The Wave of the Future: Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt and Nexia Home Automation

Zigbee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth are three of the more familiar low power mesh networking protocols gaining adoption by the security and home automation industry. These protocols were developed fit into WPLAN class networks with low data rate, long battery life, and secure networking as priorities.

Z-Wave is a low power wireless communications protocol designed for remote control applications in residential and light commercial environments. The technology uses an embedded or retrofitted low-power RF radio. The radios are installed into devices such as lighting, home access control, entertainment systems and household appliances.

Z-Wave operates in the 900 MHz sub-gigahertz frequency range. As a comparison, Wi-Fi and other systems operate on the crowded 2.4 GHz band.

All Z-Wave products use a Z-Wave transceiver chip that is supplied by Sigma Designs and Mitsumi.

Z-Wave utilizes a mesh network which can be as simple as a single controllable device and a controller. Mesh networks provide multipath environment which allows the signal to hop, thereby extending the range and reliability of the network. Typical communications range between nodes is 100 feet.

A device must be added to the Z-Wave network by ‘pairing’ before it can be controlled via Z-Wave.

Touchscreen Deadbolts

Schlage’s new Touchscreen deadbolt uses the Nexia Home Intelligence architecture with a proprietary Gateway in the premises which is connected to a PC. It requires an online account to allow the homeowner to interact with Z-Wave devices such as the RP200 Dimmer and Schlage Touchscreen deadbolt. The products are designed to be easy to program and operate.

Schlage has just released two touchscreen motorized wireless deadbolts, the Camelot and Century. These devices share the same feature sets, differing only in their appearance. For example, the Camelot can be paired with a Camelot handleset to comprise a stylish treatment for residential entry doors.

An illuminated touchscreen shows a numbered keypad and Z-Wave connectivity, enabling remote programming, control and monitoring of the lock as well many other Z-wave products.

Up to 30 four- to eight-digit user codes can be tailored to specific times of the day or week or used for temporary access. Vacation mode disables all codes so no one can unlock the deadbolt.

A built-in alarm system also enables users to hear instantly when someone goes in or out, tampers with the lock or tries to break in.

Remote programming control and monitoring requires the end-user to subscribe to Nexia Home Intelligence, a service which stores programmed settings and routes signals to and from the locks and other devices. The family of compatible products currently includes lighting temperature and temperature controls, as well as locks, cameras, door and window sensors and touchscreen alarm control.

A starter setup would include the essential elements of a Z-Wave mesh network, a controllable device, a controller, and software. Since Z-Wave can accommodate over 200 nodes, the system is expandable to meet the requirements of residential applications.

Schlage locks are so robust that they are also used in other environments such as dorms and offices, although Schlage has commercial products specifically designed for these applications.

One singular feature of the Schlage Touchscreen deadbolt motorized lock is that it throws the bolt, rather than requiring the user to manually turn a key or thumbturn to extend or retract the bolt. The device can be programmed to automatically relock so you do not have to. It will also sound an alert if the bolt is prevented from extending.

The lock utilizes standard deadbolt prep: making for easy retrofits and no learning curve for installers. With the adjustable backset, like other Schlage locks, the bolt can be easily set for either 2-3/8” or 2-3/4”. It can be upgraded to other Schlage cylinders and keys.

It auto detects handing during startup which is amazing and convenient.

Features include:

  • ANSI Grade 1 (the highest level of durability and security for residential door locks)
  • Durable resistive matte finish touchscreen
  • Motorized bolt: A powerful motor cranks the deadbolt to lock and unlock, and the bolt is tapered in case of misalignment between the door and frame.
  • Warning Beeps: If the lock encounters an obstacle (like the door was not completely closed), the lock alarms.
  • One-Button Locking does not require code to be entered to lock the deadbolt. With the Auto Lock feature, the door can be set to relock all by itself.
  • Built-In Alarm: Three types of alarms are available and may be programmed at the lock or using the Web.
  • Lifetime warranty on mechanical and finish, one-year warranty on electronics.
  • Works with code, key or remotely via smartphone or PC
  • Programmable at door or via Nexia
  • Text alerts can be sent based upon specified events at door

Nexia Product Family

A variety of NexiaTM Home Intelligence Kits and additional add-on products are available, such as the Schlage® Home Security Kit, which includes a Schlage Home Keypad Lock, Home Dimmer Module and Nexia Home Bridge, which communicates with more than 200 Z-Wave devices in the home. This kit retails for $299 and is currently available through amazon.com, homedepot.com and lowes.com.

We conducted a bench test with an average PC setup and DSL connection, and a personal below-average computer skill set. But we were able to get everything up and running without a single call to tech support.

The dimmer requires no hard-wiring, just programming and configuration, as it simply plugs into a receptacle, and the appliance then plugs in to it. There are no concerns about matching the phase of the branch circuit to which the module is connected and the phase of other equipment. You need to be concerned about the wireless range, but the equipment is designed for the typical residential footprint, and additional bridges or nodes can be introduced if there are issues.

The Nexia online GUI is intuitive and easy to navigate. We were able to configure all the features of the Schlage Touchscreen deadbolt, and remotely lock and unlock it. The dimmer enrolled easily as well. The communications between the PC and the devices was surprisingly fast, with only a few second delays between issuing a command and the lock or dimmer’s response.

After our test drive we asked Schlage’s Danielle Shuman to explain the different levels of service. “While Nexia Home Intelligence is not required to work the deadbolt locally at the door, it is the only way to access its full capacity,” Shuman said. “With the monthly subscription to Nexia Home Intelligence, users can connect the Touchscreen Deadbolt to mobile and tablet devices, allowing the user to receive texts, manage access codes and check in on their home security from anywhere.”

The only remote connection that is compatible with the Touchscreen Deadbolt is Nexia Home Intelligence, she explained. Nexia Home Intelligence is Z-wave compatible though, allowing it to interact with more than 200 other products, so your system can be built out over time.

The Nexia account – and its billing and management - should be established in the customer’s name, she added. Thus, there is really no recurring revenue for the locksmith or dealer, and at this time, these locks are sold directly to the consumer. Shuman said Schlage is considering additional sales outlets.

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