August co-founders Jason Johnson and Yves Behar want your home to be secure, connected and easy to manage. They also think all of this can be done in addition to being stylish. We stopped by their San Francisco office to check it out.
Unlocking your door might not sound exciting, but once you’ve seen an August Smart Lock in action, you’ll change your mind. The company behind it, August, is doubling down on the connected home with a handful of new products and a partnership program that opens the door to new uses of their devices.
The promise of a completely connected home hasn’t really been cashed in on, with tons of companies attacking things like security in myriad ways. August has $45 million to play around with, but up-and-comers like Butterfleye are making noise, and mainstays like Nest and Dropcam want to outfit your home as well. In fact, I’ve always felt like August was the perfect acquisition target for Apple. I digress.
I live in an apartment complex with ridiculous amounts of security, but having worked at a few startups, I’m familiar with how important technology like this is for a small office, too. The same tech for your house? No-brainer.
Siri, Open Says Me
We created our products to be beautiful, impactful, very easy to use and install, and to provide real value and utility to our everyday lives.
The newest Smart Lock is called the “HomeKit Edition” and integrates with Apple’s Siri. It’s pretty sweet. Simply use a voice command to lock, unlock or check the status of your door. Its design got an upgrade, too, with an improvement to the grip and a visual indication of whether the door is locked or not. It will retail for $229. The original model is still available for $199.
The new model takes under 10 minutes to install, Behar told me. I’m really not great with putting things together so even if this took me a half hour, I’d say that’s a win. Again, it’s pretty to look at, and it makes a few sound effects and lights up when it’s locking and unlocking. The only time I’ve ever paid close attention to my door or lock is when I get a key stuck in it. I should probably ask my apartment complex if I can install this thing.
The app that controls it all, available for iOS and Android, couldn’t be easier to use. I imagine that the notifications will take a bit getting used to, as I tend to not pay attention to my phone as much when I get home. In fact, I often shut off the sound.
August Smart Lock App
Owner - Lock
Keypad Access Only
You can invite people and give them different levels of access to your home, small office or wherever you have this bad boy installed. They of course need the app to gain entry. It’s more secure than having keys or keycards floating around, that’s for sure.
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Along with the August Smart Lock, the company is adding a Smart Keypad to let you enter your doors faster, or give access to others. The nice part about this thing, other than the fact that it’s not ugly and gray in color like every keypad, is that you can auto generate one-time use codes for delivery people, friends or family. Add it to your setup for $79.
I wish this one came in different colors though, because the red glowing light is pretty ominous — like you might be entering the gates-of-you-know-where-that-you-might-not-want-to-go-to. Maybe a nice green? I’m no Yves Behar, though.
I C U
Here’s the killer part. Don’t want to give up access? Well, you can use the August Doorbell Cam to be alerted that someone is at the door and to see who it is, all through the app without having to leave your comfy chair. It has a one-way, 140-degree HD video camera and two-way audio. It also picks up motion and will proactively alert you when it senses someone is at the door. This will run you $199.
The thing looks slick, too. Behar was super proud to share that the camera doesn’t get stuck somewhere in the corner of your doorway or up in a tree somewhere. It’s a device that you’re proud for people to actually see.
The only thing that I struggle with when it comes to all of this equipment is asking myself “Would I ever really use it?” I mean, having all of this managed from an iPhone or Android app is cool in theory. Asking Siri to open my door sounds awesome, but I’ve had such a horrible experience with Siri on little things like bringing up a score of a baseball game, I can’t imagine trusting it, or even thinking to ask it to unlock my doors.
August is trying to get you into the groove of using their devices once you install them by launching its new platform — August Access. The idea here is that when you open up the August app, you’ll see a list of trusted providers that might need access to your home for any number of reasons. We’re talking home cleaning, delivery and fixit services like Alfred, BloomNation, Doorman, Envoy, Fetch, Handy, Pillow, Postmates, Pro.com, Rinse, Sears Home Services, Shyp and Wagwalking.
The company says that the integrations “provide a new level of convenience,” but we’re going to have to wait and see if this one catches on. For instance, I don’t personally trust services like Alfred or Handy or any others that send a stranger (vetted or not) into my home enough to give them access — whether through August or with a physical key.
You can pre-order everything today from the August website, and the items will ship in 6-8 weeks.
[DISCLOSURE: My significant other runs communications at Postmates]