August lock, exploded view. | Source: August
Following in the footsteps of other home automation products, August is yet another entrant into the door lock category set to be populated with upcoming products like Kwikset's UniKey-powered Kevo and a Kickstarter project called Lockitron.
Designed by Yves Behar, August attaches to a door's deadbolt and leverages the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol to create virtual smartphone keys, allowing users to lock and unlock the mechanism without physical contact. The device runs on four AA batteries and is completely self-sufficient, meaning it will work even in the case of a power outage. Charges last up to six months.
What makes August different is its design, which resembles a chunkier Nest Learning Thermostat. On the front is an array of lock status LEDs, while a rotatable collar acts as a physical backup in case batteries fail or something goes wrong with the Bluetooth connection.
Users can issue time-based key codes to friends and family, who can accept the invitations via email to turn their smartphones into virtual keys. Whenever a guest opens or closes the door, the owner is alerted to the activity. Since the system relies completely on Bluetooth, and is not connected to Wi-Fi, it most likely sends out these alert messages via a guest's smartphone.
In comparison to competing products like Kevo, Behar's August mounts on the inside of a user's door without the need for a complete lock replacement. Installation is supposedly simple, but perhaps not as easy as Lockitron, which requires no screws or tinkering as it sits directly on top of the existing lock handle.
August can be pre-ordered from the company's website for $199.