Amazon Key and Google’s Nest alarm have taken the tech world by storm and redefined the concept of smart home security. These technological strides can leave us feeling as rusty as our old keys when we fiddle with our manual locks. But a failure to get with the programme isn’t always a bad thing. Feeling wary of new security technology doesn’t make you a luddite, in fact, it can be a sign of good judgement.
Opting for a smart lock can feel like a clever plan. Every element of daily life is being updated, and the old lock and key can feel like a relic. The smart lock promises a range of new-age features like remote locking and app-enabled access. The high-tech connotations of the smart lock suggest that this new development would bring extra security to a property.
But, actually, it’s not that straightforward. Various questions are arising about these smart locks, the answers to which suggest that advanced technology is not necessarily the key to unimpeachable security.
How different is a smart lock from a normal lock?
Whilst smart locks can use infinite code combinations, there is a limit to the number of different configurations of physical keys. In their guide to the uniqueness of door locks, Banham explain how this mathematical finding necessitates the use of a reputable locksmith who provides high-security locks. Otherwise, there’s no way to guarantee that your lock and key combination isn’t replicated elsewhere.
Smart locks can seem a world away from the old lock and key. But, actually, both systems use the same ‘dumb’ deadbolts. All a smart lock will do differently is automatically turn your deadbolt, saving you the need to do so manually. This means that, if your door needs to be pulled or pushed for the bolt to turn properly, a smart lock will struggle to do its job. Similarly, if the door bolt doesn’t extend all the way into the door jamb, a smart lock will continue to try to push the bolt the whole way, unable to accommodate for this peculiarity. This can end up wasting energy and even damaging the door.
What are the benefits of smart locks?
There are advantages to using a smart lock. Firstly, it relieves the need to leave a key under the flower pot. Instead, friends, cleaners, technicians, might be let in remotely, without having to put security at risk. Smart locks also remove the possibility that previous owners or tradesmen are wondering around with a key to your house.
Different smart locks boast different features. These include the option of automatically unlocking the door as you draw near or having a keyless system where punching in a code will allow you to gain access to your house. Different systems might be chosen depending on living circumstances – a large family might prefer a code system, a single occupant may favour touching their phone to the lock.
Around 5% of burglaries take place when the intruder has a key; a smart lock will eradicate this possibility. But smart locks open up as many security risks as they annul. These systems can be hacked, in a way that a physical lock never could be. With different features, different problems arise, and technological faults can take time to resolve.
Are smart locks more secure, or simply more convenient?
It appears that we may have been mixing up the two. With “In-App Control” and “Virtual Keys”, smart locks have a plethora of features which can make things easier, but not necessarily more secure. If you’re looking to make your home safer you may want to install a high-security lock, arrange a security survey, or implement an alarm system.
Technological advancements in locking systems are making things more convenient, but they do not guarantee security. Despite costing a small fortune, a smart lock is not necessarily preferable to a ‘dumb’ deadbolt. Both ultimately use the same physical mechanism, a smart lock just precludes the need to turn a key.
As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And even if your lock does break, upgrading to a smart system might not be as safe as investing in a high-quality, unique, physical door lock. As the world constantly updates, it can be important to remember the value of systems that have been tried and tested over centuries.
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