What is a smart lock?
As technology improves, smart home devices are quickly becoming an integral part of the average American’s life. The trend shows no sign of slowing down— according to IDC, as many as 832.7 million smart home devices will be shipped in 2019. By 2023, that number will climb to a staggering 1.6 billion. Smart locks are an increasingly big piece of that puzzle.
A smart lock is a key-free replacement for traditional door locks. Once installed, smart locks connect to Bluetooth or your home’s wifi network. Simply set your code, download the lock’s app and type in the access code on your smartphone when in range. Voila! You’re inside in seconds without digging through your pockets.
Key Safety Benefits
A smart lock works through a wireless connection, such as Bluetooth, to your phone or mobile device. Your smart lock will come with a corresponding mobile app allowing you to control all its features at the touch of a button. To control your smart lock with your voice, you can pair it with home automation technology such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. Just add your compatible smart lock to your Amazon Alexa or Google Home app to pair the devices, and you’ll be able to control your lock with both your voice and through the app.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of smart locks is the lack of keys. Though it’s reassuring to have them in your hand, physical keys can be more trouble than they’re worth. If you lose your keys, you’ll struggle to get into your house. If you’re in immediate danger and need to get into your home quickly, fumbling around in your bag will just slow you down. If you give out a guest key, the person who has it can enter your home at will. With a smart lock, however, you’ll have controlled access to your home with just the touch of a button.
Entry codes can be changed at will. If you rent out your home, for instance, you can change your code between tenants to prevent unauthorized access. By changing your entry code regularly, thieves are less likely to guess your current password. In many cases, smart locks offer an access restriction timeline. You can dictate who gets in and, more importantly, when they get in.
Traditional locks might seem foolproof, but even the most heavy-duty of locks can be picked. Safety locks are much harder to tamper with. Because smart locks rely on digital codes instead of physical mechanisms, access is difficult without the right combination.
Potential Perks & Downsides
Smart locks’ popularity is rooted in their convenience. Soaking up the sun in the Bahamas? Can’t remember if you locked your doors? If you’re connected to wifi, you can activate your locks (and change your entry code) from anywhere in the world. Some locks also provide hands-free entry. If your smartphone is in range, these devices pick up the signal and unlock automatically. No need to search through your pockets — just walk up and walk in. A growing number of smart locks offer hands-free voice control, too. A few models are compatible with Amazon Echo devices, with others to follow suit in the near future.
Why sacrifice visual appeal for safety? With smart locks, you can have both. Smart lock design is ultra-modern, a reflection of their ultra-modern convenience. Smart locks come in a variety of different finishes— black matte, silver, chrome, gold, you name it. No matter your decor style, there’s a smart lock out there that’s right for you.
Though smart locks are a great choice for the savvy homeowner, no safety mechanism is perfect. It’s important to understand that smart locks are tamper-resistant, not tamper-proof. Smart locks are a wireless technology, and any wireless technology — no matter how secure they may seem — can be hacked. Your data is encrypted, not invisible.
Connectivity can be an issue, too. What if your wifi goes down? What if your lock loses power? These errors can turn these easy-breezy systems into a big headache. Without an alternative method of entry like a garage code, you’re stuck. Physical keys, at least, aren’t subject to glitches.
The Big Picture
Smart locks are an excellent option if you’re looking to try something new with your home security. They’re secure, customizable, convenient and sleek. Enticing as they may be, smart locks aren’t perfect. Though smart locks are an effective tool, they aren’t necessarily safer than the classic lock-and-key combo. To best protect your home, use smart locks in conjunction with other security features.