The ultimate last mile technology: the Kwikset Kevo lock

The cable and phone companies have all sorts of argot to talk about how they work with us, the great unwashed public that is their customers. I have written about this before, and found this from 1999:

Given the vocabulary, it isn’t any surprise why both cable and phone utilities have such disdain for you, its customer. I mean — last mile and truck rolls — shouldn’t these be called the first mile and service calls? Maybe by changing the terms we can improve attitudes and service levels.

But the ultimate last mile technology (or first mile, if you will) is becoming very personal indeed: it the distance from your pocket (or purse) to your front door. Let me explain.

A few weeks ago I got the Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth-enabled lockset. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and put it through its paces. Now, I should state right up top that I am not one of those handy guys. My father believed that any tool besides a hammer and a screwdriver was superfluous, and I have adopted that philosophy in spades for my own lifestyle. Usually, I mess things up more than I can fix them. So I approached this Kevo project with some trepidation.

I unpacked the box and laid out all the different pieces, including several instruction manuals (see the photo above). The first thing I did was read all the manuals. Then read them again, just to make sure that I knew what I was getting myself into. One mentioned that I might need a chisel if my door wasn’t the right size. Uh oh. There were also various measurements that I needed to take to see if the lockset fit the openings in my door. This meant that I would have to take apart the existing lock to get the right measurements. Another uh oh. Did I mention that I don’t do measurements very well either?

I put everything back in the box and the box on a high-enough shelf. I wasn’t ready to tackle this project. Besides, I had other deadlines to meet, and what if I screwed things up so royally that I wouldn’t have a lock on my office door?

A week or so later, I realized that I was being ridiculous and a wimp. After all, the PR rep said it was pretty easy install, and we all know that PR reps always speak the truth. So now I was doubly challenged to get this done. I got everything out again and started the install process. I was surprised: it took less than a hour, and that was going slowly and measuring things three times just to make sure. My new lock was up and working just as it should be. I didn’t need a chisel, either. Whew.

The lock comes with three different access methods: a traditional metal key, a special key fob, and an iOS app that you can load on the more recent iPhones. Next problem: my iPhone was one generation old enough where the app wouldn’t work. Did I waste my time with the Kevo? Not really. Because now I have a lock that can open just by touching it, as long as I have the fob in my pocket.

I was surprised at how convenient this “last mile” technology is, because often I am carrying all sorts of packages and stuff into and out of my office. Not having to fumble for a key is a real nice thing. And having an app will be useful when I have guests that stay at my office (it doubles as a guest room), provided my guests have more recent iPhones than I. Not to mention the coolness factor of having such a lock.

There are lots of folks working on Internet-enabled watches as interfaces for their phones, and other Internet-of-Things devices for the home. Having not to get anything out of your pockets or purses to use them is going to be a Very Big Deal, indeed. As long as the batteries inside the lock continue to work.

6 thoughts on “The ultimate last mile technology: the Kwikset Kevo lock

  1. David,
    Great post and I applaud your homeowner’s courage. I am inspired and tempted to take the challenge myself. However, I think I’ll wait until after DEFCON in August to make sure there isn’t a demonstration of how to hack this device. They are famous for defeating locks.
    Regards, John

  2. While I agree on the innovation I object strongly to the gouging by Kwikset company on the key pricing. You can’t reuse “digital” keys and only receive a limited number. They want the lock and concept to remain in their paradigm of physical keys and recurring revenue from the customer instead of innovating and offering reasons why I would want to remain a loyal customer
    Instead they want me to pay for each digital key I use under the pretext of the costs in digital infrastructure….even if this were true and I find that hard to believe it is not the same value or at the pricing they offer
    I recommend you (and anyone else interested in innovation) take a look at Kevo. They do the same thing, better and include a camera offering value add services but don’t gouge their customers for digital keys

    • To clarify: eKeys (digital keys) never expire and can be reassigned from one person to the next, just like a mechanical key, but without the risk of ever surrendering a physical mechanical key that can be replicated. Also note that Kwikset continues to offer 5 additional eKeys with the original 2 for a limited time, which has been more than enough for our household needs. Keep your eyes out for additional eKey options, too. UniKey employee.

  3. Having looked at a variety of internet-connected locks, I prefer the kind that has a keypad, so that I can get access even if I’m not carrying a phone, a key or a fob, since I’m sure that one day I’ll forget to take these and be locked out. Carrying nothing beats keeping what you carry in your pocket.

  4. Maybe KwikSet have changed their policy but that was not the case – per the Amazon discussion on the lock
    You got 2 eKeys and they were NOT reassignable. In other words once used and assigned to a temporary user, contractor or other and then disconnected you could not re-use

    My mistake – not Kevo but Goji
    Is a great alternative

    There is an old review here

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