how electronic locks work and home securityThe traditional method of securing your front door is using a key to lock it is being replaced with electronic door locks or smart locks. Well not replaced but supplemented is probably the better way of describing this at present.

With an electronic lock you use your smartphone or other device to remotely operate the lock. It is similar to the way you operate your car locks with the key there as a backup rather than the primary method of opening.

Benefits

With smart locks for your home you get some additional functionality. You don’t have to be within sight of the door to lock or unlock it when using a smartphone App. You can do it anywhere you can get access to the internet.

This allows you to let someone in that doesn’t have a key or you’ve not added to your account. This could be someone that you only want temporary access or one time access etc. It saves on you having to be there or handing out a key or even worse leaving one under the mat.

Instead of handing out keys to your door you can give people access to your account on a temporary basis or permanent basis depending on who they are. If you want you can even schedule when the door is unlocked and locked.

The lock can let you know when it has been operated too and by whom so you can know who has arrived at home or left. It’s great if you have kids as you can know they’ve made it home.

Installing

Some can be retrofitted to your existing lock so you don’t need to change your keys. The Smart Lock by August works this way – where you change the back of the lock only replacing the thumb turn. It is a convenient solution.

You can still operate it with your key or use the smart lock inside of the door as a thumb turn.

It doesn’t integrate with any other systems currently, this being one of its biggest disadvantages. The other is that you need to ensure the door is properly closed and on the latch to lock properly otherwise it can show the door as being locked even though the door is not closed.

You can set it so that it knows when your phone is in close proximity to open the door and when you go out of the location it looks the door too.

Home Security

Most DIY home security systems available don’t presently integrate with smart locks so you work them in isolation.

These locks could work well with a doorbell video like Skybell or Ring where you can see who has rung your doorbell and then you could unlock the door without having to go to the door although you do need to swap between Apps on your phone.

The only system that does integrate with smart locks (not August) at the moment is SmartThings which is a home automation system that has a number of home security features. You can have it so once the lock is operated it could turn the lights on or the alarm is armed or disarmed etc. or with its’ integration with IFTT (If this then that) rules you could have it set to open the door when you turn the ignition off in your car when on your driveway.

This helps to keep everything all in one place so you are not having switch between Apps. The advantage from a home security point of view is that you can automate the locking of the door after a period of time or when you are out of range of the door (it does mean you need your phone with you or you may lock yourself out).

If you go to your neighbors for a quick errand and don’t lock your door this can be an invitation for a burglar to be in and out while you are there talking about something. That 1 minute you expected to take could extend to 30 minutes or more in the meantime you’ve lost some of your valuables. But with a smart lock the door is locked if you set it to lock automatically after a short period of time 2 to 5 minutes.

This functionality can be great too if you have a tendency to forget to lock your door.

If you don’t want the automation you can check if the door is locked and lock it if you didn’t. It also can reassure you if you’re not sure if you locked it or not by checking your App.

Although these electronic locks aren’t fully there in terms of functionality the company’s making them are improving the software all the time to make them more reliable and help to make your life easier and your home more secure as they go. I’m looking forward to see how they improve and can be a more reliable feature of home security and automation.

Filed under: Buying Advice

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