Saturday, July 21, 2007


It dawned on me the other day that keys are on the way out. Car keys. House keys. No more keys on your keyring.

It's been progressive and started with cars. First an (assumedly) RFID chip was embedded in car keys to prevent popping out the locking mechanism. The car won't actually start -- it will crank but not start -- without that RFID chip in close vicinity.

This has been taken a step further on a number of high end vehicles such as Corvette, Mercedes, Lexus, Infinity, and Porsche. All you need is to have the RFID chip in your pocket and the car will start. No keys in the ignition. Just a push button starter. It's only a matter of time now for this to make its way down to the mid-priced and then the rest of the car market.

This is very cool by the way. Not having to fish keys out of your pocket when you are jumping into your car with hands full on a rainy day (not that it ever rains in Seattle). Not having to have keys in your pocket at all. As an aside, my wife's new Subaru Outback has the biggest key I have ever seen and then it still has a great big keyfob remote attached. There is no way I have room for that in my pocket.

The other thing that will happen over time is that the keyfobs themselves will get smaller too. For those of you who dig the idea of embedded chips in your skin that you can wave around to make stuff happen, that'd be just as possible for your ride but you'll always need some kind of remote control available for remote lock.

What will be really exciting is when those RFID "keys" will be general enough to be used for more stuff that just your car -- like your house.