Nuki Smart Lock 2.0
Today, the Smart Unlock feature is inapplicable in many common situations - such as walking the dog or going to grab something from your car. By adding the option to explicitly tell Nuki you’ve left home - these scenarios can be supported.
Complaints that the Auto Unlock feature doesn’t work in common use cases, such as walking the dog, going to grab something from the car, or even going down to pick something from the store in certain city environments - are pretty common. The reason for this behavior is obvious - without knowing that someone left home, it wouldn’t make sense to ‘arm’ Smart Unlock - because then it might be (read: will) result in unlocks being triggered while the person is at home - which is obviously not a desired outcome.
However - exclusively relying on geofences for detecting whether the user left home limits the applicability of Smart Unlock to many common use cases where the user doesn’t get far enough from home to exit the geofence. For many people, this can occur daily or even several times a day.
If (on top of the current auto detection via geofences) it was possible to explicitly tell Nuki that you’ve left home, this would immediately support all of these use cases.
How would it work? There could be a ‘Left Home’ button (in the app, in the shortcuts bar, etc.); When tapped - it can trigger a confirmation prompt - and when confirmed, ‘arm’ the Auto Unlock in the same way it would if you’ve left the geofence. To ensure that there won’t be an immediate unlock in case the user taps the Left Home button while being near the lock, there could either be a delay of 2-3 minutes in arming, or, the app could check to ensure that the Nuki Smart Lock isn’t in BT range (if it is - display a meaningful error, asking the user to build some distance between them and the lock before selecting that option).
Once that’s done - everything else can work precisely as it already does today. The ‘entry’ geofence will be triggered immediately, putting the Nuki into a mode where it’s actively seeking the corresponding device, and will unlock as soon as it gets near.
The only other thing that perhaps would make sense to change is the default ‘Auto Unlock active for’ value, since 20 mins may be a bit on the low side to run such errands (given you’re effectively starting the count from when the person leaves home, and not when they’re coming back). Perhaps 40 or 60 mins would make for a better default for that flow, and it would make sense to introduce a separate expert configuration for this (‘Manually-triggered Auto Unlock active for’, perhaps with a better name )
People may wonder what’s the point of doing this, how is tapping ‘Left Home’ when leaving any better than tapping ‘Unlock’ when coming back? There are several answers I can think of for that:
- If you have your hands full when coming back, it’s really useful to have a hands-free experience.
- There’s something magical about the Auto-Unlock feature, and it will bring an almost-as-good experience to many additional common scenarios.
- You can tap ‘Left Home’ anywhere you are and at any point in time - well ahead of when you need the door to open.
- Future bonus: If you build that functionality, it may be possible to build another layer upon it, where people could mark a geofence for nearby areas where they often do things, such as walk their dog. When going into that area - you could trigger a notification “Did you leave home?”, and by just tapping yes, you’d arm the Auto Unlock feature.
All in all, this would greatly improve the experience of Auto Unlock for me, and I suspect that it can do that for many other users. I believe it can be done exclusively in the app without requiring any firmware changes - and it should be (relatively speaking) fairly simple to implement.
- Walking the dog
- Picking up groceries from the car, picking up stuff from the garage, etc.
- Going to half a dozen shops that are (at least for me) within the 100m radius of Nuki’s smallest geofence (iPhone)