Automated and Touchscreen Locks: Are You Buying Into It?

A few weeks back, I made the mistake anyone dreads making. My girlfriend and I were leaving our apartment to set off on a late morning hike, when I was distracted for a moment while closing the door. I ended up locking ourselves out of the apartment sans house keys. Mind you, I've never once done this in my life, so the gaffe was especially painful. But even more painful was the $150 it took for a locksmith to pick our reputedly "old school and tough as @&%! deadbolt" to get us back in. It made me think how much easier it might have been if we had the option of either a touchscreen entry or access via mobile phone...
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Why use a key when you can access and monitor your home with your smart phone, like with the Schlage LiNK app?

Companies like Yale Locks and Schlage have been offering touchscreen and internet accessible/automated doors locks for awhile now. The problem is systems like the Schlage LiNK system add an additional layer of tech hardware (wireless bridge) and a monthly subscription fee; installation can be a bit more involved than your traditional lock system.

Yale's inTouch model is a simple touchscreen deadbolt without all the bells and whistles of an online/mobile accessible system, while supposedly touch as nails according to the video above. We bet a competent burglar could pick the lock without too much trouble. But then again, the number of truly gifted thieves are likely not going to be visiting our humble abode any time soon unless they want a 1st gen iPod and drawers full of USB cables.

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The latest deadbolt device unveiled at CEDIA EXPO 2010 had us wondering if it was time to upgrade. The Yale Real Living series (available in capacitive touchscreen and simple button models), can be used with Zigbee or Z-Wave networked systems, giving users the ability to lock, unlock and monitor from afar the state of the lock. Partnered with an home automation system like the Control4, the locks become a piece in an overall security and monitoring system we could only dream of as renters. With up to 250 user entry profiles, we would have had more than enough options to get back in if we locked ourselves out with one of these locking solutions. At $299/$399 (but no monthly fee) these type of locks are still in the realm of the affluent, so we'll likely continue to rely upon what most people still use today: lock and key. At least until the next time we lock ourselves out.

How about you? Have you considered or already installed a touch screen and/or internet accessible home locking system? We'd love to hear what you like and dislike about these systems. Was it worth the cost? Was installation simple or a hassle?

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