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Schlage to put your front door locks on the Web

DIY security system will also control thermostat, lights, and send you pictures.

Lock company Schlage is launching Schlage Link, a suite of products to allow over-the-Web control of a home's locks, lights, and thermostats. It also integrates with Webcams.

Use your mobile phone as a key. Schlage

The new lock is the centerpiece of the system (as we would expect from a lock company). It can be opened by key, with a four-digit code, or through the online and mobile sites. The lock can also alert its owners via a mobile message when it's opened or tampered with (when incorrect codes are entered multiple times in a row).

An online control center lets you program the system to turn on lights when someone enters the house or at certain times, to send your phone photos of your doorway when a door opens, and so on. You can enable and disable specific codes as you wish--useful to give service people access only at certain times, for instance.

There have been several similar home-control and DIY security systems to hit the market in recent years, and none, to my knowledge, has gotten much consumer traction. Schlage General Manager Dwight Gibson thinks that the well-known Schlage brand will help this product succeed where others have failed.

I'm somewhat skeptical, not just because history teaches that having expertise in one technology, i.e. locks, doesn't always translate into another, i.e. Web services (Fortunately, Schlage has a partner, Crayon Interface, in this venture). But I also believe the Schlage product is overpriced. The starter kit with one lock set, one light module, and the home network connector box, costs $299, and the network access costs $12.99 a month. The hardware cost is within the realm of reason, but the monthly fee is usurious, in my opinion.

Sill, if you don't mind shelling out for the hardware and then continuing to pay for Web access, this could be a very useful product for anyone who would like better management of their home's security.