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.
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.
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