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Need to buzz someone in? The Monkey is a smart keyless entry for apartment buildings

I’ve lived in a couple apartments with intercoms that connect to residents’ phones, so they can buzz visitors in. Handy, except they often require a local area code, and I am not ditching my decade-old number for anyone.

These intercoms — whether operated by key fobs, keys, or codes — aren’t infallible; people often let strangers follow them into the building, just to avoid a socially awkward quizzing about whether they really live in the building. Thus it’s not surprising that Locumi Labs wants to at least make the intercom interaction a little easier, if not necessarily more secure.

Available now on Kickstarter, the Monkey is smart keyless entry device that works similarly to a lot of other smart locks, only it’s for your whole apartment building. You (or, more likely, your landlord) wire up the Wi-Fi-enabled chip to your existing intercom, then you — and your fellow tenants — download the Android or iOS app. You’ll sync it up with your phone, and you’ll get a notification when someone rings your intercom. You can then let me in, whether you’re home or on the go.

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There are three ways to gain access. The Monkey can use geofencing to detect your phone (and everyone else’s in the building), so you don’t have to search for your keys when you get to the gate or building’s entrance. You can also use the app, or you can set a timer. If you know the UPS guy is coming around noon, you can use the timer setting for a few hours before and after, and anyone who dials you on the intercom can enter — whether or not they have a package for you. This requires that you have “master privileges,” so we don’t foresee landlords letting every tenant who’s having a party set a timer starting at 8 p.m. on a Saturday.

The $67 chip is doing quite well on Kickstarter, though it will be interesting to see if buildings full of people will embrace this technology.