Kevo Lock: Keyless Operation to Your Front Door

Oct 17, 2013 home security, internet, internet of things, 0 Comments
Kevo Lock - Design Inspiration Gallery


The Kevo lock by Kwikset acts as a standard deadbolt lock until you activate its electronic features with an iPhone. Installing normally as a key-operated, one-inch deadbolt lock, it looks like you need a key to open it, but you can actually unlock your door by just touching the side of the lock. It uses Bluetooth to obtain a coded signal from your iPhone confirming that you have an electronic key.

Once it has that confirmation, it unlocks your door when you touch the lock casing. The Gadgeteer reviews the lock and provides additional details. Eventually the manufacturer plans to roll out support for other smartphones and operation over WiFi, but the current version, available for pre-order from Amazon for a release on October 31, 2013, works with a car-type keyless entry fob and a normal key for those who don’t have iPhones.

Installation of the Kevo Lock

The Kevo unit comes with the lock itself, one keyless entry fob, two keys and two electronic keys. You install the lock like any other deadbolt lock, and Kwikset says it has a standard strike and an adjustable latch to fit any door. You need four AA batteries to power the lock and these are also included. Kwikset says the batteries last for about a year under normal operation. Once installed, the keys and keyless fobs allow you to operate the door lock right away.

To use your iPhone, you have to download the corresponding app and install one of the electronic keys.

Operation

You can operate the Kevo lock with a key, a keyless fob or using your iPhone. With the key, the lock works just like a normal lock. The keyless fob works essentially like a keyless car entry system, unlocking the door when you touch the lock casing.

Once you have installed an electronic key on your iPhone, the system offers additional capabilities. You can issue electronic keys to baby sitters, workmen and guests. You can change the keys and buy additional electronic keys as you need them. You can re-key your lock and, if you have several Kevo locks on different doors, you can re-key them to all unlock with one iPhone.

The iPhone app keeps track of electronic key operations, so you know when the door was locked and unlocked. You can access this feature through the administration function on the app and examine the corresponding log. Only electronic key operations are recorded. The log does not show entry with keys or a key fob.

Since the “unlock by touching” function relies only on the proximity of an iPhone with an electronic key, the lock can be locked or unlocked by another person as long as the iPhone owner is close by. To prevent entry when the person with the iPhone is on the inside of the door, the lock has a sensor that determines whether the iPhone is inside or outside the door. This feature means you can carry your iPhone to the door inside the house and check who is at the door without the visitor being able to unlock the door through touching the lock.

Security

The lock specs claim a high level of physical security and the design of the electronic keys is also secure. Basically, you are as secure with one of these locks as with any other good deadbolt lock. While it is probably possible to hack the keys and the communication, it takes an amount of effort that is unreasonable in comparison with other possibilities for gaining entry to a house.

Cost of the Kevo Lock

Amazon is accepting pre-orders for the Kevo lock for $219 as of mid-October 2013. The electronic keys cost $1.99 each and an extra fob is about $25.00. The cost for electronic keys can add up because, once you assign them, they can’t be given to anyone else. A typical use would be to assign an electronic key to someone doing renovations on your house and then canceling it when the work is completed. That key is then lost and can’t be reactivated or reassigned.

Features in Development

Kwikset plans to roll out additional features for this lock and future models. One of the first added capabilities will be support for other smartphone manufacturers, particularly Android phones. Also on the horizon is WiFi and Internet connectivity which will allow you to unlock your door remotely when you wish and to enable a crosscheck to see whether you and your iPhone are physically present at the door. Timed locking and unlocking with special electronic keys may also be possible.

Eventual integration with home security systems may let you check via a door camera to see who wants to enter your home — so you can either unlock the door or call 911.

For now, you are getting limited extra functionality with the Kevo Lock, and you need one of the recent Apple devices to take advantage of it.

Photo Credit: Design Inspiration Gallery


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Bert Markgraf has written technical papers and articles for Siemens while working there as a professional engineer. He started his own IT business and wrote and edited a large number of articles for online publisher Suite101 as Senior Managing Editor, Business and Economics. He currently creates Internet content while operating North46 Technologies Inc., an IT company.

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