Open Sesame: Your Guide To Smart Door Locks
With your smart camera in place so you can keep a close eye on anyone approaching your home, the next step is to extend control to access with smart door locks.
Smart door locks mean you cannot only use them when you arrive at the door itself, but through an app on your smartphone or even through another device.
You might, for example, have your burglar alarm automatically lock the door after it warms itself in case you forgot (or just because you like to stride confidently away).
It’s also possible to have the doors automatically unlock when the smoke detectors sense a fire.
In truth, though, the main uses are checking you locked up when you left home or letting the kids in via the app if they’ve lost their keys.
Balance of power
Smart locks are powered, requiring some kind of battery to operate not just their communication with the network but, of course, the physical locking mechanism.
The latter will also limit your choice; different countries have different standards, as do front and back doors.
In the UK, uPVC doors with multi-point locks are common – you pull the handle up and the door locks in several places, and for these you’ll need a specific UK lock.
Similarly, some of the locks designed for US standards are not ideal elsewhere (and networking frequencies might be limited to the US too – to avoid mix-ups take care when shopping on sites that allow vendors from different territories, like Amazon).
Batteries in a lock may sound like a problem but they work as protection in the case of a power failure with the rest of the network – if you’re present (with a ‘key’ or code) you’ll still be able to operate most smart door locks, so there’s nothing lost in comparison with a traditional lock.
When is a key not a key?
Most office employees these days are familiar enough with the idea of pressing a card against a reader to gain access to their place of work.
NFC (Near Field Communication) is the tech behind this, as well as contactless payments and the like.
This, or using your phone’s Bluetooth, are popular ways of replacing the traditional key with something a little more convenient.
Other smart door locks feature keypads, though of course it’s essential to make sure you don’t leave fingerprints that’ll make it easier to guess your PIN.
That said, a few failed tries (or more aggressive assaults) can trigger a tamper alarm feature in many smart locks – a built-in siren.
One step further geo-fencing is a feature that allows the lock to face into the background by simply unlocking when it senses you are nearby (within the GPS area of your grounds).
Just as you can use your camera to monitor comings and goings at home, the apps that accompany some door locks keep track of who (or at least whose) key fob opening the door and when.
Smart door locks, then, can help in the quest for security, but offer flexibility and peace of mind for those who need to work but want to keep track of kids getting home, or whether the cleaner is really arriving on time.
GOOGLE NEST YALE SMART DOOR LOCK
Nest, provider of many chic solutions in the smart home, has partnered with Yale for its smart door lock, which is also a deadbolt solution.
It uses the Nest smartphone app to allow locking and unlocking from anywhere, with notifications if you choose.
Different people need different pass codes, of course.
If you choose Nest’s alarm system, it is automatically disarmed when the door is unlocked.
SAMSUNG SHS-3321 DIGITAL DOOR LOCK
The stylish Samsung SHS-3321 is a deadbolt that offers some thoughtful features for the security conscious.
If enabled, when you’re out the lock will even ring its tamper alarm if someone tries to leave from the inside (on the assumption they must have broken in).
It can also be used in double authentication mode, requiring both PIN and NFC cards.
SCHLAGE SENSE SMART DOOR LOCK
Schlage offers smart locks, which work using the Z-Wave system and its own app, in a range of styles and colors to suit most homes.
They are sold in US frequencies, however, not yet in EU frequencies.
They just operate as keypad locks when they cannot connect to a network.