Monday, 13 May 2013

Digital Keys solving AAA's 4 million lockouts per year problem

Even as the technology, security and convenience of automobile “smart keys/fobs” evolve, American Automobile Association(AAA) finds motorists are not keeping pace and are frequently outsmarted by their “smart” keys.  

In 2012, AAA said in a recent report,that it came to the rescue of over four million members who locked themselves out of their vehicles, a number that has not dropped in the past five years; even as use of smart keys/fobs has increased.

Digital Keys involving internet and Near Field Communication(NFC) technologies (being rolled out on smartphones) so that you can use your phone as a permanent or time-sensitive digital key instead of a smartkey/fob, solves the problem of vehicle and home lockouts once and for all.

Digital Keys is all about replacing metal keys and keycards with your smartphone, whether it be for car doors, house doors or any door really, whilst at the same time not having to necessarily replace your locks. Although changing locks is still an option.

Hyundai recently unveiled a concept that allows motorists to enter and start a vehicle using a specially-configured smartphone, and they’re planning to roll-out this technology in all new vehicles as soon as 2015.
Hyundai's Digital Keys concept
With an estimated nine out of 10 new smartphone handsets NFC-ready, Digital Keys solution companies, will soon carve out a business supplying complete locking solutions for any application and use.

Not only can Digital Keys be used in a retrofit digital key device for home and office doors that doesn’t involve changing your locks, but it can also be used in an affordable retrofit car digital keys device, which doesn’t involve replacing your existing car metal keys/keyfobs and locks, which is perfect for older cars.

“Traditional car keys will likely become obsolete and be replaced by technologies offering even greater security and convenience,” said John Nielsen, AAA Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Motorists will need to adapt with the technology to avoid the hassle and expense of smart key replacements which can cost up to several hundred dollars depending on the make and model’.

If someone locks their metal keys or smart key/fobs in their car or house, then they can simply tap their phone over a panel on the car window or house door frame/wall to unlock and enter.

Even if a motorist locked their keys and their phone in the car, with a Digital Keys solution, you still won’t need to call AAA and wait around for them to arrive. All you would need to do is simply borrow someone else’s smartphone nearby, such as your neighbours or someone walking past in the carpark, and log into your web-based account to download a once-off new digital key to your neighbours phone or ‘to the person walking past in the car park’ and then use their phone to open your door.

This lockout rescue equates to around one in around four to five rescues carried out by the AAA. This problem has received significant media coverage in the last couple of months e.g see this LA Times article here

Now, some of you might be wondering what if the battery goes flat, would that not mean that Digital Keys and NFC is unavailable? The NFC component on some phone models will still continue to work on a flat battery.

According to Mr Nielson, the AAA Director, he says he expects smart keys/fobs to be a transitional technology, soon to be replaced by Digital keys on your smartphones.

Do you think that car key fobs/smart keys will soon become a thing of the past? Would you like to install a Digital Key solution on your car now and be ahead of the pack? Ask us how.

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