In brief: One of the more interesting things I've seen at CES so far this year is KeyHero, a service that allows you to make digital backups of your physical keys. They can be managed by an app and shared with anyone. It should make losing your keys a lot less of a hassle.
CES 2019 kicks off today in Las Vegas, Nevada where we'll see a whole host of future tech. However, yesterday was a kind of "CES Day 0" in which Pepcom had their Digital Media Experience that's only open to the press and media. This event allows members of the press to have more hands-on experience with new devices without having to fight through throngs of people on the actual CES show floor. I was there to see a variety of interesting tech including one called KeyHero, a service that lets you make digital copies of your physical keys.
KeyHero is an interesting concept from The Hillman Group. KeyHero basically allows users to create a secure backup of your physical key that can be stored in the cloud and managed via a smartphone app. You can then use that digital backup to create physical replicas at any Home Depot in the country for around $3-4 per key.
To start, you simply go to the Home Depot Key Center to have your key scanned. That digital copy is then encrypted and stored on KeyHero's cloud. Once that is stored, you can log into the KeyHero app to manage the backup and even share the key with friends and family. One use case is that perhaps you want to share it with a family member that's staying at your home for the holidays and so you could simply send them instructions on how to securely access the digital key and make their own copy at Home Depot.
“We are excited to have a solution in KeyHero that can help us reach our mission of eliminating the anxiety, helplessness and frustration that comes from being locked out. KeyHero creates a platform for consumers to safely manage their physical keys in a digital world.” said Greg Gluchowski, President and CEO of The Hillman Group “It is the most convenient, reliable and secure digital key backup and duplication application on the market and our goal is to have every key digitally backed up, to end lock outs once and for all.”
For those concerned about the safety of their backup, I was told by the VP of Home Solutions, Tim Ferguson, that all keys are stored using "multi-layer, military grade security encryption" that is powered by Unikey. Accessing the key requires a three-factor authentication process and is never tied to your address. In fact, because they had a key cutting machine right there on the floor, Mr. Ferguson was able to show me exactly how it works. Only a KeyKrafter machine can decrypt the digital key and even that requires a one time PIN that's not unlike the RSA tokens used by many businesses for VPN tunnels.
The KeyHero app is available for both iPhone and Android. The backup service itself is also free with the only charge being to actually cut the key itself.