Lockitron Smartphone ‘key’ – Good idea or terrible risk?

If you’ve ever had your phone stolen you’ll know the devastation of losing all those lost contacts, all those Saturday-night-out photos and all those embarrassing texts you never should have sent in the first place.  Now imagine that a stolen phone not only means an inconvenient period of contact-less misery but potentially a breaking-and-entering done with all the ease of one swipe.

How it works

Lockitron by American company Apigy, allows you to lock or unlock your door by smartphone from anywhere in the world.  It works with any smartphone on the market giving you keyless entry and peace of mind for those of you who dash back home thinking they’ve left the door unlocked.  The device is attached to the deadbolt of the inside of your door, with a small battery-powered box that utilises Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to communicate with your phone.  All you have to do is swipe your phone past the Lockitron box to unlock.  Bluetooth also allows the device to unlock your door automatically when you walk up to it, sensing when you and your phone are within gripping range of the door.  

Guest entry –

 Anytime the enabled door opens you are alerted and you can even give your guests access to your home when you’re away.  Now this is all good and well if you run a BnB or have so many guests that you need a remote, automated system to control entry to your house but my first reaction to a ‘keyless entry device’ was sheer panic.  Of course there are plenty of plus points – your kids won’t be able to sneak out of the house, you can call the cops on intruders while you’re holidaying at the coast and you won’t have to worry about forgetting your keys again.  The elements of this system that were most attractive to me were the idea of taking an evening run without jangling keys in my pocket and the ability to let family in when I’m out but then again keys aren’t that much of an issue are they?  A little forward planning would be enough to get around the issue of arriving guests.  I can definitely see the benefits of the system but the risks seem to outweigh them.  

Of course Lockitron have thought of the potential risks and you can reset your account’s password as soon as you realise your phone is lost (just as with a stolen credit card) but these things are never fail safe and who knows how far the potential robber has gotten before you realise your phone’s gone.  This may sound like an alarmist approach to a great idea but how worrisome are your traditional keys?

The two-button Lockitron app is available for iOS and Android devices but can be used from older mobiles by text message.  The Lockitron box retails at $149 from Apigy with pre-orders being taken now and the first batch set to ship internationally from March 2013 if the 1,000 reservation mark they need to hit is reached by then.


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