Everyone wants to feel safe in their home. It’s a basic human desire to protect ourselves and our families, and doors can feel like vulnerable spots in our personal spaces.
Fortunately, a smart entrance — or using smart tech devices at a door — gives us ways to see and control what we usually can’t.
If you live in a smart home, you already have elements in place that make entrance automation easier. But you don’t have to live in a smart home! Any door can be a smart entrance, and you can rest in the peace of mind it brings.
So, how can you build a smart entrance door, regardless of your current home? Well, because we’re talking about smart tech, you have hundreds of options. And most of those options work together — or can work together with a little finesse.
Taking your circumstances into account, let’s explore how you can create a smart entrance.
[Related: A Guide to Room-by-Room Automation for Your Home]
1. Decide How Secure You Want Your Smart Entrance
First, determine the scope of the smart entrance tech you’ll buy. You can go as big or small as your situation allows, but taking your needs into account is always wise.
Maybe you have a two-story home with four outside doors (and three kids) in a suburban neighborhood. Or maybe you’re a single apartment-dweller in a downtown district. Perhaps you’re half of an aging-in-place couple in a rural ranch house.
Regardless, entrance automation works well at your most-used door. That said, you might want extra protection elsewhere, like a back door.
The smart devices you settle on come down to your ideal security level. All the gadgets and systems we’ll list bring you invaluable control.
Next, check the crime rate in your area — this step gives you a solid mental framework. That is, you know how intense your protection needs to be outside normal smart tech security measures.
Of course, you probably know your general risk (that may be why you’re reading this article). It’s logical that homeowners in higher-crime areas might want a more thorough smart entrance door.
Once you’ve weighed your options, you can settle on how many smart features make sense for your home and circumstances. Your budget naturally factors in, but you can find entrance automation tech that’s both sophisticated and affordable.
Finally, work with a trusted audiovisual (AV) installation company if possible. AV technicians offer advice, and they’ll install and connect the devices you choose. In addition, AV consultants can recommend what systems best match your budget.
Plus, because of smart tech’s flexibility, you can add to or upgrade your smart entrance later. That’s a major perk if you’re starting small!
Note: In this article, we focus on outdoor smart entrance tech. Regardless, please note that most of these systems and devices can work inside your home at any entrance.
[Related: What To Look for in AV Installation Companies]
Notes on Rental Units and Hospitality Businesses
Entrance automation is fantastic for homeowners as well as business owners. For example, hospitality establishments and multifamily homes see profitable upgrades with smart entrances. Even better, the benefits apply to both tenants and owners.
However, if you live in a rental unit, you should check with your lessor before installing some entrance automation devices. For example, they may not be cool with you switching out your lock. We suggest consulting with them beforehand, whatever your plans are.
And if you’re a lessor, installing home automation systems from the get-go is of major benefit to you. Having a smart entrance for each unit makes your property not only safer but also more desirable for would-be tenants!
[Related: Smart Hotel Benefits for Owners and Guests Alike]
2. Find Your Ideal Entrance Automation Devices
Whether you opt for a simple or a sweeping smart entrance, you want to consider some go-to smart home devices. It’s great to have the whole lot, but don’t feel pressured.
Let’s say you can afford only a smart lock now. Use it for the time being, then add another device when you can. You can bolster your entrance automation setup anytime.
But remember, most — if not all — use Internet of Things (IoT) tech, so no matter what your smart entrance plans are, you’ll need networking.
That’s how your devices and systems communicate with you, one another and other IoT gadgets. And it’s also how you get a ton of control in one device (whether it’s a heavy-duty or pint-sized gadget).
Let’s check out some staples.
[Related: Smart Home Systems: Where To Begin?]
We’ll start with smart locks because smart entrance doors aren’t complete without one.
In essence, a smart lock uses IoT tech to ditch the need for old-fashioned keys. Instead, you use an app, keypad, biometric scanner (think fingerprint pads) or related tech to lock and unlock your door. You can do so in person or remotely (via an app), and some models pair with smart speakers and voice assistants.
You’ll find smart locks from dozens of brands and in hundreds of models. Prices range according to the model’s IoT features and components.
When creating your smart entrance door, start with a smart lock model that makes sense for your home and lifestyle.
For example, a keypad smart lock makes sense if you have lots of people in your home. (Well, it makes sense if they know to keep the code to themselves — you can change it as needed.) On the other hand, a fingerprint pad is likely ideal if you live alone.
Note: Online guides (like this one from The Verge) are incredibly helpful. As always, we’re fans of Wirecutter from The New York Times. Its writers regularly research and publish meticulous, up-to-date smart tech lists.
[Related: Smart Home Voice Control Systems That Simplify Your Daily Life]
Visibility is a huge part of safety — you want to actually see your smart entrance and surroundings. That’s where smart lights at your door come in.
Via IoT tech, smart lights use motion sensors, app integration, timers and other features to make sure you never fumble in the dark. Most rely on LED lights, the energy-efficient standard in smart lighting. To boot, they activate only when you want or need them to.
If you’re starting small, you want at least one motion-sensor light at your smart entrance door. Although smart locks usually have small built-in LED lights, a wash of illumination lights up the whole area. As you expand, you can add targeted smart lights with wider coverage to brighten your driveway, garage, hallway(s) and more.
And if you’re going large, smart lights can go pretty much anywhere you want. You might start at your smart entrance door and then outfit your whole home with innovative lighting control systems.
Actually, entrance automation can accommodate whatever smart lighting scale you want. At your smart entrance, you can opt for simple LED lights, a cascade of property-wide smart lighting or anything in between — indoors and out.
Note: It’d be irresponsible of us not to note garages and hallways when discussing entrance automation. Doors often lie at the ends of halls and inside garages, where it’s dark and potentially hazardous. Motion sensor- and/or remote-controlled smart hallway light and garage light setups go a long way in protecting your health and property.
[Related: Why You Should Work With a Contractor and Architect Early on in Your AV Project]
Smart Doorbell Cameras
Compared to locks, lights and security cameras, smart doorbell cameras might seem minor. But they’re handier than you might think, and they’re a splendid addition to your smart entrance door. And they’re pretty dang affordable.
With IoT tech, smart doorbell cameras detect movement and send notifications when someone approaches your door. After pulling up an app or connected device, you view who’s there.
If it’s someone you know (and want inside), you can remotely turn on smart lights and unlock the door. But if it’s someone you definitely don’t want there (like a burglar or your overenthusiastic neighbor from up the street), you can ensure the door’s locked and floodlight your smart entrance. Some models come with two-way audio, so you can speak with your guest … or would-be guest.
That’s right — smart doorbell cameras pair with smart locks and smart lights. Add audio, and you have a compact, comprehensive little device for your smart entrance door. Of course, smart lock and light integration is key, so connecting them correctly is crucial.
Note: If your bottom line can support it, Masonite offers an all-in-one smart entrance door. It definitely covers all your entrance automation bases, but the price point and installation costs could be roadblocks. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting sign of smart home tech to come.
[Related: 7 Reasons To Install a Home Surveillance System]
Smart Security and Surveillance Cameras
Well, we’ve gotten to the meat of the matter: smart security cameras.
Although a smart doorbell camera is nifty, it covers a fairly small area. When you place at least one full camera at your smart entrance door, you have far more options and visibility.
Like other devices, smart security and surveillance systems use IoT tech to communicate with your smart home, other cameras and you. Many models also come with smart lighting, so you have even greater visibility. Furthermore, you can view, record and rewatch footage remotely from a paired smartphone or tablet.
And we’ll be frank: You can find scads of smart surveillance cameras at hundreds of price tags. Plus, you can place them anywhere — indoors, outdoors, at your smart entrance door. How many you install is up to you!
Overall, we recommend using models with high resolution, a reliable power source, sizable memory capacity and easy app integration. Forbes offers an end-to-end guide that you might find indispensable if you’re really conducting your research.
One thing is certain — to complete a smart entrance door, include at least one smart surveillance camera. Whether you’re in the bath or at work, you should be able to access footage and receive notifications immediately.
Note: You won’t have to worry about your smart entrance camera clashing with your home decor and design. Modern smart surveillance cameras are sleek and discreet, but don’t forget, ne’er-do-wells still know they’re present.
[Related: 5 Considerations for Installing an Effective Home Surveillance System]
3. Connect Your Smart Entrance Devices
We’re almost there! You’ve set your entrance automation goals and noted your must-have gear. Now, it’s time to put those devices and systems together and make sure they work.
OK, it sounds easier than it is — unless you’re an AV tech wiz on the side. Whether you go small- or large-scale, you can technically install some devices yourself per their instructions. But that demands a whole lot of reading, labor, patience and potential mistakes.
Here’s the thing. If your smart entrance door doesn’t give you the security and convenience you want, its installation likely went sideways. When you invest in entrance automation, it’s sensible to call an AV installation company for assistance.
That way, you can go about your day knowing you have a smooth, secure and scalable smart entrance.
Note: From hooking up a smart hallway light to installing a full home theater, AV technicians work wonders. Maybe we’re a bit biased, but we’ve got your best interests at heart. You don’t want to waste a dime on your smart home investment, and we make sure you won’t.
[Related: A Guide to Buying or Selling a Smart Home]
Contact AV Smart Solutions for Seamless Entrance Automation
From curbing home invaders to jump-scaring trick-or-treaters, a smart entrance is a key piece of your home. And as part of an integrated smart home, it’s vital.
At AV Smart Solutions, we’d love to ease your mind — and help you duck unwanted visitors. With our expertise in the home, commercial and office environments, we’re prepared to put your entrance automation plans in motion.
When you’re ready to create your home’s smart entrance, get in touch! Call us at (425) 655-5052, or fill out our inquiry form. We’ll be back to you in a snap.
Featured image via PxFuel