When we launched iomando we did it with a clear goal in mind: we wanted to provide a better access experience leveraging mobile technologies. We began by building a cloud-managed keyless access solution for mobile devices, but we didn’t want to stop in there, we wanted to be in here for the long run.
Our vision goes beyond opening doors with the smartphone. We profoundly believe that technology will redefine what it is possible with access control. This is why we are taking the boldest and most ambitious step since our foundation.
Today, we are introducing the iomando API, a new license program that will allow third parties to integrate or build upon our access technology. Despite we've worked relentlessly improving our core application, almost a year ago, we started developing the foundation of what we believe will be the future of our company.
What’s the API?
The iomando API is a tool we’ve developed that will allow third parties to integrate or build upon our access technology. This means that if you have a service or application that could benefit (at any level) from our access technology, you can now seamlessly integrate our technology in your service. This way, we’ll smoothly handle all the access control stuff behind the scenes, so you can focus on what you do best.
But there’s more than that. We will also provide our API to third parties that want to build on top of our existing technology. So if you have a great idea structured around access management, you will also be able to leverage all of our existing technology to start building your product right away.
Why we did it?
A few months ago, we realized that our technology shined the most when it was operating at a large scale. Our product works well in small places like houses or shops, because our technology unlocks some things that are not possible with old keys and remotes. But we are not solving a real problem in there, we are just more convenient.
We struggled so much understanding what was our true north. Because our technology fits within a lot of use cases it has persuaded us to be a jack of all trade, but we ended up being master of none. That’s the kind of mistake you can’t afford when you are starting up. Sadly, we learned that the hard way, there were really bad moments within the team, but fortunately we could straighten the situation.
We reunite and went back to our core values, we deeply revised the foundation of our product and we understood the true nature of our technology. This allowed us to identify whose problem we were really solving, who would benefit the most from our proposal and we regained control over the company and its true vision.
But in order to fulfill our vision for a better access experience leveraging mobile technologies we needed reach, reach beyond our current commercial capabilities.
We knew our vision was ambitious, but we also acknowledged the constraints under we were operating. We were pushing for a huge change, and if we wanted to grow at a much larger scale, we were going to need a ton of help.
If we want to put iomando in the hands of more people, we might need to join forces with partners that really have the power to push it forward in a meaningful way.
So, instead of competing with everybody and make a painful battle out of every little sale, we thought it was a smarter decision to join efforts and build an environment where all parties could benefit from.
That’s exactly what we did. We build a platform. A platform where customers were happy because they could improve their product and grow their value proposition with minimal effort. And we were thrilled because our product could reach places that were just out of what we thought it was possible a few months ago.
Who is that for?
As always, when you put tools in the hands of the developers, you never know where your technology is going to end up or how it will evolve. That’s the beauty of open platforms and also why we are thrilled with the possibilities this API could unlock for so many industries outside our scope.
But of course we haven’t started in the absolute darkness! Not only we have some clues of where the iomando API might fit, but we have already closed four partnerships that will be rolling out in the next few months.
As I mentioned before, we foresee two main use cases for the API: integration and bottom-up development.
Imagine you run a thriving business that’s already serving an unrelated purpose. Then at some point, within your customer journey, imagine your product touches some kind of access. We access things all the time, so it makes sense that they come across the overall experience.
Until now, this possibility was an unobserved event that no one thought about. But with iomando API this unnoticed detail might become an opportunity to deliver value to your customer and create a gratifying experience out of nothing.
Smartsea is a service aimed to yacht clubs and recreational boat owners that provides a complete and interactive guide in order to discover facilities, services and unlock all the leisure associated with sailing activities.
Smartsea is a truly disruptive and thoughtful idea, because it put valuable information in your finger tips, the moment you need the most, for example when you dock in an unfamiliar harbor.
They thought, though, that it would also make a lot of sense if it could also interact with the physical facilities within the club, on demand. Here’s when Smartsea meets iomando API. iomando API provides a way for Smartsea to natively integrate all the harbor accesses within their app. Therefore when someone comes in, not only has the information, but also an actionable environment that she can control within the smartphone.
Consequently, due to the integration with the iomando API, not only Smartsea users engaged more with the service, but it also delivered more value to the yacht clubs that were paying for the service.
The integration with Apparcando is the one that makes us feel more nostalgic. That’s not only because Apparcando is an awarded startup and part of the prestigious Lanzadera program, is because of what they do.
Apparcando is a service that helps their users to monetize their private parking spaces while they are away, working or on vacation, sounds familiar?
Of course it sounds familiar, because that was our original idea for iomando, the one we deprecated because our customers where more interested in the mobile-based access control technology. But it has been more than 2 years now, and the market has also evolved a lot since that, so this idea might be at its prime today.
Apparcando was struggling when it came to share their spaces. Sharing the keys among users was not an straightforward nor scalable solution and their growth was suffering because of that. The integration of their app with iomando API provided an elegant solution to elastically manage private property, in a way that was not possible with keys or remotes.
Because of the integration Apparcando users can securely access their peer’s spaces just for the time they were granted permission. Moreover the process is handled transparently on the backend, so the user's implication is not even required during the assignment.
In contrast with integrations, bottom-up development is a more open field where we expect thriving innovation. It gives third parties all the tools to easily build brand new services from the ground up, leveraging all of our access technology and taking advantage of futures developments.
With this tool, third parties can create services to further engage with their existing customers or develop brand new ideas in order to deliver more value and create growth opportunities for the overall organization.
To kickstart our iomando API launch, we’ve already partnered with two companies to explore the opportunities for bottom-up development.
UP3 is a door manufacturer based in Spain. Their core business is the design, manufacturing and distribution of their aluminium and glass doors for retail applications.
Despite their outstanding craftsmanship, door manufacturing is a really competitive business. The crowded space has driven the margins down to a point that the product has almost been commoditized. There are tons of competitors that try to rip the customer off with low quality product that differentiates only in price.
Because of this, UP3, a company that truly bets in great manufacturing and quality for their product, decided to seek another differentiation factor. In their particular pursuit they saw in iomando API a unique opportunity to build their own application leveraging all of our existing technology.
As they have told us, they’ve already tried to build the service in their own before. But they had repeatedly failed because their craft is building outstanding doors, not software. But iomando API gave them all the tools they needed to develop and scale a fully integrated service that worked with their doors out of the box.
Coming to a close now, we have Terraminium. The largest property manager in Spain, with more than forty thousand properties, including parkings, buildings, residential areas etc. And like UP3, Terraminium was also competing in a really messy business.
New participants in the space tried to steal clients with impossible low fees, delivering poor services, but hurting the stablished business bottom line. Because of that, Terraminium was looking for new growth opportunities that brought in more revenue and complement their traditional business model.
Again, iomando API helped them build a brand new product they could offer to their customers in order to cut the churn caused by those new competitors, and also bring in new customers attracted by their unique offering, that none of their competitors had.
When we started iomando, we could not foresee this path. The truth is that we didn’t fully understand the true nature of what we brought to the market, yet. But as the company evolved, some things started to clear up and it brightened the future that was still ahead of us.
We truly care about creating an amazing experience out of access control. We want to bring iomando, in whatever shape, to the all the people we can. To fulfill this mission we need reach, we need to grow beyond what our service currently allows us. To do that we can’t think of a more effective way than tapping on our most valuable asset, our technology, and let other companies build on top of it.
This way iomando will stand on the shoulders of giants and will be able to reach unimaginable places. Like Smartsea's harbors across the world, a new untapped retail market with UP3, lots of new facilities with Terraminium or Apparcando...
We are absolutely certain that our product shines with scale, and we see in iomando API the best way to bring massive scale to the product. We know that sooner rather than later access systems will be mobile, so we are looking forward to see where developers will bring iomando in the future.
Update on 20/02/2015: Some of the artwork has been updated after the publication of the article. Note that when the iomando API rolled out the marketing material might have looked a little bit different.