About SmartBoxes

In this article:

What is a SmartBox?

Keycafe SmartBoxes are cloud-connected devices that are designed by Keycafe to provide key exchange and access technology to sharing economy, property management, auto, real estate, facilities management and other industries.


Keycafe's key-exchange service started by installing SmartBoxes at public locations, such as local coffee shops or 7/11 stores, to create a retail network of key exchange points. Users are able to access SmartBoxes to share and access property, vehicle or other keys. The service is used by individuals in a variety of industries, such as home-owners, housekeeping, or dog walkers.

Today, enterprise users such as corporate housing, property management companies, and real estate agents are able to order SmartBoxes and install them at private locations in order to share key access with their staff, contractors, or customers. Additionally, enterprise users are able to re-brand Keycafe SmartBoxes for marketing purposes. See white-labeling to learn more.

Keycafe's key-exchange service is available via the Keycafe website, Android and iOS apps, and is embedded into Airbnb Host. Additionally, enterprise customers are able to use Keycafe API integrations to fully integrate Keycafe app functionality into their own applications.


Use Cases

SmartBoxes are used for different purposes and by a variety of industries. Some examples of our use cases are provided below.

Use Cases Number of Keys Number of Locations Type of Location Platform
Short-term Rental Management 1000+ 50+ Private Properties and
Public Locations
API Integrations
Corporate Housing 1000+ 10+ Private Properties (e.g., building lobbies, mail rooms) API Integrations
Mobile Apps and Website
Automotive Key Sharing 100+ 1+ Private Properties (e.g., parking garages, valet service, car wash, auto dealership) API Integrations
Mobile Apps and Website
Condominium Tenant Amenity 50+ 1+ Private Properties (e.g., condo lobby, mail rooms) Mobile Apps and Website
Dog Walking 50+ 1+ Private Properties (e.g., offices) and Public Locations API Integrations
Mobile Apps and Website
Property Management 20+ 1+ Private Properties (e.g., management office) Mobile Apps and Website
Real Estate 20+ 1+ Public Locations Mobile Apps and Website
Facility Management 20+ 1+ Private Properties (e.g., office, work place, warehouse) Mobile Apps and Website



Since the number of keys used by each industry varies, the modular design of Keycafe SmartBoxes is able to accommodate different needs.

There are two main categories of SmartBoxes: base stations and expansion units.

  • A base station includes components such as an NFC scanner, touch screen, fob bins, key bins, and one-touch button. See SmartBox Features for the full list of features. Every location has only one base station which communicates with the server.
  • An expansion unit can be added for extra capacity. It includes all the listed components but lacks the scanner and fob bin. The expansion unit links to the base station wirelessly and communicates with it directly.
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