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Hey Dumb Door...Time to Get Smart

The Egyptians are the door grandfather, dating back 4000 years ago when they used them as tomb paintings. Since then, there have been many different styles and advancements in motorization brought to market (going all the way back to the first recorded automatic door by a Greek scholar known as Heron of Alexandria), but it is safe to say, software has not eaten the door world.

So I think it is time. We often talk about the innovation needed in smart locks for the multifamily market, but let us turn the light on the big dumb door.

In full disclosure, I have no clue why innovation seems to be lacking in the door space. I would love to hear from any of you if you know why or why not.  

I recognize that some, if not all of this, can be achieved by other products added to or around the door. That is the point. Why are they not built into the door? Not doing it feels like a missed opportunity by the door manufacturers.

But in the meantime, here are some ideas on where we could see some innovation beyond auto openers and closers:

  1. Digital signage: With such a large piece of wood or metal at a point in your home where you come and go, you would think that the inside facing slab could be used for things like reminders, calendaring, weather, request for services, food, or service order, and a message board.
  2. Notifications: Anomalies, forced entry, or situations where you might have left the door open would be great to get a message about (happened today...we thought we closed the front door, but clearly by the sight of the Amazon delivery guy running away as my dog barks chases him, we did not).
  3. Visibility: How about the ability to change the door's opacity depending on time of day or situation? Under this same header, I would add cameras. I am aware the doorbell companies seem to have put a lock on this category, but it looks like building in cameras would make sense, especially when it comes to aesthetics.
  4. Automation: And while you are at it, do it automatically along with a bunch of other automation features like alarm arming and disarming, lights turning on or off, and car starting.
  5. Connectivity: Back to the note above, with such a large piece of wood or metal, why can we not use the door as a booster or access point for connectivity?
  6. Audio: Same as the note in Visibility, doorbell companies have incorporated this into their products, but why not give the ability to communicate through the door?

And that is just a start. So come on door companies get in the game. The smart lock and access control industry is tired of carrying you. Let's make that dumb door smart, not just stylish.

What other innovations would you like to see built into doors?

Do you or your customers want doors to do this?

Why or why not?