Apartment keys go digital with app-based services

November 20, 2013 06:20PM

Mobile apps are going after the management of keys, door fobs and all manner of ways to enter a building, in some cases looking to make the trusty metal gadgets a thing of the past.

From Brooklyn-based Kisi, which enables subscribers to open and close electronically-controlled doors with their smart phones, to KeyMe, an app-based delivery service that stores digital copies of subscribers’ keys that they can use to have copies made, these new tech-savvy locksmiths are popping up all over. Kisi’s basic control module will run users $349, while more complex units that open multiple doors cost $449.

“The reception to new ways to manage locks and keys has been explosive,” Greg Marsh, founder of the Long Island City-based KeyMe, told Crain’s.

The goal of such services is to more efficiently manage entry for buildings that have large numbers of people going in and out. The app-based model also enables the encryption of data such as door information, giving codes only to vetted users.

Vancouver, Canada-based Keycafe, which allows users such as Airbnb guests to check out and return keys at kiosks in cafes, plans to launch in New York in mid-January. The service can also be used by property managers, brokers, dog walkers, cleaners, contractors, housekeepers and nannies, co-founder Jason Crabb told Crain’s. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland