Home automation startup August first came to market with a smart lock that allows users to get inside their homes without having to reach for their keys. But now it’s launching a new device, called August Connect, that will connect its smart lock to the Internet and open up a ton of new features for users.
Since going on sale in October, the August Smart Lock has enabled users to lock or unlock their homes seamlessly, without having to pull keys out of their pockets. Thanks to an intuitive mobile app and Bluetooth connectivity, the device also enabled users to give others access to their home without having keys made.
By only supporting Bluetooth, however, the smart lock had one major drawback: Users could only interact with it when they were within range of it. With the launch of August Connect, the company hopes to gives users more ways to interact with the smart lock they already own.
August Connect is essentially a $50 WiFi bridge for the smart lock, connecting to the device being Bluetooth and then relaying signals to the cloud over the home’s WiFi network. The device plugs directly into an outlet near the smart lock and can be connected to WiFi via the August mobile app.
By providing a constant Internet connection to the device, Connect “unlocks” a whole bunch of new features. Once installed, users will be able to remotely access the lock from their mobile app, check status, and even “buzz-in” guests when no one is at home, even if they haven’t been issued a virtual key.
While that makes the lock more useful, August sees an even bigger opportunity for its devices by opening them up to third-party developers. To do so, it’s also introducing an API for them to develop with.
Initial partners include hooking up with the Nest Learning Thermostat, as well as Samsung’s SmartThings home automation platform. The lock can also be accessed through the Logitech Harmony smart home hub, but August hopes to add more partners and features over time.
August Connect is available for pre-order for $49.99, and will ship and become available for sale in retail stores beginning in mid-February.