Tuning In: Thanks to Radio, Lock Technologies are Nearly Endless

By Frank Fitts III

I own a home built in 1953—just four years prior to my birth. Though I don’t have any real memories of the era, these were some prosperous years. One might describe the 1950s as a “decade of recovery.”

History suggests the world was still recovering from WWII, as well as the lingering effects of the Great Depression, in the 1950s. Despite the pain of those experiences, recovery led to innovation, which led to advances in technology like never before. And many of those advancements are still giving. For instance, the technologies associated with our favorite pastime—the radio—eventually gave us things like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and RFID.

Meanwhile, my 1953 home has its original entry door and hardware. Of all the homes I’ve lived in, it has the easiest entry door to operate: a simple lever-action dead bolt with mortise lock and auxiliary push-button locking for added security. This would be the most advanced entry lock of its time. Today? Not so much.

Keeping Up

As I age, simple things become more difficult, such as carrying something while entering a locked door. As a result, I look for technology that can and will help me. Speaking of the afore mentioned technologies (stemming from radio), the world today is covered with industry that uses radio frequencies to aid in entry door technology. My old hardware brand is still in business. Look at the list of features available today for a similar lockset:

1. Smart locks featuring touch-to-open technology;
2. KEVO app compatibility that allows for unlimited sharing of eKeys (your phone is your key); and
3. Key fob technology to activate the lock just as a car door would.

Needless to say, the simple task of securing your front door, hotel room or a hospital entry has gone high-tech. Meanwhile, adding to those options, the selection of manufacturers is global and they use every available bit of data to make your life simpler. Using your last stay data, hotels can create a bio for you showing what channel the TV was on, how the shades were drawn, what temperature you like and which lights to turn on. This can be stored on your room key and retrieved when you unlock your room.

Moving Targets

I believe everyone is familiar with Bluetooth— wireless technology that exchanges data between fixed and mobile devices over short distances. Have you ever heard of Zigbee? Zigbee uses artificial intelligence to aid in moving data by changing between up to 16 different frequencies, thereby helping to avoid potential security breaches. Bluetooth uses only one.

How good is this new technology and how safe are we in using it? From what one can find over the internet, most any technology can be compromised. For this reason, we must be aware and never assume it can’t or won’t happen.

At the same time, new technologies are making our lives easier by lowering the difficulty for entering homes. And I, for one, look forward to taking advantage.

Frank Fitts III is associate vice chairperson for World Millwork Alliance and president of Fitts Industries Inc.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

DWM Magazine

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