Product Review - Schlage LiNK
Schlage LiNK was introduced to us earlier this year at CES in Las Vegas. I have been installing their first generation electronic keypad for many years, so I was intrigued when I saw Schlage had a new hardware solution available that had features thause with my beloved iPhone. Here is an excerpt from Schalge's website:
"Simply put, Schlage LiNK is the answer to every busy family's needs. The longer version of the story is that it's a secure, web-based system that allows you to monitor and control your Z-Wave enabled door locks, lights, Trane Remote Energy Management Thermostat, and even your Schlage camera from your Schlage LiNK web and mobile interface."
So you may ask-like I did-"What is Z-Wave Technology?" I had to do some research and according to Z-Wave.com here is what it's all about:
"Z-Wave is a next-generation wireless ecosystem that lets all your home electronics talk to each other, and to you, via remote control. It uses simple, reliable, low-power radio waves that easily travel through walls, floors, and cabinets. Z-Wave control can be added to almost any electronic device in your house, even devices that you wouldn't ordinarily think of as "intelligent," such as appliances, window shades, thermostats and home lighting."
Basically Z-Wave is a wireless communications standard designed for home automation in residential and light commercial environments. Now that we have the basis down, let's move on to the good stuff.
Setup and Installation
The Schlage LiNK starter kit comes with your choice of a lever lock or deadbolt, Schlage Wireless Bridge (Z-Wave controller), one Schlage Light Module, one ethernet cable, and batteries. There are three finishes available: Bright Brass, Satin Nickel, and Aged Bronze.
The starter kit comes with simple instructions on how to replace the lock on your door, or if need be, what you need to do to install a lock for the first time. Once the lock is installed, you need to power up the ethernet bridge and enroll the lock and light module on the system. This was a relatively automated and simple process if you follow the instructions. Finally. you need to set-up the account on the internet.
I believe the on-line set-up is the tedious part of the process. After entering alot of personal information and agreeing to a long list of Terms and Conditions, you MUST give your credit card information before being able to use the device. I would have really liked to have seen a free trial here; however, the good news is that there are not long term contracts. The web interface and BlackBerry/iPhone interface allows you to receive email updates, view entry logs, change codes, and even remotely unlock or lock the door through your phone or internet connection. The access fee is currently $12.99/month, but necessary to access the full functionality of the product.
I found this video from www.crackberry.com to be an excellent overview of how the Schlage LiNK actually works.
Each Z-Wave system can handle up to 232 devices (more than enough) and Schlage only has a limited amount of accessories now; a wired camera, wireless camera; light module, and a newly released Trane thermostat. There are several other companies that make Z-Wave enabled products, and a quick search of the web can lead you to many retail outlets.
The Schlage LiNK starter kit is a great way for any family to get into home automation at a very reasonable price. The monthly fee for the web/BlackBerry/iPhone access is very low, especially for the amount of control it can give you over your home when you're away, and for the peace of mind you can get when you receive a message that your child has arrived home. It is also a decent solution for Seasonal Rentals, allowing the owner or manager to see when a tenant has left, when the cleaners arrived, and change the codes remotely. I cannot see a large application for businesses, but the systems unique capabilities are sure to be the perfect solution to some small businesses.
About the Author:
Key C. Powell, owner of Key Locksmith Services, has over 25 years experience and understands the unique needs of businesses, homes, and condominiums in Collier County. Key's dedication to customer satisfaction and staying on the cutting edge of current technology has made Key Locksmith Services the premier locksmith in Naples and the first choice of homeowners, realtors, property managers, and business owners.
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“The KEY to Your Security and Peace of Mind.”