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Keep Your Spare Key in the Cloud

TMCnet Feature

October 27, 2014

Keep Your Spare Key in the Cloud

By Erik Linask
Group Editorial Director

I’ve never been one to understand how it happens, but most of us have, at least once, locked ourselves out of the house or car. Quite embarrassing, no doubt, to have to call a relative with a key to have them come let you into your own house. Of course, what happens if you don’t have a nearby relative, or you don’t have a spare vehicle key, or your significant other is away on business, or any number of other increasingly odd scenarios that would preclude you from being able to get into your home of vehicle? Time to break a window? Call a police officer or garage to come with a slim jim? Wait in the yard for your kids to get home from school with a key?

Not anymore, thanks to New York-based KeyMe, deploying more than 100 kiosks nationwide (including 20 in NYC) that take the hassle out of making replacement keys. With KeyMe kiosks, not only is the lockout a less embarrassing situation, but making a spare key for a visiting relative is also simple and quick.

The concept is quite simple, actually. Existing keys are digitally scanned and the images stored in the cloud, where they can be accessed from any kiosk and printed. Most standard keys can be printed in less than 30 seconds. Customers can also personalize their new keys with sports team logos, popular characters, or other designs – there’s even a bottle opener key for those who are looking for a little added functionality.

Most of today’s new cars come with transponder keys – a digital chip that enables the vehicle immobilization system once the car is started, an additional security measure.  Unlike other key duplication services, KeyMe is able to read the transponder and have a duplicate copy shipped, usually within two days – at a cost substantially less than most dealers.

Cloud computing delivers the convenience of the key kiosks but, that notwithstanding, the question that comes to mind is security. Hackers prove time and again they are half a step ahead of security software. What does that mean for KeyMe customers? Greg March, KeyMe CEO wrote the following addressing this very question about the company’s security measures, acknowledging it takes security extremely seriously.

  • Scanning Keys: KeyMe’s scanning process is designed to strictly prevent any use of flyby pictures. Keys can only be scanned when placed on a white piece of paper and taken from 4 inches away. Furthermore, we require that users scan both sides of the key.

  • We Keep as Little Information as Possible: we do not store information which could be used to link your key with a location or lock. If you mail-order keys from us, we delete shipping information immediately after successful fulfillment.
  • Secure Transactions: we use Stripe, one of the leading payment gateways, to manage all credit card transactions. KeyMe purposely does not have access to your credit card information.
  • Fingerprint Authentication: we require fingerprint authentication to print keys at our kiosk, providing a convenient, secure, and non-transferable login method.
  • Email Notifications: anytime there is key making activity on your account, we send email alerts to our customers. This keeps users up to date and prevents any fraudulent activity.

The company claims to be one of the largest key duplicators in the New York region already, cutting “tens of thousands” of keys each month. So, if you find yourself locked out or simply in need of a spare key, you may soon be able to do it yourself at your local 7-Eleven, Rite Aid, or other KeyMe partners.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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