How many keys do you have attached to your keychain? I assume there is at least one for your house or apartment, your office, your bike or maybe an additional key for your car, your mailbox, your basement… The list could go on and on, depending on your preferences to keep things locked up. If you want to get rid of the hassle to look for the right key, the fear of losing your keys, or simply the annoying fact that they scratch your other valuables in your bag from time to time, there are already a number of apps and smart locks that can replace your keychain altogether. Look no further. Here’s a list of some of the coolest apps and gadgets that turn your smartphone into your master key, and also come with helpful additional features that give you more control and security when it comes to your most personal belongings.
House and Office
Most of the smart locks mentioned below can be installed both in your house / apartment and your office. The latter of course depends on how much influence you have on your boss, if you don’t own a business. All of these locks can be easily installed on every door, give you the options to grant access to other people either 24/7 or for a specific period of time, e.g. for your cleaning lady, your kids or guests, allow you to reset when your phone is lost, open the door automatically via bluetooth when you approach, and are compatible with a wide range of phones.
The August Smart Lock will cost $199 when it becomes available spring of 2014. Next to the “standard” features mentioned above, it keeps log records, so you can see who has entered and exited at what times. August’s EverLock™ technology can sense when you have closed your door and automatically lock it. Never again worry if you left your front door unlocked. Another cool feature is party or dinner invitations with door access included. The app turns your contact book into a VIP guest list. No need to run to the door.
The Lockitron Smart Lock arrives this January and can be pre-ordered for $179. For a small additional monthly fee, Lockitron owners can enable text-message access which turns any mobile phone into a virtual key.
Goji‘s Smart Lock comes at a price of $278. It stands out with its picture alert providing you with real-time information about who is accessing your home. Additionally, you can by electronic Bluetooth fobs to lock and unlock your door. Similar to a car’s remote, they can also be programmed with time and date access rights. They’re great for children and older people who don’t carry smart phones.
LOCK8 and Bitlock are the two hottest smart bike locks out there at the moment. Both allow you to locate your bike, check your bike’s location, and share access to your bike with friends.
LOCK8 can be pre-order for $179 and will be shipped from mid 2014. Additionally, it will send you alerts when someone tries to steal your bicycle.
Bitlock comes at the price of $149 with the choice of seven colors. It will ship in August 2014. The BitLock app can optionally generate a 16 digit binary code for you when you register the lock, in case your phone dies. Additionally, the Bitlock application can map your ride behind the scene as ride your bicycle. The application will provide you with detailed statistics on how many miles you cycled, how many calories you burned, and how much CO2 emission you saved during the last day, week, or month.
Peer-to-Peer carsharing services like Zipcar already make it possible to access a car with your smartphone. Auto manufacturers like Hyundai or General Motors have also announced that they might soon provide cars with Near Field Communication locks. So it’s only a matter of time until everyone will be able to install a smart lock in their car. Viper already offers a solution for everyone to upgrade their cars with smart locks, at least in the US. However, it still involves a bit of a hassle to get the system installed by a professional car mechanic. But once you’ve done it, you can throw away another key and benefit from enhanced security features.
Very recently Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have announced their pilot project that allows you to book, pay, check in, and most of all open your hotel room with your smartphone. Similar solutions are provided for example by The Hotel in Brussels or the Holiday Inn Express in Oklahoma.
Still running for four days, there’s a current kickstarter campaign by Mr. Postman which is “a smart mailbox specifically designed for your packages, both tracking them and keeping them safe. Along with additional security such as a keyless locking system and tampering alert, Mr. Postman makes your life smarter by letting you know what packages have arrived.” It can be backed with $180 and will be delivered by February 2014.
like your basement or secret cupboard, there are a number of smart padlocks out there. One of the newest versions includes the TEO, which can be backed on kickstarter for $79 and will arrive in March 2014.
Did I forget anything?
Title image by Brenda Clarke