HomeKit, the platform Apple promised would bring together connected smart home devices hasn’t really taken off since it was introduced back in 2014. But Apple’s neglected pet project is finally starting to pick up steam as companies are starting to incorporate HomeKit into their products.
The most recent addition is the updated August Smart Lock. Starting at $229, a product that simply locks your door may result in an eye roll for some, however the Smart Lock is loaded with some compelling features. August also unveiled a connected doorbell with a camera and a smart keypad that works with the Smart Lock. They have dubbed the whole package the August Home Access System.
According to August, installation of the Smart Lock can be performed by just about anyone with the help of a screwdriver. It installs on the deadbolt on the inside of your door so the exterior remains the same. Once installed the lock connects to your phone via the August Smart Lock iOS app and it uses low powered bluetooth to lock and unlock your door.
Smart Lock Features
As mentioned, the August Smart Lock comes ready to use with Apple’s HomeKit which means you can tell Siri to lock up when you’re in Bluetooth range of your front door. Also, those with an Apple TV can use Siri to access the Smart Lock over your local Wi-Fi network.
The Smart Lock also includes the ability to send what August calls Virtual Keys to anyone that has the August app. Let’s say a family member needs to swing by your house to pick something up. You can simply send them a Virtual Key that shows up in their app and is active for a set period of time, say 10 minutes for example, and when they get to your front door the lock will activate.
The 24/7 activity log and immediate notifications when someone enters your home are also extremely useful. If you are at work waiting for notice the kids came home school, you can get an immediate notification when they unlock the front door, given they have an iPhone and the app, which most kids over the age of 5 nowadays do.
If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of sending Virtual Keys to people or if some members of your family aren’t the tech savvy type you can set a schedule for the Smart Lock to be unlocked. If say your grandmother, who still uses a 1999 Nokia flip phone, wants to drop something off you can set the door to be unlocked from 2-3 p.m. if you want.
The August Smart Doorbell compliments the Smart Lock nicely. It works with existing home wiring and with one-way HD video and two way communication capabilities it lets you know who’s at your door and allows you to have a conversation with them, if you’re in the mood.
You have the option to receive instant alerts on your iPhone when the doorbell rings and the ability to start talking straight from the app. Also, the doorbell starts video recording either when the doorbell rings or when the camera notices activity in front of your door and you can replay the video later if you need to.
The August Smart Keypad is another accessory that interacts with the Smart Lock and enables access to your home without the need for an iPhone. Owners can use the August app to create entry codes and for guests or to use if you want to escape for a while and go for a walk without your iPhone.
One interesting feauture with the Smart Keypad is that August has teamed up with verified partner companies headlined by Sears and Postmates to provide unique access codes for deliveries. The feature is an opt-in service and I’m sure I won’t be the only one to pass on that one.
August’s latest products are scheduled to start shipping in November but you can preorder them through their website. If you want to check out a full list of features and products August has a pretty slick website that includes promotional videos of all the products so that you can see them in action.