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Okidokeys smart-lock system lets you keep your deadbolt, but ditch your keys

Most hotels may have ditched keys for plastic keycards a decade ago, but chances are the key you use to lock your house is still fundamentally the same slab of cut metal it was 100 years ago. At CES 2014, OpenWays Group gave homeowners a new way to lock it all up electronically – without ditching that trusty key – with the Okidokeys (prounounced “okee-dokies”) smart lock system. Instead of replacing existing locks, Okidokeys is designed to work with almost any deadbolt, so the outside styling on your doors can remain the same. We caught up with OpenWays representative Kali Fry at CES Unveiled to get the early dish on Okidokeys.

The Okidokeys smart lock is not a complete deadbolt; it’s a box that replaces the inner knob on almost any existing deadbolt, and a smart reader that mounts outside near the door. Fry tells us that the system is compatible with over 80 percent of existing deadbolts on the market. The system offers all the standard features that we’d expect from a smart lock, as well as a few clever new ones. For instance, smartphone apps allow virtual keys to be created and sent to anyone that can run the app on their phone. The virtual keys can be limited based on time or usage; for instance, you could create a one-time-use key for a babysitter, or a key that only works during certain hours for a house cleaner or contractor. If your phone supports Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy, keys can also be configured to auto-unlock the door by proximity, eliminating the need to fumble around for a key fob or phone when approaching the door.

For those without access to a compatible phone, Okidokeys also allows virtual keys to be encoded in a sound file and emailed or sent via SMS. The receiving party can play the sound file near the outside-mounted reader to unlock the door. For the less tech-savvy, physical RF smart keys (like those used for cars with push-button start) are available in key, card, or wristband form; the door is unlocked by placing the key near the reader. All the same restrictions can be placed on the physical smart keys. Since the Okidokeys system doesn’t replace the physical lock hardware (just the inside knob), the old-school “analog” key will also continue to work.

okidokeys 2Unlike some smart locks, an Okidokeys lock can optionally be a connected via Wi-Fi, which allows it to be operated remotely from a Web portal or smartphone. This opens a world of possibilities around remote access and real-time access logging, without requiring any special knowledge or hardware from the person needing to operate the lock. A smart lock like Okidokeys would be a huge boon for owners of vacation rentals or AirBnB properties, providing much better security and access control than physical keys, as well as great flexibility for those using the keys.

Fry tells us that Okidokeys also has plans to ship an add-on for garage door openers with the same functionality as the deadbolt version, but for the door that many of us use the most.

Okidokeys are available for preorder, with an expected ship date of March, 2014.

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