What is a smart lock for a house, how to install and how much does an intelligent system for controlling access to a home cost – we will try to answer these questions in this article.
What is a smart lock?
A smart lock (smart lock, Smart Lock) is an electromechanical lock that can be unlocked by entering data from an electronic device. Data is transmitted using a wireless transmission protocol and a cryptographic key.
Unlike conventional wireless locks, the smart lock is connected to the Internet and can set automatic actions, including sending burglary notifications.
Smart locks are commonly seen as part of smart home technology .
Opening the front door for craftsmen, cleaners, couriers, short-term apartment tenants or guests is among the most popular purposes for installing a smart door lock.
Like ordinary locks, a smart lock consists of a lock and a key. In fact, the mechanical part of the structure differs little from conventional door locks.
Unlike traditional technology, in smart locks, the key is not physical, but digital. This code is on the Smart Lock by a certified device via a wireless interface to open. Smartphones with a corresponding application are widely used here as certified devices.
On the other hand, most smart locks also support special key chains (Key Chains) that transmit the corresponding lock opening code.
A huge advantage is that the smartphone does not have to be nearby to control the smart lock. The transmission can be done over the Internet. This way you can let guests in or block the castle along the way.
The code used to open it is unique and difficult to break, which allows the smart lock to uniquely identify the owner’s device.
On the one hand, you can track who used the lock at any time and when. On the other hand, you can only unlock certain devices for a limited period of time. For example, grant access to the maid from 9:00 to 10:00.
Are you in love with smart technologies that make everyday life easier and safer? Then a smart door lock is definitely right for you!
The electronic door lock for home has overcome many childhood illnesses and can now be easily modified for smart access.
The specialists of our construction company have extensive experience in the field of installing and configuring smart locks, so we will suggest the best option for your home.
But let’s take a closer look at how this technique works.
What are the electronic locks for the house?
Before choosing specific smart home technologies, let’s briefly talk about the modern range of electronic locks and their purpose.
The most popular options for electronic door locks:
Electronic combination lock
This classic combines a door lock with a keypad next to the front door. If the correct PIN is entered there, the door will open. In the case of more expensive models, you can even assign temporary access rights and use additional functions.
In addition, the electronic combination locks have already convinced specialists with impressive field test results. The technology is well suited for families with school-aged children: entering the house is easy and the keys are never lost.
RFID Transponder Door Lock
Many manufacturers offer reliable electric door locks with RFID transponders. The lock can be controlled using a remote control that fits into a bracelet or key ring.
The only drawback: in some cases, the transponders were not completely waterproof and were out of order due to water.
However, they are well suited for people with disabilities who find it difficult to turn the key in the lock or use the keypad in the combination lock.
Smart lock with fingerprint reader
As the name suggests, this type of electric lock is opened by scanning your fingerprint. Once registered, certain individuals are granted permanent or temporary permission to access. Simple and reliable.
In modern models, fingerprint scanning is just one of the many options that increase the comfort and safety of work.
Smart lock with app control
An electric unit attached to the inner side of the doors allows connection to and control of classic locks via the app. As a result, for example, the masters can also be left in the absence of the apartment owners, giving them temporary access.
How smart lock works
Every person has a smartphone. Therefore, it makes sense to use this permanent companion as your primary key to your electronic door lock.
Depending on the model, the lock can be opened via the app or automatically as soon as the owner of the phone, and therefore the owner of the key, approaches the front door.
The colossal advantage of smart keys is that access rights can be transferred to other visitors on the go. Whether it’s a nanny, a plumber or a surprise visitor: the smart lock makes it easy to grant temporary home entry rights.
A prerequisite is a bridge connected to the internet router. It acts as a kind of “translator” between the lock, router and smartphone.
Depending on the design of the smart lock, the traditional key is still used and the door can be opened in the usual way if needed.
The Smart Lock system turns the key inside the door via a smartphone app, by pressing a button or manually.
This is a flexible and convenient functionality that guarantees: the owner will not have to spend the night under the door with an empty phone.
You can easily attach the smart system to the inside of the door on an existing lock cylinder. Depending on the protrusion, there are two possibilities: by clamping or by gluing to the door surface around the cylinder.
Experienced professionals can do this in just a few minutes, quickly and efficiently. If the model provides for gluing, a special industrial glue is used for this, which is resistant to moisture and large temperature changes.
Setting up the application is extremely simple and can be performed, depending on the specific system, without an account or registration with the manufacturer.
What can smart locks do?
Nobody likes to let strangers into the house, especially if you are not around. So much the better if the front door can be opened and closed individually via smartphone, number combination, Bluetooth connection, or fingerprint.
Unlock and Lock – These two basic functions are taken for granted with a smart lock.
But smart locks can do much more:
• Automatic unlocking: you don’t have to take your smartphone out of your pocket when you return home. The electronic lock automatically opens the door to the owner.
• Lock’n’go: smart lock automatically closes the door behind itself when you leave the house. This saves the owner from annoying reflections on the road, whether the door is locked.
•Smart locks can be controlled by voice commands. In an emergency (such as a fall), it can be opened from the inside using a code word.
• Integration with smart home. With Apple Homekit integration, the electronic door lock can be controlled by Siri and controlled via the Apple Home app.
• Smart Key also allows you to connect to other popular smart home services – Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
The main advantages of a smart home lock
Our experience in the installation, customization and daily operation of smart locks from different brands allows us to outline an impressive range of advantages of this technology:
• More security thanks to the concept of secure end-to-end encryption. Only the user of the device owns the door key.
• The sensor provides information about the state of the lock cylinder. The system also shows if your door is open or closed at the moment.
• Convenient online access combined with a bridge gives the owner control over all functions of the smart lock when he is outside the house.
• Remote opening simplifies time-consuming agreements with foremen or service personnel who can only come to you during business hours.
• The lock log shows who opened and closed the door at what time.
• Losing a key is no longer a disaster. Clever solutions make keykeeper services and expensive spare keys a thing of the past.
• Key searches are also optional. The door opens by itself without stress and time-consuming search for keys, delays and unnecessary nerves.
• Once opened, the door is automatically locked as soon as you enter or leave your home. An outsider will not be able to enter.
• Convenient rental solution: you do not need to personally unlock the door for the tenants.
• The smart lock can be opened by voice or traditional key.
Finally, users will appreciate the easy installation. The smart system is installed on an existing door lock, without screws or drilling. If the system is removed when leaving the apartment, no residues and damage will remain. You can take the system to move into a new home or rented apartment.
Vulnerabilities and disadvantages of a smart lock
If the blocking systems are not perfect, it can happen that access is not automatically blocked or the wireless connection is disrupted. In practice, however, radio communications are usually so well encrypted that the risk of being tampered with is very low compared to the likelihood of mechanically breaking a conventional lock.
In most cases, decrypting a network lock would be so cumbersome that it is easier for attackers to break into unprotected windows.
Another drawback is the substantial energy consumption, which does not allow the smart lock to be switched to autonomous power supply. Batteries will have to be replaced at least once a year, and in advanced models with a fingerprint scanner – all 4-6 times a year.
The exception is the new NFC locks, which we will discuss below.
Other disadvantages of a smart lock are associated with all sorts of accidents – for example, the loss of a smartphone that is not properly protected. Then the person who found the device can use it to break into your home.
When comparing innovative technology to conventional locks, the smart lock clearly outperforms the competition. Mechanical devices constantly break down, users lose keys, and there are countless ways to hack.
How secure is a smart door lock?
Smart homes automate many household functions.
Even opening the front door is now smart and possible without turning the key. But in addition to the many benefits, we see some security concerns.
Like other smart home technologies, Smart Lock must meet stringent security requirements. What happens if the lock does not work or you accidentally locked yourself? How to proceed when a smartphone or other devices that unlock the lock are lost?
Finally, how well is a smart lock protected from burglars and hackers?
On this score, in the foreign press one can find a variety of expert opinions and different research results, sometimes diametrically opposite.
While there is a risk of falling prey to hackers, with proper encryption on the part of the manufacturers and carefulness on the part of the owners, the threat is minimal.
Most models allow a physical key to be used in parallel with an intelligent operation. So you can enter home even if your smartphone is not at hand or the battery is discharged. If the smartphone is lost, the technology allows authorization from another device to control the doors.
In addition, the system is easy to monitor. The smart door lock registers any calls and communicates with other systems in the smart home. If the smartphone is lost or stolen, the code on the authorized device may simply be invalidated.
But what if hackers try to intercept the connection between the user and the door lock? Although the attacker must be within the transmission range (with Bluetooth it is about ten meters), the situation does not seem so fantastic.
In such cases, the security of property depends on how well the manufacturers protect their products from cyberattacks. One method is the so-called challenge-response approach. When unlocking the lock, a random number is generated, which is sent through the application.
The code confirms that you are allowed to open the door. Since these numbers are always re-generated, hackers cannot use them for subsequent hacks.
Should you install a smart lock? Everyone should answer this question for themselves.
There are many ways to protect doors and just as many ways to open them.
For your information, here is the 2017 test organized by the German AV-TEST software laboratory. All well-known models of European companies have successfully passed the test, but the best safety indicators were demonstrated by the systems manufactured by Noke and eQ-3 (Germany), as well as the Austrian Nuki.
If you look at the full range of smart home products, smart lock have gotten well above average security test scores.