If you are you the type of person that still laments the switch from traditional metal keys to plastic keycards in hotels, then you might not be ready for the new August Smart Lock. This Bluetooth-enabled system, from Jason Johnson and Yves Béhar, allows you (and anyone else of your choosing) to unlock your front door simply with a wave of a smartphone.
The wireless system retrofits to existing single-cylinder deadbolts and is powered by 4 AA batteries. After installing the lock and uploading the mobile app, users can open and lock their doors with their phones and easily give others with smartphones (dog walkers, visitors, handymen) access for different days and periods of time.
Claimed to be “the most discreet smart lock on the market”, the anodized aluminum enclosure measures 3 1/4” diameter and under 2” high. The lock will not work with mortise or Euro-style cylinders, but has been confirmed to be compatible with certain deadlocks from Schlage, Kwikset, Baldwin, Stanley, and other suppliers. The August Smart Lock app works with iPhone and Android, while Blackberry and Windows Phone 8 compatibility is coming next.
But is it safe? One strong nod of confidence is that the system uses the same secure connection used by financial institutions for online banking. The manufacturer also makes the point that traditional keys are easy to lose and copy, keypad codes can be easily shared, and biometrics are expensive. But what if you lose your phone? In that case, the company suggests logging into your app elsewhere and removing access authorization for that device. This is a bit of a hassle, but I suppose it’s an easier solution than calling a locksmith. If the batteries die, August will always be able to accommodate a traditional key, so make sure that there is always one handy. You can also download the app on a neighbor’s device, log-on, then use the app to open the door and then delete it from their device. Note to self: Be nicer to the neighbors.
A few of the options can be very useful, but make me nervous. With the Auto-Unlock option, August senses your approach and unlocks your door for you without having to reach for your phone. I can’t quite put my finger on why I don’t like this. Could it be that my kids are always stealing my phone and I don’t want them to accidentally unlock my front door? Or that sometimes when you are alone you would prefer to unlock the door after the shady person has made it a bit further down the block? August also offers the optional EverLock feature, which can sense when you have closed your door and automatically lock it. If you are someone that is always running in and out of your house, then I see a good chance of locking yourself out. If you never forget your phone but always forget to the lock the door, this is the option for you.
August is accepting pre-orders now at www.august.com. The lock will sell for $199 and there are no monthly or usage fees for accessing the key management service.