LAS VEGAS -- I liked thewhen I reviewed it this past October. Now a new accessory from August, the $49 Connect, makes it even better. On its own, the August Smart Lock talks to your phone via Bluetooth, but you can't control the lock once you go out of range. Connect brings the August lock onto your Wi-Fi network, giving you the ability to lock and unlock it from anywhere you can get online.
That remote access issue is common to smart locks. You don't exactly want to run a power cable to your front door, which means a connected lock needs to run on batteries. Batteries means limited power, though, and Wi-Fi tends to be a power hog. Bluetooth LE (low energy) is a common alternative, but with a range of only about 100 meters, you can't control your lock or check on its status when you leave your house. The Connect accessory solves that problem.
Competitor Kwikset introducedto its , but in that case they solved the program with an accessory and a premium service fee for the remote control functionality. August has no ongoing fees.
Along with Connect, August is also announcing that it has joined theprogram of devices that talk to Nest Labs popular and smoke detector. Imagine the thermostat kicking into Away mode when you unlock the door to leave home, that kind of thing. That bumps August's partner platforms to four, given the already announced support for , and (whether the latter will work with August's existing hardware remains an open question). A new, closed API program will potentially open up interactions with other connected home products for August as well.
The Connect accessory will be available for preorder from August this month, with units hitting retail stores in February.