Formula One star Kimi Räikkönen is known for driving fast and talking straight. He is also one of the most recognisable Finns in the world. Now Räikkönen is lending his fame to support iLOQ, a digital locking system specialist based in Northern Finland. The collaboration is part of iLOQ’s plans to bring its products to a global audience.
“We are targeting big European markets,” explains Heikki Hiltunen, the CEO at iLOQ. “F1 is the world’s most followed sport with 1.7 billion viewers [every season], and Kimi one of its most well-known drivers. With his help, we can reach a worldwide audience.”
Working with a 130-employee company is a change for Räikkönen, but iLOQ’s technology convinced him. The company has developed the world’s first self-powered digital lock. Instead of cables or batteries, the lock harvests electricity from key insertion alone. The key also cannot be copied because its access rights are managed remotely online and it can be endlessly reprogrammed.
“iLOQ’s solutions are technically advanced, but they are extremely simple for their customers to use. That is something that really interests me,” Räikkönen enthused in a press release. “And the people that work there have drive, passion and a pioneering attitude. They don’t follow traditional rules but are prepared to break new ground and shake things up a bit. I respect that attitude.”
iLOQ was founded in 2003 with a mission to replace mechanical locks and keys. Its first product, the iLOQ S10 self-powered digital lock, was launched in 2007 and targeted at large buildings such as offices, public buildings and residential properties.
In 2016, the company went a step further with its mobile access management system, iLOQ S50. Designed for utilities, it allows them to grant and revoke access instantly and record all comings and goings on a cloud-based platform. But the real innovation is that S50 removes the need for a physical key. An app is used to open doors, and the lock cylinder harvests the energy required to unlock from a smartphone.
“Even if a phone is stolen, it is still protected by a screen lock,” Hiltunen explains. “Access cannot be copied from one device to another, all data traffic is encrypted, and our cybersecurity level is on a par with banks.”
So far, S50 has been a hit with large utility companies and even one municipality. For example, the telecom group Telia Finland chose S50 to manage access to its 30 000-square metre data centre in Helsinki, while the Rautalampi municipality in Central Finland installed the system to secure its water treatment plan for the region.
But innovation alone doesn’t drive a company. iLOQ already has branches across the Nordics, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, and now the company is targeting stronger growth from its collaboration with Räikkönen. iLOQ’s initial focus is Central Europe, where its lock cylinders already fit most modern lock bodies, but next come Asia and North America.
Hiltunen knows such ambition means increased competition. Even though technology giants like Amazon and Google are moving into the security market, iLOQ is confident in its products.
“We see these types of companies as potential partners. They don’t yet have a solution like ours and we are technology-independent so we can easily work with anyone,” Hiltunen explains. “In fact, I’d welcome that kind of a partnership.”