A few years ago I set out to turn my mid 1970s home into an “after-market smart home.” At that time, I turned to a specific company. Since then I’ve taken a more individual approach that focuses on specific “best-in-class” products that work well, but are not part of an overall integrated system; the Kwikset Kevo is one such product.The fact that the Kevo is not part of an overall home automation system is less of a concern to me right now since, as it has been widely reported, beginning with iOS 8.0 Apple is planning to take home automation to new heights. Part of that will include an integration system that brings products from various companies together.
The rationale for having the Kwikset Kevo is that:
Your Smartphone Is Now Your Key: Keep your phone in your pocket or purse. No more fumbling for your keys… just touch the lock to open for the ultimate in convenience.
Better still, if you don’t have a compatible smartphone — the system currently only works with iOS devices with Bluetooth LE — you can still use it thanks to the included Kevo Fob.
(That’s the Key For in the upper right portion of the package.)
Keep your Fob in your pocket, purse or backpack and enjoy the same Touch to Open convenience. The Kevo Fob, that is included with the deadbolt, is pre-enrolled so no additional setup is required. Additional Fobs are now available for purchase.
And if you need more you can simply buy extras.
The Kevo has “intelligent positioning technology”, so it knowns when you or another authorized Kevo user approaches the door. In fact, the system even knowns whether or not you or other users are inside or outside of the home. This gives you complete access while also helping to prevent unauthorized entry. And since the Kevo has military grade PKI encryption, you can be confident that the system has multiple levels of advanced security that are “continually reviewed by industry leading independent security experts”. In an insecure world, Kevo can help you and your family feel a bit more secure.
Inside the box you’ll find the various pieces of the lock, two physical keys, two key fobs, and four AA batteries. I love the fact that they included the batteries with the kit although, for over $200 it makes sense that they would!
The company notes that installation is a simple job that pretty much any homeowner can do. To test that theory, I decided to do the installation myself.
I pulled out all the pieces and familiarized myself with them. I then did something that is rather unusual for me … I read the instructions! From there, I simply followed the step by step process of putting the physical lock in. And while it did take me more than five minutes to put it in, I was able to do it myself without drawing blood and without having any pieces left over. That’s worthy of note because, when I was a kid and put together model airplanes without reading the instructions I ALWAYS ended up with extra pieces.
Once the Kevo was installed, I read through the instructions for actually using it, and I followed them step by step. I created an account, activated it, and then followed the process of connecting my iPod touch to the system. I do not currently own an iPhone, so the touch was my only option unless I wanted to use my iPad.
It walked me through the process in a simple, step by step manner. It took just a few seconds, and I was good to go. It was even easier to connect Elana’s iPhone 5C. I simply downloaded the Kevo iOS app and logged into the account I had created just a few moments before. Seconds later, Elana’s phone was a key to our home. And since I don’t always have my iPod touch with me, I put the included Kevo Fob on my keychain.
Kevo Mobile App: Download the free mobile app from compatible smartphone app stores, such as the iPhone app store. The app is used for initial setup, sending, disabling and deleting eKeys, viewing history of smart lock activity, and setting up other configurable features and options. The Kevo App runs in the background on your device so there is no need to open the app to enter your home.
The app lets me do a great deal without needing to actually touch the Kevo. That includes sending eKeys to people to whom I want to give access to my house.
eKeys are what really sets the Kevo system apart. As Kwikset explains:
What are eKeys: An eKey is an encrypted electronic key. The eKey moves your physical key into the digital world and significantly improves your home access experience. With the Kevo app, you can enjoy the security and convenience of complete key management:
- Send an eKey to anyone, anywhere, anytime
- Temporarily disable or permanently delete any user from the Kevo system
- eKeys never expire and can be reassigned from one person to the next
Scheduled eKey: This eKey allows you to pre-set time constraints for the recipient. You control the days and the time of the week when the eKey will be active. If you already have eKeys in your account, you will be able to designate them as a Scheduled eKey.
Anytime: You can send this eKey to anyone, anywhere, anytime. This eKey never expires, can be reassigned from one person to the next, and can be designated as an Anytime or Scheduled eKey.
Free, Unlimited Guest eKeys: This free eKey allows you to give your Guest unrestricted access for a 24 hour period and will then be automatically deleted. If this eKey is not used within 24 hours after the eKey has been sent, it will expire. Guest eKeys are unlimited and can be sent to the same person or different people each time.
In short, eKeys let you give access to your home to specific people at specific times, and you can revoke that access whenever you want or need to. While I installed the Kwikset Kevo here at home, I can see it being especially useful for me up at our lake house since it means I could allow workmen in without the need to run a key up to them (our lakehouse if over 2 hours away)
While the Kevo originally came with just a few eKeys, with additional keys being an extra expense, Kevo told me an update to the system was available that made unlimited guest eKeys available.
In keeping with the simplicity of the initial setup, Kevo pretty much took care of the update itself. I pressed a button on the lock and then…
Twenty minutes later it was updated and I had access to plenty of eKeys.
The $219 Kwikset Kevo isn’t just about giving you access to your home by locking and unlocking your door. It gives you a record of what happens, so you can keep an eye on things even when you are away.
From the easy setup to the simple use, from the ability to offer you easy access to your home while simultaneously including a high-level of protection the Kevo is the lock for the 21st century. Perhaps best of all, once it is set up and connected to your iOS device it is all but invisible. I’m a fan and am very glad to have one protecting my house. You can learn more here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the Kwikset Kevo
What I Like: Surprisingly simple to install and set up, Give authorized users a simple way to lock and unlock the house; Lets you send guest access to others and have complete control over it; Let’s you see an access record of who entered the building and when
What Needs Improvement: Nothing I can see yet other than being a bit pricey compared to standard locks