Apple HomeKit Powers August's Smartlock For Connect Homes - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
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Commentary
10/15/2015
03:15 PM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Commentary
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Apple HomeKit Powers August's Smartlock For Connect Homes

August unveils a new smart-home access platform that integrates Apple's HomeKit and Siri.

IoT World: Separating Smart And Dumb Things
IoT World: Separating Smart And Dumb Things
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Smart-home products startup August wants to own your front door.

The San Francisco-based company on Oct. 14 unveiled its August Access platform "that provides secure, trusted home access" to repair companies, dog walkers, food delivery services, and other service providers. The platform uses the August Smart Lock (which is HomeKit-enabled), the August Smart Keypad, and the August Doorbell Cam.

HomeKit is Apple's home automation framework. The use of HomeKit gives Apple devices a standardized method to configure, communicate with, and control linked hardware in the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, users can control their August locks by telling Siri to lock, unlock, or check the status of their doors at any time or to even activate other smart-home devices.

Manufacturers who have already pledged support for HomeKit are: iHome, Texas Instruments, Osram Sylvania, Cree, Chamberlain, Marvell, Skybell, August, Honeywell, Haier, Schlage, Philips, Kwikset, Broadcom, Netatmo, and Withings.

(Image: Francesco Scatena/iStockphoto)

(Image: Francesco Scatena/iStockphoto)

With the August app for iOS and Android, customers discover and sign up for new services and then control and monitor what is delivered to their homes. Partners for this program at launch include Sears, Postmates, Pro.com, Handy, Fetch! Pet Care, Shyp, BloomNation, Envoy, Rinse, HelloAlfred, Wag!, Pillow, and Doorman.

Yves Béhar, cofounder of August, said in the announcement that the new products and third-party services created by the company were "designed not just to provide a delightful experience but to remove the friction that currently exists with home access and transform the way people interact with their homes."

The platform is still in beta with expected delivery in six to eight weeks, but it is available for pre-order now on August.com, BestBuy.com, and Amazon.com. The company also says that select products will also be available from Apple.

[Read about why Apple's HomeKit might be an innovation killer.]

However, August must give people a valid reason to unlock their homes, not merely provide the ability to do so. That is why the company is trying to build a trusted partner ecosystem.

The August Smart Lock (HomeKit enabled) retails for $229, the Smart Keypad $79, and the Doorbell Cam $199. The existing August Smart Lock, which does not have HomeKit integration, is priced at $199.

In another indication that the smart-home market may be heating up, a competitor to August (and HomeKit adopter) Kwikset also announced this week a way to link multiple Bluetooth-linked Kevo smart locks with its new Kevo Plus Internet gateway. However, the company has said that the product had sold out and is on backorder.

The Kevo app, which is used in conjunction with the gateway, lets users lock or unlock their doors remotely with their iPhones. The app also lets them monitor door access and receive alerts.

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet ... View Full Bio
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Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2015 | 4:55:43 AM
Home kit app
"The San Francisco-based company on Oct. 14 unveiled its August Access platform "that provides secure, trusted home access" to repair companies, dog walkers, food delivery services, and other service providers. The platform uses the August Smart Lock (which is HomeKit-enabled), the August Smart Keypad, and the August Doorbell Cam."

Larry, am eager to know how this works? You mean that we can make order through this app and they will call you from the gate or something else.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
10/16/2015 | 12:34:46 PM
Re: Home kit app
From what I understand, you order some sort of service from the partners.

They can then come to your home, present credentials, and you then let them in to deliver stuff or do work.

Of course, you can still let anyone in if you want to; but this gives an extra level of trust to those that you do,

 

 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2015 | 6:18:35 AM
Re: Home kit app
"From what I understand, you order some sort of service from the partners. They can then come to your home, present credentials, and you then let them in to deliver stuff or do work. Of course, you can still let anyone in if you want to; but this gives an extra level of trust to those that you do,"

Larry, you meant that such services/delivery is happenings, when no one is at home. Then I have to agree to that this is a good service, eventhough there are security concerns. 
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
10/19/2015 | 6:44:42 AM
Re: Home kit app
Right, you can let "trusted" service providers in when you are not at home with this.

 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/21/2015 | 6:06:47 AM
Re: Home kit app
"Right, you can let "trusted" service providers in when you are not at home with this."

Larry, who is trusted? If the service providers are new to the market or customer; then how can be categorize them as trusted OR Not.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
10/21/2015 | 6:51:09 AM
Re: Home kit app
They have ecosystem partners in their program like Sears and others.

So they have developed their own chain of trust.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
11/2/2015 | 6:14:52 AM
Re: Home kit app
"They have ecosystem partners in their program like Sears and others. So they have developed their own chain of trust."

Larry, ok that's fine. Its matter of trust and obliviously someone may be there to spoil it
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/2/2015 | 6:22:31 AM
Re: Home kit app
There are ways to correct it.

If there is a bad actor in the chain of trust, the chain itself may remove the link and repair damage caused by it.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
11/4/2015 | 6:03:04 AM
Re: Home kit app
"If there is a bad actor in the chain of trust, the chain itself may remove the link and repair damage caused by it."

Larry, that's interesting. But how? Unless and until someone has to register a compliant for that; am I right.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2015 | 6:57:04 AM
Re: Home kit app
Yes, someone has to alert the chain there is a problem
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
11/6/2015 | 12:21:26 AM
Re: Home kit app
"Yes, someone has to alert the chain there is a problem"

Larry, any other mechanism for monitoring like CC Tv with these service level people or using IoT based sensing system for remote monitoring etc.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
11/6/2015 | 4:54:58 AM
Re: Home kit app
I would think motion detection (comparing two frames from a camera and looking for a change) would be useful.

Or just watch them directly in your house.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
11/9/2015 | 4:16:11 AM
Re: Home kit app
"I would think motion detection (comparing two frames from a camera and looking for a change) would be useful. Or just watch them directly in your house."

Larry, thanks for this. I think the best way is IP based remote web monitoring using IoT based sensors or CC Tvs.
trotti54
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trotti54,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2015 | 3:48:43 PM
risky
I find these risky new technologies. IT is easily hacked today, we must be vigilant with security vulnerabilities
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
10/17/2015 | 4:29:43 PM
Re: risky
I'm not so sure it can be hacked easily, though the camera's image may be obtainable if the headers for it are easily discerned.

Again, easily? No. Possible? Sure.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2015 | 6:23:54 AM
Re: risky
"I'm not so sure it can be hacked easily, though the camera's image may be obtainable if the headers for it are easily discerned. Again, easily? No. Possible? Sure."

Larry, if peoples are coming with masked faces what can we do or more peoples are coming later with masked face. Such security vulnerabilities are more. The only thing is business is building up on trust and they have a proper label/address.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
10/19/2015 | 6:46:28 AM
Re: risky
Well, someone with overwhelming force can bypass physical security.

With the camera, you at least get some idea of who did it and can use that to chase the perps down.
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
10/21/2015 | 6:08:16 AM
Re: risky
"Well, someone with overwhelming force can bypass physical security. With the camera, you at least get some idea of who did it and can use that to chase the perps down."

Larry, that's right. but thieves or hackers are much intelligent either to bypass cameras or fake them with different masks.
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