Manufacturer 1-on-1: Kwikset

Aug. 30, 2013
Exclusive Q&A with Keith Brandon, the company’s residential access control guru

When it comes to residential access control, Kwikset is a brand that most dealers and integrators — as well as their homeowner customers — know pretty well. The manufacturer’s Home Connect locks achieved Z-Wave certification back in 2010, and since have become an integral piece in many home automation and security systems.

SD&I recently caught up with Keith Brandon, the Director of Residential Access Solutions for Kwikset, who explained the value of the locks to the alarm dealer market, ways to earn RMR, and a look to the future of the mechanical lock industry. To request more information about Kwikset, please visit

Q: How is the Kwikset product applicable to the alarm dealer market?
Brandon: Kwikset Z-Wave locks are a natural device fit and extension of the security solutions that the alarm dealer is already selling. A lock is a security product that provides a core benefit for homeowners in locking their doors to ensure that they feel secure both at home and when they are away. It’s surprising that previously a security solution could provide a status to homeowners of whether their door was open or closed but couldn’t actually lock the door — Kwikset Z-Wave locks provide this full solution (To see the latest Kwikset Z-Wave offering, check out

How is RMR tied to the product?
When Kwikset Z-Wave locks are added to an interactive security solution, alarm dealers can use the locks, along with other Z-Wave devices such as thermostats and lighting controls, to increase the value of their offering and lift total RMR revenues. The lock is also a device that homeowners use every day in their daily lives, which in turn can increase the use of the dealer’s system and help to drive retention as they find more value in what they are using and interacting with on a frequent basis.

What’s the best way for integrators to explain the product and sell it to a homeowner?
The great thing about Kwikset Z-Wave locks is that the dealers don’t have to stray far from their core selling proposition around security, since the lock is such a natural fit and extension of what they are already selling. For the homeowner, the remote capabilities of knowing if you locked your door, being able to remotely lock your door, or remotely let someone in from miles away really resonate into a tangible benefit that homeowners can see in their hectic lives. The other great benefit of the Kwikset Z-Wave locks is that they include the patented Smart Key backup cylinder that provides simple rekey functionality. It is also bump-proof and exceeds the most stringent lock picking standards.

What kind of wireless protocol is used — Z-Wave, Zigbee or other — and why?
Kwikset currently offers locks in both Z-Wave and Zigbee RF protocol versions under our Home Connect line of products. The majority of the residential alarm industry uses Z-Wave products; therefore, our Kwikset Z-Wave locks are more predominant today. Overall, we don’t really drive the market in one direction or the other, as we look to support our panel and controller OEM partners for whatever is needed in the technologies that they are bringing to market. Our primary goal is to ensure that whatever products our OEM security equipment partners are developing, then our Kwikset products will seamlessly work with them for the alarm dealers to easily install in the end.

Is there anything new coming down the pike with wireless communications, such as communications protocols, standards, etc.?
Currently, Z-Wave and Zigbee continue to lead the RF protocols of connecting multiple devices that work together within a home ecosystem today; but we see alternative low-power options emerging quickly through Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi that are opening up additional applications for connectivity as well as authentication. We are currently launching our Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth Deadbolt that delivers an innovative smartphone authentication solution with a residential door lock. It really enhances the convenience of keyless entry by extending it to your phone. What’s more, it not only doesn’t require a key, it doesn’t even require a user code — just touch the deadbolt to lock or unlock, as your phone is now the key. This is just one example of how Kwikset is using innovation to deliver more value to the end-users and how these technologies will continue to converge even more over time.

In general, what can we expect to see from the traditional mechanical lock and electronic categories in the future?
Overall, we believe the electronic lock category will continue to grow as consumers look for more value in keyless entry and connected products. With this, the core mechanical locks will continue to blend into the electronic category as the innovative electronic features sit on top of what the basic mechanical lock security functionality provides today — securing the door of a home.

What about this particular product category — where and how is it evolving?
Electronic locks continue to expand functionality around connectivity and how consumers interact with their door locks within their homes in their busy day-to-day lives. We see additional expansion of the value that connected locks can deliver when working with other systems and devices in the home, as well as the evolution of how consumers can authenticate their identity with their door lock — from the traditional key, to a keypad, to their smartphone, and beyond. With Kwikset’s residential lock styles and finishes, we also want to deliver more style and aesthetics into our electronic products to ensure that consumers are not trading out these fundamental choices when selecting an electronic lock for their home.

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at