Innovation | Tap to Unlock

John Tozzi

ILLUSTRATION BY STEPH DAVIDSON

Form and Function Kevo, a motorized deadbolt lock linked to your iPhone or a dedicated remote control, lets you open your door with the tap of a finger.

Innovator Phil Dumas

Age 31

Title CEO of UniKey Technologies, an 11-employee startup founded in 2010 in Winter Park, Fla.

Activation When tapped, the deadbolt sends an encrypted Bluetooth signal to the nearby device, which shoots back a code to lock or unlock the door. A ring of blue lights on the lock’s exterior flashes when the bolt turns.

Analog use Kevo looks like a normal deadbolt and also has a keyhole for a standard metal key.

IPhone only Devices running Google’s Android OS don’t yet support Kevo’s low-power Bluetooth transmissions.

Lifespan The deadbolt runs for about a year on four AA batteries and sends alerts to your phone when they begin to run out.

Security If a user’s phone is lost or stolen, the electronic keys can be disabled remotely, so there’s no need to change the lock.

Spare keys Kevo’s app can send other phones virtual keys that work or expire at certain times, so you can “loan” a key to a guest or a housekeeper. The app logs each use and can send the primary user a text or e-mail alert when someone else opens the door.

Next Steps

Dumas has raised $2.5 million from ff Venture Capital and other investors, and Kevo will be in Home Depot and Lowe’s stores and on Amazon.com this year. ABI Research analyst Jonathan Collins says the market for electronic locks is growing, but they’ll be a novelty until they link to home security systems and cameras. Dumas says he wants to use Kevo in safes, cars, hotels, and offices: “Your front door is just the beginning.”

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