Bluetooth in a Lock

So. I think our manufacturers missed a few… points.

We have had a recently influx of blue tooth locks into our shop in the past couple of weeks. For those who don’t know, blue tooth locks are intended for short range operation and multi-user access.

There are a couple of things about these types of locks that are great;

  1. Granting access to someone is as easy as ordering them a digital key
  2. They remove the need for a code OR a key
  3. They add a second, sometimes third level of security to your access points

In other words, on paper a lock with blue tooth is a great, convenient solution to your home access control. Except, it’s kind of not. Let’s explain.

Selective Access

When you are renovating your home, or having contractors in and out to do whatever work there is to do, chances are you aren’t always going to be home to let them in.

Most blue tooth locks have an accompanying app a contractor can download to their smartphone. You simply purchase the license for a key code they put into their app, as well as tell the device how many times you want them to be able to use the key, and then you forget about it.

Ideally no one will ever need an actual, physical key. Ideally.

There are drawbacks, though.

Most apps that provide this type of service have only a certain number of key codes (or licenses) that you can acquire for free. After that number you start having to purchase the licenses for whatever cost the company has set.

I’m in no way saying this is unreasonable. Actually, it’s totally reasonable. It can, however, get expensive to be distributing paid for, one time codes to every contractor who will need access to your home. In many cases, simply re-keying your locks following the completion of the renovation ends up being cheaper than giving out digital codes.

This is a feature I would recommend to Restoration and Renovators, but only to home owners who have need to allow a lot of outside traffic into their living space while they are living in the home.

Touchless Entry

This is a myth. A complete and total marketing ploy that is entirely untrue.

For the record, I have installed locks that lock and unlock with you touching them. I’ve used different triggers and all of them work to varying degrees of accuracy. Not one of those triggers is blue tooth.

Here’s the thing though. Not one single one of them can do what we made them do without a second device to tell it what it is supposed to respond to.

Blue tooth is not touch-less entry. You either have to push a button on the phone or tap the lock with your device to get it to work. Or push a button on the lock.

Here’s the thing though… isn’t it more convenient to reach out and punch in the code than take all the steps it takes to open your phone? Maybe on a wifi lock this makes sense. But blue tooth? Blue tooth won’t bind until you are within arms reach of the door. Just use your code.

And even if they do come up with a blue tooth lock trigger, it means you’re walking around with your blue tooth function turned on. All the time. I want you to try keeping your phone’s blue tooth on for 24 hours. Let me know how that goes.

Use a code. Use a key. In the end, it’s way more convenient to do that then to go through the steps needed to “conveniently” unlock a door without either of those.

Added Security

This is where blue tooth really shines. Let’s do this in point form.

  1. Wireless connections are all extremely short range
  2. You control what access is allowed and what isn’t
  3. You control the licenses that allow the lock to be unlocked
  4. You know whose license last opened the lock
  5. Licenses are not proprietary to one lock, but can be used by multiple locks on any site

Blue tooth is as close as you get to using a conventional, mechanical lock on your door while adding the features of electronic locks. You still have to be careful with your licenses, and keep an eye on your audit trails, but even having the option to look at your access history is a pretty major upgrade.

I’ve abbreviated this topic as much as possible. Truthfully most of the blue tooth locks that have come across my desk simply won’t do what you have asked me to look for.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution. Let us know what you need and we’ll figure out the best way to make that happen.

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