Tech Tips: Smart Locks for a Connected World

April 2, 2018
Even DIY products have the potential for increased business for locksmiths in what is becoming a keyless world

Because automated smartlock bolts are battery powered, care must be taken to ensure that the deadbolt move freely when extending or withdrawing. Otherwise, it will bind and produce an error message on the mobile device’s dashboard.

We tend to ignore how our doors operate and lock. You get accustomed to pushing or pulling on the door, or lifting up on it, or wiggling the key ‑- whatever it takes to operate the lock. Our residential customers either continually struggle with the lock or call a locksmith come out to adjust it.

So perhaps one reason people consider upgrading to a smart lock is to fix the other issues they were experiencing with the lock, like it not working smoothly, or the knowledge that there are lost keys floating around.

While the new lock will resolve the problem with the keys, changing the lock will not resolve the way the door operates which is just as often problems with the door frame or hinges as often it is the lock itself.

So when a homeowner buys a smartlock and brings it home, he or she can encounter mechanical problems first, then possibly electronic problems next when they attempt to program the lock and establish a connection with the home automation server.

Fortunately adjusting locks and doors require Locksmithing skills. But some locksmiths flat out refuse to install or adjust hardware which they did not sell because they derive a profit for the sale as well as are able to charge for their labor.

Some locksmiths offer DIY products, with the value added inducement of a reduced service charge if the customer runs onto problems when they attempt to install the lock all by themselves. The hope is that once they have a smartlock working, they will want other products which the locksmith can provide.

So getting into home automation can lead to increased sales and the potential for repeat business and a recurring revenue stream from what might have once only been a one-shot service call for a rekey or lock adjustment.

Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt

The Camelot-style Schlage Connect touchscreen deadbolt includes both the inside (controller) and exterior (cylinder and keypad), as well as the deadbolt. It is an entire automated deadbolt. The lock fits into a standard deadbolt prep, and is pretty much a direct bolt in.

This single-family residential smart lock connects with your customer’s home via computer, tablet or smartphone with the service provider of their choice and get the exact features they want. (Connectivity features dependent upon service provider.)

Features include:

Durable Resistive Touchscreen with matte finish to protect against fingerprints and smudges

Anti-pick shield protects against lock tampering

Build-in Alarm Technology senses movement of the door and allows this residential lock with alarm to alert homeowners with an audible alert

Select between three alerts- activity, tamper or forced entry alert- and customized to meet fit your security needs

Employs Z-Wave, a wireless home automation technology

Holds up to 30 user codes


Commercial Standard Certification: ANSI/BHMA A156.36-2010 Grade 1

Residential Standard Certification: ANSI/BHMA A156.40-2015 Grade AAA in Security, Durability and Finish

Backset: Universal latches and deadbolts fit 2-/8" (60mm) or 2-3/4" (70mm) backsets.

Door thickness range: 1-3/8 to 1-3/4 (35mm-44mm).

Standard Keying: 5-pin tumbler, C Keyway, 1 key included

Schlage’s Nexia™ Home Intelligence

Having been in security for years, I’ve had many experiences with central stations and other third party contract services and their products. My experiences with the NEXIA HOME have been very good. Actually, I have had no complaints!

The app loaded into my Galaxy S5, (which is still a pretty current mobile device, but certainly not cutting edge) and I was able to setup the Nexia Bridge easily. I even tempted fate by extending my network by running a CAT5 cable from the port of my AT&T router out to my trusty Trendnet PoE switch and plugged the bridge into it.

Adding devices was fast and easy. Some Z-wave devices install smoother than others, but everything loaded and programmed without me having to call tech support.

Schlage’s advertising slogan for Nexia is “Control at your Fingertips.” The NEXIA all-in-one app connects smart devices through Z-Wave technology (as mentioned above). Nexia streamlines home management by performing everyday tasks like automatically locking the front door as you exit or turning on the lights prior to coming home.

The system is scalable. Because of Nexia’s simple installation process and huge selection of compatible products, it is possible integrate multiple products at once or expand the system gradually…as the client can afford, or as the client dreams up new things they want.

Z-Wave technology, one of the most widely adopted smart home platforms, allows Nexia to work with some of the world’s most trusted brands, including GE, Honeywell, Schlage, Kwikset – just to name a few.

Locksmiths and their customers can build smart home systems with a wide a selection of Z-Wave products, with more being constantly introduced.

On the Nexia Home website, your account will list events identifying the date, time and nature of the activity for each device,

Devices can be grouped, automated, modes programmed, alerts and alert recipients assigned.

A “device” is a Z-wave module or appliance of which there are many, including thermostats, locks, Amazon ECHO, security cameras, sirens, doorbells, oor position sensors, motion detectors, smoke and carbon monoxide sensors and garage door controllers.

A great place to start is with a Nexia Home Starter bundle which includes the bridge and a dimmer module, good to get the initial settings working and try out the technology.

The Nexia Home Bridge serves as the hub for the Nexia system, using Z-wave technology to communicate wirelessly with products throughout the home. The appliance module automates lamps, fans, small TVs, and other small home appliances. Even more, the appliance module extends the range of the Bridge to reach even the farthest corner of your favorite room. Together, these two products build a simple, mobile, and scalable foundation for home automation.

The Nexia Bridge provides secure home management through your online Nexia account and app. It connects to the router to allow you to control your home through a securely encrypted broadband Internet connection. Then it communicates wirelessly with many other Nexia-compatible Z-Wave products. It is possible to add over 200 Nexia compatible devices to the Bridge to expand your home automation system anytime.

The One Touch is an easy-to-use Z-Wave remote control that allows you to assign up to 15 different automations and modes that you've pre-set with your Nexia web or mobile app. Use the One Touch for added convenience to control the smart products in your home.

More Info:

Kwikset Convert

Kwikset Convert adds Z-Wave control to existing installed deadbolts, turning mechanical locks, even non-Kwikset locks, into smart, electronic locks.

The Conversion Kit replaces the interior half of an existing lock without changing the exterior. Consequently, Kwikset Convert provides convenience of keyless entry and home automation that a smart lock brings while maintaining the style of the front door.

Kwikset Convert can also be used for non-main entry doors where remote control/notification is desired.

Featuring a traditional style, Kwikset Convert also helps bring home automation to consumers who have held off on buying smart home products, while extending it for those who already have them.

In combination with any one of dozens of Z-Wave home automation hubs, Kwikset Convert provides an easy-to- install, cost-effective entry into the home automation arena.

An important feature of Kwikset Convert is the incorporation of the new Z-Wave™ 500 Series chip. The new chip provides a number of enhancements, including extended wireless range and wireless security features that reduce the vulnerability of the network during enrollment, as well as increased battery life. In conjunction with any one of a wide variety of Z-Wave- based home automation systems, the new Conversion Kit utilizes the Z-Wave wireless protocol to enable true remote locking and unlocking.

As a result, users will be capable of remotely accessing and controlling the lock from anywhere in the world, using a smartphone, tablet or Internet-connected device. This will allow them to lock a door while traveling for work or vacation, and even remotely provide access to their home to service providers, guests or other family members.

Users can also get valuable information through their smart phone, letting them know whether a door is locked or unlocked.

Currently, Kwikset Convert has been designed to work with locks from Kwikset, Baldwin and Weiser (Kwikset sister companies), and Schlage.

More Info:


About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.