I want to write a series on the Smart Home. And I say series because the subject covers so many different aspects that I don’t think I can do it in a single article, so here we go!
Gone is the need to wire everything, to require control panels built into the walls, to have to automate everything at once.
Most smart devices now use home Wi-Fi or create secure networks of their own. And you can start building your Smart Home step by step, device by device, room by room according to your budget, without having to hire specialists to install and configure the equipment.
Many will ask why I do not start by the “brain” of the smart home, by the platform. The truth is that this is a more heated discussion and that is why I want to leave it for the end.
For now, regardless of whether you use Alexa, Google, HomeKit, SmartThings or some other niche provider, I hope this series will help you start thinking about how to build a smart home or to complement yours and make it easier for you. lifetime.
One of the first elements that a smart home should consider is how it is accessed, that is, what type of control and automation it can put on the door.
There are locks with a keypad, there are some with biometric control, but for an ordinary household, I think that the most useful and appropriate are those that connect to your mobile device (smartphone or smartwatch) and that allows, through an app, to enter and get out of your house. In this field, I think there are 2 great options: August and Level.
The August Wi-fi Smart Lock is the market leader and with good reason. It is super simple to install, it works with the vast majority of current locks, it is compatible with both Android and iOS and offers functionalities such as opening notifications, auto-closing, auto-opening and “guest keys”.
The latter is my favourite. You can create a virtual key for the employee who works at home and set hours and days that the key works. Do you need to give someone one-time access? Easy! From the application – even if you are not at home – you can give that person a single entrance, and you will know when the door opens and closes.
The coolest thing about the device is that its lock does not change on the outside and no one has to know that it is a smart lock. What’s more, if for some reason your cell phone runs out of battery or you don’t have it with you, you can enter with the same key that has opened your door all your life.
August offers 3 models of smart locks: the Smart Lock, the Smart Lock Pro and the Wi-Fi Smart Lock, the latter being my favourite.
August is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, although it doesn’t need any to work.
Do you remember how I told you that the August is “invisible” on the outside but that the device can be seen on the inside side of the door? Well, the Level Bolt can not be seen from one side or the other and, the truth is, it is an impressive work of engineering because within the space where the lock normally goes, the designers and engineers of the company have put all the mechanism that makes Bolt’s a smart lock.
Like the August, the Level Bolt can be operated from the mobile application -available for Android or iOS- but if you already want to integrate it with the entire home system, add functionalities such as being able to open the door by asking your digital assistant Whether it does or being able to remotely connect to the lock, the Bolt is only compatible with HomeKit.
It is much more discreet than the August, but it is also more expensive.
Some people ask: “What if a cell phone that has been authorized to open the door is stolen?” The answer is simple: disable access for that account and that’s it. That is cheaper than having to change the keys of everyone who has a copy. And if you have an iPhone, both apps can be protected with additional biometric monitoring.
Others worry about how easily apps or locks can be hacked. And although there is nothing 100% secure in life, I think it is easier to have a key copied than to have one of these locks hacked, especially when they require that the phone that is going to open them is close to them and the Communication via Bluetooth between the lock and the mobile device is encrypted.
What if the power goes out? Both locks are battery operated so if the power goes out they still work.
What if it runs out of batteries? Both systems alert you when the batteries require a change. But if you run out of batteries, you can use the key you’ve always used to enter your house or apartment.
How long do the batteries last? I don’t know how long the Level’s battery lasts, but the batteries in my August last 41 days on average.