At the press conference last month, Tokyo-based IoT (Internet of Things) product developer Photosynth announced that it will start shipping a new smart lock product called Akerun on 23 April. They have been accepting pre-orders on their website since almost one month ago. The product will be available for 36,000 yen (about $300) excluding consumption tax. The company aims to sell 10,000 devices in the fiscal year 2015.
Akerun is a smart lock that you can attach over an existing thumb turn-type door lock, controllable from smartphones via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). It has also the automatic lock function, will automatically detect whether the door is open and lock it when needed just in case that a user forgot to do so. Photosynth is currently applying a patent for the product as an attachable smart lock system as well as the aforementioned automatic lock function.
Users can generate spare keys via the mobile app; these keys can be shared with other selected persons using communication channels such as Line or Facebook messaging apps.
The target of the product includes hotels, real estate agencies, and shared rooms which typically need to give multiple persons access to a room. This spare key function also supports one-time password and designation of key activation date and time.
Akerun allows users to record room entry and exit logs, so it can be integrated with other services to monitor their children’s home return hours or manage attendance at companies. In partnership with Docomo Ventures, Japan’s largest property search portal company Next (TSE:2120), and Japan’s leading property developer Mitsui Fudosan (TSE:8801), Photosynth will launch derived services based on the smart lock solution, such as 39hotels (allowing hotel guests to enter their room using their BLE-enabled smartphone), Smart Nairan (real estate mediation), and short-time rentals of vacant office spaces.
Regarding future plans, Photosynth CEO Kodai Kawase said that they aim to make the device be something more than a smart lock, like a ‘smart lock robot.’ In the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, we could hear many announcements made in the smart home sector. So it will be interesting to see how Akerun can expand business range beyond more than that of a smart lock.
Translated by Kenji Hayakawa via Conyac crowdsourced translation service
Edited by Masaru Ikeda and “Tex” Pomeroy