Pushing something — or someone — “to the edge” typically comes along with a negative connotation: Something has reached a breaking point. But when it comes to connected technology like smart locks, the edge offers many benefits to users including lower bandwidth usage, faster response times, and greater stability. Edge computing isn’t just a nerdy buzzword, and you might be surprised by what it means for your smart locks.
What is edge computing?
The “edge” of a network is where your hardware physically sits. Edge computing is the computing done by that local hardware (or nearer to it), rather than on a server in the cloud. However, this does not mean that an edge device is doing all of its work locally and is disconnected from the cloud. In fact, edge computing enables smart locks to leverage the best of both worlds.
Consider a smart lock installed on a large property. The lock may not be installed near a strong and stable Wi-Fi signal. If this hardware was fully dependent on connecting to the cloud to perform its basic functions (locking and unlocking) then you’d see terrible performance. Every time you entered a PIN code, the lock would need to take that information, and send it across a less-than-stellar network to servers in the cloud. It would then have to wait for the computation to take place in the cloud and be sent back, across that same weak network. Higher latency can become a serious issue as products are installed at the edge.
Latency refers to the time it takes for your hardware to communicate across your network to the cloud and back. Casually, this may be called "ping" or "lag." A low-latency connection experiences shorter delay times, while a high-latency connection experiences longer delays. The lower your latency, the better overall performance you’re likely to experience.
Any smart lock worth its salt is capable of edge computing. Rather than sending every request for access to the cloud individually, a smart lock can save the latest list of valid credentials locally. This means access can be given immediately with no delay, even if the network becomes unstable or goes offline. Your smart lock always works.
But this doesn’t mean that smart locks aren’t also leveraging the value of the cloud. Smart locks still connect to the cloud to update the list of valid credentials, record access history, and enable remote management of your property’s access. By living on the edge, smart locks can provide a stellar, responsive user experience without sacrificing any high-tech features.
Just like other IoT devices, smart locks on the edge enable greater control and improved response times for the user — and for managers of multi-family rentals or commercial buildings with hundreds of smart locks across one property, edge computing could mean all the difference. Learn more about common smart lock myths.
Innovation in access technology will only continue to improve edge capabilities for smart locks in the coming years, increasing flexibility, efficiency, and processing power to make managing access better than ever. Universal access control solutions, like RemoteLock, can centralize all of these devices onto a single platform, providing the ultimate cloud solution for smart locks and even hardwired access control systems.
Ready to explore the transformative capabilities of a universal access control platform? Contact RemoteLock today to see how our solution can work for your business.