For the past four years, I’ve been locked away with a small and incredibly bright group of people working at a stealth hardware company. Inspired by customer-centric design companies including Dyson, Nest, Yeti, Apple, Miele and Tesla, we set out to reimagine home access and create a category defining product. We felt that a digital locking system was necessary to replace the antiquated and shockingly insecure physical key system of today. We are very ambitious— create the most secure lock possible, with a stunning design no larger than a traditional deadbolt and is trusted to be durable and reliable. Simply put, a product that you could fall in love with.
It was a bigger challenge than we initially planned, and it took more time and resources. But, it was also far more exciting, innovative and compelling.
Today, we introduce you to Otto.
To us, there was no point in creating a new lock without dramatically enhancing security. After all, a lock helps protect your home and family. Today’s keyed locks are frighteningly flawed. A simple photo of your key is all that is required to make a copy. Over 20,000 YouTube videos teach you how to pick a lock. In fact, corporations, businesses, hotels and cars abandoned keyed locks and have embraced electronic or digital access. Removing the key is the first step in security. Next was building with the strongest and materials for the job — high grade stainless steel. Seven different grades of steel are used from exterior to the core — including stainless steel gears. We matched the best in physical security with the best in digital cybersecurity. Top experts designed the most robust encryption and security model in any known locking system. We challenged ourselves to make it so digitally secure that we, Otto, could not unlock a customer’s home. We utilize 256-bit encryption with asymmetrical cryptography, enforce authentication of all end points, and utilize the most advanced encryption methods that far surpass what others describe as “military grade”. You control who enters your home, not us. In a nutshell, we wanted to create the most secure lock that was also the easiest to use.
Second pillar: design really matters. For us, the experience of entering or leaving your home should be a simple yet powerful experience. We centered our design on the customer experience we envisioned and on the door where the lock would fit. The device had to be no bigger than the mechanical deadbolt it replaced. It needed to respect the design, proportionality, form factor and essence of the door. Most entryways to a home are custom ordered doors of many different sizes and materials. We envisioned a small, subtle accent to the door. One made from high quality materials — we chose stainless steel and glass as we were entirely frustrated with cheap metal and plastic products which “smartly” automate a dumb deadbolt. Our team obsessed over every detail of the design, the feel of dials, how to easily replace the batteries, the way the display looked under all lighting conditions and how manual and motorized operations could interplay together. Design was not only a look that fit on the door, but the entire customer experience.
Performance was the third pillar of our product creation. Otto is designed to get better over time. That’s a paradigm shift from the older days of immediate obsolescence. In order to get better over time, we invested in an advanced set of sensors, processors and memory in Otto, so that today’s hardware could support software features of the futures — features we haven’t begun to imagine yet. This required Wi-Fi at the heart of the product, rather than as an add-on. Otto will check in regularly with our servers to get the latest software and it stores two versions of software, the new one and an old one, so that if there is ever an issue with the new version, it will revert to the older version. Performance to us means Otto should just work, simply. It should be fast and reliable and trusted and durable. We want Otto to be the product you install today and get happier with after each day.
Simply put, I decided to start Otto because I believe that people fall in love with just a few products because only a few can achieve an outstanding level of craftsmanship, care and capability. There’s something deeply satisfying about the attention to detail and love required to provide a soul to a product.
It’s with incredible pride and joy that I get to share with you the result of our journey and teamwork of incredible creatives, engineers, manufacturing experts, leaders, and technology artists including those that helped along the way. Everyone on the team joined us to realize a very ambitious vision — they translated that vision into a tangible experience that we hope to bring to many homes. We thank all those that backed and supported us including Greylock, particularly Josh Elman and Reid Hoffman, Fortune Brands, SV Angel, Crosslink Capital, and many individual investors.
Today, we launch Otto.
And while we are very excited about what’s coming, start here.
If you want more info on the cybersecurity aspect, read Andrew’s post.