After millennia without significant innovation, traditional locks and keys are coming under sustained electronic attack this year. This Bluetooth padlock, Noke (pronounced “No Key”), may be just the first of its kind I review on this page.
Ordinarily, a gadget that took me an hour to extract from its cool but stupid packaging – and came without a hint of how to use it – would be swiftly discarded. But I persevered because the Noke sounded like a brilliant home-security tool, ideal for sheds, bicycles, gates and plenty of other domestic applications.
And it is. The Noke is a tough Bluetooth padlock that can be opened via a smartphoneapp and has a number of clever features. For instance, you can allow others to unlock your bike, pool, whatever, even on a one-off basis. And if you lose your phone or its battery has run down, you can open the lock physically with a pre-programmed Morse code-like sequence of long and short presses. The battery (a standard watch battery) will last for over a year of regular use, and the app can manage several locks at once. Neat.