The Japanese titan seems to have taken a liking for crowdfunding. After showing us how a conventional watch would look like with an e-paper dial and bracelet, now it asks us to envision a world full of smart locked doors.
The curious thing about these recent crowdfunding campaigns is that Sony does not stamp its name onto these projects, but it doesn’t deny playing a major role in their development, either. If the e-paper watch was created by a team of Sony employees that were trying to find new uses for this technology, the Qrio smart lock was created in collaboration with the World Innovation Lab.
Sony claims that Qrio is the smartest device of its kind, and that comes not from the product itself, but from the way it works. Is one of your friends arriving earlier than expected and you’re still at work? Instead of making them wait in front of the door for who knows how long, you could let them in, supposing that they own a smartphone and they have the companion app installed.
Leaving aside the comments that Sony can’t even lock their own facilities, there are a lot of problems that could have a root in the companion app. What would stop hackers from getting an interest in Qrio’s companion app? There should be a way of preventing a friend’s smartphone from gaining access to your smart lock without your permission, but Sony must have thought of that, already.
The following video is entirely in Japanese, but it should give you an idea about how the smart lock looks and works in real life.
Qrio is currently featured on Makuake, Japan’s main crowdfunding platform, where it has already reached its funding goal. By pledging the equivalent of $130, backers secure a Qrio smart lock for themselves, with an estimated delivery in May 2015.
Despite the project’s obvious success, some believe that big companies should stay away from crowdfunding platforms, as these were built specifically for small startups that would have otherwise face difficulties in raising the necessary funds for their projects. Let’s just hope that Sony is not looking to cannibalize other companies in its process of maintaining its success.
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