Smart Home

With a smart lock, Monkey lets one key replace all others

The biggest issue with the sea of smart locks on the market is their design. As they can only really be used by homeowners, a large population of apartment dwellers miss out on the convenience having a smart lock provides because they still need a physical key for the front door of the building.

Locumi Labs thought it was time for a solution, creating the Monkey keyless entry system. Instead of being a typical smart lock, the monkey takes the form of an extremely compact, Wi-Fi enabled chip that is easily installed in the intercom in an apartment or home. From that point, a companion iOS or Android app is able to open the building’s main entrance using an app command, time-restricted access, or smartphone proximity for hands-free access.

Smart Home

Nucli smart lock has two screens, covers all the bases

Since the debut of the Ring, nee Doorbot, on Kickstarter, crowdfunding platforms have hosted many smart locks for the home and other property.

Nucli comes to the table, or at least the door, with the Westinghouse brand and an endless array of options. It can work with iOS, Android and Windows. It can be activated by fingerprint, PIN pad (via its external touch screen), smartphone or laptop (but there’s no proximity-based unlocking yet). It supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Z-Wave protocols. And you can even use any MP3 file as a doorbell. Like other smart lock/doorbell combinations, owners can use its camera to see who is at the door and open it.

Smart Home

LazyLocks smart lock secures your doors on the cheap

A friend or relative is knocking on the door. Great, now comes the wrenching decision to get up from the couch to let that person in. A connected door lock could come in handy, allowing couch potatoes to let somebody in with just a click on a smartphone app.

LazyLocks is an aptly-named and inexpensive connected door lock that works in conjunction with a free Android and iOS app. It can be easily connected to any door without replacing an existing lock, according to its Indiegogo campaign. LazyLocks uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and displays the status of users’ home doors right on their smartphones, wherever they are.

Smart Home

Ola uses touch sensor, fingerprints to rock the smart lock

Smart locks have become one of the more popular components of the smart home product category. The one drawback of some of them is that they rely on the user accessing a smartphone app in order to open up a door, and that can sometimes take a while –- especially if the smartphone is buried at the bottom of somebody’s bag or, worse, the phone has been forgotten somewhere.

Ola is a smart lock that uses Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and capacitive fingerprint technology that makes it not only a keyless solution, but also a phoneless one. It’s able to store up to 1,700 fingerprints and takes less than one second to open the door once the fingerprints are read by the touch sensor, according to its maker. Ola is powered by four AA batteries and doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection, so it will continue to work even if the power goes out. It costs $179 as part of its Kickstarter campaign and will ship in March. Retail pricing hasn’t been set, but is expected to be about 30 percent higher, said its maker, who set a campaign goal of raising $125,000 by July 23.

Ola is bound to appeal to a wide audience. Although it doesn’t require a smartphone for users to open a door with the smart lock, there is an app for Android and iOS devices (and soon Windows) to facilitate registration for new users. The “masters” of the house can also use the app to give or deny access to guests or manually unlock the door via Bluetooth. The only minor drawback is that it’s water resistant, but not waterproof, so if it’s submerged in water for an extended period of time that would break the electronic components of the lock. Its maker also warns that it’s best to dry off one’s fingers before opening the lock because water can impact the sensor’s ability to recognize fingerprints.

Connected Objects Cycling

Noke smart U-lock protects your two-wheeler from a stealer

There have been no shortage of smart locks designed to protect the home. But many feel most at home on the road with two wheels hitting the road and a desire to protect what moves them there.

Just last fall, Fūz Designs introduced the Noke smart padlock that kept lockers closed to all but the right iPhone owner. Now the company has returned to Kickstarter with the Noke U-Lock. Evolving the electronics of the original into a shell that it calls “virtually indestructible,” the protective device  accommodates both bikes and motorcycles.

After pressing the unlock button on the device, the lock seeks out a smartphone with the right code in the companion app and disengages. Noke has also built functionality for lending a bike into the app and for revoking those lending privileges. Consumers can also track their bikes via GPS built into the product. Apple Watch compatibility is in the works. And bucking a trend, the company is even supporting Windows Phones in addition to iPhones and Android devices.

Smart Home

Sesame smart lock lets you open doors as you knock it from your pocket

Smart locks were quite possibly the smart home movement’s first attempt at a truly wireless home. Unfortunately, initial efforts resulted in oversized locks with impractical installation requirements and questionable security.

patent-claimedThe simple looking Sesame smart lock provides a modern day solution in this regard. The lock is manufactured with a five-patented design capable of being installed over a large variety of single-cylinder deadbolts, all without the need of any tools.

The lock uses Bluetooth LE in conjunction with military-grade encryption in order to enable home entry in a number of creative ways. For instance, users can utilize a companion iOS or Android app to remotely open a door or enable proximity entry by way of a nearby smartphone. Voice controlled based entry is also a feature of the device. Notably, users can be informed when doors are opened and closed, an important feature given that Sesame provides wireless and shareable access.

$149 gets backers both a Sesame lock and a Wi-Fi Access Point that lessens drain on the device’s battery. Its makers are seeking $100,000 and are aiming to get the product delivered by May 2015.

With its incredibly easy install and wealth of entry options, the Sesame smart lock is poised to find itself on more doors than competing products. This is well-tread territory, after all, previously occupied by the likes of August and Goji.

The Sesame lock, though, has some competition in Haven, whose all-business construction is the polar opposite of the fun, light-hearted tone Sesame takes — which may not sit well for those a bit more serious about their home protection needs. Still, its impressively easy installation process will undoubtedly attract many.



Connected Objects

LifeStyleLock zero5 lets you know when prying hands attack your drawers

Many people keep certain items in a desk or nightstand drawer that they don’t want their kids or others to get their hands on. It could be medication. It could be a gun. It could be money.

The LifeStyleLock zero5 connected furniture lock uses Bluetooth and proprietary sensing technology to connect to an Android and iOS device. The zero5 leverages a proprietary solenoid locking mechanism, and it was built in the same way as locks built for industrial uses. If there is an attempted breach, the owner will be immediately notified. It should only take about 15 minutes to set up, and the lock and accompanying drawer assembly accommodates a large amount of imprecision in the installation, the company says. The zero5 attaches to the user’s nightstand, dresser or desk, but the front and side appearance of the furniture is unchanged.

The two main components of the zero5 are the locking mechanism and the housing. Both components are already fully engineered, its maker says. The zero5 uses on-board sensors to provide its owner with security awareness:  Early backers who pledge $250 will get a limited first edition version of the device in April. After that, backers who pledge $250 will get a lock one month later. LifeStyleLock is looking to raise $500,000 by Jan. 19.

The device will come in handy for many consumers, as long as it is as easy to set up as its maker claims and as long as the consumer actually has items that need to be locked up. Including both strengths and smarts makes for a pricier product. However for those who want remote notification, it may be worth it.

Connected Objects Safety

Haven is a brace on Earth to complement your deadbolt

Smart locks may have made a splash and added convenience to many people’s home lives, but the fact still remains that they rely on deadbolts to protect your home. It has been proven that deadbolts are an outdated form of protection because with enough force, the blunt end of a hammer and a bump key, or just simply a credit card, those who want access to your home will most certainly get it.

HAVEN is a smart lock that works by being installed at the base of a door and using the house’s own frame as the deterrent rather than a deadlock. Being made from glass reinforced nylon, aluminum and steel allows for far more protection versus other deadlock-dependent solutions, with a door in the campaign shown withstanding brute force kicks, sledgehammers and axes. When excessive force is recognized, HAVEN can turn on other connected parts of your home through Nest and Apple HomeKit compatibility and send alerts to mobile devices in response. When there isn’t trouble brewing, the product’s wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity allow users to digitally share keys and either locally or remotely lock their doors using their iOS or Android smartphone. Lost your phone? An online access portal can help you maintain access of your home. The people behind the HAVEN Smart Lock are looking for $150,00o to make their goal a reality, with significant stretch goals which include an A/C power add-on and wearable gesture support, to entice would-be backers. Interested people can protect their home by pledging $249 or more.

HAVEN is an shot in the arm for the smart lock market. Its robustness in protecting the home along with its connectivity and control options make its involved installation easier to bear. Other smart locks, like the August and the Goji, emphasize the social aspect rather actually protecting the home — HAVEN tells them to put their money where their mouths are.

Connected Objects Smart Home

Chui bites into the connected doorbell race

Premise. Calling somewhere “home” usually has its perks, but it’s not without drawbacks. For instance, once word gets out that you’re living somewhere all types of people will show up at said place just to see you. This usually requires interrupting the glorious activities you choose to do in your spare time, just to answer the door.  Sports can’t just watch itself you know.

Product. When people just won’t stay away, Chui solves your problems by allowing you to see and speak to the person at your front door. Not having to get up from your couch to decline a new religion is always a win. You can also leave personal messages for specific individuals you know will be coming by. This is especially handy for telling a trusted friend or even your parents where you have hidden the spare key in your absence. Chui uses facial recognition software to first identify your visitor and then play your pre-recorded message.

Pitch. Chui’s product page does a good job of making a new product technology easy and intuitive to understand. In the pitch video, founders explain that Chui aims to augment the connected movement by making our homes smarter and socially intelligent. You will also see that Chui was unveiled at this year’s CES and is being tested for consumer and commercial uses including employee clocking, member check-in, and admittance to restricted areas.

Perks. While Chui is already in production, for $199 you still have the opportunity to reserve one of the first units to be produced before retail availability, shipping in Fall of 2014.

Potential. Chui has already proven its mass market appeal, and there is already competition on the horizon from other players like Goji and Doorbot. Doorbot is a very similar product with a slightly more interesting design, which is also offered for $199. While Chui incorporates facial recognition software and is focused a little more on providing access or information to a customized group of people, Doorbot is intended for more general use as a smart doorbell for anyone at the door. For $235 Goji takes the idea one step further by integrating a remote locking/unlocking mechanism, while Doorbot and Chui rely on integration with a dedicated smart lock called Lockitron. A neat benefit of Goji is that it can send electronic keys to anyone at anytime and for any duration – and can even work via a key fob for members of the family who may not own a smartphone.