Product Design/ Industrial Design/ Package Design/ Sound Design
The world's first smart lock with brand awareness
From the initial start in mid-2020, the most challenging aspect of the project was the context in which the Bitlock PRO was conceived.
Roughly a year ago, the Gen. 1 Bitlock PRO was shipped to our first clients during the initial start-up austerity months and received less than flattering feedback. A year later, Bitkey had realized that the margins in the B2B market were the true enabler of its bigger business ambitions. Naturally, the expectations for the second generation Bitlock PRO to boost the company's endeavors and seal bigger deals with more prominent clients were extremely high.
From a product design perspective, these expectations translated into the task of trying to create a device that could serve as extensive of a pool of potential customers as possible: from hotels to gyms to luxury apartments to Buddhist temples, every door a new opportunity.
While researching and analyzing all the variables regarding features and possible design approaches, we realized that the only consistent parameter that would most likely appeal to any customer was the client's own brand. Thus, the concept of the world's first brand-aware smart lock was born.
Crafting a seamless user experience while designing with the senses in mind
The final looks of the bitlock pro developed from an initial design proposal to ditch the industry-standard gigantic deadbolt aesthetic for a more simple appearance. Considering the variety of clients we were targeting, making the device as simple and as adaptable to the client's brand and environment as possible was priority number one.
Conceived already during the initial conception phase, the idea of customizable and interchangeable faceplates seemed to be the best solution to the one-size-fits-all task. While time and cost-efficient, the faceplates turned out to be the crucial show factor for Bitkey's sales team when explaining the smart lock in the context of the client's brand. Especially for brand-aware co-working spaces such as WeWork Japan (that chose to PURCHASE 2,000 UNITS immediately), the bitlock PRO's adaptability was a perfect fit.
Regarding the UX, we knew that our users would most likely operate the device in a very hectic environment. We incorporated a touch-sensitive front panel with haptic feedback to prevent interaction errors and ensure a seamless experience at all times. Additionally, we included situation-sensitive light and audio cues to let the user know the lock status of the door. Lastly, we decided to bend up the lower part of the faceplate by 30°and add a slight depression to indicate how to use the device more clearly. An additional benefit to the bend was that the device's light could be seen from virtually any angle while simultaneously needing fewer LEDs, which substantially decreased the strain on the battery.