Smartphone the key

by Kacey Larsen

Keyless entry is an emerging market in the automotive and commercial building industries, and now for the residential market Kwikset introduces a door lock that uses a smartphone for keyless entry into any home. “Consumers continue to see more and more lifestyle benefits for using their smart phones for all different areas of their lives, and we just think it’s a natural fit to move their mechanical key to a smart phone in their interaction with their homes,” says Keith Brandon, director of Residential Access Solutions, Kwikset.

The Kevo smart lock package includes one deadbolt, one key fob, two mechanical keys and two smartphone eKeys, which are available for download. “We’ve leveraged more of a traditional, round deadbolt, and incorporated a spinning blue ring into the exterior of the lock so you get that little bit of a cool factor to recognize that the lock is actually engaging with you,” Brandon says. The lock operates on four AA batteries, and the LED light in the lock turns red in the exterior and interior to indicate a low battery level.

The Kevo app is only available on smartphones that support Bluetooth 4.0, which are the iPhone 4S and 5 as well as the fifth-generation iPod touch, third-generation or higher iPad and iPad mini. Brandon says that the pressure is now on Android products to update to Bluetooth 4.0, which would further open up the marketplace for Kevo. He hopes that technology will catch up across all smartphones within months.

Timers and sensors in the app and the key fob prevent consumers from accidentally activating the lock when inside or outside the home and unwittingly unlocking the door. Another security feature of the Kevo app is that owner and administrator eKeys have the authorization to send, disable and delete eKeys, which provides a more secure means of sharing access to a home. In the case of a lost, stolen or compromised smartphone, consumers can log in through a Web portal and disable the eKey capabilities on that smartphone. If homeowners don’t have their smartphone on them, then a mechanical key or the key fob can be used for locking or unlocking the home. 

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