When Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants hit the market hard a few years ago, one of the first features that popped into my head was using your voice to unlock a smart door lock. I thought this was a REALLY bad idea, a HUGE security risk. It seems, though, that commanding smart door locks to unlock is no cause for concern, anymore. Over the past week at least four smart lock manufacturers have added the capability to their products.
“Alexa, Unlock the Door”
Smart locks from August, Schlage, and Yale had previously responded only to “Alexa, lock the door” commands—handy when you’re already in bed and forgot to lock the door. The addition of voice unlocking is sure to hit a chord with people tired of digging around in pockets and purses to find their house keys or who simply like the idea of completely hands-free entry into their homes.
Hands-free Control Inside and Outside
Voice unlocking is also helpful when you’re inside the house. There is no need to reach for a smartphone, leave the comfort of your couch or step away from the kitchen in the middle of cooking your signature dish, for example, when you can unlock the door for guests via voice command.
Passcodes & PINs for Security
Just because the locks can respond to unlock commands doesn’t mean they always have to listen. The feature is disabled by default for security. You are required to log into your Amazon Alexa app using your password to enable the feature initially, and then create a unique PIN, which must be spoken before Alexa unlocks the door. The feature is immediately disabled after three incorrect voice code attempts.
Here are some of the smart locks that have the voice unlocking feature:
Yale: Assure Lock line of smart deadbolts when used with a compatible smart home hub or when used with the Amazon Echo Plus and a Yale Assure Lock with Zigbee.
Schlage: Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt and Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt requires the Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter (no monthly fee required). The Wi-Fi Adapter allows iOS and Android smartphone users to gain remote access to their lock through the Schlage Sense app. Using Amazon Alexa with the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt requires a Samsung SmartThings or Wink hub.
August: Controlling an August Smart Lock with Alexa requires an August Smart Lock Pro or August Smart Lock and either an August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge or any August Doorbell Cam to connect the lock to Wi-Fi.
abode Systems: Once users enable the abode Smart Home Skill in the Alexa app, they’ll be able to say “Alexa, unlock my front door.” According to abode, the unlocking feature works with any brand of connected smart lock.
Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the Electronic House editorial team for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in addition electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home.
Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what’s on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books, which can be found on the Electronic House website, www.electronichouse.com.
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