – we announced our very own industry disrupting product which promises to bring about a paradigm shift for the physical security industry. Our all-new product, Oloid Software Smart Reader, is being showcased at the ISC West Conference that is being held this week at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Physical Access Control Systems (PACS) are one of those critical pieces of building infrastructure that we use every day, but never pay much attention to. It is a hardware centric market riddled with on-prem applications, closet hardware, and hardwired badge readers. Almost every vendor in the market offers a hardware solution that needs to be installed and maintained by third party security professionals.
Transformation is brought about in industries when existing beliefs are challenged by next generation products (as Peter Theil describes in his book, Zero to One, as “what important truth do very few people agree with?”). For example, one of the beliefs that Tesla challenged was that cars needed to have physical dials and buttons. Tesla replaced those with soft buttons on a tablet and relegated the hardware (chassis and motor) to a platform that was controlled by software intelligence. At OLOID, we have set out with the ambitious goal to bring a similar “software eats the world” transformation to the physical access control industry. We are challenging two widely held assumptions in this market: one, that custom hardware is necessary to have a robust security solution, and two, that access control systems require professional installation and cannot be self-installed.
Today, customers who want to modernize their PACS are replacing their custom hardware solution for new custom hardware. This is akin to upgrading an ICE car equipped with physical keys with an ICE car with keyless entry and sophisticated dials and buttons. It is a better ICE car but still relies on the need to upgrade hardwares to deliver new features in functionality. In contrast, Tesla offers a simple over-the-air software upgrade. The same concept applies to Oloid’s software readers.
OLOID’s Software Smart Reader is a mobile app that turns points of physical entry into points of intelligence. It runs on standard off-the-shelf tablets and smartphones and can be mounted on any door or turnstile to perform the function that a typical “hard” badge or mobile reader would provide. While OLOID Software Reader is equivalent to Tesla’s touchscreen console, just like Tesla’s intelligence in the cloud, OLOID is paired with an identity, access, authorization, and data integration layer in the cloud.
As our customers are re-opening their workspaces, we are receiving requests ranging from mask detection, vaccination status check to desk reservation checks at the points of entry. And guess what, OLOID has been able to support all these new features by simply releasing newer mobile app versions that our customers can download on their software readers.
A software-centric solution is a truly “future proof” solution, which is critical in today’s uncertain times. Combine the above benefits with cost savings of not having to rewire or have a professional installer replace the existing hardware. With OLOID, our customers can simply buy a smart device themselves, download the OLOID app and start offering a modern and frictionless experience to their employees.
Transformational technologies not only do a better job than traditional ones, but they are also “transformational” because they unlock capabilities and features that could not be imagined with the older generation of products. Every OLOID enabled smart door is now equipped with a tablet with a screen, mic and camera which lends itself for interactive features such as intercom – think equivalent of Amazon ring or the office. Imagine talking to your badge reader – that would demonstrate the contrast of the world of possibilities with a general-purpose device like a tablet versus a custom hardware designed to do only one thing for 10+ years. In addition, the camera could be programmed to detect tailgaters, capture anonymous occupancy counters, and issue automated alerts. The possibilities are endless.
Along the way, there are going to be challenges to overcome – both in terms of building hardware grade performance and reliability in software and to bring about a mindset change, but what keeps our team charged up is the vision of the new world we are building towards. A world where every office door or entry could provide a frictionless and intuitive service which goes beyond just opening the door.