How a startup partnership gave Kwikset a lead in smartlocks

How does an established market leader stake out a prime position in an emerging product category?

Executives at Kwikset, a maker of locks and door hardware, had long felt that the humble brass key might be on its way to obsolescence. But touchpads with secret codes hadn’t really taken off. It took a partnership with a startup to help Kwikset develop a product that allows smartphones and door locks to work together seamlessly — one that beat several similar ideas to market.

Kwikset’s Kevo smartlock is powered by a smartphone application and Bluetooth wireless functionality that gives users keyless entry into their homes by merely touching the lock. As long as they are carrying their Apple iOS or Android-powered phone, entry is that simple. The app runs in the background, so fumbling with the phone is not required. For those without smartphones, Kevo operates with a fob, a device similar to the one used for vehicle locks.

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