Keyless concerns: 52% not yet comfortable relying on smartphones for home security and access

As smart locks and connected home accessories gain in popularity, most consumers are leery of replacing their physical keys with smartphone-based door locks, a new poll conducted by OWI Labs has found.

Note: The latest research from OWI Labs, entitled “The Perimeter is Dead: $148B Physical Access Market to Lead IAM Growth,” is now available to download.

In a survey of 202 U.S. consumers, conducted on Thursday in collaboration with Lucid, OWI Labs posed the question: Would you feel comfortable ditching your house keys and using your smartphone as the primary way to unlock your front door and enter your own home?

Respondents indicated they are not overly confident in using their smartphone to gain physical access to their phone — just 33 percent said yes, they would feel comfortable.

However, the other 67 percent indicated they would not feel comfortable, with the lion’s share — 52 percent — saying “no” outright. The remaining 15 percent said they weren’t sure whether they would be comfortable ditching their keys for smartphone-based access.

It is unknown what, specifically, has most consumers leery about replacing traditional keys with modern technology, but there are a few likely factors, including:

  • Fear of losing access to one’s home if a smartphone’s battery dies or the phone itself is broken.
  • Security concerns over using a digital key for physical door locks.
  • Reliability concerns — physical keys don’t crash or require software updates.
  • The need to carry your smartphone on you to get in your own home may not be ideal.

OWI Insight: The smartphone is increasingly becoming the centerpiece to our digital identities, but old habits die hard. Replacing some long-established cultural practices — such as carrying physical keys or identification cards — will be met with resistance in the move to digital. As detailed in our IAM market research paper, we believe growing adoption of smart locks will play a crucial role in the growth of the Physical Identity & Access Management space in the next five years. However, this poll shows that consumer attitudes will need to change for digital authorization of access to residential spaces to become the new norm.