Nuki CEO says that scandals aren't the end of the line for smart home brands

Credit: Nuki

Nuki bills itself as one of Europe's biggest smart lock brands. The company say they've shipped to 70,000 Smart Locks to customers in the region and they expanded into Australia back in October 2019. 

“We are incredibly proud of how positively our system has been received by customers and that we are experiencing fast and healthy growth. We’re really excited to add Australia to our list of markets and to see how the Aussies respond to Nuki,” says Nuki CEO Martin Pansy.

We caught up with Pansy at CES 2020 for a chat about the state of the smart lock market. Given the many security scandals that have plagued the category in recent years, a key topic that came up during our chat was the question of whether smart lock vendors can recover from high-profile vulnerabilities.

"Thing is it's going to be very hard to recover because once it happens, I mean, the internet never forgets. People Google it and, when it's there, it's there. That's a very strong argument in favor that it's hard to recover."

Still, Pansy notes there are exceptions and this isn't a universal rule.

"The opposite is for example, say the August smart lock is a market leader in the US. They already had severe security issues but still they are market leaders - so obviously the market does forget."

Speaking to the way Nuki approaches things, Pansy says that "our policy has always been that we have built our product in a way that a massive breach cannot happen by architecture." 

"There is a huge difference in security and privacy standards that US companies or European companies are using. We are following the European approach, which means for example all the information that you have on your Nuki device is always local on the device."

"We were always afraid of offering let's say server-based authentication. If one employee from us or somebody else breaks into the system or the server, you can access any lock. We never wanted to have that by design so we build it by default, everything is stored locally."

Disclosure - our coverage of CES 2020 was sponsored by Intel and Dell, who covered the cost of our flights to the US and our accommodation for the duration of our stay in Las Vegas.

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Fergus Halliday
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