Now that we are at the peak of the computer age, many homeowners are already considering a new trend that enhances security to keep their dwellings safe and secure. While the traditional bolt, lock, and key combination that has long been protecting our homes continue to serve its purpose to keep intruders out, some homeowners are now considering a more technologically-advanced security option: smart locks.
As the name implies, smart locks are home security devices with wireless control integrated into them. However, because the technology has yet to become common knowledge, we have gathered five things you should know before procuring one for your home.
- Smart locks offer more efficiency and control.
While your old, reliable deadbolt may continue to serve its purpose, having smart locks could also prove to be a good decision, especially if you’re looking for better efficiency and control. Even during this modern age, many consider the traditional padlock and key-locked bolts as the best choice for keeping unwanted guests from entering their home. This is despite the number of breaking-and-entering cases that have been recorded over the years.
Although smart lock manufacturers do not guarantee zero incidents, their products do have advantages.
For one, smart locks make doors easier to close and open, especially when you get home with your hands full. This is done through wireless connectivity. The technology works well with smart phones as the locks detect Bluetooth signals from the device, the same as way as surveillance cameras.
It also allows more convenience, thanks to software that controls the locks from the homeowner’s mobile phone. It can be used even when you are away from the house. This function also works when the owner is already inside by closing the doors remotely.
On top of that, some smart lock software also include an added security feature that shows the user which doors are still open and provides them with the choice to close it remotely. Others also alert users when a door is being opened by an unwanted guest or if a wrong key code, PIN, or digital key is being entered.
- Not all smart locks are the same.
Smart lock manufacturers offer a wide range of products that have varying methods of entry. This includes those that require a PIN code for access, biometric fingerprint scan, and even a proximity card.
There are also types of smart locks that go with varying wireless protocols that potential smart lock buyers should know about to determine which one goes well with their neighborhood.
Those with Wi-Fi in their home have a wide range of options. The advantage of having a smart lock with this type of protocol is the extensive control it offers the user from anywhere, as long as there is an Internet connection. However, this protocol requires additional hardware that could cost more than the other systems. It also burns out the locks’ batteries faster compared to the ones using Bluetooth.
Bluetooth smart locks use up less energy, helping homeowners save on the cost of batteries and the effort in changing them. Unfortunately, this kind of smart lock protocol has a limited range compared to Wi-Fi.
On that note, some smart lock manufacturers offer a third type called the Z-Wave. Smart locks that use this kind need a Z-Wave-compatible hub that looks a lot like a Wi-Fi router. This serves as a translator for the smart lock and Wi-Fi. It doesn’t allow any direct link to the user’s smartphone.
The good news is, it has a wider range than Bluetooth. The bad news, you’ll have to buy another set of hardware to use it.
- Smart locks offer a solution to lost-key and locked-out incidents.
Aside from wireless connectivity, smart locks also offer freedom from unexpected incidents, like when the owners lose the key to their house or get locked out when they accidentally leave the keys inside. The “digital key” feature prevents these from happening.
On top of that, experts say that some smart lock brands offer homeowners an option to give “digital keys” to family members, friends, and other guests who frequent their homes. A similar feature has proven itself useful for establishments that offer temporary lodging, like hotels and apartments, where they use proximity cards to give clients access to the rooms they are renting out.
- Smart locks should go with your traditional deadbolt.
While smart locks do provide extensive convenience and control over the doors of your home, experts still believe that it is best to pair it with a deadbolt system for better security. After all, it is best not to overlook physical security to avoid any untoward incidents.
Choose a quality bolt that is sturdy enough to withstand even powerful physical attacks, such as kicking and smashing. You should also consider deciding to go with one that can survive through basic lock-picking, at the very least, and install it properly with the smart lock of your choice.
- Smart locks are not foolproof.
With all the hype attached to this new technology, it is easy to forget that smart locks do not guarantee zero burglaries. In fact, having this Internet-based security for your home has created another issue for homeowners to worry about: cybersecurity.
According to a security consultant, certain smart lock devices are vulnerable to technical issues. In fact, he was able to hack 12 out of 16 smart locks sent to him for testing. Even so, tech experts do not necessarily think locks are totally unsecure, explaining that it is only a matter of choosing the right brand or manufacturer to trust. On top of that, experts from a lock manufacturing company explained that usual burglars won’t go about hacking the technologically-advanced security hardware and would instead choose a simpler method, like kicking down the door or breaking a window, when attempting a burglary.
Even so, it is best to pair these smart locks with the traditional, sturdy deadbolts that can withstand the excessive use of force. It is also worth noting that smart locks work best when used with a complete security system that includes surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and house alarms.