And now, for something a little different. I'm reading about a consumer gadget that strays outside the realm of information technology but should have a certain to appeal for small-business owners who often find themselves carrying around a lot of stuff or who that have employees who can't always be trusted to remember their keys.
SimpliciKey has developed a remote control electronic deadbolt that allows individuals to unlock their door without actually being present, using a cloud service that can be controlled with a Web interface or through a mobile app. You can also use a keyfob to control the lock if you're nearby, within a range of about 50 feet.
It also works in reverse: if you forget to lock up the office when you leave or don't want to leave keys behind.
The SimpliciKey product was designed to replace existing deadbolts within about 30 minutes; it comes in nickel, polished brass and aged bronze finishes. It costs about $250 on the company's Web site, but can also be bought in places such as Home Depot or Costco.
The cloud service, called KeyCloud, won't actually be live until the October 2013 timeframe, so for now you'll have to use the keyfob. But the cloud app will be compatible with both Android smartphones and Apple iPhones. Aside from allow you to unlock or lock the deadbolt, you can assign certain codes to different individuals (so you can tell who is coming or going) and keep tabs on the status of locks.