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Alohomora! Lock Battle – Smart Lock or Conventional Key

Have you ever been in the situation that you are standing in front of your door but just can’t find the key after a hard day’s work?
And what if it just happened to start raining cats and dogs at that moment, and your Locksmith said he is quite busy now and it may take a while over the phone, I guess you may wish you are Harry Potter in the movie who can open the lock just by saying “Alohomora!”. Actually, you can literally do the same tricks as long as you have a smart lock and a mobile phone.
But what is smart lock? And what are the pros and cons if compared with conventional lock?
Smart locks refer to electronic and mechanical locking devices that lock and unlock doors when receiving the specific radio signals. Smart locks utilize a cryptographic key to verify and grant access to the user, and it can be set for a period. The command and encrypted digital key are usually transmitted through mobile devices supporting Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. It can also be designed with a photo log of the people accessing the door with a security camera, then users are able to grant access to their homes to third parties by forwarding them a virtual key with text message.

Currently, most of the locks are conventional mechanical locks and traditional electronic locks except some luxury hotels, high security facilities and military bases. However, since Smart phones are becoming an integral part of today’s lifestyles in emerging economics. As the usage of smart phones grows and more users acquire these electronic devices for everyday use, the market for mobile applications will also grow at significant pace. The global smart lock industry is in its growth stage, and is expected to witness the substantial growth in the near future.
So, what are the pros and cons of these locks? Compared to standard mechanical locks, they all offer several key advantages, including improved control of who is able to unlock specific doors, some level of activity tracking, and the ability to limit access to certain areas at certain times. Similarly, they have certain disadvantages compared to mechanical locks, such as the possibility of power failure or a drained battery to cut off access.

Here I list some advantages and disadvantages of the smart locks as shown below.
Pros and Cons of Smart Locks
Pros
Convenient – well, it depends, if you are a person who feels uncomfortable without mobile phone anytime, then smart lock is convenient for you
Security – higher security due to encrypted digital key, triggering mechanism, push-message and camera
Fashion – it looks neat and cool
Remote Control – excellent management when you are far away from home
Time Management – you can decide your lock to be locked or unlocked during a set of time which conventional lock is unable to do that
Access Record – leave trace and evidence for record
Cons
Higher cost – much higher than conventional lock
Complexity – traditional lock just need a small key which is the beauty of simplicity
Power failure – either lock or mobile phone need battery, so you will have a problem if your device is ran out of power
Network connectivity – it doesn’t work if you are in the wild or nowhere or the lock is installed in a place without internet connection
User’s behaviour - Seniors like grandparents or the people live in the country side who don’t use smart phone
Broken or hacked - Cracked by the people with bad intensions or been tampering or malfunction
The increasing security threat across the residential and commercial sectors is one of the key factors driving the market. It seems that in the future, we will be relying even more often on technology and less on mechanical devices.
But some of the people believe that the conventional locks will still be there because some occasions need them, besides, some smart locks are designed to come with traditional key holes on them.
Technology has many advantages, it simplifies and helps us in our everyday life, however, there are many positive and negative aspects related to it.
The smart lock is the product at this moment in human history, just like record player in 60S, cassette player in 70S, and the walkman in 80S, smart lock design still leave much to be desired but I do believe that it will be getting better in the future since Evolving IoT systems and emerging 5G networks are seen as new opportunities for the market. Above all, the purpose of the technology is to make our life easier.

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