August’s New Line of Products for A Smarter Front DoorBy - 01/08/2017
Starting with the August Smart Lock, August has made a name for themselves in the home security space. Not satisfied with their instant success, they continue to grow. Last year they added three new products based on customer feedback. This year, they’ve already started to expand their lineup.
August Smart Lock HomeKit Enabled
The August Smart Lock was one of the first products to be added to the HomeKit compatibility list. The newest lock includes everything needed to live up to Apple’s hardware certification program. The lock can be controlled using Siri on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Here’s the catch: You can only control August using Siri within Bluetooth range, once you’re connected to local Wi-Fi (using a Wi-Fi bridge like August Connect), Siri works but only if you own an Apple TV.
The new August Smart Lock also addresses issues faced by the previous version. One of which is the faceplate. The old lock moved when being turned manually. The new lock features a magnetic grip that holds it firmly in place as you turn the knob.
There were also minor design changes made to version 2. The grip of the lock now has a pattern for better grip. There is also a new chrome indicator that will let you know the lock/unlock status. And the edges of the smart lock’s body have been smoothed and rounded for a better doorknob feel.
August Smart Lock Mortise Kit
At CES 2017, August announced a new type of smart lock, the August Smart Lock Mortise Kit. It’s their first smart lock solution that turns select mortise-style locks, commonly used in high-rise residential buildings and new constructions, into smart locks. The device is compatible with leading mortise lock providers, such as Schlage, Yale, and Accurate.
The kit includes a mounting plate and an adapter that connects the August Smart Lock to a mortise-style lock. The August Smart Lock itself is not included in the kit. The August Smart Lock Mortise Kit will be available to certified locksmiths, property developers, and property managers for $100.
IFTTT, Alexa, and Security Risks
Both the 1st Generation and HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock support rule-based automation through IFTTT. This allows you to create interaction between August and other products and services that have IFTTT channels. For instance, you can create a rule that turns your Philips Hue lights on when the doors are unlocked.
Also, both smart lock versions now have an Alexa Skill, which means you can control them using any device with access to Amazon’s Alexa. To voice control your August lock, you must speak the phrase “tell August” before giving your command. You also need a Wi-Fi bridge such as the August Connect or the August Doorbell Cam. The Alexa Skill for August can only lock and check the status of your door. For the time being, you can’t unlock August using Alexa because of the security risks involved.
However, August users don’t need Alexa to expose themselves to security risks. At DefCon, a hacker exposed possible vulnerabilities in the first and second generation August Smart Lock. The hacker found that people you grant access to can permanently control your lock, even if you’ve only granted temporary access. Fortunately, there are no reports of anyone being affected by this vulnerability and August is rolling out updates to solve the problem.
The second generation August Smart Lock retails at $229, while the first generation lock’s price has lowered to $199 and is still available to order.
August Smart Keypad
Another product launched is the Smart Keypad. The Smart Keypad is a companion accessory to the August Smart Lock. It lets you unlock your lock by punching in a unique code. Besides being a way of unlocking the door, it also makes locking easier. The lowest button (the red, rectangular one) is dedicated to locking your door, so pressing this button will one click lock your door when needed.
August Smart Keypad is also convenient when you need to grant limited access to caregivers, your dog walker, a handyman, your contractor, or a guest. Using the app, you can generate a code for your guest. Using his/her smartphone or the pad, your guests can easily access your home.
The August Smart Keypad is available now for $79.95.
August Doorbell Cam
August’s Doorbell Cam isn’t all too different from the doorbell cameras you already know. It shares the same basic feature—a camera that lets you view who’s at your front door from your smartphone.
August Doorbell Cam has a square design and needs to be hardwired to an existing wired setup. The design may limit your placement, as will the wiring requirement, but it isn’t all doom and gloom. On the brighter side, August Doorbell Cam has 720p recording and live-streaming capabilities. The resolution is as high as competitors Ring and SkyBell. It also has a microphone and speaker that allow for 2-way talk. But what happens if you miss a visitor?
August offers a subscription plan of $4.99/month or $49.99/year for cloud recording. Missed events are recorded and stored in the cloud for 30 days. All new users are allotted a 30-day free trial of the service. After the trial ends, you will still be able to use the Doorbell Cam for free with access to all of its features except for cloud storage.
August Doorbell Cam can also detect motion. With motion detection, Doorbell Cam will notify you when a person is near your door even if he/she doesn’t ring the doorbell. Additionally, the Doorbell Cam plays a sound when it detects motion.
Besides being a doorbell cam, August Doorbell also acts as a Wi-Fi bridge to your August Smart Lock. It connects to your lock using Bluetooth. Then it connects to Wi-Fi. Once connected, you can lock/unlock your front door remotely, check your lock’s status, or receive instant notifications when someone locks or unlocks your door.
The Doorbell Cam can work in conjunction with Nest Cam. The integration allows you to see feeds from your Doorbell Cam and your Nest Cam side-by-side via the August app. It will also prompt your Nest Cam to create a video animation of what happens before and after a visitor rings your doorbell.
Although HomeKit didn’t support cameras when the Doorbell Cam was originally released, August thought ahead, embedding it with a HomeKit-enabled MFI chip.
Aside from the devices mentioned above, August has also rolled out a new service called August Access. This program connects August users with several home service providers, such as renovation contractors, cleaners, package couriers, pet-sitters, dog walkers, and laundry cleaners. In theory, you can schedule any of these service providers right from the August Home app. The service provider will be given limited access to your August Smart Lock so they can perform the services even if you aren’t home. Of course, you can also do this without August Access, but the program adds several security features.
First, August Access will provide the person they send to your home with a unique and identifiable virtual key. If anything goes amiss, August can easily track the virtual key back to the person. Second, they will help you track the job progress. You will receive real-time alerts on your phone when service providers enter and exit your home. If you have a Doorbell Cam, photos are also taken as they enter or leave.
August Access currently has twelve partners including Sears Home Services, Postmates, Pro.com, Doorman, Envoy, and Fetch! Pet Care.
You can learn more about all of the products on August.com.
Last Updated 1/8/2017
Updated with Mortise Kit
Read Previous Updates
6-16-2016 updated with more Homekit information.
8-30-2016 Added DefCon findings.
9/29/2016 Motion detection added and cloud beta launched.
12/3/2016 Updated with cloud recording and August Access