updated 10:05 pm EDT, Fri May 13, 2011
Uses real keys as a backup, virtual keys to others
Apigy has introduced the Lockitron, a combination hardware and app kit that replaces the lock on your door with an internet-ready version that allows users to lock and unlock their doors using their iPhone (and eventually other smartphones), even remotely. While utilizing a traditional key and keyfob system for backup, the system also offers an option where users can text or email a "virtual key" code to others who need to enter the house, enabling them to use the system as well. A near-field communication (NFC) version is also in the works.
The company is planning an NFC version of the Lockitron that would be supported currently by the Nexus S Android phone, and by future iPhones and other models that may support NFC. The service works by using a plug server and ethernet cable tied to the electronic lock, and works with both deadbolt or handle locks. An approaching person simply texts the code to the unique web address, or uses the iPhone app, and can unlock or lock the door using encrypted data stored in the cloud.
The Lockitron is sold at a flat rate between $300 and $500 depending on door lock style. A texting option (for non-smartphone users) is available as a $5-per-month subscription.