Electronic Smart Locks: The Basics You Need to Know

Smart locks, also called electronic door locks, are a smart way to replace keys or add automation features to your locking system. Smart locks have been around for dozens of years, mostly in business environments, typically with your hotel key card or in cars.

So you’ve actually been using smart locks for years!

But only in the last few years have they become available and affordable for the residential market.

What is a smart lock?

If you add an electronic door lock to your home (read Best Cheap Biometric Door Lock for Home) security system, it will give you peace of mind if you ever find yourself locked out of your home because you forgot your key.

These electronic locks can be unlocked with a smartphone app, fingerprint sensor, code, or Bluetooth device without the need for a key.

The most common features of smart locks are: 

  1. Keyless access
  2. Programmable access codes
  3. Give remote access via your smartphone
  4. Voice activation using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.  
  5. Biometric features, such as fingerprint sensors
  6. Automation and integration with your home security system
  7. Multiple ways to unlock

Benefits and advantages of smart locks over traditional mechanical locks

Traditional locks require physical keys that must be protected from theft. If someone comes into possession of these keys, he can unlock any door himself. That means if you lose them, it’s game over.

With electronic locks, all you need is your mobile device to open the door. You do not even have to carry the actual key with you anymore. The best part is that no one else has access to your home when you are not there unless you want to!

Using Smart Locks (see here our troubleshooting guide) is a great option for many reasons. Here are some of the most obvious ones:

1) Convenience

Using smart locks is much more convenient than traditional locks because you do not have to organize keys, manage who has access to your home and at what time, and walk to your house with your groceries in hand without fumbling with your keys. Instead, automatically, when you go to the door, simply by pressing a number on a keypad.

2) Excellent security

You have complete control over who has access to your property and can view activity logs of who has entered and left the house and when. Then, if you add a security camera, you have full control. You can also prevent unwanted visitors from entering your home by sending a text message or alerting you if they try to open the door.

3) Your privacy

Smart locks allow you to set up different levels of access depending on your needs. For example, maybe you want your guests to enter the house only after 10 p.m. but not leave while your family members stay inside during the day. Or maybe you’d rather use voice commands instead of pushing buttons every time you come home.

5) Easy, hassle-free Set up

If you are a bit handy, you can install them yourself—many works with simple batteries, with a great battery life that will last a long time.

6) Child safety

You can also prevent children from entering dangerous areas. For example, you can designate certain zones where your children are not allowed to be until you allow them there. This sounds like a house rule of sorts, but it’s another way to prevent accidents at home or work.

7) Cost-Effective

If you have ever hired a locksmith to replace your deadbolt lock because you lost your keys or wanted to replace it (you lost a key? an ex-tenant or housekeeper still has a key? the previous tenant/owner perhaps?), then you know what they charge! However, these costs are completely eliminated because you now have full control over your lock.

Feature: Keyless entry

Keyless access means you no longer need a physical key to open your door. Instead, you simply use your mobile device to open the door from anywhere within range. This feature works by sending a signal through Wi-Fi or mobile networks to open the door.

The advantage of keyless locks over traditional mechanical locks is that you no longer have to fumble with keys to unlock the door. As a result, it only takes seconds to get into your home.

And if someone tries to break in while you are away, you’ll get a notification on your phone, so you’ll know immediately what happened.

Feature: Programmable access codes

You can control the access codes that people can enter on the keypad via your smartphone app, the Internet, or the device itself. For example, you can set up different access codes for guests, family members, friends, etc. If one person forgets their code, another person can easily reset it.

Or maybe you want to allow access to certain visitors at certain times of the day. You can create custom schedules based on time zones, holidays, weather conditions, or even events like birthdays with this option.

You can allow your cleaning lady to enter the house with her unique access code that works only on a certain day and at certain times. Also, you can restrict who has access to your house depending on where they live.

With these options, you can give other users access to your house from any location. You’ll be able to log in to your account online, change settings, view recent activity, and see who is currently in the house.

Feature: Remote control via your smartphone

One of the best features is that you can give people remote access to your electronic lock by using an app on your phone, tablet, or web browser while you’re away from home.

If you’re traveling or absent for any reason, you can give temporary access to other people by sending them a unique code via SMS text message.

Since smartphone apps let you customize and program everything, they’re convenient for monitoring access: who entered and left your house when?

Feature: Voice activation using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant

Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers also support voice control so that you can integrate them with your other smart home devices. Voice-activated technology allows you to speak commands directly into your smart lock instead of typing them in manually.

For example, using your voice, you can tell your smart lock to “open,” “close,” or “lock. Your smart lock responds instantly, and you can walk away knowing that everything in your home is secure.

Just say “Alexa, close door” or “OK, Google lock the front door.”

Feature: Biometric features, like fingerprint sensors

Biometrics are becoming increasingly popular because they offer more security than passwords alone. This is because they use unique physical characteristics rather than stored information.

This means that biometric authentication isn’t about remembering something but about recognizing something about yourself.

Fingerprint recognition uses two methods: scanning and matching. Scanning takes a digital image of your finger and compares it to stored images. Matching requires no additional hardware, just software running on your computer or mobile device.

The advantage of both types of biometric identification is that you don’t have to forget anything. No password required!

The most common form of biometric authentication today is the fingerprint. However, some devices now have facial recognition capabilities. These systems take a high-resolution video of your face and compare it to previously recorded images.

If the system finds a match, the door is automatically unlocked.

Feature: Automation integration with your home security system

One of the most important features of electronic locks is their integration with your home security system and smart devices. This way, you can access all the functions of your smart lock with a single touch of the remote control or by voice control.

For example, you can set up an automatic system to ensure your front door locks automatically when you go to bed and your alarm system turns on. You then have the choice of whether or not someone can still enter with their code. For example, if you expect your teenagers to come late at night.

Feature: Multiple ways to unlock

Depending on the model you choose, you always have several ways to unlock your door:

  1. Via the manufacturer’s special smartphone app.
  2. Unlocking via the integration of your home security system.
  3. Pin codes that you can work out in detail (times, dates, unique codes).
  4. Fingerprint (your finger is the key), advanced 3D fingerprint sensor.
  5. Some still offer a mechanical key as well, called “backup keys”
  6. Keyless card
  7. A Keypad (often a “peep-proof” solution) makes it impossible to learn your personal access code if someone else is watching.

Everyone’s obvious concern: Can my smart lock be hacked by my Wi-Fi connection to gain access to my home?

When it comes to the security of your home and family, it’s only natural to have concerns about switching to a smart lock whether it can be hacked. Of course, the short answer is NO if you take the obvious security measures.

But, as we explained in this article, 5 Crucial Tips For Securing Your Home Security System, it becomes nearly impossible; the takeaways are:

  1. Always change the default password of your router!
  2. Make sure your own Wi-Fi network is secure.
  3. Use unique and strong passwords for your online home security accounts
  4. Do NOT use public WI-FI networks (especially to log in to your security services!)
  5. Enable 2-factor authentication for all your accounts.

Using these guidelines, a smart lock is always safer than an ordinary dead bolt lock.

The above article goes deep into detail and is a must-read, but the main takeaway is to require a complex password to connect to your Wi-Fi.

Because your smart lock and all connected smart home devices access the Internet through the same Wi-Fi setup as your computers, smartphones, tablets, and TV streaming services, a secure Wi-Fi setup is critical.

Summary

In conclusion, we have covered the essentials about electronic door locks and their various features and benefits, and they can really change your life by being super convenient and secure. We hope to convince you of how they can complete your home security system and make your life even easier!

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