Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Greg0
Smart Locks For Everyone With Okidokeys
If home automation hasn’t exactly lived up to its promises over the last thirty years, at last there are signs of a quiet revolution in how people are bringing technology indoors to the household. It’s not just multi-room music systems and LED lighting that are bridging the gap, but smarter appliances, and more capable wireless networking, longer battery life, and advances like near field communications lighting a path forward. Where once we saw the category limited to early adopters, now it seems every smartphone user is the next target audience. But even that’s too limited- plenty of Airbnb or VRBO hosts use older phones, and certainly many guests and visitors do.
That’s why the Okidokeys system, and their Access Pack that we’ve been testing out, are an interesting take on the smart lock package. A solution aimed at the average homeowner, it doesn’t take much to install, and enables a broad feature set with support for more devices than most competitors. The kit not only includes the base lock but some extra RFID tags in three different forms (keycard, wristband and keychain). You just need an existing deadbolt- no access to a wireless network is necessary- but you will need a smartphone for initial setup and configuration. Remove your old single-cylinder lock and add their new one, and just like that you can now unlock your doors with any Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smartphone (Android and iOS both).
But the most unique part of the system is not the hotel room-like RFID cards or the ability to unlock the door with your smartphone- most smartlocks have those capabilities, like the Kwikset Kevo we checked out recently. The interesting addition is what they call Crypto Acoustic Credentials, allowing any regular cellphone to receive a special code to open your door- it plays a tune and your door unlocks magically. The downside is the need for a separate unit, apart from the lock, which they call a wireless Smart-Reader and needs to be installed externally within 10 meters of your lock. The basic lock for use with smartphones only can be purchased separately, but to use the RFID abilities and other features, you’ll need the Access Pack. Of course, you can purchase extra RFID tags, even a garage door controller, and they do offer a wifi networking gateway which allows for better key management capabilities from afar. The reader also offers a wireless doorbell connection, which is a cute addition, and unlike most others, there are no subscription charges or key fees with Okidokeys.
As with the Kevo, there is a hands free mode that allows the door to automatically unlock when it senses the correct phone is near. But we didn’t use it much, and it’s optional here. The Okidokeys app itself isn’t too slick, though it is pretty simple, and the need to create accounts and download the app might prove a bit much for your average visitor. The lock itself is available in an impressive six finishes, including a self-paint option, but the other components do not appear to be, and the Smart Reader (the most visible component) looks a bit ugly, plasticky, and definitely calls some attention to itself. Overall, we’re excited to see new entrants into the market, and though Okidokeys instructions and manual could use some improvements, the system itself is nifty and far more versatile than we expected. Grab one for yourself now, online, and expect to spend around $260.