What Do Smart Locks Do and Are Smart Door Locks Safe?

Have you ever forgotten your keys inside after racing out the door? How many times have you had to put down the things in your hands to search for keys in your handbags? Then you might think how convenient it would be if you don’t have to keep the keys in mind all the time. When you are looking to choose the right smart door locks, you might be frightened back by their price and possible small issues. In this article, we will bring you an overview of smart door locks basic features to help you make a wise decision.

keyless entry door lock

Source: Amazon Sifely

A smart lock is an electronic home device that supports WIFI or Bluetooth to lock and unlock the door. With a smart lock, the users do not have to take the door keys with them. And they can lock and unlock the door with a finger tap on the dedicated fob or simple voice commands. You can either download an APP to the phone for proximity or remote access.
These smart home devices conveniently save you from remembering the keys anytime anywhere.

Features of Smart Door Locks

According to the research of several top smart lock brands, we’ve put together some important features of smart locks for your reference:

1. Unlock the door with fingerprint scanning

Fingerprint recognition is the basic and convenient function of smart locks. Before using keyless door locks, you need to scan and store your fingerprints into the lock settings.
Since everyone has unique fingerprints that will hardly lose, this makes fingerprints a great home security option. It is more secure than using access codes, especially for a room with sensitive and private belongings.

However, if you don’t have clear fingerprints or even break or lose your fingerprints, then you cannot use this type of lock.

2. Customize permanent or temporary entry codes

Smart locks allow you to create temporary or permanent entry codes for guests, dog walkers, repair service personnel, and any other family member. They can enter your house after inputting the codes on a touch screen or keypad. If your entire home is equipped with smart door locks, you can easily provide the service provider with the exact temporary entry codes for the room.

However, it is recommended that you use the entry codes as the main access option with caution. Because entry codes may be exposed to peeping eyes or the camera. Thus, you can change the pin codes regularly for security.

If you are the landlord and have a house to rent, changing the pin code of the smart door lock is not a hassle other than making a new key for the new tenant.

3. Bluetooth and WIFI connect

Most smart locks are paired with a smart home hub. It allows Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to connect for increased functionality.
Bluetooth connectivity allows your smart lock to recognize you and connect with your smartphone, unlocking your door when you approach within a set distance.

Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to track exit and entry stats in real-time so that you can always see who has arrived and left your house. This feature is rather essential for parents who want to ensure their children arrive home safely after school.
Bluetooth and WIFI require that the front door is not too far from the smart home hub, otherwise, there will cause connection issues.

4. Proximity and remote locking or unlocking via the APP on a smartphone

Many smart locks can be controlled remotely using Android and iOS apps. These apps allow you to monitor and control comings and goings as well as alert you to any unusual activity.
However, it is best to lock or unlock the door within a seeable close range, just in case there are any connection problems or safety issues. Even if you have a smart door lock, it is a good habit to make sure that the door is indeed locked by your smartphone after you step out of the house.

5. Access limitations

You can limit access for each entry code to your home only during certain hours and days of the week.

6. Automatic locking

You can set your smart lock to automatically lock the door if it is left unlocked for a certain amount of time. Or if your smartphone’s position is not within a predetermined perimeter of your home. This is also called geofencing.

7. Connect with video doorbells and smart cameras, notify your smartphone

You can sync your smart lock with the video doorbell or any indoor camera for extra security. You can view or record any person who attempts to access your home.
Moreover, if someone attempts to break into the smart lock or alter it, you can receive alerts to your smartphone. If this happens, you can set up your lock to notify the police or security service.

8. Connect with other smart home devices

Connect with your smart home to activate other smart home devices. For example, set your smart lights to turn off when your door is locked and turn on when the door is unlocked. Therefore, you can walk into a well-lit house instead of stumbling down a dark hallway. Also, these smart door locks can relay messages to heating systems. The wireless thermostat is on standby when you go out the door.

9. Integrate with traditional key port and battery

Smart locks provide a lot of convenience to our life. However, their smart functions are based on electricity. Smart lock manufacturers also have developed corresponding solutions to power outages. There are a traditional key port and integrated battery inside the smart locks.

10. Access cards or key fobs

Access cards or key fobs are a type of dumb keyless electric locks. They don’t need to work over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Therefore, they are safe from being hacked. This is good for the elderly who are not familiar with smartphones or those who can’t use fingerprint recognition.

Smart Locks Security

Since keyless smart locks offer so much convenience to our life, the final goal for a smart lock is to offer security and make access easier.

The following are some considerations you might have:

  • Are smart locks secure?
  • How to improve the security level with smart locks?

Are smart locks secure?

In fact, no matter whether it is a smart lock or a traditional lock, there is no guarantee. Smart locks can be outsmarted by criminals. Even smart locks are becoming smarter and more secure. They are not 100% safe.

Installing a smart lock is more in line with personal preference. Because smart locks actually offer convenience, particularly for houses or buildings with multiple people coming and going, such as tenants, workers, housekeepers. You can provide a dedicated entry code for a limited entry.

However, every coin has two sides. Due to the convenience of keyless & hands-free locks, smart locks have a risk of being hacked because they are connected via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

You need to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of smart locks before making that upgrade.

How to improve the security level with smart locks?

There are several ways to improve the security level of smart locks:

  • Set a longer unique password and change it often.
    Don’t give the password to anyone you don’t trust.
    Pay attention to the peeping eyes and cameras.
  •  More fingerprint scanning
    Fingerprint recognition on the touch screen will not leak the entry code. Because fingerprints are unique and difficult to imitate.
  • Update the software as soon as the manufacturer releases an upgrade.
  • Combine smart locks with other security options. For example, integration with cameras and alarms.
  • Make the setting just in case your smartphone is stolen or lost.

Tags: smart home

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