Innovating with 5G IoT Smartlocks and Navigating the World of IoT

Steve Dunn Digital Keys

Steve Dunn of Digital Keys tells us about its complete end-to-end 5G IoT smart access control with 4 opening ways, digital keys, and a long battery.

Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Digital Keys.

Steve Dunn: I have worked in four local governments in three large cities in Australia as a community development manager and an asset manager. A common thing I found in these roles was that ‘managing access to government-owned assets is an ongoing nightmare!’ 

Some of the assets I managed included swimming pools, community centers; libraries; youth centers; art galleries; public toilets, sporting clubs, and many more. We had so many different people requiring access to these facilities at any time. From volunteers to staff, community members, stakeholders, and their extended networks – a lot of my time was wasted organizing metal key distribution and retrieval. Also, we never knew how many copies of metal keys were out there. We never knew if people were giving themselves unauthorized access to the assets at any time. Metal keys would also not get returned a lot of the time, and equipment theft was common. Often we had to rekey doors, too, resulting in unnecessary costs to the taxpayer. 

I thought there had to be a better way to manage access and security. So, I spent a lot of time researching what options were available in the marketplace. I soon learned that the solutions we needed in local government did not exist. And when I began researching more during my master’s in business administration studies, I learned that local governments were not the only ones requiring modern access control and security solutions – everyone was having the same problems as us. These security and access control problems were not only happening to me in my workplace, too – I also noticed similar problems when traveling (perhaps you have had your hotel keycard stop working before?). I thought, if the security/access control companies and lock manufacturers are not addressing these problems, perhaps I should give it a go!

Do you have small habits that made a meaningful impact on your life and business?

Steve Dunn: I like to dig deep into markets and companies to understand ‘what makes them tick and how and why they exist. This might sound a bit cliche, but through my business studies, we were taught how to understand a company’s cultures, market forces, motivations, positioning, and general market trends. Through this understanding (and it never stops), I like to think I can get a better picture of how our company fits into the different ecosystems.

How does Digital Keys market its product/services online? 

Steve Dunn: We don’t. We are business to business. We get a lot of introductions to potential customers from our partners and networks. However, we’ve been fortunate to also position ourselves well in SEO, which results in a lot of ongoing online business enquiries and new customers. For example, if you search the term’ digital keys’ in many cities around the world, we commonly lock out the top five results. But don’t ask me how we do so well in SEO! I believe it is more of an art than science these days. I’m always suspicious of anyone that claims to know everything about SEO. My best guess for why we consistently rate so high on search engines is related to timing. We’ve had an online presence for around 10 years in a new industry, where the industry’ buzz words’ were not trending online back then. Nowadays, the IoT buzz words are becoming part of the everyday vernacular. Perhaps the best analogy I can think of for how we get high SEO is this; we were the first house built on the street on top of a hill with all the ‘mod cons.’ Everyone has been able to see our modern house up there for a long time, even as new houses and apartments are being built around us.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?

Steve Dunn: We use WIX to manage/update our website/SEO. Our IoT platform is hosted at AWS. We use Freshworks for online support/ticketing.

What is your hiring policy/process, and how do you retain your employees?

Steve Dunn: We often hire interns, and if they do a good job, we make them employees. We believe our workers find our work/industry fascinating and evolving daily, so there is ‘never a dull moment!’

How are you funding your growth?

Steve Dunn: Mostly through grants and small investments from friends and families.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Steve Dunn: Igloohome; Salto; Assa Abloy; Noke.

We are in the game, and we plan to stay in the game by offering a solution that customers need and want – a solution that all existing players currently don’t offer. Right now, that product is a complete end-to-end 5G IoT Smart Access Control Solution. Who knows, maybe we might look at adding other IoT devices to our product offering in the future. 

Tell us a customer success story of yours.

Steve Dunn: See here

Your final thoughts?

Steve Dunn: We operate in the world of IoT. It’s a fascinating industry on so many levels – I invite anyone interested in IoT to join us on our journey. For many years, industry commentators/experts have been saying that IoT will be bigger than every other industry combined (including smartphones, TVs, cars, drones, etc.). This new world of IoT is only just beginning now, and it’s an exciting ride to be on.

Your website?

Kokou Adzo


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