Housing providers invest in mobile access

Housing providers invest in mobile access



Reports significant benefits

Mobile keys are well on their way to the UK, and housing providers are jumping in line to simplify their property management processes and offer great benefits to their colleagues and customers. 

​​Technology has made our lives better. Yet, people still stand outside of buildings looking for keys or spend hours at home waiting for deliveries. Businesses also experience the same problem: they don’t have keys. Lock companies address the problem by digitizing their locks, making it easier to handle access. And with those locks being digitized — now comes the mobile key.

Mobile keys are coming

Mobile keys have been gaining popularity slowly for years now, but they hit new levels of visibility and accessibility this year. With the increased popularity of smart home gadgets, such as smart locks, and with Apple recently launching Apple Home Keys to the Apple Wallet in their latest keynote – it’s safe to say that physical keys will soon become relics, and mobile keys are coming.

What’s so great about mobile keys?

There are two main areas in which mobile keys have pure advantages over traditional physical keys: mobile keys add convenience to your life, and give you that extra layer of security. Some of the benefits are more obvious, like eliminating the need for physical keys, ultimately eliminating the risk of lost or copied keys — and getting alerts on your phone when someone enters your door.

Mobile keys let you share keys with others as easily as sending a text message, making it more convenient to share keys with family and friends - or sharing a time-limited key with a carer or cleaner, just to mention a few of the benefits.

Benefits for tenants and residents:

No more lost or forgotten keys:
Eliminate the need for physical keys or fobs. A phone is usually the last thing you lose and if this did happen, a physical key can still be used.

Flexibility and freedom:
Through the ability to share keys with others, tenants and residents no longer need to hand out physical keys to people needing access, or stay at home just to let someone in. Time-limited keys can be shared with carers, contractors, family and friends.

Increased safety:
By receiving alerts when someone uses their key, like knowing your child has returned home from school safely, or your grandmother has returned from her walk. Unlike physical keys, this gives you full control ove who has keys to your front door from the mobile key app.

What does that mean for the real estate market and for housing providers? 

Mobile keys and digital access solutions bring massive potential and benefits to the real estate market. What’s great about mobile keys is that they equally provide value for customers and residents and housing providers alike, by giving safer, more convenient and more sustainable ways of handling access.

The benefits for housing providers and property managers are enormous when you look at the challenges they face on a regular basis. On a day to day basis, mobile keys can remove hassle such as keeping track of hundreds, if not thousands of keys — or save time from not having to pass keys around to employees and the repair teams.

Huge benefits for void and property management processes

The void management process is complicated, and relies heavily on multiple people involved to run through it smoothly. Key issues can disrupt this process easily.

Mobile keys allow building managers to grant or revoke access or view activity from anywhere without the hassle, expense, and security risk of other types of networked access solutions. On a larger scale, mobile keys make life easier for housing providers, by simplifying and effectivising key management and distribution, ultimately solving major access management challenges - and offering operational efficiency instead.

The costs of handling keys and access are enormous. Not only in terms of money, but also time, security, employee satisfaction and environmental pollution. Using mobile keys to manage properties will increase the safety, lead to operational efficiency and secure an industry-leading position in regards to ESG.

Benefits of mobile keys for housing providers include:

  • Increased operational efficiency by reducing key hassle for property managers.

  • Decreased travel and fuel costs.

  • Less keys going astray, reducing costs from replacing locks.

  • Increased security by not having to install key safe boxes any more.

  • Decreased maintenance costs from less physical usage of a lock.

  • Decreased operational emissions from less miles driven, not needing to physically handover keys.

Housing providers are looking for smarter access solutions 

The Nordic countries are seen as the most technologically advanced when it comes to the use of mobile keys, but the UK is following right behind. Some of the biggest housing providers in the UK are now investing in building an infrastructure for mobile keys.

To get this going, they are now seeking help from Unloc who aims to get rid of keys.

Unloc has been successfully working with the largest building societies in the Nordics for several years, with over 4 million doors opened so far. From this experience, they have built up vast knowledge from working closely with property management teams. The past year, they have been working closely with big actors in the UK social housing market, through the DINLab initiative —  to help some of the biggest housing providers around the UK get started with mobile keys.

— We’re seeing an absolute enormous demand for mobile keys, says Richard Senger, Country Manager UK, Unloc. 

UKs biggest housing providers are now testing mobile keys

Unloc is currently running pilot projects with some of the UK's biggest housing providers, such as Notting Hill Genesis and Yorkshire Housing to mention a few. The pilots have a potential to run on over 149 000 homes around the UK, through the DINLab initiative. 

— There are so many benefits to mobile keys, and people are starting to really see it. We’re getting so much demand from housing providers around the UK, that we struggle to have the capacity to run any additional pilots. We’re sending down an entire tag team from Norway to handle all the demand. This is very exciting, says Richard.

Loreburn Housing Association is another housing provider currently working with Unloc to pilot digitally enabling their communal doors, allowing their customers to access their building via the Unloc app on their phone.

— For us as a business we are curious to see how much time can be saved from not having to pass keys around the organisation between colleagues and to contractors. In our agile working environment this is massive for us but also it will help us reduce our carbon footprint by making less journeys, says Gary Alison, Director of Property & Development, Loreburn Housing.

Expecting a tipping point

Mobile keys might be a technology disruption that has simply been ignored until now. Unloc has been working with housing providers for years, and predict a tipping point in the market soon, now that the interest in mobile key technology has exploded.

— We’re expecting a tipping point where mobile keys are not just a request from tenants, but a demand. Apple is jumping on this trend now, and Unloc has been doing this for the last 4-5 years. The future is here, and when we reach this tipping point, you want to make sure you’re riding on the wave. Housing providers and property managers need to prepare to be on top of this, and offer mobile keys to their tenants, says Richard.

Company information

About Unloc AS

Unloc is a Norwegian technology company, with the ambition of building the world's digital keychain. The company develops an innovative software platform for administration and use of keys on the mobile phone. Through integrations with the leading lock providers, Unloc connects any smart locks or access systems available today into one platform and app.  Unloc is the leading producer of mobile key technology for the private- and commercial real estate industry in the Nordics. Since the start in 2017, they have established themselves as a standard in mobile keys through collaboration with some of the Nordic region's largest players in real estate, logistics, welfare technology and more. Unloc makes it easy to share keys just like sending a text message. The company has 40 employees in Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and London. Their mission is to simplify people's everyday lives by moving the keychain to the mobile phone. Read more at unloc.app.