August Delves Further Into The Internet of Things with WiFi Connection, Private API

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By Kelsey Keith / Published by Dwell
Continuing the success of August, the Yves Béhar-designed blockbuster into the keyless entry market, rigorous industrial design comes to home connectivity.

When August's Smart Lock debuted last year, founders Yves Béhar and Jason Johnson made much of the fact that communicating with the hardware via Bluetooth is more reliable than depending on a potentially spotty WiFi connection. That was, however, a narrow view of what August would eventually grow to encompass: the integration of a fully connected home.

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Without WiFI assistance, the Bluetooth-compatible August Smart Lock relies on digital "keys" to unlock the front door, enabled only when the keyholder is within immediate range. The new Connect device taps into internet service to allow locking and unlocking from anywhere and to keep an eye on any door activity remotely.

The hardware August released this week at CES is Connect, a gizmo that plugs into a wall socket that provides the Smart Lock with—you guessed it—WiFi capability. Whereas the Smart Lock app could only connect with the lock hardware within close range, tying in an Internet connection now lets users immediately check the status of their lock, from afar, or buzz in guests remotely. "While the existing Bluetooth connectivity in the August Smart Lock allows it to be a truly offline, independent device," says co-founder and CEO Jason Johnson, "August Connect enhances that core offering with new benefits such as real time and WiFi Internet connectivity."

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Renowned industrial designer and August co-founder Yves Béhar says, "To keep with the August belief in discreet and elegantly integrated designs, the August Connect is small and plugs into any wall outlet within fifteen feet of the lock. The box, like the original August Smart Lock, is a clean geometry with a distinct chamfered edge. A single LED light on the front subtly notifies you that the device is working, but otherwise the product remains hidden."

Furthering this endeavor is the release of August's private API, which allows the Smart Lock to work with vetted partners in home security and automation. The first such partner, announced this week, is Nest: Users can set their existing Nest Learning Thermostat™ to "Home" upon unlocking to start heating or cooling the house, and "Away" upon locking to help save energy. Additional integration partners include home automation platforms such as SmartThings and Logitech Harmony, with others in development. 

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Behar sums it up: "Locking and unlocking your door from anywhere is just another way that August is transforming the way you experience your home [via] packaging, software, and hardware." August Connect is on sale now for delivery in mid‐February 2015 for $49.95; visit August.com, Amazon.com, or an Apple store for more information.

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