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Gadgets & Home Improvement

High-tech locks in homes

More high-tech security gadgets make their way into ordinary households.
Asia One - January 30, 2013
By: April Chong
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High-tech locks in homes

SINGAPORE - A padlock on the grilles?

That may become out of date soon, as more high-tech security gadgets make their way into ordinary households.

One security system that is gaining popularity in the home is the closed circuit television (CCTV).

Says Mr Jerry Wang, business development director of Rayguard Access control: "For small businesses, CCTV has been widely used to protect the assets of the company as well as monitor staff safety during office hours.

"But for the home owner, it is commonly used to monitor the domestic helper."

Users can view the real-time goings-on in their homes while at work or elsewhere.

Other gadgets - such as security alarms and digital door access systems, once only found in high security installations such as banking and government buildings - have also slowly moved into industries handing high value goods and storage, and into homes.

"It was only in mid-2005 or 2006 that they started becoming mainstream consumer products," says Mr Wang.

Alarm systems to deter and alert the presence of intruders typically comprise a control unit, an alarm panel and contacts and sensors on doors and windows.

Home owners can wire up their alarm systems to security firms that are on call 24 hours a day should any situation arise.

digital door locks typically require the users to key in an access code for entry.

In office buildings, the latest digital door locks make use of biometrics readers and radio frequency identification (RFId) card access, says Mr Alan Goh, business development manager at ASSA ABloY Singapore.

And one day, you may enter your home using your smartphone.

 

Near field communication (NFc) is a short-range wireless RFId technology that makes use of interacting electromagnetic radio fields in devices such as a smartphone.

A physical touch, or proximity, is required, which means heightened security.

The most cutting-edge technology now is biometrics - using a fingerprint or the iris as a key.

No need for locksmith

Why is there an emerging popularity of digital security systems such as digital locks for homes?

Mr Wang says that when one loses a key to a conventional lock, there will always be a sense of unease and the need to replace the lock.

Most locks installed on doors may cost between $50 and $300, and it takes some time to get the locksmith to change it.

However, with the digital lock, all one needs to do is to delete the access code from the system without having to replace the whole lock, and this can be done immediately.

There are other practical reasons.

Mr Goh says: "There will be no more problems with forgetting to bring the house keys and no more wondering if you have remembered to lock the door."

The convenience and acceptance of digital door locks and their increasing affordability makes them an increasingly popular choice.

"Besides, home owners find that it ups their cool factor to own a state-of-the-art digital lock," adds Mr Goh.

Steel and battery

 

Interested home owners should look for locks that are made of stainless steel for the assured durability and protection against corrosion.

Reputable brands are also a must where security is concerned.

Most digital locks available in the current market can run on batteries, so there is no worry of a power failure.

When one battery runs out, all one needs to do is to connect a fresh battery to the external terminal, says Mr Wang.

The use of digital door locks started in South korea, where now, more than 80 per cent of its households use such lock systems.

This trend seems ready to spread here as well.

Companies supplying such locks here have seen a huge increase in sales over the years.

For example, Rayguard has seen the access control market doubling over the last six years and it is set to double again by 2017.

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