When you think of the world’s least exciting industries, both key cutting and locksmiths are probably up there. Despite the fact you use them every day, you typically don’t think about your keys – at least until you’ve forgot them. And god forbid you lose them late at night or over the weekend, where you can expect to pay a small fortune to callout a locksmith. However that may soon change thanks to a startup call KeyMe.
The concept behind KeyMe is simple. Lose your keys? KeyMe have a range of “vending machine” like kiosks where you can get keys electronically cut in about 30 seconds.
Now this isn’t anything new. A number of hardware stores and retailers overseas have started provided electronic key cutting kiosks in-store (ie. Home Depot and Walmart). However the difference with KeyMe is the impressive technology behind it. All your keys are stored digitally on the cloud and can be accessed 24/7 at various locations (for example 7-Eleven, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kmart and a range of grocery stores). Just take a photo of your key and upload it through the app. The next time you find yourself inconveniently locked out, simply go to one of their kiosks and get a new key.
KeyMe have invested a significant amount of money behind the concept, with a system of complex robotic systems and multiple internal cameras behind each kiosk. In addition to standard house keys they also do car keys and RFID key fobs. It’s even more secure than a traditional locksmith. The process is linked to your credit card and fingerprint, with fraudulent activity prevented by sending a text when there is activity on your account.
At the moment they’re mainly based in New York and San Francisco; and earlier this month they’ve done a massive advertising push in both cities. The campaign is actually quite clever and is a great example of localised marketing done right. For example in San Francisco “Copy a key in less time than it would take to avoid an elevator pitch”. Or “So many kiosks, you can walk to one in minutes. Even at a tourist’s pace” in New York. Brilliant!
It will be interesting to see how the technology plays out over the next few years and whether we will see it soon in Australia. However we’re guessing it’s soon about to suck if you’re a locksmith…
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