Smart lock , Bluetooth or Z-wave ?

Bluetooth VS Z-Wave

We’ve seen different types of bluetooth smart lock flood into the markets to provide us the “smartphone as the key” feature to access our doors in the past 5 years. The three well-known pioneers who create smart lock models by using different scenarios are:

  • Lockitron (2012), mount on the existed deadbolt
  • August(2013), replace the interior part of a deadbolt
  • Kwikset Kevo (2013), replace the entire old lock.

Regardless the lock models they are, these locks provide two features in common:

  1. Users can use an App to control the lock directly via BLE interface on the phone
  2. A timely access control (E-key) can be shared by owner via App to other users

This is different from Z-wave based smart locks which require a Z-wave gateway to control the lock indirectly, the internet outage of Z-wave gateway will cause the lock unmanaged. Smartphone App based E-Key sharing under Z-wave will also become a security issue because a guest can gain the lock control anywhere if this guest is allowed to use his/her phone to control the lock via Z-wave gateway. To prevent the security vulnerability, a keypad always come along with the Z-wave lock to provide access to guest not via a Smartphone App. The keypad is convenient, but it is code based not user-based access control, anyone has the code can access the lock, thereafter a rekey process (change code) is required for security management and it is better not to let someone peer at your keypad while entering.

BLE smart lock acts differently, to clarify, we draw a map to illustrate the systematic operation of a BLE smart lock. In the figure below we use 3 circles to dipited the operations:

Circle 1, the owners paired the lock and save the digital key to the vendor cloud database, the owner can also share the digital key to his guests with timely control.

Circle 2, the guest can only operate door lock through the bluetooth range.

Circle 3, the owner, however, can operate the lock both in bluetooth range and remote distance if he ever installed a bluetooth bridge that can be controlled via vender cloud server.

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