Nowadays, we have smart speakers, watches and even washing machines. So why not smart locks? Defined as any connected device that supplements or replaces a traditional deadbolt, similar to other examples in this category they can add yet another level of convenience — in this case as well as security — to users’ lives.
Picture having your hands full with groceries or holding a child as you approach the entrance to the house. Rather than trying to perform the acrobatic task of contorting your body to fish a key out of your pocket, a couple taps of the phone from inside the car unlocks the door. Or, instead playing the guessing game of whether you remembered to lock up after leaving, load an app to reveal the answer. Many systems also permit the assignment of secure digital keys to guests.
Smart locks are offered by a few different brands and run on various protocols, which is the communication method used to interface with your phone and the rest of the smart home, if applicable. Lets take a look at the most common ones.
Yes, it’s the same as the technology that pairs things like wireless headphones and keyboards. Advantages are low energy drain (smart locks are battery powered) and ease of use, while the downside is limited range. Think somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300 metres or less. Kwikset is a popular company providing Bluetooth enabled products such as the Kevo.
Again, most are familiar with Wi-Fi, commonly utilized to connect a computer or mobile device to the web. August’s Smart Lock + Connect (SLC) include a bridge that plugs into a standard power outlet linking the SLC and your home network, allowing operation as long as there’s access to the Internet. The caveat is its power hungry, so expect to swap out the four AAs semi-regularly.
Cool sounding name, even cooler tech. Relatively new on the scene, Z-Wave combines the efficiency of Bluetooth and the range of Wi-Fi. However, it does require the purchase of a separate hub, for instance the Samsung SmartThings, designed to translate the specialized signal to become compatible with your router (and it has to be placed fairly close to the lock). Look into the Yale Real Living Assure Lock Touchscreen Deadbolt.