For those just looking into upgrading their home with smart home products, and often times first choice is the door lock. A smart door lock is a Wi-Fi enabled lock that allows you to remotely control your deadbolt from your smartphone or other device. The decision to upgrade to a smart door lock brings you added security, simplistic convenience, and an aesthetic upgrade as well.
I installed a smart lock on my front door for the same reason everyone does. I didn’t want to carry keys or trust my kids to not lose theirs. With a smart lock, keys are an arcane artifact of bygone era. It was easy to replace my current deadbolt with a smart one, only requiring twenty minutes and a screwdriver. Now I simply type an access code to gain entry. Some smart locks –such as the August Smart Lock — are so clever they unlock the the door automatically as you approach, as long as you have your smart phone with you.
And it’s important to note that you don’t have to be particularly tech savvy or have any sort of home improvement skills to install and use the August lock. The August app is super simple to download and install for either your iPhone or Android phone, and installation can be done in less than five minutes with usually nothing more than a screwdriver.
The Product: August Smart Lock
I gave access to my kids, my mother, and limited access to a neighbor and good friends I sometimes call on when I’m away. No key chain, no trip the hardware store, no getting locked out. And resetting a child’s forgotten access code is easy. But now that I’ve lived with a smart lock for a year, those are not the things that spring to mind when I tell you that I don’t know how I managed without this particular smart home technology. The absence of keys in my pocket is only the very beginning of a smart lock’s liberating awesomeness.
Here are five reasons I will never go back.
Open Doors Remotely
A Smart Lock is a Clever Front Door Update
My nineteen-year-old niece made my house a stop on a road trip she was taking with friends. After I agreed to have a bed ready for her and her friends, I didn’t hear another peep out of her. For weeks! Not knowing the hour – or even the day – of her arrival, I went about my life. So naturally my phone rang just as I was parking my car at a meeting two hours from home. “Hi! We are here!” She announced happily, clearly believing that she is is center of my universe. She was two minutes away from my house! In another era, I might have been annoyed with her teenage lack of organization and bad manners. More to the point, she and her tired-from-driving friends might have had to wait in a café or sleep in the car for over three hours. But in the smart-lock world I inhabit, this was not a logistical problem. I unlocked the front door for her from my phone, and walked into my meeting. She and her friends let themselves in and proceeded to use every dish in the kitchen. I locked the doors again myself.
Keep Tabs on the Kids
A Glance to My Phone Tells Me When the Kids Got Home
The app for my smart lock shows me a history of events. It will also notify me when certain events – those I want to be notified about – occur. So on days when my kids are getting themselves home from school and letting themselves into the house, I don’t have to rely on their nascent communication skills to let me know they made it home safely. I just glance at my phone and see who opened the doors. Or I ask that my phone alert me when someone unlocks the house between certain hours so that I don’t have to remember to do that. My smart lock knows who it let in based on the access code used. Or if one of them can’t remember their code and instead opens the door using the app on their phone, it tells me that, too. Either way, I know who is home and when they got there.
Great for UPS Deliveries
Combined with a Smart Doorbell, I Can See Who I’m Letting In
My neighbors are engaged in a heated debate over which is the best locking mail box to get so that they can have packages delivered and not worry that they’ll get stolen before they get home from work. I am not concerned. In addition to my smart door lock, I have a smart doorbell. So when the UPS guy delivers a package and rings the bell, it rings on my phone as well. (These two smart technologies work fabulously together.) I tap an on-screen button on my phone and talk. He can hear me through the doorbell. I will never get over how fun it is to watch people jump and wonder where my disembodied voice is coming from. Then I ask, “Will you put that package inside, please?” And I tap the unlock button on the lock’s app. The lock makes an audible unlocking sound so he knows it’s open. Then, I watch – through the camera in the doorbell – as he opens the door, tucks my precious goods inside the door, and hops back into his brown van a little spooked. Then I lock the doors again. This works well for anyone who shows up when I’m not at home. And they don’t know that I’m not home.
Never Worry if the Doors are Locked When a Smart Lock is in Control
I recently went out and left my front door wide open. I was in the middle of a crazy, busy morning. I was carrying packages to UPS. My phone rang as I was leaving, a call I had been waiting for, and — distracted, and juggling too much at once — I walked away, oblivious. I was only gone for fifteen minutes. But, when I returned, my dog was gone, my neighbors were mad (he had not improved their flower garden on his neighborhood rampage), and I was lucky the laptop sitting in plain view in my home office was still there. That was the moment I decided to eliminate human error from my home security system. A simple spring makes sure the front door always swings closed when left open. And I told the app for my smart lock that I want my front door to remain locked at all times. We don’t do anything we didn’t do before. But now, whenever someone unlocks the door, it locks itself again within two minutes.
Peace of Mind
Connecting the Access Point to Your Home to Your Phone Lets You Nurture Your Family From Anywhere
I recently went on a business trip to Sweden. My kids were home with their dad, but I still worried about them — and missed them. So I found it reassuring to look at the app for my smart phone, confirm that everyone had come home when they were supposed to, and make sure that all the doors were locked. One afternoon, while sailing the Swedish Archipelago on a devastatingly beautiful ‘team building’ exercise, and telling a colleague about my daughter’s antics, I glanced at my phone to reassure myself that all was well. And I saw that the doors weren’t locked. It was the middle of the night at home. Rather than torture myself with the possibility that my children were subject to a home invasion while I was gallivanting carefree in Northern Sea and sipping Aquavit, I simply locked up. It was a little like tucking the kids in from halfway around the world. That’s a lot of comfort to take from some door hardware.
A smart lock is an easy and inexpensive way to start embracing smart home technologies. It is surprising how much it changes the way you interact with your house and how much information you have about what’s going on at home. I want one on my vacation property and my office, too, for the same reasons.