It seems that in the future, we will be relying even more often on technology and less on mechanical devices. Conventional locks are not excluded, as they will be destined to leave their place to smart locks. Technology has many advantages. It simplifies and helps us in our everyday life, but we should remember that, it is not always gold that glitters.Even though the project behind smart locks hasn’t been finalized it, there are many positive and negative aspects related to it. We are still talking about an electronic device that, as such, is definitely not foolproof if exposed to tampering and malfunctions, nothing more nor less than any other system.
We do not have to make the mistake of believing that smart locks are the ultimate problem to security, but it is equally true, that we do not have to believe that these systems are vulnerable and that can be easily decoded. We must keep in mind that this industry is expanding and that there are many margins for improvement. Above all, the purpose of the technology is to make our life easier.
Let’s have a closer look to the advantages and disadvantages of smart locks.
Smart locks are no doubt really convenient. These devices allow to completely forget about your house keys, which then can no longer be lost in women’s handbags, left somewhere, maybe at home before going out, with the risk of being locked out. The automatic opening and locking system, activated through smartphones and biometric readers, eliminates this dilemma. This system is especially convenient for those families where parents very often have to rush to the rescue of their children, who have forgotten the keys and cannot enter into the house, after a night out with some friends.
Another indisputable advantage of smart locks is the implementation of security standards. A part from possible malfunctions, which will be analyzed later on, we can say that without a mechanical system such as the key, the front door is definitely safer. These locks, in fact, allow exclusive access only to authorized people and everything is handled via smartphones. The lock cannot be easily tampered, as it normally happens with keys or latches. Doors equipped with this locking system are not subject to mechanical forces through the key hole, the preferred way of thieves to get into the premises. The key hole is replaced by the biometric reader or a smartphone detection unit.
With the installing of a smart lock system, you will have full access control. In fact, the smart lock is an electronic device, that allows you to record at any time, who goes in and out, with dates and times. This is possible because the recognition device used for authentication is active. In fact, to access the site, it is necessary for the smartphone to be registered in advance. The smart lock memory is an ideal tool especially for work environments, as it allows to have a total access control to a specific area. This system is however particularly useful for domestic contexts as well, especially when you want to control your children and keep an eye on their movements.
Thanks to the installing of smart locks, rather than conventional locks, you can easily monitor the access to your premises. Besides being able to control who goes in and out, you can decide who you wish to enter even for a limited period of time. In fact, the administrator of the lock can grant a time-based access, even for a day, or a numerical access, allowing entry only once. All this can be simply done by setting the application, avoiding all those problems related to changing locks to prevent a person who has been previously authorized, to enter.
Smart locks can be mounted on any type of door, and do not require a particular adaptation work. Smart locks work almost as traditional locks, a part from the fact that the closing mechanism is simply moved from an electronic device rather than from a mechanical system.
A part from all the advantages mentioned above, smart locks also have some disadvantages. The most striking problem for those models operating with smartphones, is linked to the possibility of not being able to open the door when the battery of the smartphone is down. How often the battery of your smartphone is down at the end of the day? Unfortunately, the autonomy of these devices is limited and whenever you cannot recharge your smartphone, the risk of being unable to open the door is possible. This kind of inconvenience is pretty relevant, and it would never happen with a conventional lock.
Another matter related to smart locks regards a sudden blackout of the control unit or a fault of the recognition device. In both cases, the risk is that you cannot enter into your house because the system is unable to authenticate you for accessing the premises. In this case, the only thing you can do is to contact a specialist capable of diagnosing the problem. However, you will still need to wait for his intervention and effective systems to unblock the door do not exist yet. The opposite case is when the control unit doesn’t work properly and doesn’t allow you to safely close the door, giving therefore the possibility to thieves to enter the premises, if the problem is not recognized early enough.
Smart locks, especially those that aren’t updated regularly, can be exposed to tampering. Being electronic devices, they might be violated by IT experts who can create unauthorized fake access codes with smartphones. This is apparently a complicated practice but actually is not that difficult for those who know the world of electronics. To face the issue, many manufacturers are trying to release regular software updates that modify encryption and keep unaltered the high lock security of the smart locks. The vulnerability of these systems, if not updated, is equal to that of conventional locks.