How Home Security Is Evolving With Tech

Technology touches nearly every aspect of our lives. Many of the things we do daily and take for granted are thanks to advances in computer-based technology. Yet today, nearly all homes still have nothing more than a bolt lock and door handle keeping them safe. Most of us still use a key to unlock our doors, the same as did our grandparents.

That’s changing, though. Finally.

Several systems are on the market to replace (or evolve) the old “bolt lock with a key” forward without requiring a lot of modifications be made to the home. Nearly all of these systems can be installed by the homeowner just as easily as the standard keyed lock can be. Often they’re even easier.

One option you’ve probably seen in your hardware store is the Schlage keypad lock. These have been a popular alternative to key-only locks in commercial applications for years, but are now being seen as a solution for homes as well. They install in much the same way a standard bolt lock does. Other competitors to Schlage are also offering similar options.

These options are evolving forward, though, to include smart phones or keyfobs (or both). The Schlage Connect is the next-generation of the keypad-enabled bolt lock allowing the door to be controlled (locked, unlocked, PIN changed) from afar via a smartphone app.

A similar option from Kevo allows you to use your smartphone as a “keyfob” with the app automatically unlocking the door when the phone gets near. Multiple phones can be used and a keyfob can also be used. Guests can download the app and be granted access for 24 hour periods as well. Automatically. Even if you’re not there.

Guess Who’s At the Door

See who’s at the door

If I’m home, I can see who’s at the door and carry on a two way conversation from the control panel and unlock the door without having to walk to the front of the house. But I can do the same from anywhere in the world via the app. The camera records 30 seconds of activity whenever a person walks on my porch, which I can review at any time. The other day I got a notification that someone was there and was able to see and hear the FedEx guy drop off a package.

 

The Kwickset lock they installed at my house has a keypad and the panel lets you set up multiple accounts for family, guests and others who need access and the system records which code was used so you can tell which of your kids just got home or when your cleaning person entered the house. Thanks to the doorbell camera, you can also see when the person leaves. The doorbell camera and unlock notifications are also a way for parents to keep track of their kids. You will know, for example, when a child arrives home from school and can see if they leave through the front door.

The system supports the Nest thermostat as well as its own thermostat for heating and air conditioning. Like most smart thermostats you can set different temperatures depending on the time of day, but this one is a lot easier to program from the app or from the panel.

Sensors

A technician also installed sensors on all the doors that lead to the outside and the system can be programmed to sound an alarm if any are open while the house is “armed.” If the house is armed, you have time to disarm via the app or by entering your passcode on the control panel. Otherwise the system calls the home monitoring service, which will try to reach you and, if you don’t say all is well, will call the police. The system also has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that will notify the fire department if they are triggered and no one is home to indicate it’s a false alarm.