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Smart Lock Management for SICHERT Outdoor Cabinets


An intelligent all-in-one solution consisting of locking technology and outdoor housing was the goal of the joint development by SICHERT and EMKA. It is intended to replace the management of physical keys through a digital tool and thus combine security and central monitoring in one system. Problem solved: EMKA’s electronic swinghandles enable the mechanical locking of distribution cabinets without a physical key as part of the KeyLoS solution.

Intelligent system solution for complex infrastructures

SICHERT, founded in 1923 and based in Berlin, produces outdoor and multifunctional enclosures for the whole of Germany. The manufacturer stands for the development of intelligent enclosures that are individually tailored to customers. With more than 400,000 outdoor enclosures in use in Germany alone, SICHERT is the market leader and counts as the specialist for Serving Area Interface (SAI) cabinets, multifunctional cabinets (MFC), pop systems and fibre optic network distributors. One focus is on establishing future-oriented market trends such as the construction of fibre optic, 5G and LoRa networks for the infrastructure of future smart cities.

 

One of Germany’s most significant digital challenges continues to be the nationwide connection of companies and households to the fibre optic network. These systems are referred to as fibre to the home (FTTH). The aim is to ensure fast data rates for consumers and businesses in the long term. Fast internet and interference-free telephony: ensuring this is again the work of outdoor switch cabinets or multifunctional cabinets.

The physical infrastructure required for this consists of a digital network of nodes. More precisely, key locations such as data centres, PoPs and outdoor enclosures in the field. These enclosures are part of a vital infrastructure: their network covers telecommunications – telephone, internet and TV for individual households – in large areas.

 

Maintenance depends on housing protection

With its FCC system family, SICHERT addresses the expansion of FTTH networks. The company has developed six available housing sizes for pre-assembled fibre optic network distributors: a uniform series for any expansion with just one system. Having thus created the standard for network distributors, the company has now added the KeyLoS solution to the system family. KeyLoS is a stand-alone product that can be used in all types of enclosures - including infrastructures such as server cabinets, for which EMKA also manufactures smart handles.

The idea behind ­KeyLoS emerged from a fundamental problem: ­because the maintenance of distribution cabinets depends heavily on their security. Also, against dangers such as vandalism and damage through accidents, thunderstorms or floods. The management of the associated physical keys is of crucial importance. This is complicated for staff as well as for service providers and causes problems time and again. Monitoring the enclosures does not occur and represents a massive security problem for the critical infrastructure. However, these systems are very labour-intensive and costly and can be a significant challenge for the company.

KeyLoS combines know-how from both worlds

To achieve these systems and control access, Sichert and EMKA have combined their know-how - resulting from many years of good cooperation between the two partners. EMKA has been a traditional supplier of swinghandles and locking solutions for SICHERT enclosures for approximately ten years. SICHERT was looking for a smart solution for the management of all locations in the network as well as secure access management. Fundamental to the development was considering how to combine EMKA’s locking technology with SICHERT enclosures to increase the security of the outdoor enclosures without disregarding the convenient operation and look & feel.

The result is KeyLos, short for KeyLocation System, which allows the enclosure to be locked mechanically without a physical key. It is an electronic access system consisting of three components and the enclosure: Hub, electronic swinghandle and power bank. Since the FCC series are purely passive fiber optic network distributors, inductive charging is particularly important here.

The KeyLos HUB provides the connection to the management software. Access rights are managed centrally in these systems, locations are monitored, and all activities at the enclosure are registered and reported. In addition, administrators can issue and revoke keys in real-time. The enclosure is accessed via Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE 4.0). The app is used to request keys and to open and lock them digitally.

Area-wide pilot project in Berlin

A first area-wide project is now being implemented with in the city of Berlin. Around 1,000 new enclosures are being installed with KeyLoS, EMKA swinghandles and fibre optic distribution technology from ZVK GmbH. The requirements are clearly formulated:

  • All components had to be compatible with the existing systems.
     
  • The swinghandles were only allowed to have a low energy requirement for the passive locations.
     
  • The mechanical locking was to function without a physical key, exclusively through mechanical pressure.
     
  • The swinghandle had to be prevented from popping open when operated remotely.

Therefore, the solution is a combination of KeyLoS HUB, EMKA swinghandle and (for passive lockers) a power bank that enables inductive charging from the outside. The control is Bluetooth® Low Energy-based via smartphone and app, which SICHERT developed and patented with KTS. The essential management of all lockers and accesses takes place in the management software. Here, the responsible employee can monitor the status of all cabinets via real-time monitoring, manage central access rights, create all locations, monitor these systems, and receive an immediate notification of activities at the cabinet. Keys are also issued and revoked in real-time. Another highlight: as the power supply for passive locations is induction-based from the outside, there is no need for a battery in the enclosure that has to be maintained and thus no physical key to open the enclosure when the battery is empty. In addition, as a white label solution, the system is open to other applications.

Huge potential

The result is an outdoor lock management system with huge potential. Thomas Fila, CEO of SICHERT, explains: “Our outlook? The area-wide connection of households to the gigabit age with fibre optics. Because we see ourselves as a trendsetter, which with KeyLoS can also become standard on the market as a white-label solution for as large a customer base as possible“. Also on board: EMKA Beschlagteile GmbH. “Due to the excellent communication between the development departments and the existing compatibility with electronic-mechanical swinghandles already in use before the development of KeyLoS, EMKA will continue to be our first point of contact in the area of locking systems“, Fila adds. In the future, SICHERT would like to use KeyLoS as a universal management system to drive forward topics such as sensor technology and the Internet of Things – for example, for air quality measurement.