Our Lock and Technology Choices

Our Lock and Technology Choices

Being a software company rather than a lock and hardware company gives us a lot of flexibility to support different locks and smart home technologies. We find the best locks and smart technology in the market and build on top of them. We get questions about what considerations drove our lock and hub selection. In this blog, we’ll share some of our thoughts and insights.

We tried a wide-variety of smart locks and smart home technologies before selecting the Yale Real Living and SmartThings Hub as the primary lock and hub that we support.
The Yale Real Living Deadbolt provides a good set of features for short-term rental hosts: automatic relock, large code memory, and 4 to 8 digit codes. It is reasonably priced and Yale Support is great. The Samsung SmartThings Hub has support for the low-energy protocols (zwave and zigbee) needed to have a long lock battery life. It is also a mature and stable platform which was easy for us to integrate into.

Customer App

We didn’t want guests to need to download an external app. This is not easy for less tech-savy guests that may not even have smart phones, and then, there is the problem of a phone battery being dead. A code that can be written down and remembered is just simpler for both guests and hosts.

External Keypads

We saw the benefit of adding an external keypad and modifying existing locks to be “smart”. This allows the outside of the door to look the same.
However, this means adding and an external keypad and another set of batteries to manage.

This becomes even more challenging during the winter. Lock batteries are inside so are warm.
The batteries for external keypads sit outside though, and batteries do not last nearly as long in cold weather:

Wifi Locks

The first smart locks on the market used wifi to communicate.
Wifi is a wonderful protocol that is used in so many devices and in so many ways every day.
However, it was not designed for smart home devices, and it requires a lot of power.

There are new protocols called Zwave and Zigbee which are designed for smart devices with low energy requirements.
The Zwave and Zigbee protocols that we use are much more energy efficient so allow for much longer lock battery life.

From thesmartcave:
Both ZigBee and Z-Wave are very low-power. They use a fraction of the power required by WiFi. This is a major benefit that makes them such a popular choice for smart home devices. There are many applications that won’t have access to hard-wired power. Those devices will need to be run with batteries.

Some devices using Z-Wave or ZigBee can run on a single coin cell battery for several years. A device like that trying to maintain a WiFi connection would be dead in days.

More reading:
Z-wave vs Zigbee vs Bluetooth vs Wifi: Which Smart Home Technology is Best For Your Situation?
The ZigBee Vs WiFi Battle For M2M Communication