A video as a key: The "Crazy Color Code" acts as access authorization for Schindler's PORT system.

An “Open sesame” for the digital age

How will we move around buildings in future? Schindler’s answer to this question is the PORT system. It summons elevators, opens doors and likes crazy videos.
by Fabian Peters | 12/20/2019

“For Schindler, transit management is much more than just conveying people by elevator to a certain floor,”says Sebastian Lurg. He is in charge of the“Competence Center Transit Management”of the Swiss manufacturer in Berlin. “Our aim is to get residents, employers or the visitors to a building from A to B as efficiently and comfortably as possible.”Lurg and his team have just presented what exactly this means in their experimental residential project “Future Living”in Berlin-Adlershof. “Future Living”consists of 15 fully/networked buildings. The 70 apartments and 20 studios demonstrate what is possible today when it comes to smart-home apps. The intelligent living environment includes so-called actors such as lights and loudspeakers and sensors like presence detection or door contacts.

As a partner of the project Schindler has installed its complete PORT system. The latter not only controls the eight elevators but also access to the buildings and apartments. “If you have booked your electric Smart from the district’s own internal car sharing pool then as soon as you enter the underground car park the myPORT-app on your smartphone notifies the system that you have arrived home,”explains Sebastian Lurg. “After that it dials up the elevator that will take you to your apartment and opens the door once you are in front of it.”In future, it will also be possible for residents to hook up additional functions to the system. Then a certain lighting scenario can illuminate the apartment once the light control of the PORT system receives a signal that the occupant is on their way home.

Similarly, when residents set off for work in the morning the system can also lend them a hand: “I can call up the lift from my apartment,”says Lurg by way of explaining one of the benefits. “Then it is waiting for me when I leave my apartment and immediately takes me to the foyer or my car in the underground park.”

In the myPORT app all functions of the PORT system are available in a user-friendly way.

Videos as guest keys

That said, the PORT system not only ensures residents can enter and leave the building easily. It also offers a safe means of providing access to guests. And does so in various ways. For example, if a visitor rings a resident’s bell the latter can identify him on a camera image, let him in and send him the elevator, which gets him to the right floor. And the occupant must not even necessarily be in their apartment to be able to do this. The image of the door camera can also be sent to the smartphone and the door subsequently opened with the help of the myPORT app. In the “Future Living”complex several apartments have a so-called entree – an entrance area to the flats that can be opened separately via the internet, and where say parcel couriers and other delivery services can deposit their deliveries. “Many people find such a semi-secure area offers a more pleasant solution than letting strangers into their actual apartment during their absence,”maintains Sebastian Lurg.

Moreover, the PORT system also offers a solution for all those who want to be able to admit members of the family or friends into their flat. The occupant can send them a so-called crazy color video on their smartphone. If this video is received by a reading device at the entrance within a defined space of time then the system admits the guest. “We decided on a video-based application because it is less susceptible to operational errors than say a QR code,”explains Lurg.

Schindler's PORT system will organize the entire transport and access management at the "smart" housing estate "Future Living" in Berlin, which is currently under construction.

And what about security? After all, it would be a grave situation if such an access system could be hacked. “We work with a fully-encrypted application which makes it impossible to read the electronic key,”explains Sebastian Lurg. And should a smartphone with a myPORT app get lost – unlike with a customary key – the finder can’t use it to enter the building: For every opening the system requires the occupant to identify themselves via their phone. And there is a further security measure in place: all the apartment doors in the “Future Living”district have integral locks that operate automatically once the door is closed.

“Naturally, what we show in the “Future Living”buildings are very extensive solutions,”explains Sebastian Lurg. In pared-down versions that can be expanded the system is already in use in two high-rise projects offering high-end living namely Park Tower in Zug, Switzerland and the Omniturm in Frankfurt/Main. In the Omniturm the building entrance, underground garage and elevators are to be initially controlled via the PORT system. Further applications are to follow step by step.