A digital solution for lost house keys has been revealed at the CES tech show.
KeyHero will scan and upload a precise image of a key to the cloud for free, but it can only be accessed in one of the firm’s partner stores.
This image is encrypted and linked to a phone number or email, rather than a home address.
If a key is lost, its image can be then recalled via a mobile phone app and recreated in a shop, instead of calling out a locksmith.
The firm’s current store partners include Home Depot, a DIY chain in the US.
All keys have to be scanned in-store to generate the original image.
To add an extra layer of security – if a physical key is required, the store staff have to generate a unique seven-digit code to put into the app before the image is unlocked for key cutting.
The image can also be shared with anybody who requires access to the property, such as property managers or house sitters, although they will need to show formal identification in order to collect a new key.
The company says most “key events” involve people locking themselves out of their home, rather than losing their keys.
Despite the move into a more high-tech solution, KeyHero does not see traditional keys going away any time soon.
“If you look at digital locks, most of those locks still use keys as a back-up,” Michael Rosenblatt, vice-president of product development, says.
‘We copy about 150 million keys a year, which is an indication that a lot of people use keys.’
The KeyHero service will be available in the US.