I was a latchkey kid. I literally had a key on a string that I wore around my neck and I used it every day, after school, to get into my house. ABC after school specials were my life. Today, however, kids don’t need a key at all. Smart Locks are the newest hot tech gadget to hit the market. And in terms of security, PMCs and HOAs should pay attention. NextMarket Research predicts that the smart lock market alone will grow to a worldwide value of $3.6 billion by 2019.
Smart Locks work by code, by app, proximity, wi-fi, Bluetooth, or by touchscreen. Some cost just $200 while others are upwards of $600. Some even pair with your smart home so unlocking a door might trigger the air conditioning or the lights to turn on. Pair the smart lock with your Alexa and just tell her to unlock the door. The perfect solution to the latchkey kid, right? Maybe.
Let’s look at some of the issues:
- CON: Like anything IoT-related, smart locks can be hacked, and if the device is paired with your other home security systems, the entire bundle is vulnerable.
- CON: What if your phone is dead or stolen or your kid is on an epic fortnight battle when you need to open the door? You’re spending the afternoon sitting in the driveway.
- PRO: You can program a smart lock so your favorite friend can let herself in when she’s out of wine or rosemary and a different code for the neighbor kid who is walking the dog. Of course, Amazon is experimenting with a version of this for multi-unit buildings.
- PRO: Smart locks can enhance a home security system if, for example, a home is already outfitted with a camera system.
- PRO: In terms of marketing your properties, a smart lock may entice a younger generation of residents who are all tech, all the time.
- CON: In terms of marketing your properties, not everyone is jazzed about yet another electronic device they need to master.
The technology behind smart locks will certainly be improved upon, and eventually there will be no more latchkey kids. It’s too bad, I felt pretty cool with my key around my neck.