New To The Cloud: Your House Keys

New Yorkers no longer have to worry about recovering lost or stolen keys: KeyMe automated kiosks can provide replacements at any time from a stored digital copy.

New To The Cloud: Your House Keys

What's the Latest Development?

Debuting this week at selected Manhattan 7-Elevens is KeyMe, a kiosk service that allows users to get copies of their keys at any hour of the day or night. If a customer just wants a duplicate, the kiosk will scan it and produce a new key for a few dollars. It also offers the option to create a free account, which puts the scan into cloud storage. Afterwards, if the key is lost or stolen, all it takes is another visit to get a replacement, costing about $20. For added security, the kiosk asks for the account e-mail address as well as a fingerprint scan.

What's the Big Idea?

KeyMe founder Greg Marsh says that the kiosk technology took over a year to develop, including the scanner that creates the key images using both visual and mechanical techniques. However, after trying it out for herself, writer Francie Diep says, "In spite of all of its high-tech bells and whistles, it still needs to cut keys from metal blanks, just like your local human locksmith does." Carnegie Mellon University professor Ed Schlesinger says that storing key copies in the cloud is safe "up to a point...Are your bank records secure? Yeah. Have people broken into banks? Yeah." He adds that fingerprint verification makes the service much safer than using a PIN or password.

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