The Internet of Things – TEO: the padlock of the future

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With TEO your smartphone becomes your key

TEO (Transferable Electronic Operation) is a keyless padlock that can be locked and unlocked via a smartphone app or other Bluetooth enabled device.

TEO is a new ‘thing’ in the Internet of Things (IoT). This IoT term has been bandied about for some time and it’s at the point now where we can no longer close our ears to its chatter (look out for an IoT article in the July/August issue of Develop3D).

Similar to the August Smart Lock, TEO’s physical keys are replaced with a smartphone app.

“Keeping track of physical keys is a pain,” says Gord Duncan, TEO’s founder, who came up with the TEO idea whilst on holiday with his family in Costa Rica afraid that he was going to lose the keys to their SUV.


TEO acts as a keyless bicycle lock

From there he started hatching a plan for a padlock that has the benefits of a caribiner but with bluetooth technology allowing users to lock and unlock it via a smartphone app. With the app, the user can send permissions to a number of different people giving them access to the lock, whether it be a bicycle, front gate, shed or locker.

Duncan called upon the services of Vancouver-based design firm – Form 3 – to help with the product styling, mechanical design, prototyping, colour specification and logo design. According to Alex Feldman, Form 3’s founder, the challenges the design team had to address included power management, tamper proofing, compactness and assembly.

The Form 3 design team developing the TEO padlock

Following two years, the patent pending design is currently at the prototype stage.

“By IoT enabling the lock a host of opportunities and benefits can result. From simple electronic keys and key sharing to advanced capabilities such as data logging, monitoring, alarms, audit trails etc.

“Having an IoT physical device which can secure, and be securely attached, will truly be a game changer – the uses and applications are ubiquitous for personal, commercial and institutional applications.  From storage lockers, to plant safety systems to allowing Jim to borrow the kayak, our innovative initial designs and prototypes provide significant opportunities on a number of levels,” says Duncan.

Through the app, the user can choose who gets access to the lock

Having received a number of accolades early this year, including being selected as “the most likely wireless product or solution to succeed” at the Wavefront Wireless Summits M2M Innovation Showcase in Vancouver, Duncan decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Although its funding goal was not met, this hasn’t stopped the start-up from promoting its product with the hope of eventually seeing it go to market. In fact, it recently entered the TEO into the Cisco Internet of Things Innovation Grand Challenge – a global competition recognising and rewarding innovators, entrepreneurs and early-stage startup businesses who are driving the acceleration and adoption of the IoT.

Over 800 entries have been received and on 1st August, 18 semi-finalists will be selected. Check back here to see whether TEO is among them.

Watch the video below featuring Gord Duncan talking about the conception and design of the TEO padlock.


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