Security gets the most press these days in the realm of the Internet, data and smart devices, and for good reason – these technologies are often at risk and constantly evolving. But tangible building security is not far behind. Developers recognize that keeping the front door locked is often just as important – if not more so – than keeping online accounts safe. New locking mechanisms are hitting the market and small businesses would be wise to invest.
Traditional keys are far from perfect. They can be copied easily and inexpensively at most hardware stores, they are easily lost or stolen and they can even break off in the door, denying everyone access. But cutting-edge technology is finding a way around the old-school key ring. For small companies that keep valuable information in the office, or are at risk of break-ins, these new items should garner some consideration.
The new 'smart locks' allow a user to unlock the door via smart phone app and Bluetooth. Some of them automatically unlock the door when the Bluetooth is in range and users can set the door to lock on an automatic timer. While there are questions any smart business owner should ask, the mechanisms prove reliable enough to assuage those doubts. There are several brands with different pros and cons. Though they are not perfect, they represent a new direction for building security.
An augmented locking system
The variety of products have different methods for providing a sturdy, convenient dead bolt, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some replace the entire mechanism, some replace a portion of the lock and some attach onto an existing portion of the lock. The differences don't stop there – some use a WiFi connection to unlock, while others use a touch sensor and other use Bluetooth. They have different price ranges and performance levels and all of them are relatively new, meaning upgrades are likely to come soon.
The Wall Street Journal raised questions like, what happens if your phone shuts off, or the locking motor dies? But there were satisfactory answers. These smart bolts can still take a standard key, so if there are ever any technical difficulties, a manual unlock option is still there. Additionally, the motors and batteries for the device come with high-use guarantees and warn the user when the battery is running low.
But a benefit for a small business to use the smart lock is the greater control owners and managers will have over building access. Rather than making several key copies and risk them disappearing or falling into the wrong hands, owners can equip designated employees with access on the lock's app. Because the phone itself provides the signal, hacking is not a threat – a hacker would need the actual phone to unlock the door.
August's lock finally hits the market
Hardware startup August released its smart lock this week with help from Apple after a year of buildup, reported Forbes. The accompanying app is compatible with Android and iOS and gives the user the ability to send virtual keys to anyone via smartphone. The keys can be set to work on a recurring basis, within a specific window of time, or indefinitely. This is ideal for small company managers who need to grant access to individuals for certain instances. Not only that, but the device can be set to lock and unlock doors automatically when the user is in and out of range.
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