office door with a commercial smart lock

 

As a business owner, the security of your commercial property and employees is a top priority. With technological advancement also comes innovative ways to maintain premier security and safety. And commercial smart locks are the latest amenity that tenants crave — both for convenience and reliability.

The best part about smart commercial locks is that they eliminate the need for brass metal keys. Instead, they empower tenants to unlock doors using their mobile devices or PIN codes. Read on to learn all about commercial smart locks: different types, how they work, and how to choose the best one for your property.

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What is a commercial smart lock?

A commercial smart lock is an electromechanical lock system with smartphone-powered locking and unlocking functions for doors on a commercial property. More specifically, commercial smart locks are designed to replace traditional locks that require physical keys. Instead, property owners, managers, staff, and tenants can use their smartphones or enter PIN codes to open doors.

While it’s very common to see smart locks on apartment and hotel doors, it’s entirely possible that you haven’t seen them on office doors.

So, you’re probably wondering: Can you put a smart lock on a commercial door?

The answer: Yes, you certainly can install smart locks on commercial doors! In the past, commercial smart door locks were mainly exclusive to high-security businesses. But today, they’re installed at commercial properties of all kinds.

For example, retail business owners secure their stores with a storefront smart lock as an alternative to traditional door locks for heightened security and convenience. Since smart locks are connected to the internet, property owners can view audit logs of every door entry activity to ensure that only authorized employees are entering the space at any given time. And they won’t have to carry around physical keys to enter their building.

 

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What is a commercial-grade lock?

A commercial-grade lock is made from quality materials to ensure its strength, durability, and application follow the Building Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) standards and guidelines.

As an accredited association of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), BHMA uses a trusted 1, 2, and 3 grading system — with 1 representing the best — to define product quality.

So, when choosing a commercial smart lock system for your business, consider the lock’s grade and where it’ll be installed. For instance, if you’re looking for a smart lock for a commercial glass door, consider getting a mortise lock to maximize security while ensuring minimum damage to the glass.

 

person using commercial smart lock on a glass office door

 

Types of commercial smart locks

Now that we’ve gone over what they are, you’re probably wondering: Are commercial door locks different from residential ones? Simply put, smart locks for businesses are slightly more robust than those found at residential properties.

This is because commercial properties usually have more foot traffic than residential buildings. So, commercial door smart locks must be made of long-lasting, durable material to accommodate multiple door lockings and unlockings throughout any given day.

Because there are many types of commercial properties, finding the right kind of smart lock for your building is crucial. Depending on your property’s needs, one option could be better than another.

The most common commercial smart locks are:

 

WiFi door lock

Commercial WiFi door locks operate by connecting to a building-wide wireless internet connection. This then allows tenants to unlock the door by entering a code or using their smartphones. And because the lock is always connected to the internet, tenants can open doors for trusted guests from anywhere in the world.

 

Bluetooth door lock

Similarly, commercial Bluetooth door locks also work by connecting to a wireless connection. But unlike WiFi-enabled locks, Bluetooth door locks only work when a tenant’s mobile device is within close distance to the lock.

As you know, Bluetooth is commonly employed in headsets for mobile phones, enabling hands-free phone use — but the two devices can’t connect with each other when they’re far apart. So, Bluetooth smart locks only work when the tenant is holding their mobile device within a few feet of the door.

 

Mobile-based door lock

What commercial WiFi and Bluetooth smart locks have in common is that they’re both smartphone-based. As such mobile-based door lock systems allow tenants to open the door using a Bluetooth connection or an app on their smartphones.

Many mobile-based smart locks have multiple ways to unlock the door, such as:

 

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Z-wave door lock

Z-wave door locks use mesh networks, where data is sent from the hub to one device, then to another. An advantage of this wireless method is that data can reach devices outside the Wi-Fi range. This is made possible because, with Z-wave technology, data hops along a pathway created by other devices acting as a connection extender.

Also known as Zigbee, Z-wave networks are ideal for bigger commercial properties with outdoor spaces that are outside the WiFi range. For example, Z-wave door locks may be best suited for industrial facilities that have storage or workshop units spread throughout the property.

 

How commercial smart door locks work

When you install an office smart lock, you’ll empower tenants to unlock the door without using a key or keycard.

Here’s how tenants unlock doors with commercial smart locks:

  • Once the smart locks are installed, tenants will download the corresponding mobile app or create a unique PIN code.
  • When at the door, tenants will present their access credentials. They’ll either use their smartphones or enter a PIN code to unlock the door.
  • If their credentials are correct, the system will automatically unlock the door. The deadbolt will release, allowing the tenant to swing open the door.
  • When the door closes, the smart lock returns to the locked position.

Note: Some smart lock models still have a keyhole that allows you to use a traditional key in the event of an emergency or power outage.

And some smart locks attach to existing deadbolts, while others replace deadbolts entirely. Regardless of which type you choose, your smart lock will require a wireless connection like Bluetooth or WiFi.

 

commercial smart locks often require to be connected to WiFi

 

How much does a commercial smart lock cost?

The cost of a commercial smart lock ranges from about $200-$600 per lock, depending on the brand, features, and commercial-grade rating. A smart lock requiring a full deadlock replacement will cost more, while those that connect to existing deadlocks via an adapter will cost less.

But keep in mind: You must also consider installation costs, which are separate from the device costs.

 

3 features of the best commercial smart locks

With many different smart locks on the market today, it may be hard to choose the best one for your commercial property. However, there are some key features that you should seek out in a commercial smart lock system. Finding one that checks all the boxes will certainly help narrow down your search!

Here are three key features of the best commercial smart locks:

  1. Cloud-based management
  2. Proptech integrations
  3. Multiple ways to unlock doors

 

1. Cloud-based management

Choose a commercial smart lock system that can be managed remotely on the cloud.

This means that you or your staff don’t need to come on-site whenever tenants’ access credentials need to be updated. Instead, you can log onto an online dashboard to assign or revoke access permissions from anywhere with internet access.

What’s more, cloud-based smart locks run automatic software updates, so you can rest assured that they’re always running on the latest version. This also means that the smart locks will troubleshoot themselves whenever bugs or issues arise.

 

2. Proptech integrations

While almost all smart locks connect to a mobile app, some have more integration capabilities than others. Choose a system that integrates seamlessly with the other proptech devices throughout your property, such as the front entry intercom and smart lighting. That way, you can manage all building processes from one central hub.

When integrated, the smart lock can trigger other smart devices and activate automatic actions such as turning on or off the lights when the office door is unlocked or locked. Not only do such integrations simplify property management, but they also elevate the tenant experience.

 

3. Multiple ways to unlock doors

Sure, smart locks eliminate the need for physical keys by operating with smartphones. But what happens when your hands or full or your phone is dead?

That’s why you need a commercial smart lock system that supports multiple ways to unlock doors.

 

choose a commercial smart lock with multiple ways to unlock the door, like with a smartphone

 

The newest smart locks available today enable geofencing, meaning they’ll trigger the lock based on your location. This is made possible via some combination of Bluetooth, cellular signal, GPS, and WiFi.

Having multiple ways to open doors with smart locks adds an essence of convenience to tenants’ daily lives — they can get into the office under any circumstances!

 

Takeaways

  • Commercial smart locks are electronic locksets that operate without a traditional key. For the most part, they operate by connecting to tenants’ smartphones.
  • You can connect smart locks to smartphones via WiFi, Bluetooth, or Z-wave technology.
  • The best commercial smart lock systems support cloud-based management, proptech integrations, and multiple door unlocking methods.

 

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Author

Sarah Kim

Based in New York City, I love exploring the real estate industry and explaining how property technology can improve people’s lives.

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