LAS VEGAS - Need to let someone in your house to check on your cat, but you’re nowhere near home, and they don’t have a key? Kwikset’s newest addition to its Bluetooth electronic locks, Kevo Plus, will let you lock and unlock your doors, even if you’re halfway around the world.
Unlike traditional locks, Kevo works by communicating with your smartphone or a keyfob via Bluetooth. When you touch the lock, and if it senses your phone or fob is near, then the Kevo will unlock the door. Of course, you can also use an old-school key, too.
The Kevo Plus service, available in early 2015 for $50 per year, will offer several features. In addition to remote unlocking, the Kevo app will let homeowners distribute eKeys to friends and family that they can use to unlock a door via the Kevo app on their smartphones. You can set restraints on an eKey to only allow entry during certain times, and have the eKeys expire on a given day. Additionally, an Activity monitoring feature will let you see, remotely, who’s unlocking your door.
When you sign up for Kevo Plus, you’ll be given a small Gateway device that plugs into your router, and communicates with the Kevo lock via Bluetooth LE. I can see this being an issue if there’s a long distance between your router and the lock.
Future upgrades include the ability to schedule their Kevo to lock or unlock at specific times. Lock Grouping will let you send commands to multiple locks simultaneously.
Connected locks aren’t cheap. The Kevo costs $199, about $170 more than Kwikset’s least expensive deadbolt. However, I can see Kevo Plus being a useful service for those who own rental or vacation properties, and who don’t want the hassle of having to make new sets of keys every year.
Separately, Kwikset also announced that its locks are now compatible with the Nest Learning Thermostat. So, when you unlock your front door, the Nest will automatically enter Home mode. Conversely, when you leave and lock your door, the thermostat will enter Away mode. It’s a nice addition to the Nest’s rapidly growing ecosystem, which includes everything from the Logitech Harmony remote control to Mercedes-Benz cars.