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Schlage and Yale: Connected Locks at CES 2011

Jan 10 2011, 7:27am CST | by , in News | CES

Schlage and Yale: Connected Locks at CES 2011
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One step closer to the Smart House.

Vacation time. All those hundreds of hours of work are about to be submerged in two weeks of sunny bliss. You lean back in seat on the airplane and try to drift off to sleep while you wait to arrive in Paradise.

And then you feel something poke the side of your thigh. It's a house key. The one you meant to leave under the door mat so your neighbor could get in and feed the cat. Crap. You'll have to call him as soon as you land, arrange something with a locksmith. Goodbye, $150 bucks. And goodbye bed sheets. The cat pees on things when he doesn't get fed on time.

So how will the march of technology make this nightmare an impossibility? With new smart, Internet connected locks.

I stopped by the Schlage and Yale booths on the last day of CES to get a look at the future of locking (and unlocking) your door. Both companies offer lock kits (generally in the $300-$500 range) that allow you to unlock or lock your house via the web. You can also program in multiple different door passwords.

Say you have a maid who comes over on Mondays. Set her up a password and only enable for the hours she drops by. Need a neighbor or friend to watch your house? Give them a password and activate it for whatever period of time you'll be out.

Both Yale and Schlage offer locks with button numpads. Yale also has a capacitive touchscreen version. A three finger swipe activates the keyboard. Schlage's lock kit comes with a connected light (which you can configure to turn on when the lock is engaged) and a built-in camera. It can even be set to take pictures of anyone using the lock or notify you whenever it sees movement.

There is one obvious disadvantage to accessing your lock through the Internet. Anytime you connect a device to the web, there is potential for it to become compromised. Personally, I think that danger is offset by the increased access, and the ability to automatically set your door to log entries and exits.

The bottom line is this. Criminals, dangerous people, will always be able to break into your home if they want to badly enough. Connected locks, on the whole, improve your security and your ability to log evidence of any sort of break-in. For that reason, we should encourage their adoption. You can read more about Schlage locks here, and Yale locks here.

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