A new iPhone-operated smart lock will let you in without having to fumble for keys — and allocate access to your friends.
A door that you can control with your smartphone? Such gadgets have been proposed before, but none have really taken off yet. But a new lock called August, with the weight of Jawbone and Ouya designer Yves Béhar and tech entrepreneur Jason Johnson behind it, looks set to blow up the mostly untapped market.
The lock itself can be fitted over the interior part of an existing deadbolt and is keyed to recognise your iPhone. When you get close to the door, it uses Bluetooth Low Energy to recognise your proximity and unlock the door — all without you even having to get your iPhone out of your pocket or bag.
You can also program it to allow access to up to 10 other people — either permanently for housemates, or for a limited time — say you're having guests, you can give them temporary access keys so they can let themselves in. And you can also view access logs, a record of who has entered and exited your home and when.
August runs on four AA batteries, which means that it will keep running even if your home's power goes out, and it doesn't use Wi-Fi — its completely self-contained. It will even alert you via sensors and email when the battery is low to minimise the chances of being locked out. Mind you, your iPhone's battery is your own lookout.
Although, according to The Verge, Béhar has plans to introduce other "things" that could serve as keys — possibly one of his wearable fitness bracelets, but the designer refused to elaborate at this point.
There is currently no firm release date, although the gadget will be priced at US$199. The consumer version of the app will be free, but business users will probably have to pay a subscription; and although the gadget is currently iPhone-only, an Android version is almost certainly going to happen at some point in the future.