Nowadays, home security is more important than ever, and because to technological advances, it’s simpler than ever to handle and monitor your house’s security remotely. The smart lock is one such innovation that has changed the way our houses are protected. In this post, we’ll learn all about smart locks, including how they work, what they can do, and what you need to know before you install one. After reading this article, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether or not to install a smart lock in your house.
What Is a Smart Lock?
A smart lock is a device that forms a part of the home security system. It is an electronic lock that can be locked or unlocked remotely using your smartphone through the Z-Wave wireless protocol. This protocol is a communications protocol based on mesh network topology designed for home automation and uses low-energy radio waves to communicate between appliances with security assured by the Security 2 (S2) framework.
- Z-Wave vs. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi: Z-Wave is similar to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, except it requires less power to run, offers greater range, and sets higher security standards.
- Digital Cryptographic Key Code: Smart locks secure your home with a digital cryptographic key code, removing the need for physical keys, which can be easily lost or forgotten.
- Geofencing: This technology can even unlock the door for you when it senses you’re close to home by setting up a perimeter around your property, a feature called geofencing.
Are Smart Locks Safe?
The safety of smart locks has been a topic of debate as these products have rolled out across the U.S. Let’s examine their vulnerabilities and safety functions:
- Hacking: Digital smart locks are vulnerable to hacking, but this doesn’t mean that they are vulnerable. Previous iterations which relied upon Bluetooth were found to have vulnerabilities, but more advanced devices utilize the much safer Z-Wave protocol to enhance security.
- Device Tampering: In the unlikely event that anyone gains access to your device, he or she might be able to compromise the smart lock by changing settings. However, smartphone manufacturers are adding more sophisticated verification controls like fingerprints, longer passcodes, and facial recognition to improve the security of their devices.
- Access Control: With a traditional lock, there’s no way of knowing who has a key to access your property. Smart locks allow you to secure your home and only grant access to certain individuals. You can even set access to certain days or between certain time frames to further limit entry to your home.
- Remote Control: In combination with a smart doorbell, you can monitor who is at your door from wherever you are and grant them access remotely.
What to Look for in a Smart Lock?
When considering a smart lock for your home, here are the key factors to consider:
- Connectivity: Smart locks come in three flavors: Z-Wave enabled, Wi-Fi enabled, or Bluetooth enabled. Wi-Fi systems are more robust in their security protocols and provide greater access, however, many of these consume more power and require constant network access to work. Z-Wave systems are highly secure, consume far less electricity, and have a greater access range.
- Integration: As we move towards the Internet of Things (IoT), more devices will be connected to our smartphones. Ensure the devices you install are interoperable with other products in your home to avoid replacing them down the road.
- Alarms: Smart locks do not come complete with a built-in alarm, so you’ll need to purchase one separately. Some smart locks send automatic alerts, so you get a push notification if someone unlocks your door when no one is supposed to be home.
- Keyed or Keyless: You can choose to convert your entire deadbolt into a smart lock or simply replace the interior mechanism. With a full replacement, you can have a keypad installed on the exterior of your door to grant access without the need for a fob or smartphone.
Concerns Before Converting Your Current Deadbolt to a Smart Lock
Before converting your current deadbolt to a smart lock, consider the following:
- Are You Renting?: It may go against your rental agreement to replace the lock on your property. Ask your landlord for permission before purchasing a smart lock.
- How Well Does Your Door Close?: If your door is slightly misaligned or doesn’t close flush, the bolt will need to extend and retract by itself without you having to push or pull the door.
- Is There Anything Obstructing the Thumbturn?: The internal thumbturn on smart locks is generally larger than traditional locks. Ensure there are no bevels or other decorative features that may obstruct installation.
Benefits of a Smart Lock
Installing a smart lock offers several benefits:
- Convenience: Access codes are an excellent option for school-age children and teenagers who tend to misplace or lose keys. You can also issue virtual keys or codes to guests, dog walkers, house cleaners, and handymen.
- Security: You always know who has access to your home and can remotely lock your house straight from your phone without having to check.
- Control: Grant access only at certain times to keep unwanted visitors out.
Installation is relatively straightforward. For example, the Be-tech Smart Lock includes professional installation. The installer will run you through how it works, show you how to program the lock, add or delete codes, and manage permissions from the Be-tech smartphone app.
Smart locks introduce a whole new level of convenience and security to managing your home. With the advancement in technology, it is easier to monitor who has access to your property and control it remotely. While there are concerns about hacking and device tampering, advancements in technology and security protocols have made smart locks a safe and convenient option for home security.
Remember to consider your living situation, the alignment of your door, and any obstructions before purchasing a smart lock. With the right choice, you can embrace the smart home of the future and enjoy the benefits of convenience, security, and control.