Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

March 30, 2017

August locks come in four colours.

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Unlock your door with your smartphone

The new smartphone technology that's replacing house keys

Front-door locks that you can operate with a smartphone have been around for a few years, but now the bugs have been worked out and there are a couple of spiffy new models on the market.

The big advantage: your phone can unlock the door as you approach — no more fumbling for keys.

They’re easy to install often right over your existing deadbolt so you may not have to replace your existing lock. Most operate using a key as well, just in case. Still, it’s buyer beware. Not all locks work the same way or have the same features.

All models do work, however, by opening the lock when it receives a signal from a smartphone. Duplicate electronic "keys" can be programmed into the phones of family, friends and service people. For the latter, you can limit the times in which the keys will work.

One important question: how secure are they? The answer: not very. They can be hacked, but there are some work arounds. One model — the Goji — takes photos of anyone who comes to the door and sends it to your phone. Others will send a message telling you the door has been unlocked.

Here’s a quick look at three models. Research the model you want carefully before you buy.

August

The newest entry is designed by noted Swiss designer, Yves Béhar. A 9-centimetre disk fits on the inside of the door and comes in four different colours. It operates on Bluetooth using two AA batteries. Comes with a key fob and can be programmed for extra electronic “keys.” US$199. august.com.

Kwikset Kevo

Compatible with all popular Kwikset deadbolts. Easy to install inside, it can detect whether your phone is inside or outside the house, a security feature worth considering. Bluetooth 4 and iPhone only. Four AA batteries. Key fob and multiple electronic keys. US$220. kwikset.com.

Goji

Introduced earlier this year, it attaches to the outside of the door. It includes a replacement for your current deadbolt and features a camera (a small hole has to be drilled through the door for a wire). Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Four AA batteries. Key fob and multiple electronic keys. US$278. gojiaccess.com

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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