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Home Automation & Control

Automated Door Locks Flood CES 2013: How Smart are They?

Following leaders Schlage, Kwikset, Black & Decker and Yale, numerous start-ups introduced automated door locks at CES 2013. Here's the round-up.


Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm debuted at CES 2013 in the Nexia/Ingersoll Rand booth. It was one of several new “smart locks” at the show.

It’s clear that one of the big themes at CES 2013 was DIY home automation. But one slice of that smart home, automated door locks, seemingly came from nowhere, challenging the big three: Schlage, Kwikset/Black & Decker/Baldwin and Yale (Assa Abloy)

Most of the newcomers claim to be the first to offer completely retrofittable deadbolts—rather dubious since all of the newbies say it.

I easily replaced my own existing deadbolt with an electronic lock from Kwikset, and I could just have easily done the same with products from Schlage or Yale. Then again, I had a standard door and lock, like most of us do.

What makes the new products “completely retrofittable” is that they can replace virtually any deadbolt—even those found on non-standard doors—without the need for drilling holes, chiseling wood or otherwise hassling with the installation.

That’s because, unlike the original products, you only replace one side of the existing lock, the inside. You keep the outside hardware, meaning you use the same key as always to unlock the door.

The bummer is that you lose the keypad features provided by the big three—Schlage, Kwikset and Yale (and newcomer RemoteLock)—which require that the internal and external hardware be replaced.

The beauty of these “two-sided” products (besides the fact they’re gorgeous and available in a variety of finishes) is that they offer access via a number of different options including keypad, RFID, near field communication (NFC) and biometrics. You don’t have to pull out a key to lock or unlock a door.

Which Lock is Right for You?

When evaluating an electronic door lock, remember that some are much smarter than others. Does it simply enable users to lock and unlock the door with an RF keyfob, or does it allow full integration with a control system so that, for instance, if the last person leaves the house and the door is unlocked … an email or text message might alert the homeowner and offer the option of locking remotely.

  • Does it offer keyless access control options such as keypad, RFID, NFC, keyfob or biometrics? (Keypads are a wonderful thing—perfect for when you’re locked out or going for a jog—or if you need to grant access to someone who doesn’t have a smart phone. I personally would never install an electronic lock without a keypad)
  • Can it be integrated into a whole-house control system via Z-Wave, ZigBee, WiFi or some other protocol?
  • Is it retrofittable for standard locks and bolts?
  • Is it retrofittable for non-standard locks and bolts?
  • Can you assign temporary access codes to other users? (Advanced: How many different codes can be assigned?)
  • Can you track/modify access via the Web? Can you lock/unlock the door via the Web?
  • Does it look good, whether from inside or out? (Boy, there sure are some ugly ones)
  • Will it hold up in your weather conditions (hot, cold, wet)?
  • Is it available in both deadbolt and lever models?
  • Are there tamper features?
  • Is there a low-battery warning?
  • Will it work from both inside and out if the power goes out? (They all should)

Note that there is a difference between electronic and “smart” door locks, but we cover them all here. Their options vary for keyless entry, remote monitoring, automation, and more.

In the slideshow, you’ll find a number of product introductions and announcements from CES 2013, as well as a handful of new automated (and electronic and ‘smart’) door locks from some companies that weren’t at this show.

Of the big ones, only Schlage introduced a major new product at CES 2013, the Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt with Alarm.

Included in the slideshow (with related articles noted):
- Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt Lock with Z-Wave [PR]
- Schlage LiNK Rebrands as Nexia Home Intelligence
- Kwikset Partners With UniKey on Bluetooth-enabled Door Locks [PR]
- CEDIA Find: Worthington Builds Complete ZigBee Ecosystem for HAI
- Yale Door Locks: Is NFC the Next Big Thing in Home Tech?
- Yale Bows Automated Locks with ZigBee, Control4 Integration
- Poly-Control Reveals First Multi-regional Wireless Door Lock in New Design [PR]
Lockitron by Apigy
- New Lockitron Lets You Know Who is at the Door, Installs in Seconds [PR]
UniKey (now partnered with Kwikset)
- Kwikset Partners With UniKey on Bluetooth-enabled Door Locks [PR]
- HAI MicroControl Remote Opens Deadbolt Door Locks
RemoteLock by LockState
- LockState’s New Web Controlled Keypad Door Lock Provides Remote Access [PR]
SimpliciKey KeyCloud
- CES 2013: Introducing KeyCloud Mobile Web Application for the Home [PR]
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Automated Door Locks Flood CES 2013: How Smart are They?

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Security · Events · CES · Ces · Kwikset · Yale · Schlage · Door Locks · Assa Abloy · Eureka · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

1 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Orrin Charm  on  03/12  at  01:28 AM

The first consumer-grade electronic deadbolt was the Weiser PowerBolt- I’ve had one for over 15 years (OK- I’m on my second one), and it’s not bad- I had to wire the remote transmitter to my home automation system, but it integrates quite well.

My biggest peeve with all of the new models is that none of them have a door sensor and re-lock function, that would enable the bolt to re-lock the door after it was closed.  Otherwise, people forget to lock it so either your door is usually unlocked, or you keep the latch locked, defeating the purpose.  It doesn’t really make sense to use the alarm system contact to tell the home automation system to tell the bolt to lock every time, does it?

My second biggest problem is that almost nobody can figure out how to unlock the door to exit- even CE Pros who should know!  Why not?  I have no idea, but about 80% of visitors struggle with it.  Really!

Finally, my new Ford car doors automatically open when I touch them, as long as I have my key fob in my pocket.  Easy!  Why can’t the door locks do that?  Maybe even sync to my Car fob . . .

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