Bringing Intelligence to the Electric Strike

Jan. 27, 2021
DEN Smart Home takes an alternative approach to delivering smart locks.

Generally, the smart-lock market focuses on bringing intelligence and remote connectivity to the locks themselves, typically through sophisticated internal hardware and software. However, a startup company based in the Netherlands is taking an alternative path to intelligent locks — via the electric strike.

DEN Smart Home earned a 2021 CTA Innovation Award for its new Integrated Strike, a software-powered electric strike that essentially transforms a “dumb lock” into a smart one.

“It works differently than other smart locks, because it is installed in a door frame,” company Founder and CEO Marijn van der Wal says. He demonstrated the strike during the Consumer Electronics Show in January. “It doesn’t do anything with your lock or your door handle. It is just a strike plate that will enable you to actually push the door open.”

The product looks like a normal electric strike for a deadbolt, but the keeper cavity for the deadbolt includes a pivoting “bucket” that can be controlled through an app. “The deadbolt stays out, and there’s just a small bucket that will be released when you have access to the door,” van der Wal explains.

This technology enables a lock to be adapted to the strike, which makes any mechanical locking device an intelligent one. When the user unlocks the door via the app, they simply push the door open with the deadbolt still extended, and the bucket inside the strike pivots open. After the door is shut again, the bucket pivots back in place and locks to also lock the door.  

Some consumers spend a lot of money on door hardware, van der Wal says. “This way, they can just leave everything in place and just replace the strike plate. It can be installed with any lock, although you may need to take out a little bit more of the wood [in the door frame] in order to install the strike.”

He adds that the product is attractive to consumers who aren’t comfortable “advertising” that they have a smart lock on their front door but still want to enjoy the mobile functionality.

Although the residential access product was introduced at a consumer show, van der Wal says product installation is a bit beyond the skills of the average DIY user, although possible. “We intend to go into the CEDIA channel and installers channel to work with users to get it installed,” he says.

The strike’s introduction at CES is just another step on the road for DEN Smart Home. “We have been a startup for a year and a half, but now we are on the verge of being a ‘real’ company, as we are planning to officially launch the product in July or August — either at CEDIA or ISC West,” van der Wal says. “There is always the question of bigger companies that may be able to move our company forward faster, but my current plan is to evolve in the U.S. market and go global in 2022.”

The official launch model will be Z-Wave and Bluetooth capable, and van der Wal says a Zigbee version is also in the works.

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Paul Rothman is Editor in Chief of Security Business magazine.