Smart lock below $150

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2
798 Views

Hi everyone,

 

Seeing a few posts for Smart Locks here , here and here Iit reminded me and motivated me that I wanted to reach out to the Hosts Airbnb Community and ask, whethere there would be an interest for a Smart Lock that doesn't exceed in cost the $120-150 mark, and doesn't require monthly fees. I confess that I wanted to write this a long time ago but didn't have the time.

 

 

I started my hosting journey a couple of years now, and intensified it after my parents had health issues - one with a stroke, and one with heart attack. Being "forced" (it is not the right word) to quit my career in marketing to take care of them, I started being a vacation rental host full time.

 

Now, as I started with one property, I expanded to a second one, and also broke them down into rooms and rent them as well - so you could say that I manage 2 apartments and six rooms in total.

 

Being highly technical, I started searching to find ways to automate my processes, and I came across a variety of smart locks, only to find that they cost way to high to implement them to six accomodations, not to mention that where I am located is not prime tourist area - (I am still surprised everytime someone books).

 

So, to make the story short, I decided to create my own, so as to:

 

  1. Be able to lock and unlock the door from anywhere in the world
  2. Be able to program the lock to automatically lock as specified times - for example, lets say that a guest arrives at 3:00 am, you program the lock to accept the code that it is given and then when the gest departs, to discard the code and lock the door (obviously within a reasonable tiem frame)
  3. Be able to send a code to the customer's email or phone immediately after they booked
  4. And of course, to let me know with an SMS when the lock unlocks for the first time (so as to know that the guest arrived).

Now, just to give you a few background information I have 15 years experience in product development and marketing, and I have created things from packaging of teas to the development of electronic toys for kids, so I know a thing or two about how to develop products.

 

 

I am asking the community whether anyone else is interested, so as to register interest and accelerate - my first prototype will be ready late June.

 

Let me know any other ideas that you would like to have in a lock like that and whether you would be interested in this project.

 

Sal

8 Replies

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
Tucson, AZ
Level 10

@Alice-and-Sal0:

Anything that fits the bill and comes in cheaper is a plus. I personally hate subscription fees too.  We purchased a Kwikset lock and blue-toothed it to my SmartThings home automation hub. The Kwikset runs about $200 and the SmartThings hub is $100 with no subscription making the overall cost about $300. At $150 your lock would cut the expense in half.

 

As you develop your lock, one aspect that would be a deal killer for me is if the guest would have to download an app or use their smartphone to lock/unlock the door. First, we have had guests that did not have smartphones or were from foreign countries ncessitating that the app be written in many, many languages. Secondly, it is a haasle to have to get out a phone, navigate to the app then hit the unlock button when trying to get into the house.

 

Just my thoughts but maybe they can help you focus.

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2

Hi Tim,

 

Thanks for your feedback. This was my initial argument with the locks factory, where they were insisting in doing everything on an app. It took a lot of persuading (after all, I am the client) to convince them that not all people using smart phones, are able to connect on the internet on a strange new country and a million things can go south.

 

So, we are developing a lock that:

1. Has keys so you can punch a few codes and open

2. Has a standard key, in case something goes wrong

3. Operates on smart tags (those metallic magnetic things that they close a circuit when you touch them on the lock, os it opens)

4. Will also try to use NFC so people with smart phones to simply touch it and open.

 

All the above, as a combination, and the end user can select (the guest).

 

One thing that we are trying hard to solve, and I haven't see it being mentioned is, how could make the home so "smart" so that when you turn on the knob and enter, you also get power - so as to ensure that no guest will forget the AC or the bathroom lights open while at the beach.

Still figuring it out 🙂

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 4

I think a good smart lock should have the following features:

 

- Keypad/code function that allows guests to use a code for their stay

- host has control to remotely generate or deactivate codes and send them to guests via SMS

- code does not work outside of check in and check out time

- door automatically locks when the door is closed (I have had so many guests leave my door unlocked after leaving)

- Ability for hosts to unlock door remotely

- Activity feed for host to see when door is locked/unlocked

- Remote lock status to see if the door is locked or unlocked if you are away from the listing

- No need for guests to dowload app

- Lock retro-fits over lock so hardware doesn't need to be changed

- Ability to still use a traditional key

- If lock uses batteries, a battery level indicator 

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2

Awesome RC,

 

Not sure, but I think, if we launch the thing, we must be the only company in the lock space that created a product based on what user needed.

 

My big question now is how you could make a lock to retrofit so as not to change the lock. Everything else is easy 🙂

Also - battery level indicatior - genius.

 

 

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 4

@Alice-and-Sal0 August has a smart lock that leaves the exterior hardware the same (so same key) and then on the inside of the door is where you would attach the lock. They also have a keypad that can be mounted on the door frame that uses a bridge to connect to the smart lock inside. There is a pretty good video (link below) that shows the keypad in use, I own the keypad but unfortunately it is not the most reliable (horrible in cold temperatures).  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2f4A5bifrs

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2

 Thank you RC, that is fantastic that you shared. Now I need to check with the factory. Thank you very much it was very helpful.

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
Wilmington, DE
Level 10

I love the idea! I hate keys I lose and mix them up. I have code locks on my doors now. I have 2 buildings. One has my apartment and an apartment downstairs which had 2 doors that tenant would use as does my apartment upstairs. We also have a  common entrance that requires a lock. That is 5 locks

The other building has 3 apartments with 2 common doors that require locks(historic double doors then a single more secure metal door on inside) and each apartment has 2 doors(one is fire escape and guests don't use-for emergency only as you have to go over roof to fire escape) 8 locks

totlal would be 13 locks

right now I have schlagg locks no wifi capability

I had quickset on my apartment even before I was on airbnb but they failed. so i went with schalgg which are great.

the fire escape locks could probably be locks with out a code that would be exit only??? but then if you exited in an emergency and needed to get back in that might cause a problem.

So I guess it would be 13 locks. that is more than I feel I could budget.

and are digital locks safe for fire exit?

Good luck

Re: Smart lock below $150

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2

Hi Regina,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Awesome idea, about optimising the locks for fire exits - never though of that 🙂

It is doable and we can optimise them to work on harsh environments - in fact, everything can be done, as long as we can think of it and design it from the initial stage.

 

For me, I am still in the  beginning, gather feedback on what would hosts want, and I will be able to produce a design soon. 

 

Any chance you could take a quick pic with your phone of the fire door so we can study how the locks need to be applied? If not, no worries at all, I am sure we can find something on line 🙂

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