It's no surprise that we're seeing new connected locks emerge in 2015. The recent boom in smart security options has opened the door for a new generation of smart locks, and with early contenders like Lockitron and Goji, many consumers are still waiting for more options.
That's where Sesame hopes to come in. The product of a Stanford University startup called Candy House Inc., Sesame promises to fit over your existing deadbolt, then connect with your smartphone over Bluetooth, allowing you to open the lock using an Android or iOS app. If you'd rather leave your phone in your pocket, Sesame says you can unlock your door using a customized knock. And, of course, keys are still an option.
With the exception of that knocking trick, that pitch sounds an awful lot like the August Smart Lock -- but the two part ways when it comes to pricing. While August retails for about $250 (roughly £160, AU$315, with international availability pending), Sesame plans to sell for $149 (£95, AU$190 -- international shipping is available, though the Sesame team notes that the lock is optimized to fit over deadbolts in the US, Canada, and Australia). Those willing to dive in now can grab an early-bird special on Kickstarter, with a limited amount bringing the price down below $100.
One problem with Bluetooth smart locks is that you need to be in fairly close range in order to use them. August answered that criticism by releasing the $50accessory, which relays the lock's Bluetooth signal over Wi-Fi. Sesame follows suit, with its own plug-in Wi-Fi Access Point that tacks an extra $50 onto the retail price.
With that Wi-Fi extender plugged in somewhere in your home, you'll be able to lock and unlock the door remotely no matter where you are. You'll also be able to share access with guests via the app -- no word from Candy House yet on whether or not they plan on charging for guest access in the way thedoes. I'm also curious to see whether or not you can offer guest access with schedule restrictions.
Design-wise, the Sesame is a little smaller than August, and about half the size of the original Lockitron design (a newer, smaller "" design is currently in the works too). Candy House plans to sell Sesame in four colors: black, silver, white, and -- oddly enough -- pink. There's also a woodgrain version available, though it appears to cost extra.
Candy House claims that the Sesame is protected from cyber attacks with AES 256-bit and TLS 1.2 "military grade encryption." They've also pledged to keep the app's code and the firmware for both the lock and the Wi-Fi extender open source, which smart-home tinkerers should be happy to hear.
The Sesame Smart Lock is scheduled to start shipping out to backers this May, which seems like a rather ambitious timetable given the difficulties we've seen other crowdfunded locks face. I'm also curious to test Sesame's "Knock to Unlock" feature for myself, just as soon as we get our hands on one.
Still, healthy skepticism aside, the price is a pretty clear step in the right direction. If Candy House can deliver on its promises, Sesame could be poised for smart home success. We'll keep you posted.