August, one of the first makers of smart locks, announced today a services program that makes it easy for authorized delivery and repair representatives to enter users’ homes. The company also announced a Siri-enabled version of its lock and a pair of new accessories.
Unveiled in 2013 and launched last year, San Francisco-based August’s smart lock worked from the idea that although users wanted to be able to control their locks from their phones via Bluetooth, for security reasons they did not want the locks accessible via the Internet.
Over time, August recognized that some users did want Internet control, and earlier this year released a Wi-Fi-enabled accessory that offered remote access. Now, the company, founded by Jason Johnson and world-famous industrial designer Yves Behar, is betting that the convenience of being able to order products or appliance repairs and not having to worry about being home to accept deliveries or meet service reps will appeal to many existing and would-be customers.
With the launch of its August Access program, the company has partnered with an initial dozen companies, ranging from Sears to Postmates to Shyp, each of which will be able to send personnel to users’ homes with one-time-only access. It plans on quickly adding to the list of partners, and Johnson noted that shipping companies—which he didn’t name but obviously include UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service—would be the "holy grail."
The company also said today that it has a new version of its lock that incorporates HomeKit, Apple’s connected home communications standard. The new lock, which will sell for $229, will allow owners to use Siri, Apple’s voice control system, to open their door with the iPhone linked to their August account.
August’s HomeKit integration also means owners can use Siri on an Apple Watch to open their doors.
The company said it is dropping the price of its existing, non-HomeKit-enabled, lock, to $199.
Another accessory for the lock is August’s new Bluetooth keypad. Mountable within about 30 feet of the lock, the keypad lets owners assign a unique PIN code to anyone, either for permanent or time-based access.
Until now, it was necessary for anyone opening an August lock—either an owner, or an invited guest—to use the company’s mobile app. But the keypad makes it possible to open the door without the app, meaning that if the lock’s owner accidentally leaves the phone at home, or a housecleaner or contractor needs to get in, they only need a PIN code.
The keypad will cost $79.
August’s final new accessory is a doorbell cam, which is connected to existing doorbell wires.
The device, which will cost $199, has a microphone, a speaker, and a camera, and allows the lock’s owner to see and speak to anyone at their door. If the owner decides the visitor needs to get in, they can tap a button in the August app and remotely unlock the door.
August said the three new hardware devices, including the lock, will start shipping over the next month to two months.
Slideshow Credits: 01 / Photo: courtesy of August; 02 / Photo: courtesy of August; 03 / Photo: courtesy of August; 04 / Photo: courtesy of August; 05 / Photo: courtesy of August;