Even though the lock and key has been with us for thousands of years, it was the industrial revolution of the 18th century that saw technology advance sufficiently so that a simple key could provide reliable and convenient security for business and home owners. From high-street shops to garden-sheds we still rely on an ancient invention to keep our belongings secure. It seems a natural evolution then, that it is the technological revolution of this century that may well be changing how we keep our valuables safe.
Unpacking the Noke reveals that it looks much the same as a conventional padlock but its high-tech contents are hinted at by the small LED bulb on the front . It measures around three by two inches and its weight of 12.8 ounces, coupled with steel and its boron-hardened shackle give it both a secure and sturdy feel.
The Noke is a Bluetooth padlock so there is no key to lock or unlock the device, instead it relies on an Android or iOS phone to operate it. I downloaded the Noke app from iTunes and created an account. The app will handle all of the Noke locks you own, and the process of adding locks is a straightforward one. I activated the lock by clicking its shackle and gave it a name in the app indicating that it was on my shed door and then snapped a photograph of the shed that allows a visual reference when using the app.
As a fall back, at this stage you can create a quick-click code that can be used if you forget your phone. I created a six click signature, a little like Morse code, that can be tapped out using the Noke’s shackle to open it in emergencies.
With the padlock set-up, it took a few moments for my details to be saved and sent to the Noke cloud and then it was ready to use. Using the Noke is intuitive because it works exactly like a traditional lock. I attached it to my garden-shed door, locked it and returned my phone to inside the house. The lock remained closed when I tried to open it and its sturdy feel and quality manufacture would likely deter an opportunistic snoop. I fetched my phone and this time, my phone’s proximity to the lock meant that it opened about a second after I clicked the shackle.
There are more smart fetaures to the Noke, including the option for a single or two-click mode which means the lock must be clicked before releasing the lock with tap on the app screen on your phone. It’s also possible to reduce the proximity, or range meaning the lock doesn’t get inadvertently opened if you’re working in the house or perhaps inside an office with a bike locked up outside.
The most impressive feature perhaps is the ability to add additional users to an individual padlock. This means you can add a family member to an account who has full access to come and go as they please but it also allows you to add guest users. These users can have one-time only access or access on a given day of the week between certain hours which would be ideal for colleagues or workmen who need access while you’re away. The app also gives you notifications and usage reports of when the Noke was locked and unlocked and if you’re using the padlock while you travel or at a holiday home the smartphone app displays the opening and closing events on a detailed map.
I left the lock on duty in my garden for a week, so it endured both rain and sun and it appeared adequately weather proof, opening without any difficulty on my return. The battery is a standard watch battery and should last a year but the Noke gives plenty of notice via the app when the battery is running low and the device. If the device battery does run out of charge you’re not stranded as it has a removable base plate with contact points and holding a replacement battery to these terminals jump-starts the lock, similar to how you’d start a car with a flat battery.
The only access difficulty I had was when experimenting with the fallback click-code, and this process does need some practice. Also, perhaps the loop of the lock could be a little larger, for use on gates or with a chain on motorcycles but this gadget illustrates how new technology, combined with smart thinking can bring efficiency to age-old challenges.
External links & Pricing
noke.com | Price: $69.99 – £59.99 – €79.99