New key scanning solution – does it really eliminate the need for a locksmith?

Would you upload a photo of your keys to the cloud?

For those who don’t know, the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES for short) is an event that takes place every year in Las Vegas, Nevada which showcases the very latest advancements in consumer electronics. The 2019 show took place last week and there were a number of innovative security products unveiled – but one in particular caught our eye.

A company called KeyHero revealed a product that, they claim, lets you “say goodbye to lockouts”. The process works like this: you install their app on your phone, then use it to scan and upload an image of your key to the cloud. The image is encrypted and linked to a phone number or email address rather than a physical address. In the case of a lost key, the user can recall the image of their key via the app and have a copy cut in a shop (currently only available in Home Depot stores in the US), eliminating the need to call out a locksmith.

As another layer of security, when a physical key is required, the store staff have to generate a seven-digit code to input into the app before the image can be unlocked for key cutting.

Obviously, conventional wisdom says never upload a photo of your house key. They seem to have a number of security procedures in place, but is it enough to ensure it’s a safe and reliable product?

Their FAQs point to a number of reasons why this technology isn’t about to replace emergency locksmiths just yet:

  • You can’t get a key cut without your phone, which means if your phone and keys are both stolen or lost, you’re out of luck.
  • If the key doesn’t work in your lock, all they can do is offer a refund – whereas a locksmith can, of course, fine tune a key to make sure it works, or use judgement to amend the cuts where the original key is worn.
  • Restricted keys and car keys still need to be cut by a locksmith.
  • You can only get the keys cut at Home Depot – meaning if you’ve lost your keys and there’s no Home Depot within a convenient distance, you’ll probably need a locksmith anyway.

What are your thoughts on KeyHero? Does it pose a threat to the traditional locksmith, or is it really nothing to worry about until the technology has advanced considerably?

Watch this space for a roundup of other security products from CES later this week.

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