Exploring The Protocols For Smart Locks
There are three wireless communication standards utilized in Smart Locks, including Z-Wave, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Each of these wireless communication standards are unique in their own way and make the lock’s smartness possible.
Some examples of Bluetooth-enabled Smart Locks include the August Smart Lock, Poly-Control’s Danalock and Schlage Sense Deadbolt. Bluetooth is commonly utilized in Smart Locks, because it relies on less battery power than the other wireless protocols. Since these devices rely mostly on battery power, it is crucial to conserve power as much as possible.
The Bluetooth signal range is a limited, up to 300 feet. This is great for in-home use, but most consumers want to be able to remotely control the lock from afar. However, as long as the user is within the Bluetooth range, a separate hub will not be required to control the lock with an authorized smartphone.
Bluetooth-only Smart Locks are now offering several neat integrations. The built-in auto-unlock feature utilized in the August Smart Lock is only one example. This feature works by detecting the location of the app-enabled phone, so when it exits the 100-yard threshold, the door will automatically lock and when it enters the range, the door will automatically unlock.
The Poly-Control Danalock and Schlage Sense are only two examples of Z-Wave Smart Locks. These locks do require a separate hub to control them with an iOS or Android device. The hub is capable of communicating with the home Wi-Fi network, which in turn transmits data over the Internet, so the user can control the lock from home and away.
The Z-Wave connection range is roughly 120 feet, but the connected Z-Wave devices act as a range extender. Since the Z-Wave signal has the capability to bounce up to 4 different times, the range can be extended to about 600 feet. However, physical barriers such as doors, walls and ceilings can alter the range significantly.
Two popular Z-Wave hubs are the Wink and Samsung’s SmartThings Hub. Both of these hubs support an array of third-party Z-Wave locks, including Yale Real Living Smart Lock, Kwikset Kevo and Poly-Control Danalock.
The most significant downside to the Z-Wave protocol is it requires an additional Smart Home hub to communicate to Wi-Fi.
The August Smart Lock offers Wi-Fi as an optional add-on feature. The August Connect bridges the gap between the Bluetooth-enabled August lock and the existing Wi-Fi network. The Connect plugs into a 120v electrical outlet and once the connection is made, users can control their August Smart lock from anywhere, as long as an Internet connection is available.
Most consumers do not like the idea of adding yet another piece of hardware to their home network. However, this hunk of hardware plays a huge role in the functionality of the Smart Lock. Some consumers may find the Bluetooth-enabled lock suitable for their needs, while others are looking to control the lock from remote locations.