by Al Sacco

BlackBerry at CES: Bye-Bye Keys! Unlock Doors Remotely via BlackBerry with Schlage LiNK

Jan 10, 20093 mins
Enterprise Applications

Earlier this week, I showed you my pick for the best upcoming Research In Motion (RIM) product the company is showing off at CES 2009 in Las Vegas: the “BlackBerry Bluetooth Vehicle Visor Mount.” Here’s my favorite third-party service from RIM’s booth: Schlage LiNK, which lets you employ a BlackBerry or other Internet-connected device to remotely unlock your home’s doors, determine who’s home and who’s not, and even set alerts so you know exactly when certain people (read: maintenance men, teenage sons and daughter, etc.) arrive.

Schlage LiNK Deadbold, Lock and Bridge at CES
Schlage LiNK Deadbolt, Lock and Bridge at CES

Here’s how it works: You’re away from home, but need to let in your brother-in-law, who dropped by out of the blue. So you simply connect to the Internet via computer or mobile device and log into your Schlage account. From there, you can access your home network and send commands to the Schlage bridge, which in turn sends your directive to the wirelessly-enabled lock or deadbolt to open or relock it.

And the product’s not BlackBerry-specific, so it’ll work with any Internet connected mobile phone, according to Schlage—though a modern smartphone like a BlackBerry or iPhone is required for some advanced functionality.

Schlage LiNK deadbolts and locks don’t require keys, so you never have to worry about misplacing or distributing them to folks who might only need one-time entry to, say, fix a plumbing problem or get it to feed the cats/dogs while you’re on vacation. Schlage LiNK locks also have numeric keypads so users can physically unlock doors via their own personal four-digit access codes. (Access codes can be modified and disabled using the keypad or remotely via Schlage’s online interface.)

How Schlage LiNK Works
How Schlage LiNK Works

Parents ought to really appreciate this next feature: You can assign unique access codes to every member of the family, or whoever else may be making regularly entry to your home, and then program your Schlage LiNK lock to send you a text message when specific people arrive.

Come on, that’s cool, right? All I can say is that my social life as a teenager would’ve been much less “interesting” if my home had been equipped with a Schlage LiNK deadbolt.

The Schlage LiNK system isn’t brand new—the company started releasing compatible locks and deadbolts last September—but I hadn’t heard of it until I spoke with a Schlage representative at RIM’s CES booth. And I’m impressed; in fact, I’ll be looking into the service for my own home as soon as the never-ending-shuffle that is CES comes to a close.

Here’s a video clip of Schlage LiNK in action.

Schlage LiNK products are available via both online and brick-and-mortar retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s, and though pricing will vary, I found a number of different starter kits, which include a wireless keypad and Schlage LiNK bridge, for around $400.

Additional details on Schlage LiNK, including more video clips, are available on the company’s website.

And you can read even more about the service on the “Mom Blog,” where real mothers explain why they’ve chosen Schlage products to protect their homes and families.