London, September 2016 – Technology touches so many areas of our domestic lives. Homes are becoming automated, and increasingly filled to the brim with intelligent appliances. When we’re away, we monitor them with smart cameras, connected alarm systems and other sensors. We back up treasured photos, music collections and more with personal cloud devices.
Yet until now, almost all of us have chosen to secure our homes — and their super-smart contents — with a technology invented thousands of years ago. Times are changing, however. The old-fashioned mechanical door lock is reaching its sell-by date, and is set to be replaced… by the smart lock.
The smartphone has become a remote control for connected living. With a few swipes on a palm-sized screen, we can order a taxi and buy the latest music; check our bank balance or the sports scores; book a hotel, a train journey or even a private jet. The latest generation of smart locks also make it both easy and secure to open and monitor the front door with your smartphone — whether you’re standing outside your home, or relaxing on a beach a thousand miles away.
Convenient security and access control is the smart home function that interests consumers above all others: with a smart front door, homeowners no longer have to carry keys; there’s no need to get spares cut for a cleaner, the kids or a cat-sitter. With a smart lock, you can let guests in remotely via an app, send them a digital key, or provide them with a temporary PIN code to use at the door. No more worrying if your children lose their key: one swipe of your screen and you can let them in from anywhere. Have relatives arrived early and you’re not home yet? No problem. Just send them a PIN code and they don’t need to wait on your driveway. A cleaner and delivery agent could be given a one-time access code to open your door, if you can’t be there to let them in today.
And with a PIN-operated lock, you’ll never get locked out again. Smart locks can also notify you whenever anyone opens or locks your door. They can be unlocked via remote control or even fingerprint, as well as a connected phone or straightforward PIN.
A recent report* found a large majority of consumers rate a smartphone or PIN at least as secure as a key when it comes to opening their homes. Between a third and half of respondents to the survey saw a smart lock as a significant security upgrade. After all, removing physical keys eliminates the risk of losing one — by accident or through theft. There’s no screen lock on a mechanical key to provide a line of defence, if it goes missing.
It’s becoming much easier to get your door connected. Smart door locks support several established protocols, and can be quickly connected to existing smart home and home automation systems via “plug & play” setup. Major DIY and electronic retailers — including Obi Markt in Germany, Bauhaus in Sweden and Leroy Merlin in France — offer stand-alone smart locks for self-installation. Leading domestic service companies are increasingly moving their expertise into smart door locks: Turkish security provider Pronet offers a smart door lock; German energy provider Innogy (previously known as RWE) now includes the ENTR™ Smart Lock as part of its SmartHome portfolio; and Swedish smart alarm provider Verisure also offers smart door locks. Specialist smart home system installers can connect locks via a Z-Wave module to existing ecosystems such as Samsung SmartThings. The options for homeowners looking to source these innovative security devices keep expanding.
Security and convenience are greatly enhanced thanks to this proven technology. Now there’s a growing range of smart locks that can deliver, and help consumers move smartly into connected living. While much of the buzz around home automation surrounds Silicon Valley start-ups and various Californian tech giants, it’s ASSA ABLOY – with multiple trusted locking brands, including Yale, Mul-T-Lock, TESA, KESO, Vachette, NEMEF and FAB — that has the biggest range of residential smart locks on the market.
* “The Smart-Home Security Report 2016”; available to download for free from www.assaabloy.co.uk/smartreport2016.