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Failure Modes of New Technology
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
A while back, Tom installed a new lock on the front door. It has fancy new technology: if you have a new enough phone in your pocket (and the apt loaded) you can toggle the lock just by touching it. No more need to carry a key around!

Of course, new technology brings with it new and unforeseen failure modes. The lock plate that Tom installed was a little bit loose. Sometimes it would jiggle in such a way that the powered lock mechanism was unable to actually lock the door. But folks had gotten into the habit of just touching the the lock mechanism and walking away, not realizing that the door wasn't always actually locked!

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Ooh, invisible non-success. Nasty!

What is the half-life of this technology? I'm betting it's in double-digit months, probably with a leading "1" or "2" at best. Then you'll need a new lock.

Could be. Apparently the system is at least clever enough to email the owner when it needs new batteries. And it does still function with a physical key.

Edited at 2015-10-30 05:09 pm (UTC)

I'd be curious as to why you think that. After all, Toyota's been using touch-activated locks for nearly a decade, and while there are some problems with that, those problems aren't "the lock stopped working"...

Tom bought his lock after seeing it in use on my house-- it's a Kevo, if you're interested in looking it up. Anyway, ours is approaching 20 months, with very few problems post-installation.

We've had three firmware updates in that time, so it's clear that to some degree the technology is still emerging, but the lock itself works just fine. (As Alexx notes below, it also uses a traditional key, as a backup-- and in fact is specifically designed to appear like just an ordinary residential-grade exterior deadbolt (which is what it is, really-- the electronics are all external to the lock itself, packed into a box on the interior side of the door).

One of the nicest features is that I can send a virtual key to someone (and can revoke that key, whenever I choose).

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I consider it new. The lock was misaligned in such a way that, if you had tried to turn the key, it wouldn't have turned all the way. If you'd stuck around, you'd probably have even noticed the engine on the mechanism grinding futilely. But if you'd just confidently walked away...

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Yeah, I think that goldsquare's point is that this particular failure mode is not related to the new technology, but is a failure mode that exists in deadbolt locks more generally.

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