MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More and more, smart phones are becoming one of the most important things carried. Not only does it connect family and friends, but one can bank, buy, and find just about anything in seconds.
CBS4’s David Sutta decided to do some investigating—is it possible to streamline and have smart phones replace keys and wallet—apparently so but at what cost?
Keys—they are the one thing many can’t do without. They open homes, cars, and just about anything we hold valuable.
But times are changing. Maria Guadamuz with AAA Locksmith showed Sutta firsthand just how high-tech phones have become. In her demonstration she pulls up an app, hits a button, and the lock on a model door unlocks. She also showed us an app which was flashing a green circle.
“It’s telling us that the door is open. It’s in green,” Guadamuz said. She then hit the green dot again and the door locked. Sutta asked Guadamuz if this is the key of the future. “This is the key now. Your iPhone or your android, or your cell phone.”
The lock is made by a company called August and it essentially allows you, and anyone you register, to open your door with an app.
Your friends, family, or even the plumber can download the app. You can even have the code expire, meaning they’ll only be able to open the door for a limited time. Sutta asked Guadamuz if a key-less world will soon be a reality
“That is exactly where we are going. We are going to no longer have keys and everything is going to be done just through your phone,” Guadamuz said.
CBS4 asked security specialist Silka Gonzalez if she would open her door with her phone. She said “no.” Her company Enterprise Risk Management probably wouldn’t recommend it either for their clients. For as cool as the technology is, Gonzalez is concerned for several reasons.
First, mobile phones are hackable. Second, if you are hacked, you just invited the whole world into your home. “The population on the planet cannot get into your wallet or your pocket. Electronically from China or some other place. When you put stuff in any computer device that is connected to the internet than you are talking about entire world can potentially access that thing.” Gonzalez said. In other words, high-tech crooks might now have the key to your door before they even arrive.
“It’s not a chance I want to take personally. Other people might and they might add controls and feel OK, but me personally no.”
Meanwhile Guadamuz said she would install the lock on her home. “I would. Definitely,” she confirms. She likens it to credit cards where the benefits outweigh the risks.
“What’s stopping us from using our credit cards…at the end of the day we continue to use it for the same reason that it’s so much easier to have a credit card than to carry the cash. I think that’s the same perspective that we are looking at,” Guadamuz said.
A lot of people are seeing it that way as you already don’t need a wallet to buy things. Really all you need to carry is a driver’s license. And both Iowa and Delaware are creating digital drivers licenses to do away with that.
Gonzalez agrees these are exciting times… but does advise to proceed with caution.
“There’s advantages to using this technology but you also have to think when using this technology you have some risk. You have to think about what are the measures that I can take to minimize the risk.”
She said you do that by using things like thumbprints and passwords to protect your phone. Even then she said you have to be prepared for the inevitable… losing your phone.
“We need to think carefully how we use this technology when it’s going to impact our life on a personal level,” Gonzalez said.
So what happens if you lose your phone? You can buy a new phone and re-download your app to unlock your door. But if that phone was your wallet too how do you buy a new phone? Clearly a key-less and wallet-less life has some work still to be done. The August lock will run you about $250, AAA Miami Locksmith charges another $250 to install it.
For more information on the locks go to: http://august.com/