On par with other smart home devices such as the Nest and Hue, Yves Behar’s latest design endeavor (along with tech entrepreneur Jason Johnson), August aims to replace physical keys with the power of Bluetooth in a cleverly designed smartphone app. Revealed this week at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, the product looks like a promising member to join the ever-increasing family of smart home products.
August Smart Lock
“Whereas traditional keys are easy to lose and copy, keypad codes can be easily shared, and biometrics are expensive and a challenge to install, the smart lock is a beautifully designed, easy to install, sociable device accompanied by a single mobile app that runs on your smartphone”
The August Smart Lock is a sleek cylindrical metal device that fits over an existing deadbolt and syncs with the user’s smartphone through Bluetooth. When the user/smartphone approaches the door, the Bluetooth signal automatically unlocks the door–perfect for when carrying those 8 bags of groceries in one trip. Additionally, the remote function of the app allows a user to remotely unlock their door for guests from anywhere…meaning you’ll never have to leave your throne as Grillmaster at your next BBQ.
Perhaps what’s truly impressive about this platform however, is the ability to assign entry times and dates for other guests. For example, a repairman or housecleaner could be given an assigned entry time and date that would only grant access for that specific time…which would then expire once they leave. This feature alone could do wonders for AirBnB hosts, hotels, and other guest houses.
It should be noted that this isn’t the first iPhone-controlled keyless lock–a company called Lockitron successfully crowdfunded a lock last year (shipping in mid-July 2013) that while similar, relies solely on Wi-Fi. According to Behar and Johnson, Bluetooth is a more reliable option because in the event of a home power outage, the locks could be rendered useless.
Appearance-wise, the lock features a beautifully-machined anodized aluminium case and incorporates LEDs to indicate whether it’s locked or unlocked…essentially what you would expect a digital deadbolt from the future to look like. The lock is also independently powered and requires no need for a local Wi-Fi source. The UI of the app is in perfect harmony with the industrial design of the lock itself. Utilizing a minimalist aesthetic, the app features colored circles that indicate what doors are open or closed.
The product will be ready to ship later this year and can be pre-ordered on the August website.