Smart locks are growing in demand—in 2016, a survey of nearly 1,300 U.S. consumers revealed that 18% (~1 in 5 people) planned on purchasing a smart lock in the next 12 months. In 2019, that percentage jumped to 1 in 4 Americans according to new research.
But it’s not always clear why a video smart lock is needed over a traditional lock or even a regular smart lock. This post describes five use cases for video smart locks and how they solve common pain points caused by older, manual or “blind” locks.
For someone researching whether a video smart lock makes sense for their personal situation, here are a few use cases to consider.
5 things a video smart lock can do that a traditional (smart) lock cannot
1. A video smart lock simplifies the management of your Airbnb or vacation home rental.
Being a property owner or an Airbnb host is a lot of work. You have to clean the house. Manage bookings. Make guests feel welcome. A vacation rental is the same way—people are visiting your property and staying for a time. A traditional lock requires a process for transferring the physical keys to your guests every time. You have to be there in person or provide instructions. Sometimes keys get lost. Sometimes, if you have a bad tenant, you need to rekey the lock. The inconvenience is especially felt if you live hours away and you have to drive to your property to manage it.
A video smart lock simplifies this property management problem in a number of ways. First, you can generate a pin code remotely through the mobile app. This pin code can be time-bracketed so that it works only during the guest’s stay. You can revoke access at any time. This is a major relief, in the event that something goes wrong.
Second, a video smart lock lets you see and welcome guests from afar. For example, with Gate, you know when guests arrive (you’ll get a notification and live video streaming will start) and talk with them through the lock itself. This is helpful for avoiding lockouts and making sure your guests aren’t throwing a major block party with hundreds of people.
This way you can visually authenticate that the right guest is staying at your place.
2. A video smart lock streamlines multifamily apartment management.
Commercial landlords and PMCs are familiar with key rooms—the storage area where every rental unit’s key is kept, along with spares. Maintenance crews carry around master keys to be able to enter units for repairs and requests. Physical key rooms and master keys require extra time and money to manage and replace.
Knowing this, the multifamily industry has already begun to shift to digital keypad locks, removing the need for physical keys and traditional deadbolts. Renters simply receive a programmed key code and it can be reset at the proper time.
But digital keypad locks aren’t “smart” — they are still offline and require manual setup and reprogramming. For some landlords and PMCs, this is a challenge at scale—reprogramming locks one-by-one requires a major block of time.
A video smart lock centralizes multifamily access management so that one-by-one manual reprogramming becomes digitally configurable through one system. Administration of keycodes becomes as simple as sending a text message—it’s faster and more secure—there is no longer any need to keep track of physical keys, replace lost keys, or rekey door locks). Also, with integrated video smart locks like Gate, you can review a timestamped record (and video log) of when your contractor or maintenance crew entered and exited an apartment unit to verify the repair..
In other words, a video smart lock takes the guesswork out of coordinating secure access to your multifamily properties.
3. A video smart lock provides secure visibility to know when your family members are coming and going.
Whether it’s your own home or the family’s lake house or mountain cabin, a smart lock helps keep the family on the same page. You’ll no longer hear the questions “Who has the key?” or “Where is the key?” ever again. For example:
- Your adult children are visiting your home but their ETA is past midnight. Instead of leaving the door unlocked or hiding a key, a smart lock lets you give them a personal access code to enter—allowing you to sleep securely (and see the time when they entered).
- After hours of driving, you arrive at the family’s shared vacation home but the key is missing. A family member forgot to return it. This is no concern with a video smart lock. The motion-triggered video stream already picked you up and notified the person who manages Gate. They simply swipe to unlock the door from the smart lock’s mobile app and you’re in!
- A contractor is scheduled to repair the air conditioning system, but the family is busy and no one is able to be there to let the contractor in. Not to worry—you can generate a special access code for the contractor, text it to him, and visually manage the repair through your video smart lock remotely. You can see
4. A video smart lock wards off crime.
Breaking and entering crimes occur every year. Home invasion often precedes more heinous crimes including burglary, assault and battery.
A traditional smart lock is only as secure as its physical parts—most units do not have security measures to deter tampering and damage.
So when an unrecognized person knocks on your door, they probably notice your movement inside the house as you approach the door. As soon as you crack the door open to greet them, you put yourself at risk.
But a video-equipped smart lock like Gate digitizes your door’s peephole, doorbell, and deadbolt. Instead of exposing yourself (or a loved one) to risk, you can see the visitor and chat with them from the smart lock itself—no need to open the door or even move within the house. This is especially helpful for nursing mothers.
Gate’s video recording also keeps a record of the incident and provides a shareable file to send to police if anything illegal occurs. Video footage is a brilliant security measure to repel criminal activity and, if needed, bring a perpetrator to justice.
Perhaps less serious as home invasion, but just as concerning, is “porch piracy” — stealing packages from doorsteps.
According to a survey by Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home security service, 30 percent of Americans say they've experienced a package stolen off their doorstep. In Denver, the Police Department saw package theft incidents rise every year since 2015.
Amazon deliveries have surged in recent years. More and more things are being delivered every day. If a package is stolen, a traditional lock enables little to no recourse, but a video smart lock captures the full extent of the incident and provides everything law enforcement needs to retrieve and indict the offender.
5. A video smart lock lets you stay at work longer.
Sometimes work requires you to stay late at the office. This can throw off your plans for the day or evening. Suddenly, you’re not able to be home to receive the Hello Fresh delivery for dinner. The dog is scratching at the door, needing to go out. You’re expecting guests but you’re going to be late.
A traditional lock struggles to adapt to unforeseen changes in schedule. You have to rush home or cancel plans last minute. You have to reschedule service visits.
But a video smart lock is flexible enough to react to unplanned changes. You can ensure no one is left waiting outside your house. You can give temporary access to a neighbor and ask them to take the dog out and with your video smart lock, verify when and who actually does it. Use your video smart lock to have deliveries placed inside the door and, if the video lock is mounted on the door, the dynamic field of view lets you visually verify that it was done correctly.
In short, a video smart lock informs exactly who is at your door and helps you take your time coming home from work (no speeding tickets).