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Smart lock: An essential for a secured smart home

Smart lock: An essential for a secured smart home
Traditional locks which we use today are from Yale’s design in 1840s; new locks in the smart home market, on the other hand, can be traced back to the late 20th century.
Traditional locks which we use today are from Yale’s design in 1840s; new locks in the smart home market, on the other hand, can be traced back to the late 20th century.

Tor Sørnes patented the first electronic keycard lock in 1975. From then on, electric locks have welcomed various technologies, including passwords, fingerprint authentication, RFID tags and facial recognition.

The real value of electric locks, also called intuitive locks, is that it opens only for a certain person or only at a certain time.

Ready-to-form smart locks

In 2014, when Amazon Echo and Alexa were still not popular in the smart home market, smart locks had the following forms.

UniKey’s Kevo lock utilizes Bluetooth Smart and NFC tech, allowing users to unlock the door with the touch of a key fob or their smartphones. It also includes a normal key to open the door in case the technology doesn’t work. The company has a patent and works with Kwikset to make end-user products.

Lockitron developed a device that can be placed over the current deadbolt directly, saving the effort to change existing locks. When mounted over an existing door lock, the device covered the thumbturn of a deadbolt and rotated that thumbturn to lock or unlock the door. It’s powered by battery and could be controlled with a smartphone, a web app or a text message. It supports Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi.

Goji is a round smart lock featuring a digital display that can show greeting to people at the door, with an embedded camera that can send owners pictures of people entering the door. It can be opened via a key fob, a smartphone or a real key. Under the display is a traditional mechanical lock.

August Home’s product was relatively aesthetic and focused on social elements. It not only allowed homeowners enter the house, as well as a digital key to a friend. The model at that time used Bluetooth to function.

Traditional door lock maker, Yale, had its keypad lock model with a mechanical cylinder. It could be controlled by smartphones, as well as via the keypad. At this time, Yale’s lock only worked with Z-Wave.

There was also a product like Haven, a barricade placed at the bottom of the door to fulfill a real keyless entry. The device deployed upward to block the bottom of the door, changing the position of a door lock. It featured sensors to detect attempted forced entry and an easy exit with a foot release. Users could also use smartphones to control the lock.

At this time, overall to say, smartphones were already the main medium to replace the concept of keys.

Smart home market rose

Over all these years, companies such as August, Kwikset Kevo, Schlage and Yale survived from the market test and have become major smart lock brands in the smart home market.

Meanwhile, they have improving their technologies and extended supports to various connection standards and smart home platforms, such as Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and IFTTT.

Lockitron, after some years, has improved its original design and introduced another keypad model; Goji didn’t make to product shipping after its successful crowdfunding campaign; and Haven still sells its alternative door lock on, but hasn’t seen mass adoption from consumers.

Nowadays, smart locks have become one of the elements in a secured smart home. Their main feature is to provide higher security than traditional locks, and provide visitors to enter without handing them over the real keys. They work together with home security systems and smart doorbells; and they can be controlled via voices or smartphones.

A positive future

The smart lock market is expected to reach US$2.67 billion by 2023, from US$1.28 billion in 2017, according to a report from Research and Markets.

The growing numbers of connected devices and smartphones, as well as concerns over home security compared to traditional lock systems, have driven the smart lock market to grow.

According to another research conducted by Schlage and Wakefield Research, 86% of millennials in the U.S. were willing to pay more for smart apartments with automated devices, such as smart locks, smart thermostats and smart lightings.

With the coming new generation and the rising advanced IoT technologies, the smart lock market will see another growth as well as improved technologies and applications.
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