Vendor View: The 411 on Smart Locks
Teenagers being teenagers, sometimes they might, shall we say, bend the truth a bit, especially when it comes to things like when they got home last night? So imagine if your lock,that’s right, the lock on your front door, could inform you that your daughter actually came through the door at 2:00 a.m. and not midnight like she said? That would be worthwhile information, wouldn’t it?
It’s not as farfetched as you might think. In fact, these types of electronic locks, or “smart” locks as they are referred to, are available now. They are not only capable of telling you the exact time a family member arrived home, they can provide a plethora of useful information that can help you make sound decisions about your schedule, your family, your life.
Imagining the Options
Consider: you and your spouse are out to dinner. Using any Web-enabled device—a smartphone, for example. You check the lock and determine that your child is not home yet. You both decide it’s best to go home earlier than later so you can be present when Mary arrives. Or you’re at work, and you’re able to see that little Johnny got home from school all right. You know you can work a little later if necessary, knowing that Johnny is safe and sound.
A smart electronic lock can actually save you money. Say a handyman comes to your house to fix a problem while you’re not there. He bills you for six hours of work at his regular rate. But you can tell from the information stored in the lock that he arrived at 11:00 a.m. and left at 3:00 p.m.—just four hours, not six. You have proof that he has overcharged you, which means you should probably start looking for another handyman. Money can also be saved through increased control of home systems, like heating and cooling, for example. Imagine locking your door and, through a pre-adjusted scene, the temperature of the house is automatically adjusted. The need to remember this task before leaving is effectively eliminated.
These scenarios and others like them demonstrate how locks have transformed from being merely instruments of security to repositories of information that can make life more convenient, more enjoyable—and safer. Of course, the genesis of the smart lock began years ago with the advent of the electronic lock. It’s not a new concept: the first widely available mass market lock that had success in North America was the Weiser Powerbolt in the mid 1990s; for a decade, its presence was unchallenged. Then Kwikset adopted its own version for Black & Decker.