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Smart buildings 22/05/2018

DOORDECK: Smartphone-Based Access Control

John Pownall is Head of Business Development with Doordeck, a London company offering access control solutions via unique software. The company will be at Viva Technology 2018 with ENGIE, and John answered our questions.

Q: Hello John. Can you briefly present the company?

Of course! William Bainborough, our CEO, worked in access control for sixteen years and realised the limitations of existing systems - things like keycards, fobs, lockboxes with codes, etc. - particularly noticing their lack of flexibility. So he got together with Michael Barnwell, who had ten years’ experience building SaaS products (Software as a Service), and together they founded Doordeck in 2015 – with the simple premise that you could swap keycards and fobs for the one card you’re already carrying: your smartphone. The team has grown since then, of course: currently we are a team of eight, from six different countries.

Q: And what are the particularly innovative aspects of your product?

First of all, it's a software-only integration – which means it's not necessary to remove or install any new hardware on the doors. Secondly, we’ve developed that integration to work with the most popular existing access control systems currently on the market. We can install Doordeck remotely, usually in less than an hour, so people can continue using cards and fobs, or start using their cellphone via the Doordeck app straight away, without any downtime or disruption, and the system can then be controlled from anywhere and any device. It was also the first keyless solution to use native NFC on iPhone. And then you can add or remove authorisations, issue time-limited visitor passes, manage opening hours, etc... all in real time!

Q: What is your story with ENGIE so far?

The first contact was at Demo Day 2017. Currently, we’re working together to develop a pilot scheme for access control on building sites.

Q: What will you be presenting at Vivatech?

We are going to focus on our hardware integrations, showing how we can convert an existing system to work with Doordeck in a matter of moments - plus a visual display demonstrating how everything works.

Q: Why are you participating in Vivatech with ENGIE?

First of all, because we are proud to have been invited! But the keyword for us is exposure, in particular to the European market; we have so far mainly focused on the UK. We are hoping for sales enquiries, of course, and some contacts would be nice in view of our Series A investment round, planned for the end of 2018.

Q: For you, the future means... ?

We’ve discovered that Doordeck has a huge appeal, especially the fact that it can be retro-fitted to existing hardware, unlike any other ‘smart lock’ on the market. So the future for us will mean developing more integrations for more manufacturers, working directly with some of those manufacturers to become part of their own ecosystems, and of course closing our Series A round to make the Doordeck platform even better.

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