A not-so-bright smart lock just got bricked by a software update

lockstate smart lock
Lockstate

Seems like some of those smart locks aren’t quite as smart as we had thought.

A software update sent to a smart lock last week ended up bricking the device. What made the matter particular tricky for maker Lockstate is that accommodation service Airbnb recommends the Wi-Fi-enabled lock to its hosts. Which means there’s a good chance a number of the firm’s guests found themselves temporarily locked out of their rentals.

Lockstate CEO Nolan Mondrow contacted customers last week, opening his correspondence with the ominous message: “We are sorry to inform you about some unfortunate news.” Considering the situation, however, affected recipients would have known exactly what was coming.

“Your lock is among a small subset of locks that had a fatal error rendering it inoperable,” Mondrow wrote. “After a software update was sent to your lock, it failed to reconnect to our web service, making a remote fix impossible.”

The two affected locks — the 6i and 6000i — don’t come cheap, with the 6i, for example, costing buyers $469. Reports suggest around 500 customers have been affected by the issue.

While inconvenient, the problem should be less problematic for individual customers as the locks also come with a regular key. However, in cases where business owners have installed them for customers, the situation is likely to be far more annoying. Airbnb, for example, recommends the locks to its hosts to help them manage entry into their properties. You can issue different codes to different guests, and the system also lets you control and monitor doors remotely, and sends alerts to the owner when the keypad is used to unlock them. An access history is also made available.

Fixes

Lockstate’s CEO has outlined two possible fixes for the issue, neither particularly convenient. The first is to return the back part of the lock to the company, allowing its team to repair it by updating the software. This will take up to a week to complete.

Option 2 takes even longer — between 14 and 18 days, to be precise — and involves Lockstate shipping a replacement interior lock for customers to replace by themselves.

If you’re an affected Lockstate customer who’s still considering what action to take, the company wants you to contact it via 6000i@lockstate.com with your choice of option 1 or 2. Lockstate confirms it will pay for all shipping costs “within the continental U.S.,”  and provide affected customers with a year’s worth of free service for its Lockstate Connect Portal.

Mondrow said his company was “deeply sorry” for the trouble it caused, and insisted everyone at the company was working to sort out the issue “as quickly as possible.”