Gadgets okidokeys

Published on September 15th, 2014 | by Greg


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.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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