Ever since the prehistoric times, man has tried to secure his belongings. Starting with simple ropes with special combination of knots that could only identify if someone has tampered with the stuff to the more complex huge wooden locks with humongous keys made by ancient Egyptians and then introduction of metal locks with much smaller metallic keys laid down the basics of lock industry.
With the digital technology boom of the last century and advent of the new millennium has completely changed the view of the locks and home security systems. With everything going “SMART”, it was impossible to keep the locks not so smart. So let us have a look what these “Smart Locks” are, what are their features and what should you be considering while selecting a smart lock for your “Smart Home”. So no more forgetting, losing or hiding keys!
First evaluate your home security requirements before buying a smart lock
Before we buy a smart lock, it is essential that we carefully evaluate our own requirements. You might want to buy a smart lock for a house, apartment, business or home rental and your needs would vary accordingly. You foremost concern should be the level you security that you require. Whether you want to generate separate security keys for frequent visitors, what bout temporary keys for guests, are comfortable are you with more connectivity on home systems, how tamper free is your smart lock and are you worried about your security keys being transmitted online via Wi Fi and do you have a home security system in place that you want to connect with your smart lock. Next you should decide is whether you are going for a replacement of your existing door lock or are you looking for add on. Another factor that you should consider is type of connectivity available for proper functionality of the smart lock. You should also check for compatibility features such as capability with both iOS and Android as well as sound assistants they can respond to. One should also take into account the type of door one has and will the smart lock be able to fit in that type or not. Last but not the least it is important that you consider whether you want to opt for Amazon Key feature or not!
Security Requirements :
While selecting your smart phone, your sole purpose is to enhance your home security so you should consider the security certifications and ratings of your smart lock which can be both industrial and residential. For example Schlage Z Wave touchscreen has Grade 1 which is highest residential rating. Other security features that should be considered are built in alarms against attacks, bump free, tamper free and alerts for all actions on the lock on smartphone. You should always know if your smart phone has these built in features: two factor authentication, two layer encryption and lost phone feature. Despite these amazing security features, hacking of sensitive security key codes for different users will always be a great threat as they will be transmitted using Wi-Fi, Apple Connect, Z Wave technology. Security of smart locks also means security of their smart features. Checkout if the lock you are buying has data encryption and secure screen technology that ensures security against fingerprints left on touchscreen.
Although so far no such reported security breach could be found but if you are apprehensive about sharing your sensitive information online and avoid any cyberattack, it is recommend you use manual 4-6 digit security code entry locks that are convenient to use as they have no hassle of downloading the app and getting familiar with it which is a nuisance especially for temporary visitors like house keepers, baby sitters, guests or Airbnb.
Replacement or Add On?
Before spending a handsome amount on you smart lock, you should be clear whether you are replacing your deadbolt or adding on to it . Some smart locks need replacement others can just be an add on to your existing deadbolt lock. For example, Smart deadbolts from Schlage (Encode, Sense or Connect) need you to replace your old deadbolt and easily install the new smart lock for a smart, secure home. However smart lock like August Smart Lock Pro is installed only on the inside of your door and smartly upgrades your existing lock. (even the existing keys will still work with your lock)
Touchscreen or Touch pad?
You can decide for your smart lock to have touchscreen, touchpad or none. Smart locks with keypads are keyless, however, they are not that secure as over a period of time, the code can be disclosed with workout keys. Locks with touch screen are safer and some locks are completely manageable through your phone and thus do not required any keypress. However keypad smart locks have other usability such as easy guest code entry for visitors like house keeper, pet keeper and Airbnb. Some smart phones are so smart that they will unlock when you approach them and will be locked behind you automatically.
While deciding for your smart lock, you have to analyze and decide whether remote access to your smart lock is your priority or not. There are smart locks available in the market from the big names in the lock industry such as Schlage, August, Kwik that can lock, unlock, mange, configure and monitor all the activity on your smart lock from almost anywhere using your smartphone or computer.
Variety of smart locks that are available in the market come with different types of connectivity options. Some are so “smart”, they can almost connect to anysystem providng support for both iOS and Andriod and other home security solution likeHome connect solutions like Nexia, Echo Plus, Wink, SmarThings, HomeKit, RingAlarm etc. However, some are more reserved and would only connect with Bluetooth, WiFi Bridge oAr o would not be compatible with Android systems. It is very important that you explore all the options that your selected smart lock has in case of low or dead battery and no Wi Fi connectivity.
Amazon key for home access:
Some of the modern smart locks used for ultimate home security these days support Amazon’s home access key and its in home delivery service. This app comes with a cam recording mechanism and home deliveries from Amazon can be delivered inside your home where they are safe and all this happening live in your smart phone. Schlage smart locks are one example that support Amazon home access app. Now that’s what you call really smart!
Another feature that differentiates in smart locks is voice assistance. Most of them are compatible with Alexa and Google Assisstant both and can respond to voice commands like “lock the deoor”. This makes our smart phone not only keyless but hand free as well. Smart locks for leading brands of the world such as Schlage, Nest and August offer this amazing built in feature for easy access and increase usability.
Suitability for the type of door
While shopping for an ultimate smart lock for your home security system, do not overlook the type of door that you have and whether your smart lock can fit in the thickness of the door as well. For each smart lock in the market or available online has detailed specs that includes the suitability of that particular door lock for door thickness. For example Schlage Sense Smart lock, the top smart lock is suitable for door thickness range of 1.37 to 1.75 inches. Thus it is important to checkout the door thickness and then select a suitable smart lock.
I kept this for the last because at the end to the day what matters is that the locks that your should installing in your home should be user friendly. It should be easy to install and easy to use. Its functions should be comprehensive and should not require the user to be tech savvy. As smart lock is something that only you would not be using but smart lock provides a keyless smart solution to your home security where you can give secure access to selective visitors. These visitors can be house keepers, a visiting aunt, baby sitter or paying guest. It would be quite tedious to download the app, get familiar with it and still might not get the hinge of it.
Yes! Battery life is another extremely important feature that one must consider before buying a smart lock. A good smart lock should send alerts on smartphone and computer regarding replacement of batteries. A low battery alarm on the lock itself can also be useful that alerts whenever the battery is low.
After giving a detailed account of all the features that you should consider before buying a smart lock, a final advise is to choose wisely. After careful assessment of your requirements, select a smart lock that suits you. It should be convenient to use and meet your basic needs. Above all select a smart lock from the top brands that are tried and trusted for years. Brands that believe in making solid locks that are flawless and tamper free, easily manageable and have back up security in case proximity of the phone is challenged in any case. Some of the trusted names in the smart lock market with about a century of experience in lock making is Schlage that is known for making solid lock with strong internal mechanisms and maximum smart options for connectivity and remote access, August, another big name in the lock industry with finest solutions like August Smart Lock Pro and Kwikset smart locks with data encryption and secure screen technology. Best of luck with your smartphone shopping and may you soon open door to a safe, smart home!