Smart Locks And Smart Choices: A Guide To Finding The Right One

This guide discusses different kinds of smart locks, and how they can each serve as a form of access control to secure buildings.

By Gerard D’Onofrio
smart locks
Image: Sebastian Scholz

Say goodbye to the “I forgot to lock the door,” panic, or the “I can’t find the keys,” stress. With a smart lock, you will never have to worry about these situations again. With access to remote locking and unlocking, your door can become a digital security system, helping to keep you and your business safe.

With a smart lock, you can unlock your door just by standing near it, or otherwise can opt for mobile app keys and special buttons. Whatever you might prefer, smart locks have plenty of options. The only problem is finding the right fit for you. The below guide should help you out…

Is A Smart Lock The Right Fit For You?

If you share a commercial space with multiple people, or are starting a business where maintaining security is paramount, a smart lock could be particularly beneficial. These locks easily allow you to control access to your property without having to be there to let anyone in.

Smart locks are especially useful if you have a lot of high value stock. A jewelry store for example may keep the doors locked at all times, only opening to allow entry to customers. Business owners can rely on smart locks to control the number of customers who enter their stores at once. For employers that have employees working in shifts, these locks allow workers to let themselves into the building without relying on a manager or coworker to open the door.

Equally, if you order a lot of deliveries, a smart lock can allow you to buzz in delivery drivers so that they can deposit your package safely, avoiding porch piracy, which is a frequent form of theft. Now, with a business associate agreement template, you can sign NDA’s online to keep your data safe. But your physical mail is important too, so installing a smart lock can significantly help protect buildings against porch piracy.

A smart lock is an asset because of its convenience: You can check to see if a door is actually locked from your phone (if you have any doubts about whether you remembered to lock it); are able to unlock the door wirelessly when your hands are full; or can easily and securely hand out passcodes to employees with smart locks. Remote access makes your business easier and safer to manage, making smart locks a great addition to your business security.

What Are The Downfalls Of Smart Locks?

However, as with most technology, there are downfalls to installing smart locks. The first is that they run on WIFI and therefore depend on your business having a strong and consistent signal. Without it, or during a power cut, the lock may stop working. Similarly, because of how they are run, smart locks also run the risk of being hackable, therefore you have to ensure you have further digital security features in place.

On more practical matters, smart locks are also fairly expensive, far more than the average deadbolt lock. To top things off, it is more of a hassle to get a smart lock installed than a regular one, with professional installation costing a hefty sum as well, and sometimes taking a long time too. Just think of an automated IVR voice telling you to press 1 for any inquiries…

smart locks
Image: Sebastian Scholz

Which Type Of Smart Lock Should You Buy?

There are several different kinds of smart locks. As a result, you need to be familiar with what is on the market before you choose the right pick for your business:

Keypad Smart Locks 

These smart locks require a passcode pin, which you input into a keypad installed by your door. They are easy to install and allow for multiple different combinations so that a range of people can have access to your property, but in a way that allows you to control who is coming in and out, and when.

The newer versions of these are touchscreen, but some of the older models still have physical keypads.

Fob Smart Locks 

These smart locks don’t require smartphones; they work, rather with a key-fob that you keep with you, such as in your bag or purse, like a key. However, unlike a key, you don’t have to worry about fiddling with locks by the door, as you simply tap the lock to open it, seamlessly.

Another bonus aspect of fob enabled smart locks is that one fob can often open several doors, so you can install the same security system in the main door to your business, and on office doors and other rooms as well.

Fingerprint Smart Locks

Fingerprint locks, also known as biometric smart locks, use your fingerprint to unlock the door. The benefits of this kind of lock is that they are near impossible to fake or alter, making them a great security feature. It also means you don’t have to worry about forgetting your fob or key.

However, you can’t reset your fingerprint like a password, so usually resetting requires replacing the locks. Power outages can also affect performance, as can scratches or burns on your fingertips themselves, which can cause your fingers to become unreadable to the machine.

However, these kinds of locks often come with a keypad next to them, so that, if your fingertips fail to open the door, a passcode will enable you to gain access anyway.

Wireless Locks

There are tons of different smart locks with wireless and keyless features, since getting rid of physical keys is one of the most popular reasons why people opt for smart locks.

Most of these runs on WIFI, as aforementioned, and enable you to unlock and lock your doors from anywhere in the world, as long as you have internet on your phone. Like a conference call line, any device with the right app installed would be able to sign in and open the doors, making it an attractive option.

These do tend to come without specific applications, so you will probably have to purchase a smart hub, like Amazon Echo, to connect your smart lock to other features of your commercial space and business security. Exploring some enterprise cloud services providers could be a good first place to look, to find a good place to back up your personal information and the data connected to your smart appliances.

Many additional capabilities include Bluetooth features that unlock doors as you approach, or voice controlled commands that unlock your door, according to your preferences.

Conclusions

Whichever smart lock you decide to opt for, keep in mind that WIFI, accessibility, and how many people may need access are all important features. Research the type of lock that stands out to you most, and then find out how much it might cost to install one, as the lock itself, when combined with installation costs, can often be quite expensive.

D’Onofrio is the Country Manager for Dialpad Australia, an AI-equipped business communications solutions platform for better communications at work. D’Onofrio has experience discovering world-class developments and turning them into effective business advancements.

 

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