The Future of Residential Smart Locks: Thinking Beyond the Deadbolt with AI

It’s something out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. The door opens for you and only you as you advance closer to your door. In 2017, we are bringing what was once an idea for a sci-fi flick to reality. Smart lock technology holds a lucrative future as we start to branch out beyond the usual deadbolt smart lock. New advancements in IoT have started to move forward improvements in access control connectivity by utilizing AI (artificial intelligence) and mesh networking. Today, smart lock technology can be found primarily within the deadbolt, but through the evolution of this technology, end-users will realize its potential beyond just the front door; and into every room.

Beyond The Deadbolt

Access control is developing and connecting in new ways. Since these locks can now be accessed remotely through your smartphone, the lock itself has a unique connection to you. Unikey’s platform transcends the digital key, as seen with the partnership between Kwikset and UniKey. The main feature of the Kevo smart deadbolt, powered by UniKey™ is its “eKey” functionality, which gives smartphone users the opportunity to use their Bluetooth feature to open their front door. This keyless front door experience changes your perspective. All of the keys that you find yourself losing or fidgeting through can now be eliminated. UniKey’s technology also allows users to grant eKeys to other smartphone users within the Kevo app. Users can grant a limited-time key to a maid or contractor, or more permanent access options to fellow family members or roommates.

Thinking beyond the deadbolt, lock and handle combos are gaining momentum in smart technology integration as well. The Baldwin Evolved, powered by UniKey™ is a prime example of how the smart lock market is starting to include the popular, residential egress style. Additionally, sliding glass doors using IoT technology will be another trend to look out for in 2017. Moving past the exterior of the smart home, future consumers will also look for new ways to secure, control and automate their home by turning toward smart interior door knobs that will work with their existing mobile apps and digital keys.

In the last decade, Bluetooth has tripled the advancement of connected technology through its pursuit of linking all of the devices in our daily lives. Until recently, the Bluetooth protocol has been focused on cell phones, smart watches, and computer accessories. Interest has now shifted toward the connectivity of all necessities within home. One example is Smart Armor’s new product, Smart Cube, a portable gadget that utilizes Bluetooth technology, and turns any cabinet into a mini-safe that is controlled by a user’s smartphone. “The beauty of the Smart Cube is that you can take it anywhere. It’s portable, has a very simple installation process, and can retrofit into any current situation. Being able to take any cabinet or drawer that you already own and have the ability to lock it is really useful,” says Justin Zastrow, CEO of Smart Armor.


The end of 2016 saw an estimated 6.4 billion “connected things” according to technology research firm Gartner.

Over the next few years, it’s predicted that the entire smart home’s connected access control ecosystem will include: exterior smart locks, interior door knobs, smart cabinets, smart appliances and more. In order to manage such vast amounts access, OEMs must prepare for, and head into an era of autonomous access control. This concept suggests that these devices communicate with each other and effortlessly lock/unlock around you based off of an authorized user’s presence and positioning within the room they enter. Imagine as you leave your home, everything is locked in an orchestrated and simultaneous manner: from your refrigerator, to the interior doors of your bedroom, bathroom, even your medicine cabinet and dresser drawers. Sounds like peace of mind, all the time.

Additionally, a similar experience can also be imagined upon arrival, through the use of artificial intelligence in the machinery, each access control device will soon be able to communicate with one another and allow automated access control to the user once they arrive. Picture yourself coming back from work or a long trip and without fiddling with any keys or pressing any buttons, your entire house unlocks for you as you enter through the front door and into each room. Your light and temperature adjusts to your desired level through the opening and closing of automated windows and blinds. When grabbing a hot snack from the kitchen, your fridge and microwave unlock in sync, almost expecting your next move. Automated access control is especially useful for the next generation of sharing economies, with apps like Airbnb continuing to grow, allowing third party guest access to your home will be painless. By sending a digital key, you’ll finally be able to fully control what guests have access to in the house. Hosts will no longer need to move personal items into a locked closet before guests arrive, it will be as simple as leaving the house. Your devices will do all of the thinking.

According to a survey, 46% believe smart homes will probably become more prominent in the next few years. Mesh networking is emerging as an ideal design solution for interconnecting a large number of network devices.

A mesh network is the term used to describe interconnecting IoT applications and devices. As the devices in your home start to become smarter through AI, they will soon be able to speak to each other through what is called M2M (Machine-to-Machine) communication. In the scenarios described within the above paragraphs, smart locks and any device that requires access control will soon be connected through this medium. AI and M2M will be a monumental step for the end user experience, ultimately making security effortless.

Smart access control technology is evolving with deadbolt smart locks currently leading the way, but the future of smart access control will transcend the entire smart home. It’s time we expand our thinking, unlock the hidden value of access control in every IoT device, and understand the endless opportunities that come with it through AI and M2M communication. The idea that was once a sci-fi novelty will soon be accessible through your fingertips in the next generation of access control.  To learn more about a future beyond the deadbolt, visit