For years, tech-savvy folks have talked about how the smart phone will replace things like cameras, wallets and the good old TV remote.
But that’s not the only everyday item under attack from these digital Swiss army knives. Turns out the latest victim of our iPhones might be our lowly old key.
That’s if a new category of smart, connected locks become mainstream. Instead of using your keys, these new locks let you control access using a phone, wireless key fob or even remotely over the Internet. While it may sound futuristic, these new-fangled locks are already available today at your local home improvement store, online, or even through home security and broadband providers.
But the question is, will consumers actually replace something as reliable as a key with their phone? Turns out many already are. According to a new report from NextMarket Insights, there are nearly 1 million homes in North America using some form of smart lock. And this is only the beginning, as the smart lock market will grow to a $3.6 billion worldwide by 2019.
Much of this growth will be a result of increased popularity of smart home services. Companies like AT&T, Comcast and even Lowe’s and Staples are now pushing smart home services, and chances are new players like Amazon could jump in as well.
But what if you don’t want to buy into a whole-home smart home system or pay for a service? No problem. New Bluetooth and Wi-Fi controlled locks allow consumers to open their door with digital keys without the need for a whole-home automation network. Lock maker Kwikset has been selling its Kevo Bluetooth lock since late fall, and a whole host of new locks that connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi are coming to market this spring.
So forget the digital wallet. Here comes the digital lock and key.
Expect 2014 to be a big year in smart home. To keep on top of this fast-changing market, follow NextMarket on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter. A complimentary copy of our smart lock report executive summary is available here.