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Could smartphone-operated locks catch on in Cambridge?

Operating the new Smarke smart lock with a mobile phone
Operating the new Smarke smart lock with a mobile phone

Smarke is a secure, keyless access system ideal for people renting out their properties on platforms like AirBnB.

Using the new Smarke smart lock
Using the new Smarke smart lock

Allowing landlords to share secure, scheduled access to their rental property, Smarke (pronounced ‘Smar-key’) is launching in the UK following successful trials.

The system, developed and manufactured in this country, promises to completely change the way we give people access to our property, whether it be friends or rental clients.

With Smarke, a mobile phone grants immediate access to a property, and a Smarke lock is the same size as a standard Euro lock.

The Smarke keyless entry app gives the home/hotel/AirBnB owner full control – they decide when guests are able to check in and out.

A Smarke smart-lock
A Smarke smart-lock

Owners grant access via the Smarke app to a guest’s smartphone by specifying the dates and times of their visit. The guest can then grant access to other members of their party.

The Smarke app uses Bluetooth to unlock and lock the door so there‘s no need to rely on a potentially unstable internet connection.

The device is battery operated, and when the battery is running low (it lasts up to six months), alerts go out via the app.

Smarke’s home access range consists of three products: a smart lock, an intercom solution and a keypad. All these products are protected via military grade encryption, so only those who are authorised can use it.

A Smarke smart-lock on a door
A Smarke smart-lock on a door

Bassam Beidas, originally from Lebanon, founded the smart lock company with fellow countrymen Hady Abdelnour and Charly Bousaid. He is their director of marketing and told the Cambridge Independent:

“Basically, we’ve created a set of connective hardware products, which are self-installable. Our main product is a Smarke lock, which you put on the inside of your door – it replaces your existing lock.

“Once it’s fitted, you install our mobile app and you’re able to lock and unlock the door using your phone. But, more importantly, if you get guests, family members or visitors to download our app, you can then send them access ahead of schedule.

“This is extremely useful for people who rent out their places on AirBnB, for example, or who have service people or cleaners coming to their house.”

A former professional tennis player, upon his retirement Bassam worked in marketing for a mobile app. Hady, who has a background in finance, and Charly, a planning and process engineer, both worked for an investments company in Lebanon.

The three entrepreneurs are now based in London and have been living there for about six months.

Bassam said: “We believe a lot of different businesses have a big need for a product like this. I think it’s one of those daily things that everyone can relate to.

“Personally, whenever I leave a restaurant or a shop, I have to pat my pockets down four or five times to make sure I have everything there – and I think it’s a problem that many people face today.”

The company is seeking to promote its invention in the UK and beyond.

Wesley Ridgeway, general manager at the Hotel du Vin in Cambridge, gave his opinion as to whether the idea might take off here in Cambridge.

“I know as a company we have looked into the process of using smart locks,” he said, “but with that I think we lose the personal touch – we take you up to the bedroom, we show you around, we show you how everything works.

“It may work for other types of businesses that haven’t got that personal touch; if it’s someone who doesn’t want to be hassled and just wants to go to their room and be by themselves.

“From an AirBnB point of view, you don’t have to meet the guests – they can go straight in.”

Smarke is designed to meet the needs of property managers, hosts and guests on platforms such as AirBnB and HomeAway, though would be ideal for anyone who regularly misplaces the keys to their home!

For more information, visit smarke.com or igg.me/at/smarke.


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