Household systems have become extremely synchronized, linking lights, televisions, heating systems, stationary home assistants, and even ovens together to form one giant electronic system. While this is impressive and generally useful, door locks are often neglected. Considering how easy it can be to pick a lock, this is a serious security issue.
One new company, dubbed Otto, recognized this early on and decided to do something about it. They created a door lock that substitutes a key with a smartphone app that can remotely engage and disengage the lock mechanism. It may seem superfluous to some, but it’s a much-needed item for those who live in busy or particularly vulnerable areas.
It’s not all that difficult for a person to either gain control of the key to a front door and get a key copy to enter unnoticed, or for someone with a high-tech camera to snap a photo of that key and 3D print a replica for a low price. A smartphone, on the other hand, can be wiped clean of all its applications as soon as the owner realizes it’s lost, which is usually as little as a five minutes. A front door key can be unknowingly lost for an entire day if the owner doesn’t frequently return home.
Although Otto’s new smart lock is only now getting public attention, it’s been in the works since 2013, receiving an undetermined amount of funding from several larger security companies like MasterLock. Contributing to the tech side of the startup’s creation was an engineer who worked on the new Apple HomeKit and is now the software director at Otto.
So how exactly does the lock work? The physical part of it can detect when the smartphone it’s connected to approaches, and it will disengage when the application’s unlock button is pressed. A pin code can be entered in the case that the phone is low on battery power, and homeowners can create several combinations for anyone who is authorized to enter the house. These codes can be deleted or changed at any time for an additional layer of safety.
To connect the digital lock with the smartphone app, Otto implemented Wi-Fi and Bluetooth use. The first of the two will allow the company’s product to work in tandem with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, creating a network of locks, cameras, and sensors for superior security. With increased use, Otto’s lock will record house entry activity to detect unusual behaviour and alert the homeowner to homesitter misconduct or a possible break-in when they’re gone for long periods of time.
Smartlock technology is nothing new, but Otto aims to stand out from the crowd with an aesthetically pleasing product. With stainless steel composition and a sleek look that perfectly matches any front door, it looks like a high-quality traditional lock, just with the added bonus of better security. The $699 price tag may deflect homeowners at the beginning, but those who want safety without having to sacrifice visual appeal are sure to consider it. Consult a residential locksmith to find out which of the latest home security systems is the right one for you!