When entering a building, fumbling to find a security badge in your bag or wallet can feel like a hassle. MyPORT, a new automated security system created by the Schindler Elevator Corporation, aims to eliminate this fuss.
Once installed in a building, the technology allows those who work or live there to download a companion smartphone app that automatically opens doors and summons elevators.
“The idea is to be able to walk throughout a building seamlessly,” Schindler’s product manager Jeff Blain tells Tech Insider.
When a user approaches a lobby turnstile, a bluetooth sensor (installed by Schindler) recognises their phone, even if it’s inside a bag or pocket. The turnstile then unlocks, the system activates an elevator and the app tells the user which one to enter.
Using machine learning, myPORT can predict what times specific users usually arrive and what floors they go to. So when people enter a building, the system groups those with similar destinations and assigns them to the same elevator.
It can also learn your daily habits. For example, if you generally go downstairs for lunch at noon, the system can anticipate that and will automatically select the cafeteria or lobby floor when you get in the elevator.
Blain says the system is designed to make it simpler to enter your office or apartment, since it works with your phone (which, chances are, is already in your hand anyway), thereby eliminating the need for a key card.
“We want to make people’s lives easier in any way we can,” he says.
Since the system only grants entry to people holding verified phones, it could also eliminate the need for a human guard or doorman. The system keeps a log of who has access to certain doors at various times, and can also open the front entrance if it requires secure access. For package deliveries, users get a notification on their phone, can see a video of the mailperson, and let them in or tell them to come back later. (All of these preferences can be programmed in the app.)
The system and app (for iOs and Android) launched May 19 and is available for office and residential buildings anywhere in the world. So far, the New Jersey-based company has piloted the system in Switzerland and San Francisco.
Sure, pushing an elevator button isn’t so hard that we need an app to do it for us. But for those who are blind or in wheelchairs, myPORT could be an incredibly helpful tool.
The company recently piloted the system at the headquarters of the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco, a disability rights advocacy organisation. Blain says the system greatly improved accessibility for workers with physical disabilities — the Center’s director is blind, and now doors open for her automatically when she’s nearby.
However, there are obvious security concerns inherent in a system that grants building access. There’s always the risk that, if a phone is stolen, someone would be able to enter and exit an office or apartment. Plus, there’s a chance the app could be hacked.
Blain is confident that Schindler has adequately protected myPORT from the threat of hackers and thieves, but promises like that can be hard to keep.