Assa Abloy turns smartphones into keys with new system

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Swedish company Assa Abloy hopes to make check-in lines at hotels a thing of the past with the launch of Seos, which turns NFC-compatible smartphones into a digital keys, the company said on Monday.

Seos is a system for storing keys on NFC-compatible smartphones. It includes a secure key-delivery mechanism, applications for mobile phones, lock and reader support, and SDKs for OEMs and developers, according to Assa Abloy.

The smartphone keys can be used in a number of different ways, including in offices, hotels and homes.

For example, hotel guests can check in and out with their mobile phones and receive digital hotel room keys before arriving at the hotel. Also, home owners can send temporary digital keys to visitors, handymen and babysitters from their own mobile phones, and then revoke them with the same interface, Assa Abloy said.

Multiple keys can be stored on a single mobile phone and remain active even if the phone is turned off or out of battery power. For higher security, keys can be protected by separate PIN codes.

The keys are delivered with end-to-end encryption and they can be stored securely on SIM cards, microSD memory cards or on a smartphone's secure element. The system is compatible with smartphones based on Blackberry OS, Android as well iPhones with NFC add-ons.

It has been speculated that Apple will include NFC in the next iPhone, which will be launched on Sep. 12. But Daniel Berg, vice president at Assa Abloy Mobile Keys, isn't so sure, and doesn't want to speculate on how that would affect the market before knowing how Apple implements the technology, he said.

Seos will be rolled out globally, starting with countries where NFC has started to mature, including the U.S, France, England, Turkey, Germany and South Korea, according to Berg.

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