Smart lock success depends on support for major systems, protocols
Source: Elvina Yang, Freelancer
There’s currently no universal protocol or system to follow in the smart home market. In order to streamline the smart home experience, smart lock companies should adopt major choices via agile development.
Smart locks have been integrated into smart home platforms such as Alarm.com, Samsung SmartThings, Wink and MiOS to create unified ecosystems and events, such as disarming an alarm and turning the lights on when a smart lock is unlocked.
The integration of smart locks with security cameras and video doorbells is also an increasingly common sight. Cameras from Arlo and Wyze and doorbells from Ring and Nest all work with smart locks. Homeowners are able to view footage from a door as well as perform locking and unlocking remotely from their smartphones.
“It’s important that all devices in a home can be united, especially smart locks, to give homeowners customized control to suit their lifestyle,” said Brad Hintze, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Control4.
Hintze gave the example of Control4’s “Away” scene. When homeowners leave for vacation, not only can the system grant access remotely and send push notifications if someone is at the door, it can also create a rotating schedule for lights in the house to turn on and off to make it look like someone is home.
“Each smart home system is personalized to the homeowner and family, while some may prioritize the need to remotely control their door lock remotely, and others may not need to do so,” said Hintze.
When homeowners create their home systems with Control4 Dealer, they are able to select a customized array of features, such as smart locking, smart lighting control and shading, and multiroom audio and TV control. Control4 also allows homeowners to upgrade their system with new devices and experiences at anytime.
Choosing a protocol -- Zigbee or Z-Wave?
Connection protocols have contributed to the streamlining of the smart home experience. However, each protocol has a different role to play in the smart home ecosystem
“Zigbee and Z-wave are the most common for residential wireless control because they are both popular mesh networks protocols that allow for easy communication to hundreds of other device types. And they are both commonly embedded into gateways/controllers that are connected to the internet to allow for remote access,” said Lew Brown, Partner of Bluesalve Partners, a firm offer internet of things (IoT)-related consulting.
Protocols that are commonly seen in smartphones, such as Bluetooth and NFC (near-field communication), were often used for close proximity entrance, Brown said. While these retain importance for enabling mobile access, they are limited by their inability to grant remote access.
“Wi-Fi- or Ethernet- connected locks are also quite common, but require the lock to be connected to Ethernet, which is not an easy retrofit option,” said Brown.
Currently, there is not a single universal protocol dominating the market for smart locks, making compatibility with several major protocols somewhat of a neccessity.
A universal standard would, however, simplfy things for users. “Uniting all devices and protocols into one system benefits homeowners, giving them control of everything in one place. This also allows for sophisticated capability and customizations,” said Hintze.
Smart lock company Danalock, whose products are Z-Wave, Zigbee and Bluetooth compatible, has achieved this through its agile development platform.
“An agile hardware platform for integrating larger proprietary protocols is super important because truth is that Z-Wave and Zigbee are not the only ones in the market. As a smart device manufacturer you need to adapt. You can not expect the service or platform to do so. Agility is key,” said Hans Overgaard, the Founder and Managing Partner at Danalock.
Main image courtesy of Control4