Smart Door Locks and the Spousal Acceptance Factor

The Spousal Acceptance Factor is one of the most critical metrics to a successful smart home deployment. In most families, there is one person pushing for connected or smart devices, and one who by default becomes the consumer. I have found that my wife is the best gauge of a successful product, she just wants things to work as advertised, where I am more forgiving and willing to test products.

Purchasing a smart door lock was a bit of a challenge for us since the requirements were pretty stringent.

  1. Must have an analog failover, a key to access incase of failure.
  2. Must be a classic design, nothing that looks like it is futuristic.
  3. Must integrate with existing alarm system (this one was mine)
  4. A keypad would be a huge bonus since it allows for keyless entry without a phone or other device.
  5. Homekit integration would be a huge bonus.

Basically we wanted something that integrated with our home, and our security system. As we had previously chosen the Ring Alarm System, I started looking at devices which were certified to work with Ring. This shortened the list significantly, as did the design ascetics. The keypad helped to narrow the field, as did the key requirement.

The final product selected was the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi deadbolt. This met all the criteria above, with the exception of homekit integration. The lack of homekit integration was an acceptable compromise since the system was tied directly into the Ring Alarm.

The install took about 15 min since I was replacing the existing deadbolt, and programming was very straight forward. Because I chose the wifi edition, it did require connecting to ring through the amazon key app, something I don’t intend to use for my deliveries. Once I had completed this, I was excited to see the lock show up within the Ring App as below.


This lock has lead to more conversations, we will be putting in the same lock to the door from the garage to the house, and some lower end locks for internal security needs. This has been a surprising success, and a solution I would recommend for anyone wanting to make their home more secure and easier to access for authorized members.

Smart Door Locks and the Spousal Acceptance Factor

Fun with Homekit

With the release of iOS 10, and homekit becoming a little more mainstream, I have finally begun to really take advantage of my homekit enabled devices.  It has been an interesting process, but I remain hopeful.

I wrote previously about my experience with my Ecobee3 Thermostat.  I purchased it instead of a competitor because of homekit specifically.  When I installed it, I didn’t really have a solid understanding of how homekit worked, and honestly didn’t take the time to research.  It worked through the app, and we were happy.


Recently on the Home On podcast #075, Richard Gunther had the CEO of iDevices, Chris Allen, on his podcast to discuss the state of homekit among other things.  During the podcast Chris offered a limited giveaway of his companies connected switch, which I was fortunate enough to be a part of.  I decided to use it for the plug controlling our Pond pump, replacing an analog dial controller which always seemed to lose time somehow.

idevices-switchWhen I went to setup the switch, just prior to homekit, I couldn’t figure out why it was so spotty when I joined it to the isolated device wireless network I previously discussed.  When I added it to the primary network it worked well, and suddenly siri integration worked.  Then I tried to use siri with my Ecobee3 Thermostat, which failed because, you guessed it, it was on the isolated network.

This lead me to the whiteboard where I started digging deeper into how airplay, airprint, bonjour, and most of the other apple protocols work.  It occurred to me if apple is using MDNS for almost everything else, that would be the logical way for homekit to work, and MDNS requires that devices be on the same network segment.  (Yes I could have just read the instructions, but I am a guy.)  Once I placed all homekit devices on the same network, everything worked fine, siri was responsive most of the time, and with iOS 10, the home app was generally functional.

I have noticed that devices tend to stop responding sometimes, and need to be power cycled.  I am assuming this has something to do with the wireless, although the signal is not the issue.  There have also been a few oddities with devices not wanting to retain their config, but that may have been something in the setup I missed.

If I didn’t have so many apple devices I am not sure I would have gone the homekit route, in favor of more amazon alexa or google home ecosystem devices, but the simplicity of apple devices, as usual, is unsurpassed.  The integration will continue to improve, but for the price, homekit has me hooked for now.

Fun with Homekit