November 28, 2022

OpenKit Harnesses Years of Insight and Experience, Signals Exciting New Directions

The recently announced LatchOS2 marks an exciting new chapter for Latch and one of the new features fueling this growth is called OpenKit. Through an open ecosystem approach, OpenKit provides Latch’s partners the ability to customize the unlock experience on Latch’s award-winning platform.

The power and possibility of this new ecosystem was on full display at last month’s keynote address with a moment that was so intuitive, so natural, that its simplicity disguised all the insight and vision that made the moment possible in the first place. Senior product manager Ian Dyer was introducing OpenKit when he asked a representative from Landing, a real estate company partnering with Latch, to swipe her phone — and with that swipe, unlock a door. An action done so often we hardly think about. And yet that moment says so much about Latch’s expanding capabilities and signals an exciting new direction for the company.

That swipe was so important because of where it happened. Or didn’t happen, really. Latch has been unlocking doors with phones for years. More than 100 million unlocks in their app, to be exact. But this unlock didn’t take place on the Latch app. It happened on the Landing app. That’s the power of OpenKit — by providing partners with an Invite API and an Unlock SDK, Latch partners can now for the first time build tightly integrated and differentiated experiences in their own apps, all in concert with Latch’s patented ecosystem of hardware, software, and services.

When the OpenKit build got underway earlier this year, Ian Dyer’s mandate was this: build a platform that would let Latch’s partners unlock our doors in their apps. Straightforward enough, but by no means simple. “There’s a hundred thousand ways you could build something like this,” Dyer said. And so his job was to convene a team of engineers, to figure out the set of features, and then, under a tight deadline, to actually make the thing.

They split the workflow into two parts and six weeks later, they’d deliver the first half of the project: the application interface for the invite, known as the Invite API. Another six weeks, and the second half was in place: a software development kit that would provide partners the tools to integrate Latch’s unlock experience into their own application. This is known as the Unlock SDK. Taken together, they make OpenKit.

For the team, it was a months-long process of collaboration, epiphany, prototyping, and building. For Dyer, the product manager, it was the culmination of years of experience in numerous positions at Latch. Dyer joined Latch back in April of 2017. He came on as an operations associate and spent his early days doing physical installations of Latch products. The hands-on experience proved invaluable as did his relationships with Latch’s engineers.

“I haven't met an engineer that's not incredibly thoughtful about solving problems,” said Dyer. “I have never seen another company with so many people that are intelligent and caring, and I want those people to be debating and discussing the finer details of every feature.”

So when the time came to build OpenKit, there couldn’t have been a better person to manage the product. And that quick swipe of the phone during the keynote? It was a triumph built on years of insight and experience.

“What's exciting to me about the way we're building OpenKit is very much under this ecosystem mentality,” explains Dyer. “it's a platform. It's not a piece of hardware that you're trying to sell.”

OpenKit and LatchOS2 signal the beginning of an even more ambitious turn for Latch, as they build collaborative ecosystems that meet the needs of spaces today and tomorrow.

“There's a vision here. How can we make spaces better? There will be so many better ideas when you open yourself up to what others want to build on your platform and with your tools. You'll build such a better place for people to live, work, and visit.”


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