While a Bluetooth enabled garage door has been a reality for me for a while, and our lightbulbs and air conditioner can be controlled from our smartphone – until now we’ve still had to carry around keys to the house and run the risk of locking ourselves out at any given time. Not any more. Enter the KEVO smartlock from Kwikset which goes on sale in Australia from October 1.
This is actually quite simple to understand – Once you install the Kevo app on your iPhone (Android not supported yet) the phone is enabled to be constantly be on the “lookout” for a compatible Bluetooth device. In this case, the Kevo from Kwikset.
If your phone is in range of the door (1-2 meters) and you tap the front door lock with your finger, the door unlocks. Do the same and it locks.
Don’t believe me? Watch this – all these instances of the door opening are made possible by the iPhone that is actually filming this video:
Now before you get all “this is crazy technology taking over” on me, you can still have a key. Good old analogue key. You get two with your $329 Kevo.
You also get a “fob” and can purchase more. That fob is basically the same as an enabled iPhone. If it’s within range – you can open the door.
Put one on your children’s school bag and as they approach the front door all they need to do is tap the lock and they’re in.
On your smartphone the process is similar. Install the app, login with your Kevo account details (Free to create) and as the first user setting up the device you simply follow the configuration process to enable your first phone.
After that, you can “send” a key to any email address. I sent one to my wife – she then had to create a Kevo account, install the app, and since then – hasn’t put a key into our front door.
As long as Bluetooth is enabled, you’re in.
Got friends coming to stay? Send them a guest key. A guest key is active for 24 hours, and means you don’t need to get keys cut.
Perhaps you have a cleaner or babysitter who come round at set times each week? Send them a key that is only enabled for the specific days of week and hours of day that you set.
When you install the Kevo you “configure” the lock so it learns how to detect your phone – in your pocket or your bag – just outside the door.
Likewise, this configuration means that even if your phone is on the inside of the door – perhaps sitting on a table inside the entry to your home – someone approaching the front door can’t unlock the door without you doing it.
Installation is relatively simple, in fact, a breeze. If you have a deadlock on your door already – it’s as easy as taking that out and putting the new one in. Our door had a “rim lock” on it, so I had to do some drilling and fit the new lock and latch, but it was done with ease.
At $329, it is a pricey option, however, the flexibility and freedom is fantastic. It doesn’t matter how I get home, driving, train, walk or dropped off by someone else – I’ve always got a key to my front door.
We get the odd ‘failure’ which means you’re probably best to grab your phone and hold it closer as you press the lock again – but never fails on the second go.
Of course, if Bluetooth is turned off on your phone – it won’t work. Oh, and if your battery goes flat – you’re going to need to knock.
If you’re worried about security – the Kevo smartlock is as safe as your current deadbolt. If someone is trying to get in, they’ll do so by getting through the lock itself or knocking down the door, not through the Bluetooth “smarts”. And the device is not connected to your home WiFi – so there is no remote access functionality – an added level of peace of mind for the security conscious.
Kevo launches October 1 at Masters stores across Australia.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.