Are Internet-controlled “Smart Locks” Safer?

locksVisionaries and technological experts are working hard on the realization of the “Internet of Things,” a network of physical objects that can be accessed online. Imagine being able to turn off the stove from your smartphone, or turn the air conditioning on for your overheated pets while at the office.

Now, the Internet of Things is finally hoping to innovate entry locks, which begs the question: would a “smart” lock be all that intelligent of an idea?

Industry leaders like Schlage and Kwikset have introduced new electronic door locks that allow homeowners to use their smartphones, tablets, or computers to unlock their doors. The Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt, for example, requires a pass code that can be entered either in person, or from an Internet-connected device. The idea behind these devices isn’t to make homes more secure, but more convenient — no more fishing around in purses or pockets for keys.

Naturally, a door lock linked with the Internet could be hacked, which may make it easier than ever for a burglar to break in. There’s also the issue of being able to unlock the door if the smartphone is lost. A power surge may also knock the home’s security offline, too.

“Clearly, with the advancement of technology, new benefits and risks often surround the adoption of products. We believe the benefit and convenience of home automation technology outweigh the risks,” said a statement from Insteon, a leader in Internet of Things technology.

In response to these growing concerns, Kwikset introduced a mechanical key for their Bluetooth-powered Kevo. Keith Brandon, Kwikset’s director of residential access solutions said that, “It’s comforting for most consumers to have that mechanical backup.”

It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. While the Internet of Things may change the way people secure their homes, homeowners will still most likely have their safe, reliable, mechanical keys.

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