Keycafe hubs convert shops, bars and delis into key storage

  • Keycafe is a key exchange hub that can be located in a cafe, convenience store or any other central location.
  • Rental units can leave keys for renters who can get access to the keys only with a verification code from the Keycafe customer.

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Security and convenience are often at war. And one major area where they intersect in real estate is in the shuffling of keys, whether they're being transferred to open the doors for a home tour, cleaning service or short-term guest. Digital lockboxes and smart lock integrations, which allow for real estate agents and homeowners to grant (and cut off) access to properties remotely from their smartphone -- and may include security features like tracking, notifications when a guest enters and leaves the home, and fingerprint authorization -- are examples of emerging solutions. But another option that's gaining traction are key exchanges from four-year-old Vancouver startup Keycafe, which convert delis, gas stations, coffee shops and bars into key storage locations with hubs that are accessible via digital code. Keycafe has now placed over 500 key hubs or "SmartBoxes" -- wall-mounted drop boxes with touch-screen access panels -- across densely populated markets. The base unit o...