The August Smart Lock is the newest smartphone-controlled door lock to hit the market.

Designed by fuseproject’s Yves Béhar, and co-founded by Jason Johnson, a managing partner at the Founders Den incubator, August rethinks each step to approaching and securing the entryways to our homes, starting with the hardware.

Easy installment and intuitive signals are cornerstones of August’s design. Green and red LED lights signal locked and unlocked, and August--which only installs on the door’s inside--comes in eight finishes, to best match the homeowner’s décor.

The August app opens up first to a keychain--just like reaching into a pocket or purse and finding keys bundled up--and shows each August lock with a circle icon.

By adding people, either manually or through a contacts list, August can deliver virtual keys to other users, such as friends, dog walkers, or Airbnb renters.

Each key comes with a set date and time, and alerts the homeowner when they enter and leave the building, providing another layer to home security.

Those keys can also be sent as invites for parties and events, both freeing the host from attending the door, and (ideally) keeping party crashers out.

“Once you make things safer, there’s other magical things you can do,” Béhar says. “You can do things that are much more social, like dinner invitations for friends, and party invitations. We’re also very excited about having a guest book in the app. I personally love when people leave notes on the fridge; now there will be notes in the app.” The guest book is seen here.

Co.Design

From Fuseproject, A Keyless Door Lock You Control With Your Smartphone

August is the latest in keyless entry--and party invitations.

Consider all the touch points in a morning routine: alarm clock, toothbrush, coffee pot, thermostat, weather report, newspaper. They’re all tactile parts of the home that can now come rigged with WiFi or sensors, and operated via a smartphone. The boom in home automation is disrupting nearly every piece of old plastic junk that we’re used to dealing with. Next up: the front door.

“We’ve been carrying keys for a long time, and they’re sharp pieces of metal in our pockets,” says fuseproject CEO Yves Béhar. “But the door is used five, six, twenty times a day.” Béhar and fuseproject, along with co-founder Jason Johnson, have the latest entry in the home automation market with the August Smart Lock. August rethinks virtually every part of how we approach and secure the entryways to our homes, starting with the lock itself. Johnson, a managing partner at the incubator Founders Den, wanted to create something with the seamless integration of Sonos speakers or the Nest Learning Thermostat. Like the Nest, August is a circular piece of hardware that replaces the interior half of a traditional lock and is designed for the easiest possible installation (which the founders estimate takes five to seven minutes, on average). LED lights in green and red signal the status of the lock, as does a notched ring around the August that’s easy to see from a distance. “Moments of experience are carefully crafted in the hardware,” Béhar says. “So the speaker is facing outward, and you will hear it,” confirming that the door locked behind you.

The August app opens up first to a keychain--just like reaching into a pocket or purse and finding keys bundled up--then moves to whether the lock is open or closed. Guests can be added quickly via a contacts list, and given keys for specific dates and times. Those keys communicate back to the owner the arrival and departure times for guests, adding a new layer in home security. Overall, the greatest convenience of August is that homeowners won’t even need to retrieve their phone to get in the door--the hardware recognizes the phone via Bluetooth, and can auto-unlock even when bags of groceries are in hand.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because August isn’t the first smartphone-controlled lock to hit this new market. Last October, we wrote about Lockitron, a hardware-and-app combo that digitized locking and unlocking doors. Both products affix to the inside of the door, sync to an app, and let homeowners grant access to friends, dog walkers, Airbnb renters, and so on.

August and Lockitron diverge in a major way when it comes to style. The August hardware is designed specifically for subtlety: “We’ve heard a lot of feedback on various products and how they don’t blend in with home décor,” Johnson says. “We allow for August to match or stand out. We see it as an object of pride that doesn’t scream tech.” So August comes in eight different colors, one of which is likely to match the door or handle’s finish (Lockitron comes in four). Fuseproject’s trademark intuitive, but invisible, ergonomics show through in the notched ring around the outside. It’s also a circle, which echoes the round functional shape of traditional locks. By comparison, the Lockitron is a two-toned rectangular box.

The two gadgets differentiate in another, less tangible way: Whereas Lockitron functions like a handy tool, August will also have a social component. “Once you make things safer, there’s other magical things you can do,” Béhar says. Those include creating dinner-party invitations to friends. "We’re also very excited about having a guest book in the app. I personally love when people leave notes on the fridge; now there will be notes in the app.”

August will be available for $199.

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11 Comments

  • Joe

    I agree w/ the red-green color blind issue. The colors should be customizable. 

    Check out www.august.com for more info. If the batteries of the lock device die you can still use your real key. This device goes on the inside of your house, not the outside.

    If someone was to steal your phone you can still log into the website or app from another phone or computer, and disable your "keys". If you can't access another phone (say a friend or stranger) or computer (say a library, hotel, etc) then you probably have bigger issues than keeping your door locked.

    $200 each does seem a little steep. They should consider $100 for the software (track by owner) and then sell each device for $20. I can see some houses using at least 2 or 3, or more!

  • David Bradley

    Sorry but $200 is too much for a door lock. If it came bundled with a couple of locks and popped the back door open to let my dogs out, maybe...

  • MacGoo

    Beautiful. Much nicer looking the Kivo or the other options out there. However, like all the other options out there, this one too has a fatal flaw: it's staggeringly overpriced.

  • Andrei G

    Although not novel, the app looks nice. However, why complicate a rather simple intuitive app with features that other apps do much much better. Why on earth would I want to leave a note with this app when I can Text/Whatsapp/fb/tweet ?

    From a reputable design studio like fuse, I would have expected a better "feature creep" management...

  • robertmaxi

    So if somebody steal your phone, will be able to "seamlessly" walk into your house?

  • robertmaxi

    Let's
    consider the "touch points" during the day, not just in the
    morning:

    How many times
    do you take out your keys from your pocket and how many times you do that with
    your phone? You move your phone in and out all day, you put it on dining
    tables, on shelves, desks, which makes it an easy target for a thief.

    Your keys
    instead will stay hidden on the bottom of your pocket all day, a harder target
    for a thief.

     

    Also let’s
    consider another scenario:

    A burglar
    targets your home and starts following you. If he steals your phone 2 hours
    away from you home, he can then use the contact list function to “quickly” let
    his friends burglars inside your house.

    It’s actually a
    good design for burglars as It’s more convenient than stealing a key and travel
    back to your house.

     

  • shazbot

    DDAVIS:
    True but they probably can't find your house with your keys. They could probably find your house with your phone.

  • DDavis

    I'd notice someone stealing my phone just as fast as my keys.  Would probably notice my phone missing sooner than keys.