Pros and Cons of Going Digital on Your Door
One of the fastest rising technology trends is the Internet of Things, spurring the development of an ever-increasing number of smart devices capable of connecting to the Internet and your mobile phone. Among these new products are smart home security systems and digital door locks.
The trend of going digital on your front door means replacing a traditional mechanical lock with a new, Internet-connected smart lock. Here’s what smart locks bring to the table and their advantages and disadvantages.
How Smart Locks Differ From Standard Locks
A smart lock is a type of electronic lock for your front door that does not feature a key or combination-based locking system, such as a keypad, keycard reader, or RFID chip reader.
Instead, a smart lock is a 100% keyless system with a wireless connection. Smart locks typically use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and are designed to communicate with a companion mobile application for smartphones and smart tablets.
Smart locks allow you to lock and unlock your front door or the entire house, with multiple networked locks, from your mobile phone via touch or voice commands. Some applications can even use your phone’s built-in fingerprint scanner (if available), making it so only registered fingerprints can lock or unlock the device.
Advantages of Smart Locks
Modern smart locks offer numerous undeniable advantages for the security-conscious homeowner. Here are the top five benefits to consider.
1) Unmatched Convenience
The most significant and obvious advantage of an all-digital smart lock is its keyless nature. With this type of front door locking system, you do not need to carry keys, meaning you cannot lose or misplace them, nor can they be stolen. Additionally, the lack of a standard lock means it is naturally immune to traditional lockpicking methods, improving security.
Instead of keys, the primary unlocking method is via your smartphone, which virtually every American owns and carries every day. Most smart locks also come with secondary unlocking methods, such as temporary guest codes or overrides in case of power outages, preventing you from remaining locked outside.
2) Integrates With a Smart Home Security System
Although many standalone smart lock systems are available on the market, many models are designed to be part of a complete smart home technology suite.
If you already possess smart home technology, your lock can integrate with other security elements, such as security cameras, digital assistants, and automatic recording features. Some systems can even automatically alert local law enforcement for you, acting as an additional burglar deterrent.
3) Integrates With Interior Comfort
Your smart lock can also integrate with non-security elements, such as your lighting, A/C, and thermostat. For example, if returning home from a trip, you can remotely communicate with your lock and let your system know you’re coming home soon.
Via the lock’s application, you can set the lock to communicate with your smart home system and adjust the lights and indoor temperature at your convenience before you arrive. When you return, your home will be warm and comfortable.
4) Check In With Your Lock Remotely
According to a 2018 British survey, 70% of homeowners frequently forget whether the front door is locked after leaving. If you are among these homeowners, a smart lock application can tell you instantly and even let you lock it remotely, giving you peace of mind.
In many instances, smart locks also act as real-time entry monitoring devices, recording entrances and exits and creating a detailed log (times and dates). Homeowners with children can use this system to check whether the kids have returned home from school safely and at an expected time.
5) Improves Your Property Value
Like many other forms of advanced technology, smart locks not only show neighbors and potential future buyers that you are security-conscious, but they can also significantly increase your home’s market value.
Appraisers typically consider smart locks and connected security systems to be value additions because they allow the house to enter the category of tech-enabled properties, one of the most desirable qualities in today’s market.
Disadvantages of Smart Locks
No technology is 100% foolproof, and smart door locks are no exception. Here are the top five drawbacks most commonly associated with smart locks.
1) Higher Costs
Like many other devices, transitioning from a purely analog or mechanical device to an electronic, wirelessly connected one means paying a higher sticker price. If you are interested in a smart lock, you must be prepared to spend more than a regular lock and deadbolt.
In addition to the initial sticker price, a smart lock is a sensitive electronic device. If it breaks or sustains damage, it is much costlier to repair due to the more advanced skills required for servicing.
2) Dependent on Your Mobile Phone
While centralizing your home security controls on your smartphone alongside your other applications, contacts, and other elements of your digital life may be convenient, it also increases your dependency on your device.
If your device is lost, damaged, indisposed, or stolen, you lose access to many functions, even if you have a secondary entry method available.
3) Dependent on a Power Supply
If you live in a region frequently experiencing brownouts, power outages, or if you are regularly affected by power failures for any reason, a smart lock may not be a good choice for you.
Even though the lock is typically battery-powered, a power failure may disrupt its ability to connect to your device (e.g., the router used for Wi-Fi connections is off). Batteries also require frequent replacement; if the battery dies, the lock becomes inoperable.
4) Vulnerable To Hacking
Although a burglar cannot pick a smart lock with bump keys or a standard lockpicking kit, sufficiently dedicated individuals can still gain unauthorized access. Hackers can exploit the lock’s wireless connectivity and look for software vulnerabilities to let themselves in, leaving no traces or evidence.
Although security experts will tell you that no computing system is 100% hacker-proof, keeping your software and firmware updated is the best way to prevent these vulnerabilities. Don’t forget to change passwords and key combinations often, and follow the best security practices with your passwords and accounts.
4) May Not Suit All Aesthetics
Smart locks are built according to the same design principles as many other tech devices. They often possess sleek, ultra-modern designs in neutral colors (white, silver, black) and relatively simple shapes.
From an aesthetic point of view, it means that a smart lock may not fit every home. Many homeowners find looks and harmony with the home’s architectural style a determinant factor, finding the modern design codes of a smart lock to clash with a traditional or rustic-looking door.
Get the Best Locksmithing Gear with Zero Day Gear
Zero Day Gear is an online distributor of bump keys, lockpicking kits, and other locksmithing equipment for professionals and hobbyists. We ship our products throughout the United States and abroad, and we are committed to offering the lowest shipping rates possible. Browse our inventory and place an order today.