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    Your future smart home is already here

    September 18, 2017 6:15 PM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017

    Your future smart home is already here

    Your home of the future? You could already be living in it.

     

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    Within several hours, it’s possible to renovate your house or apartment into a smart home - one that pulls from the latest technology to make your space more efficient, secure, convenient or just more entertaining to hang out in.

     

    Smart home technology is quickly becoming the next renovation project homeowners are adding to their to-do lists. With many of the devices ranging from $75 to $200 and falling into the Easy DIY-category, apartment dwellers also are starting to embrace smart home technology as a way to quickly update their living spaces. An added bonus? Many smart home products can be uninstalled and packed up with the next move.
     

    Smart Home - Schlage

    Advantages cited by smart home residents

    Drop the need for keys

    With keyless entry systems, you no longer have to worry about misplacing keys. Assign each person a unique access code for entry; it’s easy to know when someone has made it home because the data is sent to your smartphone. And if an unexpected visitor arrives, you can remotely let them in with your smartphone while you’re stuck in traffic.

    Cut the energy bills

    Smart home thermostats automatically cut down the heat when outdoor temperatures rise, while irrigation systems water your lawn only when Mother Nature decides to take a break.

    Light the way

    Based on your preferences, smart lighting systems can be installed to turn on as you enter a room and turn off when you leave. You can also use your smartphone to control all the lights throughout your home, whether you’re in the bedroom or hundreds of miles away.

    While these are among the most common smart home applications, innovations also have led the way to refrigerators that text you with selfies of their contents, beds that make themselves, and smart toilets that give you a warm seat on cold days.

     

    You may not be quite ready to take a leap toward warm toilet seats, but you can take on several projects to get a head start on transforming your home into a smarter home.
     

    3 steps to building a smart home

    Smart home - Smart locks - Schlage

    1. Understand the basics.

    As with any new innovation, there typically is a slow rate of adoption until people become more familiar with the product. That was the case with the smartphone which first came on the market in 1994 as the IBM Simon Personal Communicator. Priced at about $900 with a two-year contract and weighing in at slightly over a pound, it’s no wonder only about 50,000 were sold in that first wave. About 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone -- up from only 35 percent in 2011, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. For many of those owners, the survey revealed, it’s now “something they can’t live without.”

     

    Today, the smartphone has been paving the way toward the significantly quicker adoption of smart home technology, especially since it is considered a key component of how a smart home operates. By 2019, about two-thirds of Americans say they expect to have at least one smart home product in their homes, according to a recent survey by the Acquity Group. So, how does the smartphone (and tablets, laptops and computers) figure into the operation of a smart home? Good question.

     

    Here’s one example. The latest smart locks are Bluetooth®-enabled so you can control and program the lock through a simple app on your smartphone. With the click of a button, you can unlock the door or create a new personalized code to share witha trusted friend or service professional, allowing them to access the home without interrupting your day.

     

    In addition to smart locks, your smart home can have lighting systems that automatically turn on and off, surveillance cameras that keep an eye on things, and thermostats that adjust temperatures depending upon how hot and cold it is outside. All these functions, including many others, also can be controlled remotely through your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

    2. Do your research

    While many smart home products can be installed within minutes (yes, minutes), it’s best to research the products available to customize a smart home designed with your priorities in mind. It’s also important to determine if there are products you may want to purchase in the future. By doing so, you can come up with an integrated plan that meets your needs and desires.

     

    Determine what you and the other people in your household want. More security? Lower electric bills? Safety measures for young children or elderly relatives? More conveniences? Or a more dynamic space for entertaining friends? Maybe it’s as simple as not dealing with your teenager losing the keys to the house. Again. As it turns out, there’s a smart home plan to meet all of those objectives, while staying within your budget. Here are a few examples of what you can accomplish:

     

    • Energy-efficient smart home: With a smart thermostat and smart irrigation systems, you can lower bills by using power and water only when you need it. These products automatically adjust to weather patterns or your preferences.

     

    • Convenient smart home: Install smart keyless door systems, blinds, lighting systems and motion sensors that will make daily routines simpler. With a click of a button, you can get the coffee going in the morning or the blinds shut, the doors locked, the alarm activated and the lights turned off at night. All from the comfort of your bed.

     

    • Safe smart home: Your home can be set up with smart cameras, motion sensors and keyless door systems so that you can keep an eye out for the safety of family members. You can also install smart carbon dioxide and smoke detectors that send messages to your smartphone when something is awry.

     

    • Entertaining smart home: If you like the idea of staying at home for movie night, install a smart entertainment system along with smart lighting that pulsates and lights up the room with color along with the action scenes. Your smartphone doubles as the remote control. Your home also can be set up to play your favorite tunes in different parts of the home as you enter a room.

     

    As part of your transition to a smart home, gauge your level of comfort with the technology. For example, if you have an automated garage with a keypad, it may not be a huge transition to install a keyless lock that allows you to enter with a code. A smart thermostat that automatically adjusts temperatures may be equally appealing for a first try. You may decide that you’re ready to take the plunge into all the main components a smart home can offer, including technology that gradually determines your living pattern and adjusts accordingly.

     

    With either approach, it’s important to select products that can effortlessly interact with each other through one central Wi-Fi controlled hub that acts as the brain of it all. You can purchase a hub that works with all your smart home devices. Some companies like AT&T, Xfinity and Vivint offer home automation packages that include a monthly maintenance fee to ensure the products work together. 

    3. Installing and connecting it all

    With many of the latest smart home products, DIY installation ranges from ridiculously simple to moderately simple. And installation time can be quick. That new smart lock? Under 15 minutes to install. Smarter thermostat? Home surveillance? Automated lights? Energy-efficient outlets? All about the same – 15 to 30 minutes each with common tools like screwdrivers.

     

    Of course, some smart home products are more complex, and may take longer to install or require the assistance of a professional with experience in the industry. Even with DIY-products, you may feel more secure hiring an expert to help with installation as well as the operation of the system.

     

    According to a poll conducted by Harris Poll and Lowe’s, 50 percent of Americans would prefer to install smart home products themselves with no monthly fees. About 21 percent said they would opt for a professional to install their smart home systems and pay a monthly maintenance fee.
     

    Smart homes in 2022

    With innovations for the smarter home moving at a record pace, futurists and other industry experts are predicting that a significant number of Americans will transform their homes at a record pace. According to the research firm Gartner, the average American household will own 500 smart home or connected devices by 2022.

     

    If you’re already using your smartphone as an integral part of your day-to-day routines, a smart home could become another component of your lifestyle you can’t live without.

    11 things to know about the Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt and Android compatibility

    September 15, 2017 5:07 PM by emily.bailey

    Friday, September 15, 2017

    11 things to know about the Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt and Android compatibility

    Now that this smart lock is compatible with Android smartphones and iOS devices, there are a few things you need to know. Check out a few frequently asked questions.

     

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    The Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt makes daily life easier and more convenient. Enter an access code on the touchscreen to unlock the door instead of searching your pockets for keys. Pairing the lock with your smartphone over Bluetooth® is as easy as pairing your phone with your car, and the free Schlage Sense app makes setting up and using the lock as simple as checking email. Share access with trusted friends and family with just a few taps – no more keeping track of spare keys.

     

    Now that this smart lock is compatible with Android smartphones and iOS devices, there are a few things you need to know. Check out a few frequently asked questions below.

    Smart lock - Smartphone compatible lock - Schlage Sense

    1. Do I need to create an account to use my Schlage Sense app?

    Both new and existing Schlage Sense lock users will be asked to create an account to use with their Schlage Sense app. Creating an account allows you to take advantage of all the latest features that the lock has to offer. If you’ve already been using the Schlage Sense lock with your smartphone, creating an account will not affect your lock’s settings.

    2. How do you add an access code?

    With the Schlage Sense app, adding and deleting access codes is easy. Simply set up a new code by going to "Add new access code." You can also give the code a name so you always know who should be using that code and even apply an access schedule so the code is only valid during certain days.

    3. How do I receive notifications for my lock's activity?

    If your lock is set up with HomeKit, you’ll need to add a HomeKit-enabled Apple TV 3rd or 4th generation or an iPad with iOS 10.0 or higher to your home Wi-Fi network. Make sure that the Apple TV/iPad is set up with the same iCloud and iTunes account information as your iPhone. Push notifications may need to be enabled from your iPhone as well. You can customize the types of notifications you receive by going to the Lock Settings > Push Notifications menu.

     

    If the lock is set up with the Schlage system option (ideal for Android users or households using both Android and iOS), you’ll need to add a Schlage Sense Wi-Fi Adapter to your home Wi-Fi network. Notifications will be enabled by default from the Schlage Sense app but can always be updated to your preference in lock settings.

    4. Will my current Schlage Sense lock work with the Android app?

    The current Schlage Sense lock can be updated to the latest firmware to support Android smartphones as well as other new features. If you are currently using the iOS app with the lock, open the Schlage Sense app and accept the firmware upgrade, or go to Lock Settings and tap on the firmware version to request an update.

    5. If my lock is already connected to the iOS app, how do I connect it to the Android app as well?

     

    To connect your existing Schlage Sense lock that has already been paired with an iOS device, you will need to complete the firmware update then follow the steps to remove your lock and repair it with the app. You can do this by going to lock settings and tapping "Delete Lock." This will return your lock to factory settings which means you will have to reset your access codes.

     

    After you've removed the lock from your app, use the app to pair the lock again. This time you will be presented with two options for set up - "Setup with HomeKit" or "Set up with Schlage System." For your lock to compatible with bit the iOS and Android smartphone app, you will need to select "Set up with the Schlage System."

    6. I'm using an Android smartphone. How do I share access to my lock?

     

    Virtual keys are electronic credentials that allow smartphone users to lock or unlock the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt when in Bluetooth range using the Schlage Sense app. Locks that are paired to your smartphone using the Schlage system setup option support the sharing of virtual keys with other smartphone users – both iOS and Android.

     

    To send a virtual key, open the app and select the lock you want to provide access to. Tap the users icon on the bottom right of the screen then select "Virtual keys." Enter the name of the invited user and indicate whether you'd like to provide admin access or guest access (recommended). You can send the invite via email or text. Note that it will only be valid for 24 hours before it expires.

    7. How do virtual keys work?

     

    When an invited user is within Bluetooth range with Bluetooth on their phone turned on, they will be able to use the Schlage Sense app to lock or unlock the deadbolt.

     

    It's important to note that virtual keys will not work with locks set up using the HomeKit option. If you'd like to take advantage of virtual keys, you will need to reset your lock to factory settings and re-pair it using the Schlage system setup noted in number 5.

    8. How can I share access with someone who doesn't have a smartphone?

     

    The Schlage Sense lock makes it easy to share access to your home with the people who need it. Even if a guest does not have a smartphone or access to the Schlage Sense app, you can provide a unique access code to allow them to unlock the door via the lock's touchscreen.

    9. How do I update my lock's firmware?

     

    Firmware updates are important because they ensure that your lock has the latest features. The lock will notify the user of a lock firmware update through the Schlage Sense app. Firmware updates for the lock must be performed within Bluetooth range of the lock.

    10. How do I update my Schlage Sense lock firmware from Version 3.42 or 3.49?

     

    Some homeowners may have experienced trouble updating from lock firmware version 3.42 or 3.49. There is now a way to work around this issue and update to the latest lock firmware. First, make sure you’ve downloaded the latest Schlage Sense app from the App Store or the Google Play store.

     

    You will need to re-set your lock to factory settings by deleting it from your account in the app. Pair the lock again by tapping the "Add a lock" icon located at the top left of the main screen. Choose "Setup with the Schlage system" then you'll be prompted to update your lock's firmware. After that, complete the Add a lock process again, this time selecting HomeKit if this is the setup you prefer for your iOS device.

    11. I lost my phone. How do I secure my Schlage Sense account?

     

    If your smartphone is lost, you can access your Schlage Sense account on another mobile device to change your password and secure your account.

    We want to know your Schlage Sense questions! Leave us a note on Facebook to let us know.

    8 Schlage Touch™ Keyless Touchscreen Deadbolt features you need to know

    September 1, 2017 2:45 PM by emily.bailey

    Friday, September 1, 2017

    8 things to know about the Schlage Touch™ Keyless Touchscreen Deadbolt

    If you're a homeowner with an active lifestyle, or a busy parent with kids who are always coming and going, then Schlage Touch can help simplify your day by eliminating the hassle of keys entirely.

     

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    If you're a homeowner with an active lifestyle, or a busy parent with kids who are always coming and going, then Schlage Touch can help simplify your day by eliminating the hassle of keys entirely. If you're on the fence about which electronic lock is best for you, here's everything you need to know about the Schlage Touch™ Keyless Touchscreen Deadbolt.
    8 things to know about the Schlage Touch™ Keyless Touchscreen Deadbolt

    1. Fingerprint-proof touchscreen

    The Schlage Touch lock is equipped with a fingerprint-resistant touchscreen that helps protect privacy of access codes. No matter the weather, you can still use this touchscreen in the rain and while wearing gloves.

    2. 100% pick-proof

    With no key and no cylinder, there's nothing for you to lose and for would-be intruders, nothing to pick. You no longer need to worry about re-keying your lock or cutting new keys. Simply change the code on your lock whenever you need to give or take away access.

    3. 9V battery backup

    You may be wondering, if there's no cylinder, how can you get in your home if the battery dies? The Schlage Touch is powered by a 9V battery and because it is a standard electronic lock, the battery life will last two years with a low-battery warning that will alert you long before the battery is completely drained. In the unlikely event that the battery does die, this lock features a 9V battery backup on the front of the lock that allows you to perform a battery jump. Once the battery jump is complete and a valid credential is entered, you'll then be able to rotate the bolt throw and unlock the deadbolt.

    4. Security grade

    The Schlage Touch deadbolt has the highest industry ratings for residential security, durability and finish (AAA). The Schlage Touch lever Meets residential industry standards for B security rating (C = good, B = better, A = best) and A durability and finish rating (BAA).

    5. Can store up to 19 user codes

    Codes are easy to set up and easy to change through the Schlage Touch touchscreen. You'll need the original programming code which can be found on the product manual or inside the interior housing as a solid backup. Be sure to checkout our tips for creating a secure user code.

    6. Security with options

    The Schlage Touch deadbolt provides a little more security on an exterior door. The Schlage Touch with lever is perfect for interior doors that need a little extra protection but a key would be far too inconvenient, like an office or the door leading to a connected garage.

    7. Warranty

    The Schlage Touch is backed by a 3-year limited electronics warranty and limited lifetime mechanical and finish warranty.

    8. Easy installation

    The Schlage Touch installs easily in just a few minutes with no wiring needed. The only tool you'll need is a screwdriver. Its slim profile fits easily between the front door and screen door and is guaranteed to fit on standard doors.

    The Schlage Touch is perfect for those who want convenient access and a little peace of mind not worrying about lost or stolen keys but aren't interested in the connectivity that smart locks provide. If you decide Schlage Touch is perfect for you, we want to see your makeover photos! Share them with us on Facebook.

    Lifehacks for smart locks

    August 28, 2017 12:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Monday, August 28, 2017

    Lifehacks for smart locks | Schlage

    Smart locks are meant to make life easier and more connected. If you have a smart lock, have you been using it to its full potential?

     

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    Smart locks are meant to make life easier and more connected. If you have a smart lock, have you been using it to its full potential? If you’ve been considering buying one, have you thought about all the ways it could simplify your life? Here are a few examples of how a smart lock could help your day-to-day life.
    Smart lock - Lifehacks - Schlage

    Keyless Convenience

    One of the appeals of smart locks is not having to carry around your house keys. But maybe you’re not sure when that would actually be useful to you. After all, you have to have your car keys, so house keys don’t seem like that much of an inconvenience. From experience, we know having a keyring that is too big to fit in your pocket isn’t particularly enjoyable.

     

    But what about going running or biking from your house? Maybe you make use of the little built in pocket in work-out pants, or tie a house key to your shoes. But with a smart lock, you never have to worry about taking the key off your ring to go exercise, or losing it if do. You also don’t have to worry about hiding a lock under the mat or in your mailbox for visitors. The Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt can hold up to 30 access codes so anyone visiting your house can have their own code.

     

    Maybe you have a dog walker that comes to your house regularly. Or a lot of maintenance people coming in and out. You either have to give them a key to your house, or leave one hidden for them if you aren’t able to let them in every time. With a smart lock you’ll never have to worry about that again. Give the dog sitter their own access code so they can get in when they need to, and you can know when their code is used. See when your pets are being taken care of instead of worrying while you’re away.

    Home sharing

    Maybe you have been thinking about listing your home on a site like Airbnb, Home Away, VRBO or something similar. Did you know how useful smart locks can be for home sharing? Because you can set up multiple codes, you can just text your guests their code for their stay. You’ll get extra host points for ease and convenience if you make their access code the last 4 digits of their phone number. That way they know it’s just for them.

     

    You can also set time frames for all of the lock’s access codes. That means you can make sure a guest’s access code only works for the time they have rented your house, and you don’t have any strangers with 24/7 access to your home.

    Smart home living

    Smart locks don’t have to be the extent of your smart home world. The Schlage Connect™ Touchscreen Deadbolt can connect to multiple home automation hubs such as Samsung SmartThings and the Wink Hub. When paired to your home automation hub, the Connect can work with Amazon Alexa devices. Ask Alexa if your front door is locked when you’re getting into bed instead of double checking. Do you live with a child or spouse that leaves the house and never remembers to lock the door behind them? Or maybe you’re the forgetful one. Now you can just ask Alexa to lock the front door.

     

    You can start adding smart products to your home with a home automation hub. Philips Hue lights are an option for smart home lighting that allow you to control color and brightness of your lights through your phone. The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is a programmable thermostat that can help you save money on your energy bills and keep your home the perfect temperature. Both of these systems work with the same home automation hubs that the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt works with. This means that you could set up your home so that the lights and A/C turn on when you unlock your door in the afternoons. Your house will be ready and waiting for you.

     

    Do you have other lifehack ideas? Share them on our Facebook page.

    Security is leading reason for homeowner adoption of smart home tech

    August 23, 2017 5:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, August 23, 2017

    Security is leading reason for homeowner adoption of smart home tech

    Nearly half of those surveyed by Houzz are putting smart tech in their homes. Just over half are not. Where do you stand?

     

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    Do you like to check on your home via your cellphone while you’re away? How about monitoring your little one’s nap time from the computer downstairs? If so, you’re part of a growing number of people using smart technology at home.

     

    About 45 percent of renovating homeowners have added or are adding systems and other products that can be controlled with a mobile device or computer, according to the Houzz 2016 U.S. Smart Home Trends Study. Slightly over half are not joining the smart home trend — some citing privacy concerns for their choice.

     

    The study, from the Houzz research team led by principal economist Nino Sitchinava, polled nearly 1,000 Houzz users in the U.S. who own homes and had either completed a home renovation project in the last year or were planning one within the next. Read on, then tell us what you think. Does smart home technology appeal to you?

    We care about being safe

    The most popular area for new smart systems or devices to appear is home security or safety upgrades, the study found. One-fourth of renovating homeowners install smart products for this area. After safety comes entertainment: 18 percent of renovating homeowners put smart technology in their entertainment systems.

    But let’s not break the bank

    Homeowners who choose smart security technology spend more, not surprisingly, than those who choose more conventional alternatives. About one-third of renovating homeowners spend $500 or less on smart security, while another 41 percent spend between $501 and $1,500.

    No intruders here

    The No. 1 reason renovating homeowners choose to upgrade to smart security is to protect their home against intruders. After that, renovators cited the ability to control and monitor their homes, both while inside them and while away.

    This home is protected by smarts

    The most popular safety-related upgrades that use smart technology are alarms and/or fire and carbon monoxide detectors, and cameras; those two types are installed by about 9 percent of renovating homeowners each. About 5 percent of owners opt for smart door locks, which can be connected to Wi-Fi and controlled via a computer or mobile device.*

     

    *Schlage smart locks require pairing with a smart home hub to allow remote access.

    After safety, it’s all about having a good time

    About 8 percent of renovating homeowners install TVs, speakers and video- or music-streaming devices that are smart — meaning they can be controlled with a mobile device or computer. Video-streaming devices — think Apple TV, Roku — and music-streaming devices — for Spotify, Pandora and so on — are more likely to be smart than not.

    It’s hard to say no to a smart TV

    Homeowners who buy entertainment systems shell out in a wide range of cost categories. About 21 percent of renovators who opted for smart entertainment spent more than $5,000, while only 5 percent budgeted for this spending.

    Let’s be comfortable and save energy too

    Renovating homeowners who choose smart climate-control systems or devices — most frequently smart thermostats — say it’s all about improving comfort. A close second is reducing energy consumption, cited by 68 percent of renovating homeowners who choose smart technology. Reducing energy consumption is also a big motivator for owners who choose smart lighting solutions.

    Nontechie, and it’s OK

    Although a growing number of renovators are using smart tech at home, more than half of renovating homeowners choose not to use smart security products, lighting or systems and devices for climate control or entertainment. Among that group, only about one-third considered them as an option. Among those who considered, about 37 percent just weren’t interested. Notably, nearly one-fourth of the entire group of nonadopters shied away because of privacy concerns.

     

    See the complete survey results.

    This article first appeared on Houzz on September 15, 2016.

     

    Erin Carlyle | Houzz editorial staff

    Erin Carlyle | Houzz editorial staff



    Writing about the cost of renovation and what it takes to remodel. Former Forbes real estate reporter. Fascinated by cool homes, watching the bottom line.

    What every parent ought to know about smart locks

    August 21, 2017 2:29 PM by emily.bailey

    Monday, August 21, 2017

    What every parent ought to know about smart locks | Schlage

    The school year brings all kinds of new situations for families, and a smart lock can help you navigate them.

     

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    It’s that time of year again. The kids are headed back to school, and whether you’re excited or sad about the prospect, Schlage wants to make sure that you’re also prepared. The school year brings all kinds of new situations for families, and a smart lock can help you navigate them.
    Smart locks - Parenting - Schlage

    Keyless convenience

    No parent wants their kids to be locked out of the house, but maybe you aren’t ready to give them a key yet. They might be too young for a set of keys, or maybe just forgetful. The keys might fall out of their backpack or just never make in into it. With a lock like the Schlage Connect™ Touchscreen Deadbolt, you won’t have to hide keys under doormats or worry that your kids will have to wait outside until you get home from work.

    Scheduling

    Scheduling can become difficult once school starts back up. Once after school activities start, no one gets home at the same time, especially if you have more than one child. When you have people coming in and out of your house at all hours of the day, a smart lock is your best friend. The Schlage Sense™ Smart Deadbolt can hold up to 30 access codes, so everyone in the family can have their own code to the front door. If you have an Apple TV or iPad in the home, you can use it to connect your Schlage Sense deadbolt to your iPhone through Apple HomeKit, and use the Schlage Sense app to unlock or lock the door even when you're not at home. Then, if there is ever a time that someone is picking your child up, or gets home before you do, you can let them in with your smartphone.

    Curfew enforcer

    If your kids are old enough to be going out with friends, you’re probably familiar with staying up and worrying about them until they get home. Or maybe you remember how many things you got away with when you were a teenager and are determined to catch your own children in the act. This can lead to many nights sitting on the couch in the dark waiting to surprise your child as they come in late.

     

    When you have the Schlage Sense app installed on your phone, you get notifications when the door is unlocked and which code was used. No more late nights waiting up on the couch worrying about your child, or hoping for that “gotcha” moment. Your deadbolt and smartphone can do all of that for you, and you can get some sleep.

     

    Peace of mind

    Most importantly, a smart lock can offer you peace of mind. Every parent is going to worry about their kids, and Schlage can’t stop that, but we can help make it better. With the Schlage Sense app, your Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt lets you know when your kids get home from school or practice. You’ll never have to worry about whether or not they’re safe at home again.

     

    If you have babysitters or grandparents that come over to watch your kids when you can’t be home immediately after school, Schlage smart locks are perfect for them as well. You can create codes on a schedule that matches when the babysitter is going to be at your house. You also don’t have to worry about making multiple copies of your keys for anyone that might need access. Rest easy knowing your home is safe and easily accessible for your family with Schlage.

     

    Check out our Pinterest for more ideas on how our products can fit in to your home.

    The importance of flexibility when selecting IoT technology

    August 15, 2017 8:21 PM by Rob_Martens

    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    The importance of flexibility when selecting IoT technology

    Futurist Rob Martens explains how today's IoT technology must be flexible to be successful.

     

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    In my work, I’m frequently surrounded by experts and people heavily immersed in the latest and greatest technology tools and sciences. That makes talking with people who are not as exposed to the Internet of Things (IoT) a special opportunity. I always tell them, the fact is that the success or failure of IoT oriented solutions is all about being flexible.

    In my experience, these conversations and interactions quickly become a discussion about operating systems. When the term operating system is used, many of us think about our personal computing devices: phones, tablets, perhaps a laptop. But today’s operating systems aren’t necessarily tied to a single piece of hardware or a traditional “technology tool.” They can be ubiquitous, completely cloud-based and interact with devices based on circumstance.

     

    That said, in the more traditional vein we have operating systems for our watches, cars, and I would certainly now argue for our homes. All of these operating systems appear to be on very different paths to maturity, but in reality, they are following a similar map, largely based on the core foundations of their construction.

    To understand these paths, start with the basics. For IoT-oriented solutions, the three core contributors to growth/maturity are:

    • The cost and availability of sensors
    • The decreasing cost of data transport
    • The decreasing cost and increasing efficiency of data cleansing/optimization tools

       

    Sensors are affordable, and becoming more so daily. These sensors are also delivering more data than ever before. The cost of the pipes and transport of this data continue to decrease and become more accessible. All of this unstructured or “dirty” data is now more easily cleansed, sorted and made available through optimization tools. These are foundational, core trends that feed the ability for IoT operating systems to exist. These core components allow for these maturing operating systems to form, evolve and expand at the rapid pace we are witnessing.

     

    I work for a company that makes security and safety products focused on where people work, live and play. My job is challenging and immensely interesting to me, because we are in the process of bridging a divide. On one side are the typically hardened, tough metal objects meant to keep out the people you don’t want coming in, and on the other are newer digital components that are meant to protect but can also enable a higher level of convenience, interoperability and function than ever before.

    So let’s focus on the evolving home or building operating system for a moment. Some call them Smart Homes or Smart Buildings. Here we are finding the fusion of energy management, security and most recently, convenience. Historically, energy management and security are well understood. We manage the costs of lighting, HVAC, etc. We understand why it is important to have locks on our doors and to keep our buildings secure. The seed change of the IoT in this operating system is now appearing. By installing connected, smart or sensor-driven devices, we are effectively bringing the element of convenience to more people. As we witness the fusion of these historically disparate elements of energy management, security and convenience together, we can provide a more tailored and personalized experience to the user. In other words, we can provide flexibility.

     

    Will my watch, car and home be able to support multiple operating systems? What if I want just one? Or will these operating systems themselves demonstrate the type of flexibility that consumers crave and demand as the technology matures? How will these operating systems evolve? If I choose one, am I stuck? 

    Great questions, and early on, operating systems have been very proprietary. History shows us that less proprietary systems are typically faster to evolve and change, allowing them to adopt newer technology to positively impact function, availability and costs. Again, in a word, flexibility.

     

    In addition to the influence of traditional market demand-based innovative design and crave-worthy marketing efforts will be the critical elements of security, privacy and the management of data. These elements are potential game changers if not suitably and continuously addressed. There is no flexibility here.

     

    Operating systems will become broader and more transparent as IoT-oriented devices and tools enter our lives in masse. The growth curve is undeniable, and the opportunities are becoming much more obvious to even the least exposed observers. The measure of adoption and perhaps most importantly, satisfaction that they deliver will be largely dependent on how flexible they are for the user. To learn more, visit Schlage.com/thoughtleadership.

     

    Rob Martens

    Rob Martens | Futurist and VP of Strategy and Partnerships


    Rob Martens uses his unique talent for identifying patterns and associations to look for mega trends in technology, as well as the ways they can be used to improve the average person’s day. 

    12 times a keyless electronic deadbolt looked fantastic on a front door

    August 4, 2017 6:50 PM by emily.bailey

    Friday, August 4, 2017

    12 times a keyless electronic deadbolt looked fantastic on a front door

    Let these beautiful front doors inspire you to add a little more tech to your home.

     

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    When choosing and installing keyless locks, ditching the key doesn't mean ditching style, too. Our customers have some of the most beautiful homes so we gathered up real world photos on Instagram to help inspire your next makeover and give you the courage to add a little tech to your front door! Tell us: Which look is your favorite? Be sure to follow us on Instagram for plenty of inspiration!
     

    6 things you must know before purchasing a smart lock

    August 3, 2017 1:22 PM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, August 3, 2017

    6 things you must know before purchasing a smart lock

    It's never been easier or more affordable to build your own smart home but the wealth of options can also be a little overwhelming. Consider these 6 qualities before investing in a smart lock.

     

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    With recent advancements in smart home technology and many brands entering the industry, it's never been easier or more affordable to outfit your home with smart technology. By focusing on a few aspects of your home that could benefit from a little more convenience and security, you'll be living like the Jetsons in no time. But with so many available options, the features can become a little overwhelming. Here are six things you need to know about smart locks before you decide to make the investment.
    Smart lock - Schlage Sense - Schlage Connect

    Ease of installation

    Will you need to hire a locksmith to install your new lock or is it a quick and easy DIY project? Be sure to consider available installation manuals and videos before you choose a lock.

     

    With the Schlage SenseTM Smart Deadbolt, installation is easy. Just follow along through the Schlage Sense app for step-by-step instructions. A screwdriver is the only tool you'll need to complete the installation in just a few minutes.

    Ease of use

    A smart lock that becomes confusing to use is going to add more frustration than convenience to your day-to-day. Make sure you understand all modes of access a smart lock allows and how to share access with a family member or service personnel. It may be too confusing for a friend to download an app to take advantage of keyless entry so you'll want a lock that gives you options.

     

    Both the Schlage Sense lock and Schlage ConnectTM Touchscreen Deadbolt allow multiple modes of entry whether it's through an app on your phone, a 4-8 digit PIN or a manual key. Simply create a custom PIN for any guests that need access to your home. No confusing app instructions necessary!

    Proven track record for strength and security

    At the end of the day, it's important that your smart lock stand the test of time when it comes to keeping your home safe and secure. While there are many smart locks on the market that have plenty of cool features to keep you connected, they fall short when it comes to strength and durability. Choosing a smart lock from a company that has a long history of producing quality deadbolts and locks will give you the peace of mind knowing that even if the wi-fi is out or your batteries fail, you'll still have a durable lock built to protect your home.

     

    If you're unsure whether or not a lock passes the strength and durability test, look for locks that are backed by the BHMA certified secure home residential door hardware grade. At Schlage, we put our locks against rigorous testing, such as sledgehammer attacks, attempts to manually pull the lock from the door, and measures of durability that ensure smooth functionality after a lifetime of use. Both the Schlage Sense lock and Schlage Connect lock with built-in alarm received a grade of AAA from the BHMA - the highest rating you can receive in the categories of strength, durability and finish.

    Available features

    Take the time to learn all the available features for your smart lock. A great lock can do more than lock and unlock! With a Schlage smart lock, you can take advantage of extra features like built-in alarm technology that senses the slightest vibrations against the door and responds with an audible alarm and optional auto-lock technology that automatically locks the deadbolt behind you so you never have to worry about someone forgetting to lock the door again.

    Battery life

    Make sure you understand the type of batteries used to power your lock and the expected battery life. You don't want to end up with a lock that uses an obscure battery or needs to be changed every month. Schlage smart locks are powered by 4 double A batteries that only need to be changed once a year.

    Smart device compatibility

    Do you already have other smart devices installed in your home? You'll want to be sure you choose a smart lock that is compatible. Do you have a smart home hub powered by z-wave technology? Then you'll want to choose a z-wave lock, like the Schlage Connect lock. Are you interested in building a smart home within the Apple HomeKit Ecosystem? Then Schlage Sense is right for you.

     

    Have specific questions about your smart lock's features or capabilities? Reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook for help!

    How to build a high tech smart home without sacrificing style

    July 27, 2017 5:00 PM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, July 27, 2017

    How to build a high tech smart home without sacrificing style

    Home assistants can make any house feel more like a smart home, but how do you choose the best fit for your home and personal style? To figure this out, you have to weigh the function and appearance of these high-tech devices.

     

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    It’s likely you’ve used a virtual assistant at least once. Anytime you talked to Siri or said, “OK Google,” to search for information or automate a task on your smartphone, you used a virtual assistant. 

    You can take the virtual assistant a step further by adding one to your house. You may have seen these home assistants in TV ads or on a tech-savvy friend’s kitchen counter. The small speaker-like gadgets are wirelessly connected to a kind of smart online software. Some examples of this software are Alexa and Google Assistant, which you can verbally ask to perform tasks such as telling you what the weather is like, scheduling meetings or playing music. 

    These home assistants can make any house feel more like a smart home, but how do you choose the best fit for your home and personal style? To figure this out, you have to weigh the function and appearance of these high-tech devices. Let’s take a look at four home assistants that work well and look good doing it.

    1. Amazon Echo

    Cost: $179.99

    Smart Home - Stylish Tech - Amazon Alexa;
    The Amazon Echo is an internet-connected device that
    gives you access to Amazon’s virtual assistant, called Alexa. The Echo is capable of playing music and answering miscellaneous questions (“Alexa, what’s the weather like?”), and it can even place shopping orders on Amazon.

    Alexa was primarily designed to make life easier for its users, and users have seen that having the beginnings of a “smart home” isn’t as complicated as they originally thought. 

    Julia Fain of Huntersville, North Carolina, received an Amazon Echo as a Christmas gift from family and has found Alexa to be a convenient virtual helper.

    “We use ‘her’ a lot to play music: upbeat music in the morning before school and classical while our kids do homework,” Fain says. “It’s nice that we can easily say, ‘Alexa next,’ to skip songs, and, ‘Alexa, volume 3,’ to turn music down without touching it. We ask her frequently about the weather, news and what the date is [for writing down it on homework].”

    The Echo resembles a cylindrical speaker. It measures a little over 9 inches tall and about 3⅓ inches in diameter, and it comes in white or black. It’s somewhat more noticeable than the Echo Dot, which we’ll discuss next.

     

    Though it’s one of the taller home assistants out there, it isn’t overly imposing in any room, which was Amazon’s goal: to make the Echo an ambient gadget that doesn’t stick out in your home.

     

    “I don’t mind its appearance,” Fain says. “We have the Echo in our kitchen on the countertop. It’s small enough to move if we had a formal gathering in our home, but we are a pretty casual family.”

    Smart Home - Tech with Style - Amazon Echo

    2. Amazon Echo Dot

    Cost: $49.99

    Smart home - Stylish tech - Amazon Echo Dot;

    The Echo Dot is Amazon’s more compact version of the Echo. It still connects to Alexa and offers the same features, but the home assistant’s hardware is much smaller. A mere 1½ inches tall, it looks something like a small hockey puck. 

    The biggest difference between the Echo and the Echo Dot is the devices’ speakers. The taller Echo has room for a large speaker that wraps around the entire cylinder, providing better sound quality when playing music or replying to questions.

    Matthew Anderson of Lincoln, Nebraska, says he likes the versatility of his Echo Dot. “When I have guests over, I will use it to stream music, either from a specified artist’s ‘station’ or by connecting my phone to it,” Anderson says.

    Anderson also uses his Echo Dot to listen to podcasts and play Jeopardy, which is one of many “skills” you can teach Alexa. 

    “I use the timer-alarm function often when multitasking around the kitchen or tending to various tasks around my condo,” Anderson says. “Heck, I’ll often ask Alexa, ‘What time is it?’ if my hands are busy with kitchen stuff and I don’t want to touch my phone.”

     

    The Echo Dot’s speaker is much smaller and is located on top. While the sound quality is still good (full disclosure: I own one and have no complaints about the sound quality for basic, everyday use), it’s not quite as good as the original Echo’s. 

    To make up for this, the Echo Dot has an audio output jack, so you can attach an external speaker to improve the sound quality of your music. 

    The Echo Dot’s size means that it looks at home in nearly any setting, regardless of the decor. [Browse rustic coffee tables for your Echo Dot.] It is also available in white or black, and its low profile means that unless your guests hear it speak, they probably won’t even know it’s there.

    “I just learned there are fabric-faux wood cases for the Dot now, but the aesthetics aren’t worth [the money] to me,” Anderson says.

    3. Google home

    Cost: $129

    Smart home - Stylish tech - Google Home
    This voice assistant is Google’s first foray into the home assistant market. 

    Google Home
     responds to the same voice commands as your Android phone’s assistant (“OK Google”) and works with the Google infrastructure. 

    “I really like how receptive it is to my voice,” says Google Home owner Sammy Purcell of Mountain View, California, noting that the device is able to pick up her voice if she gives it a command from another room.

    Purcell uses her Google Home for many different tasks around the house, even letting it talk her husband through making French toast with step-by-step instructions.

    “But most often I use it to entertain and educate my 2-year-old son,” she says. “We use it for music a lot, and he’s obsessed with asking Google — or “Googoo,” as he calls it — to make a variety of noises. We started with animal sounds and [have since] evolved to different musical instruments and various vehicles like cars and trains. It makes my life easier because sometimes Mommy doesn’t know what sound a lemur makes, and my imitation of a train horn is not very accurate.”
    Smart home - Stylish tech - Home Assistant - Google Home
    Google Home recently gained the ability to detect different voices, so if you and your spouse each have events scheduled for the day, it will be able to remind each of you about your events by recognizing your voices. 

    Google Home has a single speaker (located around the bottom half of the product) and a customizable base, meaning you can make it match nearly any decor or color scheme you want. There are even third-party services that have started designing skins for the top portion of Google Home devices, so you can give the gadget a wooden, metal or leather look.

    The advanced customization options of Google Home’s aesthetics may make it more desirable than other home assistant products. 

    The device itself isn’t as tall as the Amazon Echo, coming in at about 5⅝ inches, but its base is slightly wider, making it more stable and less likely to fall over. The body of the Google Home is white by default, and the stock base is a slate gray. But you can easily remove the base, which is only attached with magnets, and replace it with whatever color best fits your home.

    Purcell says she really likes the way her Google Home looks. “We just own the standard gray-silver base model, but it looks really clean and sleek in our kitchen,” she says. “It’s pretty subtle and not garish or gaudy one bit, but stands out just enough that people will notice it and ask us about it.”

    4. Lenovo Smart Assistant

    Cost: $129.99

    Smart home - Tech with Style - Lenovo smart assistant

    At first glance, you might think that the Lenovo Smart Assistant is an Amazon Echo clone — its operating system is even powered by Alexa. But some might say it brings together the best of Echo and Home into one neat package. 

    The Lenovo Smart Assistant has been demonstrated at events around the country and is expected to be available in 2017.

    The biggest physical difference between the Lenovo device and other smart assistants is its speakers. According to industry experts, such as CNET, this home assistant has some of the best speakers in the market, making it a good choice for playing music anywhere in your home. 

    Being outfitted with Alexa, it also includes all the same voice command options that you can access with the Echo and Echo Dot. Lenovo Smart Assistant can pick up your voice from more than 16 feet away and cancel out background noise so you aren’t constantly shouting “Alexa!”

    Otherwise, Lenovo Smart Assistant is roughly the same size and shape as Amazon’s Echo. However, the device itself comes in four different colors, something Amazon doesn’t offer. You can get Lenovo Smart Assistant in green, orange, gray or black — making it easy to match to any home decor or color scheme. 

    These Home Assistants Are Just the Beginning

    With major tech companies vying for success in the home assistant market, it’s only a matter of time before we start to see some new options. Expect to see smaller startups popping up in this industry, likely bringing more trendy-looking smart home devices with them. 

    Tech companies have already figured out how to make virtual assistants more practical for everyday consumers. Next, they’ll refine the aesthetics of these gadgets to fit consumer design preferences too. 

    Your turn: Are you using one of these assistants or other “smart home” technologies? Please tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter.

     

    This article first appeared on Houzz on May 30, 2017.

     

    Kayla Matthews | Houzz Contributor

    Kayla Matthews | Houzz contributor



    App junkie and self-improvement enthusiast. I also write for Curbed, Inman, VentureBeat and VICE. You can read more posts from me on my blog, ProductivityBytes.com

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