You're out of town. Someone knocks. Suddenly, you see a message on your phone: it's the picture of the person who's at your door.
The Goji Smart Lock is a bit of a hybrid; it's one part automated entry system, one part surveillance. It also lets you use a physical key, but it doesn't have to use one to open.
There are already a fair number of automated lock systems out there --, and -- but the Goji's addition of a camera-notifier makes it somewhat distinct from the others.
Do you want both in your front door?
I see you
A camera built into the Goji's front end has a proximity sensor that automatically takes photographs starting at a distance of 6 feet. The pictures are stored in the cloud on Goji's end, and are accessible via a smartphone app. Additionally, an embedded accelerometer triggers when your door is knocked or jostled, which causes an alert to be sent to your phone -- along with the photograph of who's there -- via e-mail or text message.
It's an idea similar to the, but in a lock.
Digital keys, physical keys, phone access
The Goji works three different ways: unlocking via Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) and a Goji smartphone app, unlocking via a programmable digital key fob, or unlocking via a physical key. The Smart Lock comes with four digital keys and two physical keys in the base $278 package.
The interesting part comes when you send someone a digital key that works via the app, but only at certain dates and times. You can program access for someone to only get into your home on, say, Tuesday afternoon.
Once the door unlocks, the built-in front LED screen greets you by name. Or, alternatively, it tells you that you can't enter. The front piece flips down to reveal the standard keyhole, in case you prefer more traditional entry -- or need a backup way to enter. The internal lock mechanism comes from one of the top Taiwanese lock manufacturers, according to Goji's representatives.
The Smart Lock has built-in Wi-Fi, and works with other home networks like iControl (Xfinity Home and IntelligentHome), plus Savant. You can check whether your door is locked remotely via the app, in case you feel like you forgot.
The Goji's app works on iPhones (4S or later) and the Samsung Galaxy S3 or later. That's pretty common as far as connected-device technology that uses low-energy Bluetooth goes.
How does it work?
I got to see a prototype early model of the Goji, which worked with automatic unlocking via an iOS app, but I couldn't see the proximity camera in action. It wasn't exactly a real-life demonstration of the lock in action.
The Smart Lock uses four AA batteries that power it and allow automatic motorized locking. A rear home-side screen shows battery level indicators. If any connectivity or lock problems occur, Goji promises a 24-7 locksmith service to assist...but that sounds optimistic.
For real home-use review-level opinion, stay tuned for when CNET gets a unit for review. The Goji Smart Lock seems intriguing in theory, but whether all parts work perfectly and reliably will be the real test for most. The Goji Smart Lock is available for preorder now at $278, but with availability around March 2014.