Tapkey Blazes the Trail for Smart Access Control with the BL652 Bluetooth 5 Module
In searching for a Bluetooth solution, Tapkey chose the BL652 Series module from Laird Connectivity. It provided a number of specific features which simplified the design of their new smart reader device. The BL652 featured an integrated antenna, which removed the need for an external antenna with its own regulatory requirements.
Introduction: Old Problems Seeking New Solutions
As our world becomes increasingly dependent on high-tech solutions to old problems, the word “security” is frequently associated with cybersecurity. But cybersecurity depends on the foundation of physical security. No amount of software security can defeat a bad actor with in-person access. Doors that lock, machinery that operates with a key, cabinetry that closes with a padlock – any system that lacks physical security is vulnerable.
The old way of managing physical security – tumbler-lock keys, lists of authorized personnel, and more – don’t provide the kind of agility that we know can be provided by the IoT. Tapkey is a tech startup based in Vienna that wanted to solve this problem with a 21st century solution. Their vision is to provide a smart, comprehensive solution to these real-world problems, a solution worthy of the demands of modern security and access.
The problems administrators face with regards to security and access are numerous. If an employee is terminated from a facility, it may be very important for admins to disallow them access to locations or assets at that time. It may be necessary to lock down equipment from a user who is no longer certified to use it. It may be useful to track and log all users who entered a supply room to keep track of who has access to inventory.
All of these problems already have old-fashioned solutions: keys, lists, and personnel physically in place. Tapkey envisioned a solution that empowers site administrators to track, grant, and revoke access permissions in real-time, anywhere in the world. They would provide an ecosystem, software API, Mobile SDK, Lock SDK, and hardware reference to help device manufacturers easily integrate their solution. Importantly, they would also provide a reference design, with intuitive hardware and software that revealed a foolproof path to smart locking.
The Solution: A Quality Module from a Trusted Partner
Tapkey’s solution would need to rely on one principle that defines nearly all traditional locks and security: physical access. One way to manage that electronically is to leverage a wireless protocol that requires physical proximity to trigger an action: Near Field Communication (NFC).
Bluetooth is a great alternative to NFC. It’s more convenient for users since they don’t have to hold their smartphones that close to locks in order to manage and open them.
In searching for a Bluetooth solution, Tapkey chose the BL652 Series module from Laird Connectivity. It provided a number of specific features which simplified the design of their new smart reader device. The BL652 featured an integrated antenna, which removed the need for an external antenna with its own regulatory requirements. Since Laird Connectivity provides a wide range of certification and Bluetooth SIG approval with our modules, Tapkey saved time and money that would otherwise have been spent on antenna design, regulatory testing, and Bluetooth SIG application.
Laird Connectivity’s reputation of creating high-quality wireless modules assured Tapkey that their device would be reliable with repeated use, producing a higher quality smart lock for their customers. The large number of GPIOs provided on the module also meant that Tapkey could wire in lots of other hardware to be controlled by the BL652 in operation. Additionally, the BL652 contains Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52832 chipset, so Tapkey was able to develop a full Bluetooth 5 + NFC solution in the familiar Nordic SDK.
Tapkey was also able to rely on the availability of the BL652 supply during the manufacturing process. A high volume of inventory meant Tapkey could reliably count on supply as they brought their smart reader to market.
The Results: A Picture-Perfect Blueprint for Tapkey’s Customer Base
Tapkey’s Smart Reader and associated smart locking hardware is beautiful and functional on its own. It also is demonstrative to Tapkey’s customer base who are looking to integrate smart locks into their own systems. The Smart Reader gives OEMs a reliable, proven path to smart locking any number of things. It provides an easy to understand blueprint that shows how hardware manufacturers and systems integrators can leverage Tapkey’s hardware and software to dramatically reduce their time to market.
Tapkey provides more than hardware and software. They provide an open platform, API, and the tools needed to make smart security and access easier than ever. Their customers can take advantage of a fully-featured application environment to bring smart locking to more devices, and do it easier than ever before.