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CES 2016: SMART LOCKS MATURING TO MEET MORE NEEDS

Smart front door locks that use Bluetooth, NFC or Wi-Fi to unlock via touch, your smartphone or a key are not yet even two years old. But entrepreneurs, startups and established smart lock makers are beginning to figure out exactly what we want to make it easier to technologically keep our castle more secure.

Perhaps the most startling development at last week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is not so much a "what" but a huge "who." Yale, the 800-pound gorilla of the regular lock business, showed off its first smart locks at the Z-Wave Alliance booth.

Yale's entry-level Linus lock (available later this year) is Wi-Fi powered, "Works with Nest'" incorporates a touchpad on the lock face, and offers remote lock and unlock capabilities. You can create and send entry codes to trusted visitors when you're not home, and you can program the Linus to auto-lock behind you after a customizable period of time.

The Assure Lock (available this spring) includes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which means it can be unlocked either via the touchscreen keypad and locked or unlocked remotely by twisting your phone as you would turn a key near the Assure, or via a Samsung Gear S2 smart watch app. Like the Linus, you can transmit temporary or permanent "keys" to other occupants or visitors, so they can open the door with their smartphone.

Yale also exhibited its Look Door Viewer. Essentially a TV peephole with a doorbell, the 4.3 inch display lets you see who's on the other side of door whether you're home or not. When someone pushes the doorbell, your smartphone will alert you, even if you're not home.

Smart Locks, Second Generation

Several startup smart lock companies at CES unveiled their second generation smart locks.

For instance, Kwikset's Kevo, the first-ever smart lock, demonstrated its currently unnamed new model. To make installation and setup easier than the original, there's an in-app interactive installation experience to eliminate user-initiated calibration. To enhance security, Kwikset's patented SmartKey resists torque attacks, lock-picking standards and bumping, and is compatible with Android Wear, Nest, Ring video doorbells, Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostats and Moto 360 smart watches.

August, another early smart entry pioneer, exhibited three new products: its next-gen Apple HomeKit-enabled model, a Smart Keypad to let visitors unlock your door with a PIN code, and a Doorbell Cam, all of which were announced in mid-October and will be shipping in the next couple of months.

Danalock claims that its Danalock V2 is the smartest and cheapest smart lock extant. At CES, the company presented two new products: the Danapad keypad and the Danafob keychain, eliminating the need for a smartphone to unlock the door. Both are currently available for preorder.

Smart Locks for Apartment Dwellers

Among the newer smart lock vendors at CES was French company IKILOCK—formerly known by its how-do-you-pronounce-it corporate name, GEMECOD—which demonstrated an elegant wood-tone, three-unit home security system, which will fascinate city dwellers.

The IKICENTER, plugged into any AC outlet, is the system's hub, enabling you to lock and unlock doors from anywhere with a connected smartphone.

IKILOCK replaces your existing lock inside, but remains normal-looking on the outside. You can still use a regular key, but the lock can also be opened via your smartphone, locally or remotely.

Most intriguing is IKIPLUG, a smart "remote doorman" for apartment and condo dwellers. IKIPLUG sticks to the wall inside your apartment or condo, near your intercom. When a remote-opening order is sent through the IKILOCK smartphone app, IKIPLUG triggers the intercom to open the outer building door.

This may just be the smartest of all the new smart lock ideas seen at CES.

About the Author

Stewart Wolpin is a freelance journalist and longtime CES veteran. Stewart writes about consumer technology foreBay, where you can find all the latest electronic gadgets for your home.



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