How often do you reach home after a long day only to realise that you forgot your keys and no one is home? Before changing to an RFID lock, there were so many occasions where I had to break into my own home. With my new RFID lock, I can rest assured that I will never be locked out since I keep the RFID card in my phone casing. However, the card suffers from the same security risks as conventional keys since the card can be stolen. Additionally, replacing the card is tedious and expensive.
Putting the RFID card in my phone casing is a primitive form of turning my phone into a smart key and is equivalent to having a slimmer and smaller conventional key glued to my phone. I had the pleasure of speaking with Gavin Lum from Gogo App, to learn about how my phone can become an actual smart key.
goDoor is a smart ID management and door access system that allows users to be uniquely and securely identified through their smart phones.
Trends in the region
The smart phones that we own today have more computing power than all of NASA when it launched the first men into the moon (Northeastern University, 2016). However Mr Lum has observed that most of us are not using our smart phones to achieve moon landings and are underutilising the potential of our smart phones for productivity. For example, by 2019, mobile boarding passes will still only represent one in three airline-issued boarding passes (Emarketer, 2015).
In 2015, Singapore generated 7.67 million tonnes of waste up from 7.51 million tonnes in 2014 (Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, 2016). At the current rate, space at the Pulau Semakau landfill is expected to run out between 2035 and 2045 (The Straits Times, 2016). Therefore Mr Lum stressed that there is a need to reduce wastage that comes from physical keys be it conventional keys or RFID cards. Most of us own a set of keys for different purposes and when a lock is replaced, the old key becomes a form of waste. Waste from disposed metals are the second biggest source of waste generation in Singapore and thus we must do our part to reduce wastage that comes from physical keys (NEA, 2016).
Additionally, Mr Lum shared that Gogo App does not face much competition. The smart lock space is dominated by North America and there are not many Singaporean or Asian companies in the ring. As a testament to this; in 2017 the North American smart home security market hauled in USD 4.52 billion in revenue while the Asian market only earned USD 0.86 billion in revenue (Statista, 2018).
Riding on the trends
Utilising the full potential of smart phone technology, Smart phones with the goDoor app can seamlessly interact with a system to identify the user, authorise and grant entry. Additionally, the use of the smart phone as an Active ID device enables integration with other functions and features such as lighting and security surveillance system. Mr Lum gave an example that in the event of a fire, having this system can be a lifesaver since it is able to track employee movement and will greatly aid in accounting for staff and organising rescue efforts.
With the goDoor app, there is no need for physical keys and thus if the locks are changed, no waste is generated. This will significantly reduce waste especially for office towers with hundreds of doors.
While there are not many Asian companies in the Smart Lock industry, a market report by Transparency Market Research has predicted that demand for smart locks will grow at a significant rate in the Asia Pacific region. In particular, India will drive smart lock growth in the region due to the Indian government’s plan for developing smart cities all over India. The report also found that smart locks are experiencing intensified demand from the Asia Pacific region’s growing industrial and commercial sectors (GlobeNewswire, 2018). In a report by Allied Market Research, the global market size for smart locks was valued at $416 million in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.4% from 2017-2023 and reach 1.175 billion by 2023. Asia Pacific is expected to lead this growth with the highest CAGR of 18.2% from 2017-2023. (Allied Market Research, 2018) In preparation for this boom in demand, Gogo App is moving fast in preparation to clinch a first mover advantage in the region and Mr Lum shared that the company is already test bedding their technology at the JTC launchpad.
Mr Lum feels that the JTC launchpad has been a conducive place for test-bedding. In addition to subsidised rental, the JTC launchpad houses a multitude of start-ups and this enables the sharing of ideas. Also with so many start-ups in the area, new inventions are observed everyday and this air of creativity and imagination has the effect of motivating Mr Lum to innovate as well. However Mr Lum feels that the experience at the launchpad can be improved by expanding or improving the way space is utilised at Timbre+, the “hip canteen” at the Launchpad, since it is always too crowded during lunch time.
To grow, start-ups will need to recruit talent even as Singapore faces a labour crunch. According to a study by Oxford Economics, Singapore’s labour supply will decrease by 1.7 percentage points every year until 2026 (The Straits Times, 2017). Mr Lum shared that he joined Gogo App because he was attracted by the idea and saw potential in it after getting to know the start-up better. Working in a start-up can be much more exciting than in an MNC, but start-ups need to project the excitement of working in their start-up and spread awareness of their ideas to convince young talents like Mr Lum that working in a start-up is a worthy investment of time.
With regards to attracting young talent, SPRING Singapore has a SME Talent programme that connects students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Polytechnics and Universities. Under this programme, eligible SMEs offer internships to local students from the aforementioned educational institutions and receive up to 70% of funding support covering the internship stipend (SPRING, 2017). To further enhance the internship experience, SMEs can also engage a Skills Future Mentor who will help the participating SMEs build up their systems and processes for learning and development in addition to coaching managers and supervisors to improve training delivery (SPRING, 2017).
Call to Singaporean companies
Singapore has been ranked as the second smartest city in the world and first in Asia (Forbes, 2017) which places our nation in an advantageous position to lead smart city development in Asia. China is developing more than 500 smart cities (Chinadaily, 2017), India is developing more than 100 smart cities (The Economic Times, 2018) and almost all ASEAN countries have plans for smart city development (The Straits Times, 2018). Therefore Singaporean companies need to follow the example of Gogo App and innovate solutions that can be integrated into smart city visions and in this way, ride on the massive growth in the region.
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