I'm a 61-year-old former programmer with no home automation experience.
My partner is disabled and mostly confined to bed. I'm home most of the time, but we've been thinking about what would happen if she needed to let someone in the front door when I'm not home.
The obvious answer seems to be a smart lock. At present, my top choices are the Schlage Encode and the Schlage Connect (Zigbee version) plus a Hubitat Elevation.
We do have a Kuna porch lamp with a camera. As far as I can tell, it can't work in any useful way with anything else, and it's cloud-dependent (which sometimes manifests as very slow response or complete failure, even when our Internet connection is working). That's a type of mistake I'd like to avoid making again: buying something that's easy at startup, but is limited by what the company that controls it has bothered (or chosen) to make possible. (In the case of Kuna, for example, it's clear that one reason local recording is impossible is that the company that makes it wants to sell monthly cloud service subscriptions.)
I know the Encode would be simpler to set up, but I suspect it's cloud-dependent (though I haven't found a definite statement as to whether it connects locally to apps running on devices connected to the same LAN), and I fear I would be boxing myself in as far as future expansion... or at least missing out on a good start.
Things we might want to add include:
A remote button to operate the lock (preferably with a status light showing whether it is locked or unlocked).
A remote button (either separate or combined with the other buttons) that could trigger an alarm or a siren to alert me that my partner needs help, even if she can't call out loudly enough that I can hear her wherever I am in the house.
A remote button (either separate or combined with the other buttons) that could turn on the overhead lights in the kitchen.
My partner uses an iPad Mini 4 (WiFi only) and a laptop which is wired (using a pair of MoCA transceivers) to our main LAN hub. I have a Pixel 2 along with a desktop computer (and a couple other machines running 24/7).
We might want to integrate voice control at some point -- Alexa might be the most obvious, since we do use a Fire TV. (I know almost all voice-command options are cloud-based, so I'd want to make sure there was another way to do everything.)
I mentioned the Zigbee version of the Schlage Connect because my impression from reading here is that people have less trouble with Zigbee locks than with Z-Wave locks, at least with Hubitat. Our modem/router is in a front room adjacent to the front door; the most convenient place for the Hubitat would be about fifteen feet from the lock, but with a long Ethernet cable I could get it about three feet from the lock if necessary. However, any place I could put a repeater (apparently required for Z-Wave locks?) near the lock would be farther from the hub than the lock is.
So my question is whether I'm likely to find that Hubitat will be an efficient entry point into the sort of things we might want to do, or whether we'd be better to accept a more self-contained solution (like the Encode) and not expect these other things to be a natural progression from what we need first, which is a remotely-controllable front door lock.
Thanks for any advice you can give.