Smart Locks: The Future has Arrived
By Sam Moxey
Oct 04, 2017
National Home Security Month is something we’ve been talking about on our social media channels. Its aim is to raise awareness around the importance of home security and it runs this year throughout October, offering seasonal tips and advice to help protect the nation’s homes, families and possessions.
During week commencing 16th October, the campaign focuses on smart security. It says that the rise of automated homes and smart technology means that connected security gadgets are becoming increasingly popular.
Smart security is the latest buzz phrase. It covers the likes of smart door locks, smart home alarms, CCTV kits and digital door viewers. In this post we’re taking a look at smart door locks, with the remainder of today’s security technology saved for future coverage.
We all know by now that these days it’s possible to use your smartphone to turn on your home heating ready for your arrival; to change the colour of your lighting with a simple voice request and to order laundry products by pressing a button on your washing machine. It stands to reason then that the next step is integrating home security into our rapidly advancing world of technology.
What are smart locks?
Smart locks are a form of keyless door lock and have become an integral part of intelligent home security systems. These locks are connected either by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to a smart device, such as a phone, tablet or voice controlled hub such as the Amazon Echo.
Smart locks allow you to access, monitor and protect your property without the use of a key. Smart locks mean physical keys become a thing of the past (unless you opt for a key override model), and trying to remember whether you’ve locked your door on the way out will no longer play on your mind all day.
How do smart locks work?
Smart locks are operated via an app on your smartphone or tablet; by using a remote control key fob, or by inputting a secure pin code on your smart lock’s digital keypad. However they work, you remain in total control.
One of the major benefits of smart locks is that you can create temporary keys, which means your plumber, electrician or cleaner can gain access to your property on a one-time only basis. They are also perfect for when you’re on holiday and need a friend or relative to stop by to pick up the post or feed the goldfish. You can simply send a key to them by text message and they can use their phone to access your home. You can make the key invalid any time you want, so there’s no worry over keeping track of keyholders, and of course issuing new spares any time you need to change the locks.
Many smart locks also incorporate a key override function which is useful for added peace of mind should you lose or damage your fob or the smart device you use to control the lock.
Smart home integration
Some smart locks are able to integrate with other connected home devices, such as the Amazon Echo, Nest Protect, Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. Smart integration makes it possible to configure set-ups such as the automatic unlocking of doors when a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm is triggered, or the switching on of smart lights when a door is unlocked.
Smart locks can also be paired with a connected doorbell camera so that you can see who is at the door before you unlock it.
In addition, when they are connected to a smart hub, smart locks can allow you to control your heating, automatically switching it off once you’ve left the house. Once your app or fob is out of range, the hub will detect as such and turn the heating down to zero. Then when you return, it will automatically detect your presence via the app or fob, and get that heating fired up again. You will have some degree of control over these features so that you can decide precisely what happens and when.
How to choose the right smart lock system for your home
Other than deciding whether you want a key override function or not, you have two main options when choosing a smart lock: Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. But don’t worry if you can’t decide because, if you have the budget, there are models available that offer both types of connectivity.
Wi-Fi smart locks tend to be more feature rich and offer a higher degree of connectivity with other smart enabled devices. However, it has to be borne in mind that anything connected via Wi-Fi could be susceptible to malicious attacks or hacking.
Bluetooth smart locks offer greater security as they do not work via an internet connection. Instead they rely on a single layer of authentication between the lock and smart device or fob. However, Bluetooth smart locks do tend to offer a more limited level of functionality and there is sometimes a minor delay between presenting the device or fob and the door unlocking.
All the help you need from experienced security experts
If you are considering installing smart locks in your home or business premises and are not sure where to start, talk to Barry Bros Security. Whilst we’ve been providing expert advice on security solutions for more than 60 years, we can safely say that we are well versed in the latest technologies. We offer unbiased advice across a range of top branded locks, all of it individually tailored to your particular needs.