Here's why a smart lock should be the first smart home device you own
Home security is a complex issue, but anything is safer than hiding a spare key under a very obvious ceramic frog. Most smart locks provide several different ways to get inside, so each household member can do what's easiest for them.
If there's one thing in your home that deserves to be accessible from anywhere, it's your front door lock.
Think about it. It's something that you use on a daily basis (at least, before social distancing was a thing) and it serves as the barrier that keeps you, your family, and your belongings safe from the outside world. Maybe you're not particularly paranoid about a thief in a ski mask stealing the antique vase that you don't own, but you've almost certainly turned the car around to double check that you locked the door at least once in your life. And parents are all too familiar with the struggle of getting a kid to keep track of a physical key.
A smart lock is a solution to virtually any of these problems. Depending on the model, you can unlock or lock with a toggle in the smartphone app, enable auto-unlock to unlock the door when your phone gets within a certain number of feet, use a voice command, enter a passcode, scan your fingerprint, and set a schedule to auto-lock at certain times every day. Guests can also be sent a temporary code or timed temporary access.
What can a smart lock do besides locking and unlocking?
Think of it as two-factor authentication for your door. Just as Gmail sends you a notification when it sees a login attempt from an unfamiliar device, a smart lock sends notifications if someone tries to unlock the door at a weird time (say, during work or school hours when no one should be home) or if someone is trying to guess the code or force entry. The real-time feed of who's been in and out can help parents or Airbnb owners keep an eye on when kids and guests are coming in and out.
Every household has that one person who never shuts the door the whole way. It's a fact of life. CannyDoor is a quarter-sized sensor that mounts to a door or doorway and alerts you if the door is left ajar for more than a few minutes.
Smart locks and accessibility
Switching home security from the traditional lock and key to a smart lock can be freeing for folks aging in place (or others with limited mobility). Smart locks are lifesavers if a key is lost, and cross one thing off the “to do” list by locking doors every night at a certain time. Voice integration allows the lock to be controlled with a simple command rather than getting out of bed after one is all comfy. Caregivers or relatives having their own code is much more practical than handing out multiple spare keys.
USA Today spoke to a 68-year-old New York City resident whose apartment building made the switch to smart locks. Her main concern was, well, the complete reliance on technology. What about seniors who don’t carry a smartphone or folks who may have trouble remembering digits in a passcode? These barriers drain a smart lock’s accessibility quickly. In these cases, buying a smart lock that still works with a mechanical key if necessary is a must.
Which smart lock should I choose?
Your schedule, kids' schedules (if you have them), and other smart home devices (if you have them) will be major deciding factors as to which automation features will work best with your home.
- Retrofit versus deadbolt replacement: Retrofit locks add connectivity to your current deadbolt, let you keep the keys you were already using, and operate through your phone, with auto-unlock, or with voice commands. Full deadbolt replacements are a bit more heavy-duty and open possibilities for keypads and fingerprint sensors, but they require some more handiwork and require you to use new keys — or will get rid of a mechanical keyhole all together.
- Keyless locks: Though the whole point is to not carry keys on your person all the time, it's still nice to have backup if the WiFi, power, or lock's batteries crap out. Some smart locks can be jumpstarted with a nine-volt battery instead of a key, which might be nice if you're worried about the lock being picked.
- Smarthome compatibility: Are you an Echo, Google, HomeKit, or SmartThings household? Some smart locks are particularly well integrated with certain smart home systems, and it's always nice to have everything in the same loop.
- WiFi adapter versus built-in WiFi: A WiFi connection is needed to be able to access your smart lock from your phone when you're not home. Most purchases will come with a separate hub to connect the lock to your home's network, and others have WiFi already built in. Without WiFi, you'll only be able to use the app when you're in Bluetooth range.
Aside from a few minutes with a screwdriver (that's usually included with your kit), installing a smart lock is no more work than pairing your phone with new headphones. After syncing your lock with a serial number or QR code, the app walks you through WiFi, PIN or fingerprint setups, locking schedules, trial runs, and everything else — no hardwiring necessary.
Smart lock is a sight towards the future of technology in India. We CannyThink works on building future technologies and implementing their functionalities to make India as one of the smartest country in the world.
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