Smart lock developed in Estonia conquers the European Airbnb market
Valnes, a manufacturer of smart access systems, and Krakul, a developer of IoT solutions, have cooperated to produce an online battery-powered smart lock. The lock, which works with a PIN code, is of great interest to professional residential real estate managers in European metropoles and Airbnb-type rental apartments, who need to give customers remote access to the apartment and therefore prefer a PIN code lock system instead of the door card solution used in hotels.
Taavi Kalvik, Manager of Electronic Products at Valnes: “A guest can book a room just a few minutes before the accommodation request. It’s unthinkable that the host should drive from one end of the city to the other just to give the client the key. The demand for technology simplifying real estate management has grown, creating good opportunities for exporting our solutions."
Valnes is exporting smart locks to Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, and the UK. "Battery power locks are easier to install, which reduces setup effort. A well-positioned offering will enable us to establish a strong foothold in the accommodation market of the major cities in Central Europe. We have targeted London because there is a very active residential real estate market there," added Kalvik.
According to Jaan Hendrik Murumets, CEO of Krakul, the cooperation between Valnes and Krakul in developing IoT solutions is an excellent example of how Estonian companies can increase their export capacity by developing smart solutions. "Our cooperation started many years ago with the development of a cloud-based e-student card for Tallinn-based schools. We have developed several smart products in cooperation with Valnes. We believe that with the new smart lock targeted to the mass market, they will be able to become a leading player in the market of entrance systems for guest apartments in Europe," said Murumets.
The development of the new product started in February this year. "The client's goal was to develop a more compact and easier-to-install product that would be suitable for large cities. The solution's novelty is battery power, which enables the customer to gain market share in new customer segments in export markets. The development was swift — if the customer contributes to the development process with his business know-how, then we can reach a working solution in a short time," added Erki Koplimets, Krakul's electronics engineer.
"We expect rapid growth in the sale of smart locks. Urbanization is a global trend; populations in metropoles are growing, and so is the demand for housing. Owners of rental apartments prefer smart locks because they allow for more flexible use," confirmed Kalvik. "For example, you can assign your code to each tenant, which expires after a certain time, and set a specific time when the door code given to the cleaning staff is valid."
"Professional residential real estate operators see a growing demand for homes where residents are offered comfort services. For example, apartment buildings have gyms, saunas, co-working rooms or cinemas, and similar to hotels, other leisure opportunities are offered so that residents can get all the services they need close to home," added Kalvik.
The electronics designed by Krakul are manufactured at the Incap Estonia factory in Saaremaa, and Valnes has received support for developing the product from Enterprise Estonia.
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