August Home has paired the Amazon Alexa voice control app, which comes to life through Amazon’s AI device Echo, to its August Smart Lock. It’s worth mentioning August home is the leading provider of smart locks and smart home access products and services. Now users can monitor, check, or secure the door with just the sound of their voice by saying the wake word, “Alexa.”
While the Alexa app is free, the August Smart Lock costs $250, with the Amazon Echo and the August Connect having a price tag of $180 and $50, respectively.
Amazon’s Alexa and August together in smart home skills
The new Amazon Alexa app will work with August’s first or second-generation locks as long as users have the Amazon Echo as well as the August Connect Wi-Fi bridge to pair Alexa with the August Smart Lock via Wi-Fi. Only then, Alexa will be ready to receive commands from the user, while August will be prepared to follow orders. “Alexa, tell August to lock the door” is the most common control.
Users have to remember to begin their command with “Alexa” and apparently, direct it to the smart lock with “tell August” before the task it’s meant to do. Furthermore, Alexa can’t unlock doors with Amazon devices just yet as it currently poses serious security issues, with other voices (not only the users’) being able to activate Alexa at will.
Amazon shared Alexa with developers in 2015, allowing them to work on startup skills and projects for the voice control functionality. Developers, in turn, share code that works with Alexa in Amazon Drive. Back in April, Amazon released the Smart Home Skill API and further made life easier for developers to build smart home skills.
“Our goal is to enable them to reach Amazon’s hundreds of millions of customers and to overcome one of the biggest challenges any startup faces – bringing their product to market successfully,” declared Amazon vice president Jim Adkins in a statement.
— The Verge (@verge) July 28, 2016
Accordingly, this week, Amazon launched Amazon Launchpad, a Kickstarter-like-program (which also hosts Kickstarter projects) dedicated to startup products. Successful examples of the reportedly 1,000 startups found in Launchpad include Piper, Zivix, and Prynt. The August Smart Lock is available in Launchpad as well.
About the products involved
The August Smart Lock is a digital keyless door lock developed by August Home that lets users turn their iOS or Android smartphone into a smart key for locking and unlocking their door. Meanwhile, August Connect is a wireless lock connector that uses Wi-Fi to control doors remotely.
On its own, the August Smart Lock works with the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth, so it can’t control lock when out of range. Connect brings that to the table by using the Wi-Fi network, allowing the user to lock and unlock the door when they get online.
The Amazon Echo is a voice-enabled wireless speaker developed by Amazon. It consists of a 9.25-inch tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array. The Echo comes with the built-in Amazon Alexa App and responds to the wake word “Alexa,” which users can change to either “Amazon” or “Echo.”
The device, along with Alexa, is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, and playing audiobooks. It can also provide users with real-time information such as news, weather, and traffic (local radio stations, NPR, ESPN) as well as answers to common questions.
The Amazon Tap, a portable and smaller version of the Echo with dual stereo speakers, also works with the Alexa app and August’s products costs $130. While the Amazon Alexa app is free for download (thank God), it’s still a big-money investment.
— August Home (@AugustHomeInc) July 28, 2016
August Smart Home Access Solution
August Home, officially called August Smart Home Access Solution, consists of the August Smart Lock, August Connect, August Smart Keypad and August Doorbell Cam, and aims to allow people to manage their front door from anywhere.
The August Smart Keypad lets users get virtual keys for family, friends, guests and service providers to unlock an August Smart Lock without a traditional key or smartphone. The August Doorbell Cam keeps track of visitors at the door with a 24/7 activity log in their smartphone.
“We’re excited to work with August to expand our smart home capabilities by launching an Alexa skill for Smart Lock, the first-ever Alexa-enabled Smart Lock,” said Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home division director Charlie Kindel.
While Amazon has just entered the business of home security devices, August had already formed a similar alliance with Apple’s Siri. The latest version of the August Home can be controlled with an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, and 4th-generation Apple TV. As with Alexa, users only have to say “Siri, lock the door” or ask “Siri, is the door locked?” to get an action or response.
In addition to Amazon and Apple, August also has partnerships with Airbnb, Logitech, Nest and Xfinity Home.
Source: Business Wire