Smartphones Keys to Replace Traditional Keys

With new smart door locks and smartphone keys, traditional keys may go the way of skeleton keys.

Every time Gabriel Bestard-Ribas pulled his smartphone out of his pocket, there was a new scratch on it made by his house keys. Rather than get upset about it, he got inspired. “My keys were always scratching my phone, so I thought why not build them in,” he says. The result was a Goji lock and Bestard-Ribas is now CEO of San Francisco startup Goji. Goji lock senses when a resident’s smartphone is near, unlocks a door and greets the resident by name.

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where his creation is on display, features many apps in what is becoming a trend of “smart locks,” downloadable to smartphones. The technology fuses the mobile Internet with centuries old lock mechanisms. Goji lock is a free application, which uses Bluetooth connectivity to let the lock know a person is near. If that person has a “digital key,” the lock is opened and a personalized welcome message is displayed. Built into the lock is a camera, which takes a photo of whoever has arrived. Alerts regarding entry are relayed to the homeowner along with images of visitors through wireless Internet connections.

“It is about allowing you to feel confidence and control over your home access,” Bestard-Ribas says. “We have all lost keys or given them to someone who left our sight; we don’t know if copies were made.” The “digital keys” can restrict use to specified periods, can be temporary in nature and can be emailed to plumbers, dog walkers, house cleaners or anyone else who may need to visit your home when you are not there. The locks can be ordered online at gojiaccess.com.

Similarly on display at CES, were smart locks developed by veteran lock maker Kwikset. Kwikset’s Kevo lock senses when a resident’s smartphone is near. President of UniKey (the technology built into Kevo), Phil Dumas says, “As long as you have your phone in your pocket, or in your purse, you touch the deadbolt and in about a second it will lock or unlock. It can even tell what side of the door you are on, so you can be on the inside and a bad guy can touch the door and it won’t unlock.”

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