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Integration Nuki & BioID: Open the front door via the Nuki app and BioID facial recognition
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Integration Nuki & BioID: Open the front door via the Nuki app and BioID facial recognition

Get Inspired 08.04.2020 | Judith Wilfing

Nuki is compatible with many smart home systems, such as Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Thanks to the open interface, the electronic door lock from Nuki can be easily integrated into your existing smart home environment. The Nuki Smart Lock is not directly compatible with Zigbee and Z-Wave, but in combination with the appropriate hub, it can communicate with devices of these smart home standards as well.

Nuki Web as a basis for Smart Home integration

A Nuki Web account is a prerequisite for the integration of smart home technologies. This allows you to control your smart door lock directly via the web interface on your computer or laptop. From a business perspective, the open interface (API) is ideal for managing several Smart Locks. The simple user administration and clear visualisation of door lock activities make the Nuki Web API (Application Program Interface) especially interesting for companies. BioID from Nuremberg, Germany, shows what a possible use case with the Nuki API in connection with biometric access control looks like.

Nuki Web API as part of BioID integration

BioID offers software for biometric authentication and specialises in the field of facial recognition. A central component of this technology is liveness detection, which serves as a security mechanism against facial recognition fraud. Liveness detection analyses incoming images with regard to three-dimensionality and texture. In this way, not only photos and videos, but also manufactured paper and silicone masks are rejected. BioID technology can be applied especially to scenarios that require controlled access.

Instead of just using the Nuki app to unlock and lock the door, the BioID facial recognition app (iOS) was connected to the software. In this case, the company used the Nuki Combo, consisting of Nuki Smart Lock and Nuki Bridge. This communication works via the Nuki Web API with the Nuki Bridge, meaning that the door does not open until the facial recognition authentication process has been successfully completed. Only after successful authentication will the command to open the door be sent and executed.

How to open the door via the Nuki app and BioID facial recognition

To begin with, the person registers and enrols with BioID. During the enrolment process, facial images are created and transformed into a biometric pattern. This unique pattern is stored at BioID together with a unique identification number. In the BioID iOS facial recognition app, which is specifically modified for Nuki, the user is registered with their personal identification number. As soon as the “open door” or “unlock” button in the Nuki app is pressed, the facial recognition as well as a liveness detection process is conducted, serving as a fraud protection mechanism against photos, videos and masks.

For unlocking the door, two selfies are captured and sent to the BioID server. In the background, these are converted again into biometric patterns and compared with the stored pattern per identification number. If the patterns match and the liveness detection process was also successful, the BioID server communicates via the Nuki Web API to the Nuki Bridge that the door can be unlocked. The Nuki Bridge communicates the command to the Nuki Smart Lock which unlocks the door.

This short animation video demonstrates what the integration looks like:


Note: This solution is a possible integration of the Nuki Web API and currently no public rollout with BioID is planned.

Offering this integration publicly would require an extended user management which assigns the biometric identification numbers to the authorised devices and reports who (which identification number) may open which door. In addition to a simple “unlock“ through the Nuki app, “unlock with facial recognition“ could be added when a higher level of security is required. For example, an office door could be unlocked without facial recognition during usual opening hours via the Nuki app. If the door is unlocked after 22:00, facial recognition would be active.

With the Nuki Web API, we provide the technical interface to integrate Nuki into external smart home systems. We have no influence on the security concept used by the respective partner company and this is independent of the end-to-end encryption concept used by Nuki.

About BioID

The Nuremberg based company BioID offers biometric authentication, liveness detection & identity verification as a service. With more than 20 years of experience, its special focus is biometric anti-fraud technology “Made in Germany”. In addition, the company’s facial recognition stands for data privacy and high security. With this, BioID follows the vision of enabling biometric authentication – with any device and for any application. The privately held company with R&D based in Germany has proven its user-friendly technology through many years of use at enterprises, banks and government organizations.

More information for developers can be found in our forum.

Nuki for Developers
Judith Wilfing
For me, Smart Home means: lifestyle & making everyday life easier. Electronic door lock, smartwatch and voice assistant - three smart gadgets that accompany my daily life. Every technological development has new and exciting tools at hand. Pure variety!