Westinghouse Nucli Smart Lock

Had anyone seen the Westinghouse Nucli Smart Lock on indigogo? It looks pretty cool but also pretty expensive for a beta test.

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Just like all the other crowdfunded stuff, it remains to be seen how well it translates from a cool engineering drawing on a napkin to an actual product in the real world.

Considering that they’re doing fingerprints, camera, voice (and voicemail?), WiFi, Bluetooth, ZWave, USB, touchscreen, a speaker, accelerometer and motion detector, I can imagine that it will either be really mediocre at everything or really good at some things but suck at others.

I like the idea of whatever the “9 volt external power tap” is, because that means that they’ve considered the power requirements, even if just as an emergency fallback, but I seriously doubt the claims of 6 month battery life with ALL that hardware in there.

Plus the “2 hour recharge” kind of sounds sketchy, as in it has a proprietary battery that can be recharged on a dock or some other kind of setup.

I guess just like with all these campaigns, time will tell.


Yeah, it looks like they are trying to do too much. Which is really too bad. Just the remote lock and video stuff would be great to integrate into a home control.
The battery does have a quick charge, and I agree the 6 month life is very doubtful. I think I’ll stick with the existing smart locks that just want to be a lock.

Why on earth would Westinghouse need to crowdfund a new product? The crowdfunded smart lock thing has officially jumped the shark.

Yeah that’s the new hotness for big companies… it requires basically no investment from their part, produces immediate market testing results and has the advantage of providing prepayment for a project.

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Actually the crowdfunding doesn’t come anywhere near ‘prepaying’ a project like that one. The tooling alone for a product like the Nucli would be in the $600k range. No doubt they are looking to see what level of market acceptance there is for an ‘all-in-one’ smart lock. That project is easily $1m+ to them.

Perhaps, but a company like Westinghouse doesn’t have any problems sourcing equipment. This is just a matter of “stop building x widget to put together the prototypes” and whatever resources you have to dedicate to it (engineering, project management, software development, etc).

To a couple of guys in a garage it would be a tremendous undertaking, to find the companies that can do the fabrication and put everything together. But this is not new to a company like Westinghouse though.

They spell out why on indigogo:

“We chose crowdfunding as the path to market for Nucli because we want to make sure that what we think people want, is in fact what they actually do want. Crowdfunding seems like a great way to do that. We really appreciate your feedback, as well as your support. What we hear from you will help us make Nucli the best it can be!”

To me this make sense. Trying to determine customer needs in a big company is difficult, slow and expensive. Here they get access to people who know their needs for free. I suspect this version is only a learning exercise for a future version.

This may NOT be the original intent of crowdsourcing, but I think we will see more of this in the future.

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When we do market research we give customers product and use their feedback to inform the next version. I do understand you teach many more customers the crowd finding route though, and if powwow are willing to pay you might as well let them.

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Being an original backer of Lockitron (and eventually filing for a refund 2 years later after still not receiving the product) has soured me towards crowdfunding in general and crowdfunded locks in particular. It seems like this is a tough product to get right and there have been far more failures than successes in this field. I’ll let someone else gamble on a product that doesn’t exist yet and pay full price after the finished product actually ships and has been reviewed by a reputable source.


I think that’s the problem though… You can’t ask people what they want, because they want everything. And they want it cheap. And they want it to be interconnected with everything. And they want eternal battery life.

This is how you end up with a product like this, and it shows. It came from a consumer group and was designed by an engineer that didn’t have any sort of restrictions.

It is, quite literally, THE door lock that we would design if we had no restrictions. Has 20 radios, a camera, fingerprint sensor, the works.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working with people is that you give them what they need, rather than ask them what they want.


Westinghouse is a fascinating story from an engineering standpoint.

They started out inventing things. Then spent 75 years manufacturing things. And then…they bought CBS, became a media company, and sold off all their manufacturing facilities. By 1999, “Westinghouse” itself was vaporware, a division that existed solely for the purpose of licensing the famous name to other companies who actually did make things.

For the last 15 years, Westinghouse is just a name for hire. Yet the name still has marketplace power. Amazing.

Anyway, about 18 months ago Westinghouse licensed the name “Westinghouse Security” to a small company called NextLock that already had the Nucli lock in development. And it’s that company that’s running the crowdfunding campaign.


I agree that the campaign is probably intended as a marketing move, both for market research and also just to build buzz. But this isn’t actually a product developed or manufactured by Westinghouse itself. It’s a licensed use of the Westinghouse name. But then so is everything else branded Westinghouse these days.



It shows the parent company of Westinghouse Security is Strattec Security Corporation (STRT) also a very large company. They are probably very good at manufacturing this sort of thing.

Strattec is a partner, not a parent. They make locks for commercial truck fleets. The other partner is the much smaller Actuator Systems who make a specialty fingerprint reader lock. Neither company had experience with zwave, zigbee, or home automation controllers before the Nucli project.

So Actuator is good at designing fingerprint locks and Stratec is good at producing automotive locks in large quantities.

I don’t see any indication that either company has experience or expertise in multi protocol radio frequency units, which will be the tricky part of this thing. (First obvious question: how are they going to power all those radios inside a lock housing? Second obvious question: given that a door lock is by definition on the edge of a house, rather than centrally-located, how are the controller signals going to work in a large house?)

I agree that the mechanical lock housing will probably be well engineered, they definitely have expertise in that.

As for the rest, I’ll be delighted if it works, but I’ll wait to evaluate it until it comes to market.


Looks like progress is being made on the Nucli, although several months behind schedule.

The current shipping date for the Nucli is November 15, 2016.