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August brings its smart lock online with Connect accessory

August's new Connect Bluetooth-to-Wi-Fi bridge gives the August Smart Lock remote access capabilities and easier interaction with other connected household devices.

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Rich Brown
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Rich Brown

Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness

Rich is the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, KY. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D-printing to Z-Wave smart locks.

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LAS VEGAS -- I liked the August Smart Lock when 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.

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The August Smart Lock comes online. Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Competitor Kwikset introduced a similar update to its Kevo smart lock , 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 the Works with Nest program of devices that talk to Nest Labs popular Learning Thermostat and Protect 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 SmartThings , Logitech's Harmony Home Control and Apple's HomeKit (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.

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