A High-Tech Door Lock That's Also Simple | A promising product, especially for people who frequently give out extra keys.
Homes are getting more automated, as new “smart home” products — most controlled by smartphone apps — appear almost weekly. To be only slightly facetious, with the right home combination of gadgets and apps, you could turn on the lights, start the coffee maker and adjust the thermostat just by sneezing at the right time and place.
The trouble with many of these products, however, is that they are complicated, and aim to be part of often-incompatible networks that try and do so much they make your head spin.
A few days ago, I installed a new smart home product that combines clever technology with simplicity. Its aim is to replace, and improve upon, a very old feature of homes in a way that requires as little disruption or techie knowledge as possible.
It’s called the August Smart Lock.
August replaces the standard dead-bolt lock on your door with a wireless, smartphone-controlled, electronic lock. The device, which includes a small motor, locks and unlocks the door with a tap on the screen of your iPhone or Android phone. That may not be quicker or easier than using a key. But it’s just the start.
The August app also allows you to distribute digital “keys” to family members, house guests, cleaning services, contractors or others who require entry to the home, and to control those keys. For instance, you can limit when and for how long these digital keys are active. That means no more making copies of your physical keys, and risking them being copied or never retrieved. And no more leaving keys for others under the welcome mat or a flower pot.
It also has two cool, more advanced, optional features that I liked a lot in my tests. One, called Auto-Unlock, available for now only on the iPhone, detects your smartphone as you approach the door and unlocks it without requiring you to use your phone or your keys. That’s great when your arms are full with, say, grocery bags.
The second, called EverLock, locks the door again after 30 seconds, so you’ll never again forget to lock up.
But here’s the key feature (no pun intended) of the August Smart Lock: It doesn’t replace most of your existing locking mechanisms, or change the look of your door from the outside. It replaces the inside lever or knob that throws the bolt with a high-tech motorized device that’s stylish, if a bit large.