Use Your Phone To Lock & Unlock Doors From Anywhere in the World

Posted: May 17, 2011 in News

Paul Gerhardt and Cameron Robertson met at the University of Colorado. They quickly became friends and decided to start a company shortly before graduation. Two years later, the entrepreneurial pair have launched a hardware and software product combo called Lockitron that’s meant to help individuals and small businesses replace keys with their mobile phones.

Lockitron, a product of Gerhardt and Roberton’s Apigy Inc., works with most doors. Once configured, users can electronically unlock doors using any type of phone from anywhere in the world. The process takes less than half a second on average.

“The idea is to replace keys entirely,” says Gerhardt, “so [Lockitron would work] everywhere from your home to your car to your gym locker.”

Customers pay a flat fee of $295 and receive a Lockitron Deadbolt kit that includes a wireless deadbolt, a base station with USB remote control, installation instructions and accompanying cables.

To lock and unlock configured doors, a Lockitron user need only fire-up Lockitron on his or her mobile device (it works on the web too), select the door in the question and hit the unlock or lock icon. Administrative users can manage privileges and grant permanent or temporary access to whomever they’d like. Text message access can be setup through Lockitron’s premium service.

The startup’s remote door unlock feature literally works anywhere in the world, so long as you have an internet connection. On many occasions, I’ve unlocked the door to Mashable’s San Francisco office from hundreds of miles away. “You could be in outer Mongolia,” says Robertson.

The product is still considered beta, but Gerhardt and Robertson have piloted an early version of the system with select customers, including Mashable, for more than nine months now. The lengthy private beta period gave the team time to develop support for most doors and make the system accessible to anyone on any device.

“Where we were nine to 12 months ago was really like a project you’d see on Hack a Day, a one-off, really cool thing for someone really techie to set up in their house,” says Robertson. “If we want to start shipping this out beyond purely early adopters, we have to build the infrastructure that we have now … We really had to get everything up to speed for it to work. We finally reached that point.”

The team will soon release an upgrade to the system that includes support for NFC-enabled devices. With the release, users will be able to add Lockitron tags to their doors and then simply wave an NFC-enabled device to gain entry, so long as they have been granted access.

Also coming soon is a native iPhone application that will allow administrators to issue keys, something they currently have to do on the web. The app will also work in the background, which means it’ll make locking and unlocking doors a bit faster via iPhone.

Apigy Inc. is a graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator program. The startup has raised no additional funding and remains a bootstrapped endeavor.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s