Could August Smart Lock device and app replace door locks and keys?
August, the Smart Lock company, last week secured $30 million (£20.1 million) in funding to expand its business and the availability of its digital lock and access system, which it describes as a safe, simple and social offer that “revolutionises home entry”.
While the system can work with a physical key, its main function is the ability for a person to walk through their front door with just a tap on their smart-phone, or to send a virtual key to anyone’s mobile device they choose and allow them access to their home for however long they please.
The device connects to your phone though Bluetooth and is already on sale in Apple and at the App Store in America, though it is not the only one of its kind on the market.
Sesame, like August, fits over a deadbolt latch on the inside of a front door, and opens when it recognises the owner’s phone approaching the door and has been unlocked through the accompanying app. Goji, another smart lock, has a built-in camera and can send pictures of visitors to a person’s phone.
While these devices can make it easier for visitors, housekeepers and dog-walkers to enter and exit a person’s home, with the apps recording who has walked in and out of the front door and at what time, they also pose questions over the safety of such models.
August claims to use the “same secure communications technology used by financial institutions for online banking,” which ensures that “only invited guests have access to your properties”.
he company said that if a person’s phone is lost or stolen then a mobile device’s authorisation to unlock a front door can be revoked anytime online.
However, the device has been criticised for not always working “perfectly”. Cnet’s review, while mainly positive, stated “we haven’t seen a flawless smart lock yet”.
When taking into account the $249.99 (£167.55) price for something that is used to secure a person’s worldly goods, not to mention protecting their own personal safety, “the penalty for failure is incredibly high,” Wired’s review states.