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Smart Locks: Worth the Investment?


Jan 04, 2021 by Lena Katz
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Although locks are the most universal, recognizable element of building security, they are not actually all that convenient or safe when the moment comes to unlock them -- until the smart lock entered the market.

Function

Through combining the mechanics of a traditional lock with an electronic interface and wireless connection capabilities, smart locks eliminate that vulnerable moment when you're trying to get in the door. With smart locks, there's no more fumbling with keys, punching numbers on a keypad, or cringing when you realize the porch light's out and you'll be fumbling in the dark to get inside. And bonus: No more irate calls from your spouse that you left the house unlocked when you left for the day.

Smart locks allow authorized users to lock and unlock their doors through voice activation, a connected device, or a finger tap. Some of them also send push notifications if a door's been left unlocked. Current designs look like either standard key locks or electronic dial pads, allowing you to choose whichever best fits your aesthetic. There are even models that fit over the preexisting deadbolt on the inside of the door -- great for rental homes where people want to upgrade their front door security without modifications.

Many multifamily building managers are well aware that smart locks (especially touch-free ones) are in demand as an amenity and are implementing complex-wide smart lock systems with multiple customizable permission levels.

Pros

Aside from the obvious benefit of keyless, one-touch entry, smart locks offer several other benefits. As mentioned, they can be controlled remotely by authorized users -- and in some cases, this capability comes bundled with some sort of video monitoring.

Many smart locks also have the capability of providing temporary access to friends, service workers, or other one-time guests via temporary codes.

Cons

The question with any kind of smart home device lately is: Can it be hacked? And yes, smart locks can be hacked -- just like "dumb" locks can be picked. However, locks operating on wireless or Bluetooth and outfitted with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) are generally safe from hacking.

Cost of smart lock systems

The cost is one of the great arguments in favor of a smart lock: On average, it's $200 to install one and get the related accessories, according to Fixr. The average range is $150 to $400.

Value

Safety is priceless -- and traditional locks, especially the simple doorknob ones, were never thought to be particularly safe; hence the addition of heavyweight deadbolts or indoor latch locks for additional security. But even those still leave the homeowner vulnerable while on the threshold of their own home.

For eliminating that moment, plus enhancing security in other ways, smart locks are worth the expense, no matter who you are. Homeowner, landlord, fix-and-flipper, or multifamily building manager -- the cost of installing a smart lock will instantaneously make a home feel upgraded, thanks to the extra layer of safeguarding these locks offer that protects its contents and inhabitants.

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