Air... you totally missed the mark!

Why has U-tec made the decision to force locks to be managed by either the smartphone app or Air? This decision makes ZERO sense from an end-user perspective. I was excited about finally getting all 8 of my locks setup to manage in Air… but then I noted the advisement in the smartphone app that I would have to re-setup my locks in order to use them in Air AND even worse, I would have to chose between managing the locks in Air or in the smartphone app, but not both! You guys have TOTALLY missed the mark with this decision. There are particular use-cases for managing the locks in either Air or the smartphone app, but to have to definitively choose only one or the other is ridiculous. Obviously you’re forcing customers to NOT use Air because who is going to give up the smartphone app management option! Whoever is in charge of making the decisions as to how your software is organized and works should be fired! This is almost as dumb as the way U-tec rolled out the Address and Locations features within the smartphone app. You dumped all the existing locks setup within the smartphone app into the first Address created, with no method of moving locks to a different address. Due to the fact that setting up a U-tec lock is so buggy, there is no way I’m deleting my locks to have to set them up again, just so I can have them listed under the correct address. It’s been well over a year and there is still no way to move existing locks to different addresses within the smartphone application. Why for the love of God does U-tec introduce new features with such obvious glaring logic deficiencies. The way in which you’ve implemented both the Address & Locations functionality and the new Air interface are sure to result in many, many confused and angry support calls. Why would you waste resources on support calls when you could have just rolled out these features properly? Also, why are only certain locks compatible with Air? Again, another bone-headed decision. If a lock can access the internet, then why can’t it be managed by Air? And don’t even get me started on U-tec’s plan to eventually charge for Air. That’s going to go over like a lead balloon with customers. A smart lock is worthless without really good (smart) and robust software to control and manage the lock, yet you are going to surprise customers with trying to charge for Air… really dumb and poor decision. Smart locks MUST have good control software and that software MUST be FREE. The subscription model for smart device control software has already proven to not work, yet you guys are going to waste everyone’s time by learning this fact at the expense of your customer’s time & frustration? Keep making these frustrating and STUPID software design choices and pretty soon you won’t have a customer base to purchase your smart locks. There is a TON of competition with the smart lock device category. The main thing that sets one vendor’s smart lock apart from another vendor’s offering is the interface software provided. Please hire someone capable of actually thinking through the end-customer’s use-cases and concerns before implementing new features that don’t work as they should. You’re creating needless support calls and community posts like this one by missing the mark on how your interface software should operate.

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Completely agree, we run 4 locks, one at remote location and you are spot on with the illogical set up of location and now air. 2 of our locks are Pro versions but fingerprint failed after a couple of years and now just act as normal lock. Lack of support other than “we don’t guarantee hardware that long” - seriously? for a smart lock company especially at the prices charged. We were an original supporter of the start up but they continue to stretch the relationship.

Hi Partin, you have raised several questions, and I would like to address each one:

  1. Management Method: The reason why smart locks can only be managed by a smartphone or Air pertains to the different architectures of these two platforms.
  2. Address Function: We will rectify the issue of not being able to change addresses in subsequent versions. Once the fix is implemented, I will notify you.
  3. Compatibility with Air: Older versions of the bridge may not be compatible. We will consider releasing a new bridge that can work with Air.
  4. Charging for Air: We have not decided on a charging plan for Air, and it should remain free for a considerable period. If plans change suddenly, we will do our best to minimize the impact on existing users.

@Carrie, as much as the original post by @Partin was a little harsh and over-critical, some valid points were raised.
Let’s be honest; neither the U-Tec app nor Ultraloq Air is even close to being a platform that any user serious about access control would consider. Both feel like beta versions.
From a UX perspective, having to choose between one or the other makes absolutely no sense as nobody wants to give up the ability to manage their locks from their phone.
Why wasn’t the decision made to develop an Ultraloq Air Mobile app while Ultraloq Air was being developed?
We only have 5 locks to manage but haven’t been able to confidently do this via Ultraloq Air recently due to all 5 of them suddenly dropping off the network at random times during the last month. We’re back to having to physically drive to the premises and let clients in.

I bought my lock from Indiegogo- (funding website for this company), and my lock no longer works. It doesn’t unlock. Mecanical failure. No warranty-- after 3 years the lock is useless. This is US dollars, and I live in New Zealand where the dollar is 59 cents… so ya, I’m pissed and not sure if I’ll be supporting the company with a ‘new’ lock if they only survive after 3 years.

Hi @Fox_Wildling, from a pm perspective, it’s really better to use air both on phone and computer. but from the technical team’s perspective, it will take much effort to do it. However, if you don’t have so many locks or users to manage, we would like to recommend you to use the app instead of air. Air web is better for multiple locks and users in commercial use. What do you think?

@Carrie thanks for the reply, but I think you’re missing the point here.
First of all, you made the assumption that our use case isn’t a commercial application and suggested using the app for managing 5 locks. Our use case is for a commercial building that requires temporary access users to be added to multiple locks on a regular basis. Trying to do this via the app is so painfully slow that if that was our only option I’d rather invest in 5 new locks from a different supplier.
Further to that, Ultraloq have multiple customers telling you that they are happy with the performance of the hardware that you sell but they all seem to have the same sentiment about the software.
Realistically, the hardware is cheap and easy to source no matter what brand the lock is. The management software is what makes a company stand out from all of its competitors essentially selling the same or similar devices.
You might want to stop listening to your technical team and start listening to your customers because, without them, you won’t need a technical team either.

@Carrie …Well, as someone that has about 22 locks in my condo building, I wouldn’t say the hardware is solid. I’ve had support replace more than 30% of the locks in my building due to battery drain issues, and we’re still having problems. I have only moved 2 of 6 Latch 5 locks over to Air, because we have more than 16 users needing access to key common areas and adding them via the app is painful. To the point that we are considering eliminating the individual person/code identification and moving to a more generic “vendor” code, in order to reduce the input. I get that Air is not backward compatible with your UL3 line, which is disappointing, but I would be ok with the upgrade if the lock performed as advertised. Right now, we can’t use fingerprint capability when the lock is provisioned via Air, but the number of temporary and changing users, make it unreasonable to change back to the App version.

I was out of town for the holiday and I have 1 lock offline and another with a low battery. I replaced batteries in October, 2023 and these locks have been replaced by support previously.

I have an older couple, whose lock has been replaced twice and she showed up to find her battery drained again on lock #3. I can’t tell the causality associated with this battery drain, but it’s not related to the number of times it’s been accessed remotely or manually via code, because I have some (like my Latch 5 that I replaced my working UL3 to test) that gets accessed frequently and works fine with batteries lasting 8+ months. I have others that no one accesses except once a month (me) and the battery gets drained in less than a couple of months. I have stopped buying any more locks until you guys get this support issue fixed and PLEASE, PLEASE Fix this.

So to recap…

  1. Battery drain is a problem
  2. Unable to load fingerprint capability via the app when lock is Air provisioned
  3. Unable to manage locks via App when Air provisioned as @Fox_Wildling indicates.

Good Luck…

@Lutrick , are you experiencing problems with your locks staying connected to your network?
We only have 5 locks within a 110m2 area, despite trying everything possible to keep them connected, including replacing routers, reserved IP addresses, etc. Our locks won’t stay connected for more than 3-4 days making the Air platform unusable. I’ve recently removed them from Air and switched back to trying to manage them with the app but still can’t access them over wifi after about 2-3 days.
We have no issue with other devices disconnecting from the network, just these locks. I have a couple of smart plugs and a couple of IR transmitters that connect to the same 2.4GHz network and none of these have a problem.

@Carrie, last time I spoke to someone in support they mentioned a new firmware update due early this year that would “help”. Is there any indication of when this will be deployed?

Any feedback from the U-Tec team on this? I still have 5 locks that I can’t use unless I’m physically in the same room as them which completely defeats the purpose of a WIFI lock. I’ve had 3 locks replaced already and submitted about 5 tickets so far.

I note that we have had no comment from U-tec re hardware issues. Now latest wifi Bolt has run out of batteries within 48 hrs 3 times in the week, so we have a 3 hour drive each way to replace it. Some consideration for users inconvenience would be appreciated.