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Smart Home

Amazon's Door Lock API makes Alexa commands even easier

Select smart locks now have native Alexa support, so you can simply say: "Alexa, lock my front door."

Schlage is one of six partners to work with Amazon's new Door Lock API.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon today simplified smart locks for Alexa, by adding a Door Lock API to its Alexa Skills Kit. This API, or application program interface, is designed to improve voice commands for lock partners Schlage, Yale, Kwikset, August, Vivint and Z-Wave.

With custom, developer-made Alexa Skills, commands must include the Skill name. For instance, August Smart Lock customers using a custom Skill would have to say, "Alexa, ask August to lock my front door." That isn't terribly inconvenient, but it does make the sentence a tad unwieldy.

Native Alexa support through the Door Lock API should simplify the sentence to: "Alexa, lock my front door." You'll also be able to ask questions like, "Alexa, is my front door locked?" But you won't be able to ask Alexa to unlock your door.

"We're currently working on a variety of security and safety tools within the Door Lock API in order to support unlock controls in a secure manner," said an Amazon representative. "We will not launch unlock support until those security requirements and options are in place."

An unlocking feature is available through August's custom Alexa Skill, but you'll still have to say, "Alexa, ask August to unlock my front door." August is the only smart lock maker we know of to enable unlocking in a custom Alexa Skill.

Amazon's voice control assistant, Alexa, lives inside the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Tap Bluetooth speakers. You can ask Alexa a wide variety of questions, ranging from the weather forecast in your area to who won last night's game. You can also control devices in your home -- everything from lights to thermostats and locks -- making Amazon a key player in the smart home industry. Browse the 10,000 available Alexa Skills here.

Amazon already offers quite a few native Alexa integrations in other smart home product categories, but this is a first for smart locks and deadbolts. We plan to test out Amazon's Door Lock API shortly, so check back soon for updates.

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