Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Smartlocks - what a homeowner wants, what a homeowner needs (part 2)

Here is our comprehensive list of what a homeowner wants when it comes to smartlocks;

1; They don’t know.

Wait, what, ‘they don’t know?!’ Is that it. What do you mean?

Never before has the homeowner had the indulgence to think about access control and how it can improve their lives (unless they work in access control). 

For generations, we've never really had to purchase, or think about purchasing, a lock. 

Well, that's a bit of a generalization - its common nowadays for people to renovate their homes, and perhaps the average homeowner bought a new lock recently. But generally we haven't had to think too much about locks and access control for many, many generations. 

You put the key into the lock, it opens the door, you go in, you lock it. That’s it right? Oh and the routine is usually followed by throwing the keys down on the nearest table! 

This is the way it has been for about 4000 years. Yes, as a society we've had metal keys for around 4000 years. They haven't changed too much in this time.

A smartlock

Can you imagine what it would've been like back around the turn of the 1900's, when suddenly this new invention called 'an automobile' became available for people to buy. This is what we think it is like now for homeowners and smartlocks. 

The way of getting around for thousands of years was very simple, 'walk or horse' right? Then suddenly "AUTOMOBILE".  Just like the way of getting into a building was the same for thousands of years, 'metal keys and locks', right?

So we think right now asking someone 'what features do you want in a smartlock?' is a bit like asking someone in 1900 'what features do you want in a car?'. 

If you'd never heard or seen a car before, and suddenly you can buy one, and its looks really interesting, but you don't know too much about cars, and you go down to the local car dealer, and the salesperson asks you "do you want a car with pistonless rotary engine, or a piston and crankshaft engine?' 

Or, "do you want a 2 litre or 3 litre engine?" 

"What type of tire tread do you want? 

How do you think you would respond to questions like that in 1900?

We think that's like asking now "do you want a smartlock with NFC, or Bluetooth, or a wi-fi connection?"

"Do you wan't to use a NFC ring, NFC stickers, a bluetooth fob, or you smartphone to open the door with time-sensitive digital keys?"

Another smartlock

Here are some scenario's that might help you decide, or not;

Uncle Dave is coming to town next week for three days over Easter. 

Here is some thinking now that could apply to the current smartlocks available in the marketplace;

Perhaps I’ll buy that smartlock that enables me to generate a digital key on my iPhone that works from when his plane touches down from 7pm on the Friday, until when he leaves to catch the plane back at 11am the following Monday. Sure I’ll buy that smartlock tomorrow. Then as soon as I install it, I'll go ahead and email him that digital key. But wait a second, that’s going to cost me $3, and I’m not sure if it will work with my current version of Apple iOS, so maybe I should just order one of those smartlocks with the 10 permanent keyfobs, and give a keyfob to Uncle Dave when he gets here, but what if he loses it (Uncle Dave often gets loud and drunk at the pub), or what if he leaves it on the table at the pub, and someone finds it, I’d have to delete the access rights to that fob. Can I do that with that smartlock?”.

Confused yet?

Lets try this one;

A cable guy needs to come out next Tuesday between 9-3 to fix the cable, but I've got a very important business meeting that day, so I won't be able to meet him.

I know I'll buy a smartlock and generate him a one-time digital key, and email it to him. Wait a sec, will the cable guy have an Android phone with the latest operating system KitKat 4.4 with NFC so he can open my door?”

Here's another;

My 13 year old daughter catches the bus home from school by herself everyday.  I constantly worry about if she gets home safely everyday, and I ask her to text me when she gets home to say she got home safely. Sometime she texts me when she arrives, sometimes she doesn't. She never answers her phone when I call, as she is usually talking with one of her friends, and, yes, its not cool to answer the phone from her old man.

I want to buy one of those smartlocks, that sends me a text notification everytime my daughter gets home from school, but I don't want text notifications for other times, I wonder which smartlock has that feature?

What about this one?

I hate carrying around keys, and I want to use my smartphone to open my front door, but I don't want control of my doors to be online where its prone to all those nasty virus's going around like heartbleed. I don't want anyone hacking open my doors, and feeling unsafe that this could happen at any moment.

Perhaps I'll get that smartlock that offers the 5 permanent fobs that is disconnected to the internet. But I don't want fobs, I want to use my phone to open the door, but that other smartlock that allows you to use your smartphone is always switched on to the internet with wi-fi. 

We could go on and on and on. 

The bottom line here is;

Smartlocks are new and exciting. Smartlocks are a paradigm shift for society. Smartlocks will make your lives more secure, more convenient, and more efficient. 

But there are so many different features, possibilities, capabilities, options, set-ups, permutations and combinations for a smartlock which you need to think about before buying a smartlock.

Its early days yet for smartlocks in the home. Let’s work together to continue to develop all these features and educate everyone about smartlocks and how it will make everyone's lives so much better. 

So the decision doesn’t become ‘should I buy a smartlock or not’, but it becomes, ‘should I buy a smartlock with X, Y, Z features, or one with A, B, C features, because it can do this, that and the other.

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