Waking up to the market demand, lock-makers have come up with new features, ranging from twisted keys to locks that open with sound waves. A look by M.A. Siraj

From twisted keys to invisible locks and biometric systems, the builders of homes and establishments are not sparing anything that could satisfy the security demands. The emphasis is clearly shifting from denying the intruders a free access to hassle-free entry for bona fide users of the premises. While the old mechanical locks are still the most visible security devices, the biometrically secured premises are the latest on offer.

Waking up to the new demands of the market, lock-makers have come up with an astonishing range of devices — from twisted keys to locks that open with sound waves. Godrej, an old player in lock-making, has introduced its fourth- and fifth-level security systems. The keys for the fourth-level EVVA technology locks are based on the three-curve system which is characterised by its springless principle. According to Kavindra Singh Brijwal, Manager Sales, Godrej & Boyce, locks at this level provide highest protection against picking as compared to any mechanical lock and are compatible to European standards. Each key is unique with 30 lakh crore combinations, almost as unique as human DNA.

But that is not the ultimate in locks. The fifth-level technology i.e., i-Secure systems, seamlessly integrates mechanical identity with electronic encryption. The locks will emit beeps after two wrong attempts, signalling unauthorised access. It also has an auto switch function that permits the lock to be opened by the key mechanically, even if the battery drains out owing to the neglect or delay in change of batteries. In case of the loss of the keys, an in-built programme enables lost keys to be deleted from the system with the help of the programming key.


But a more revolutionary technology that Godrej is offering is ‘Knock n’lock’ which does away with conventional keys, keyholes or external part. These invisible locks transfer encrypted data by mechanical pulses to open the lock. The users are provided with a remote control device which on touching the door transfers the pulses to the lock. These are highly resistant to break-ins, vandalism and the environment. Says Brijwal, the newly launched technology is suited for Defence premises, cash transits, and sensitive establishments.

These are fully customisable.

Even the makers of the more humbler variety i.e., lever locks, Aligarh-based Harrison, have moved into the hi-tech sector by producing locks that open by identifying thumb impressions as well as number locks that fit into doorknobs. Kiran, Area Sales Manager for Harrison in Bangalore, says the company is into producing both high-end as well as pocket-friendly and aesthetically appealing locks that match door colours.

While sensitive establishments could still rely on locks, apartments and residential colonies cannot afford to look so repugnant. In their case, biometric security systems that were hitherto part of airports and border crossings, are now increasingly making their foray into homes, apartments and housing colonies. ‘Biometric’ implies the identification of humans by their traits such as face, fingerprint, voice, iris, palm, DNA and signature.

Biometric authentication was inducted into passports, visas, and ID cards — which entitled citizens for certain concessions and privileges during the last decade — in the wake of unauthorised immigration, visa frauds, border intrusion or simply to restrict illegal ingress of people into restricted areas.

But slowly it made inroads into airports, stations, commercial complexes, retail malls and other security checkpoints. Now even new residential colonies and high-end apartments deploy them.

A security apparatus without being physically intrusive is no longer the stuff of dreams.

It’s possible and available for just a few extra bucks. Construction firms have evolved a security regimen for apartment blocks, namely ‘Biometric Security’, that leaves little scope for embarrassment for the residents and nightmarish moments for the guests.

Wider acceptance

The biometric system takes a holistic view of the security needs of the residents and is finding wider acceptance in new buildings, says R. Vasudevan, MD of Vascon Engineers, a construction firm based in Pune specialising in biometric secured apartment blocks. The system revolves round the basic concept of hassle-free movement of residents and those involved in servicing the apartments.

Access control gadgets at the periphery of core areas provide access by identifying fingerprints of residents and regular visitors such as maids, chowkidars, gardeners and the ones the residents would like to register as their friends and relatives.

For uncommon visitors, the occupants of the flats have the facility to release the lock through intercom after a conversation or voice identification system.

They are additionally registered at the security office. Surveillance of the external boundaries is maintained through closed circuit TVs and the personnel at the security office keep an eye over the movement of people.

Primarily, the system focuses on minimizing the entry of outsiders. It provides for a centralised gas bank for the entire apartment with piped and metered gas being supplied to all kitchens in order that cylinder supplying personnel could be kept away. Similarly the individual boxes for receiving milk, newspaper and mail are installed outside the core area.