Smart Locks: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

12 April 2016
 Categories: , Blog

When you come home after a long day, do you ever wish that your door would automatically unlock and let you inside, saving you the hassle of rummaging in your purse for your keys? Smart locks can do this for you—and much more, including unlocking the door for approved friends and family members and allowing you to check your door is locked after you leave the house. However, there are some potential security concerns that you need to consider before you entrust a smart lock with your home security.

What is a Smart Lock? 

A smart lock is an internet-connected device that allows you to lock and unlock your front door using a smartphone app. Many smart locks use Bluetooth technology to detect when your phone is approaching the door, so they can automatically unlock the door to let you in. Some also use a Wi-Fi connection to communicate with your smartphone over the Internet, which means you can control the lock from your smartphone no matter where you are in the world.

The Good

Smart locks eliminate the need for bulky metal keys. All you need to access your home is your smartphone, which many people carry around at all times. Smart locks also have some very cool features, such as the ability to issue temporary invites to house guests, allowing them to access your home during a restricted period of time. While you're away from home, you can check the status of your lock, which could put an end to those panicked thoughts of "did I remember to lock the door?"

The Bad

Smart locks have some obvious downsides. Most models have a failsafe option, which means you can open the lock with a traditional metal key if the technology isn't working. However, if you get into the habit of leaving your keys at home, you need to remember that a dead phone battery could leave you locked out. Secondly, smart locks could pose potential security problems—for example, it may be possible for hackers to break into your home by hacking the software.

The Ugly

Some reviews report disturbing flaws in the functioning of smart locks. For example, Gizmodo Australia reports that the August Smart Lock incorrectly shows that doors are secure when in fact the lock is not engaged. These kind of teething troubles are likely to be ironed out as the technology develops, but currently it could be a mistake to trust your home security to a smart lock.

Locksmiths often recommend using more than one type of lock to secure your home against thieves. If you want to experiment with Internet of Things technology, then a smart lock could be a fun device to try out. However, it's a good idea to also use a traditional deadbolt to keep your home fully secure.