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Schlage LiNK Provides Peace of Mind
Security, comfort, and convenience: The average consumer doesn’t need to worry about these issues when they are at home. That’s right. M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is taking over the home to provide consumers the peace of mind they need and require.
One good example comes from Schlage, http://link.schlage.com, Carmel, Ind., which is most widely known for its line of residential locks. The company is becoming a player in the connected home space, and the editors of M2M magazine put its Schlage LiNK system to the test to see how well it will fair.
The Schlage LiNK system enables homeowners to remotely monitor access to their home through a wireless door lock and a Web interface. Full access to the system via the Web is available for a monthly subscription fee of $8.99. The simple Web interface allows homeowners to set alerts for when someone is attempting to access the lock, even if the incorrect code is entered. With the ability to program up to 19 different codes into the system, owners can assign separate access codes for anyone who needs to gain into their houses (e.g., family members, babysitters, repairmen, etc.). Among the benefits of the system is its ability to provide alerts via a text message or email indicating when each of the four-digit access codes have been entered in the home lock, allowing owners to know exactly who is entering their home and when.
Perhaps one of the slickest features about the system is the ability for it to connect the lock to other devices in the home—even a standard lamp. It does this through the use of Z-Wave wireless technology. Z-Wave allows homeowners to program the lock to turn on a lamp within the home when the unlock code is entered into the door’s keypad. This can eliminate fumbling around in the dark trying to find the light once entering the home. Homeowners can also use this function to set a specific time they want the light to automatically turn on proving to be a good security feature, enabling homeowners to create the impression that the home is occupied when they are out.
The Schlage LiNK System Starter Kit comes with a wireless lock, a secure bridge, a light module, and all of the adequate accessories (i.e. batteries, set up tools, etc.). With the help of a Phillips-head screwdriver, switching out an old door lock and replacing it with the Schlage lock took our staff less than 10 minutes. The frame-by-frame picture instructions that come along with the system are easy to follow, leaving little need for guess work.
However, using the bridge to wirelessly connect each of the devices with the system—or what Schlage calls “enrolling the devices”—was not as simple, initially. After going through the steps of wirelessly connecting and disconnecting the lock from the bridge twice, enrollment was finally successful the third time around. After the online registration process, which took about 15 minutes, the system was up and running.
Initially, the only thing we were able to do with the system from a wireless standpoint was lock and unlock the door from a computer. Each attempt to modify access to the lock via the Web interface was unsuccessful, so we decided to call tech support for assistance.
After a bit of back and forth trying to reach the appropriate representative, we were able to connect with a system specialist, who was more than willing to provide assistance. The problem, it turns out, was the fact that we were accessing the system using the Google Chrome Web browser. When trying the process again via Internet Explorer we were able to successfully enter in a new access code.
At this point we were able to unlock and lock the door from the computer, and even trigger a lamp on the opposite side of the room to turn on when the door was unlocked at the source. Pretty cool stuff.
The Web interface has a few glitches that one probably wouldn’t notice initially. For instance, after entering the email address that we wished to receive alerts on when the lock was accessed, we had to click the mouse outside of the window in order for the “save” icon to appear, otherwise the alerts wouldn’t work. There was no indication of this so we had to call text support for assistance.
When it comes to being able to monitor and control lock access through an application on your mobile phone, Schlage supports many of the major carriers. We programmed the system to send alerts via email as well as a cell phone using AT&T’s network. When entering the code to unlock the door, both an email and text message were sent out immediately, alerting us that someone was accessing the lock.
The system does a remarkable job of enabling a user to control lock access, even when not at home, giving them the ability to change lock codes and monitor access from a Web interface. The experimentation with the lock and the light module proved the Schlage bridge was an effective piece of hardware for connecting the devices and enabling them to operate in conjunction with one another based on personal preferences.—Mike Mara
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