Many a sci-fi movie has portrayed locked doors that do not require keys to gain entry. Whether it is biometric technology or some sort of keypad, entry is gained without utilizing mechanical locks and primitive keys. As you know, such locks are no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies. They are now a reality. Say hello to the smart lock.

Vivint‘s complete guide to smart locks defines a smart lock as an electronic lock that can be opened without a mechanical key. There are multiple ways to achieve this. Some smart locks offer only keypad entry. You step up, enter a numerical code via the keypad, and you’re in. Others combine keypad entry with remote activation.

If you want to go really fancy, there are smart locks that utilize biometric parameters for gaining entry. However, these are not the norm in the residential market. Biometric smart locks are expensive and rely on quirky, unreliable technology. For most people, the modern smart lock is one that combines keypad entry with remote activation.

Here are five scenarios for which smart locks make sense:

1. Coming Home After School

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Do you remember the latchkey kid phenomenon of the 1980s? Back then, there was plenty of discussion over whether or not it was appropriate to leave kids to their own devices after school. Both parents worked, so they gave their children a set of keys to let themselves in at the end of the day. Meanwhile, mom and dad trusted that their kids would be okay until they got home from work.

Latchkey kids still exist today. However, they do not necessarily carry around their own set of house keys. Modern parents have the option of installing smart locks to give kids access with a keypad. What is the advantage here? Not giving the kids a set of house keys guarantees they will not lose them.

Another benefit is the ability to remotely activate and deactivate door locks in the event junior forgets his entry code. He can open the door with his phone or give mom a call and have her do it.

2. Regular Out-Of-Town Visitors

You might be the kind of person who loves to entertain family and friends. You find it a hassle to distribute and retrieve keys when you have out-of-town guests. Still, not giving guests their own keys means you always have to be around to let them in. Smart locks solve that problem.

Out of town guests can be given their own access codes for the duration of their stays. You can let them remotely should they arrive while you are not home. Smart locks essentially give your guests the freedom to come and go as they please without having to have a set of house keys.

3. Vacation Home Rental

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People who routinely rent their homes to vacationers are quickly coming to realize how valuable smart locks are. Maybe you have a second home in a vacation destination that you rent most of the year. It can be a hassle to deal with keys when you have new renters every week. You also have to trust that your renters will not copy the keys so as to come back later.

Smart locks can be programmed with new entry codes as often as you like. You can program one code for this week and a new code for next week. That way, each renter has a unique code for gaining access. Changing the code at the end of a renter’s term prevents that renter from getting back into the house later on.

The same benefits apply even if you just rent your home a couple of weeks per year. Not having to worry about keys just makes the entire process easier. It also makes it more secure in the sense that you do not have multiple copies of your house keys floating around out there.

4. Working the B Shift

People who work B shift generally find themselves returning home from work at night. How do smart locks help? By making it easier to get into your house the minute you arrive home. You can use your smartphone to unlock the door as you are pulling into the driveway. This gives you quick entry without having to fumble around in the dark with your keys.

Having to worry about keys at nighttime worries a lot of people. And even if doesn’t worry you, it’s harder to see at night. You might have difficulty choosing the right key or inserting it into the lock. Drop your keys and you might find yourself on your hands and knees trying to locate them.

5. Regular Package Deliveries

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With online shopping being so popular these days, it is not uncommon for people to have multiple packages delivered several times per week. Regular package deliveries certainly make for a compelling case to install smart locks. Doing so is a good way to combat porch piracy.

Smart locks allow you to give access to delivery drivers who place packages inside your door rather than leaving them on the porch. It takes a bit of effort to set it all up, but once you have a working agreement with delivery companies, you’re golden.

You do not have to give access directly to delivery drivers if that concerns you. Instead, you can ask a neighbor to set your packages inside the door. A trusted neighbor is the only one who needs to know the access code to your door. You accomplish the same thing without giving codes to complete strangers.

The smart locks of sci-fi films and TV are no longer just fantasy. They are real. And as technology progresses, they are getting better. Today’s smart locks offer the convenience of keyless entry and remote activation without sacrificing security.

If you have been thinking about installing smart locks, shop around. You have plenty of choices to work with. Just know that you will need in-home wi-fi to take advantage of basic wireless functions. Advanced functions require a reliable internet connection as well.

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