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August’s auto-unlock tech is coming to other smart locks

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Photo: August

A year after being purchased by the world’s largest lock company, August is starting to share the smart tech that made its original lock stand out. Naturally, it’s coming first to the biggest brand in its parent company’s portfolio: Yale.

Yale is now starting to sell a module that can be inserted into some of its locks to add August’s tech to them. The company will also begin selling a lock that’s bundled with the August module, offering Yale’s first fully in-house solution for remote access. Previously, you’d have to buy a module to add smart connectivity and then connect it to some other company’s hub.

The module will give Yale locks all the features that come with August’s smart lock. That includes the company’s auto-unlock feature, which is supposed to automatically unlock your door when you arrive home. The locks will even be managed through August’s app.

In the past, I’ve had some major lock makers suggest high-tech features like August’s auto-unlock are unsafe. But now, with August part of the family, Yale’s North American president, Jason Williams, says the two companies have managed to strike the “ultimate balance between convenience and security.”

Photo: Yale

August CEO Jason Johnson says that the system works, and it’s been “a couple years” since the system had a “bad” unlock failure, which he said sometimes occurred after a person had already walked in the door and the app was slow to catch up, unlocking it again behind them. The system includes safeguards, such as tracking your location to make sure that you’ve returned home from a distance and requiring you to near your home within a certain amount of time, in order to ensure that it doesn’t unlock when it’s not supposed to. “We have a core philosophy in August that if we’re in doubt of your position to not unlock the door,” he says.

As for what comes next, Johnson indicates that August has essentially become the tech consultant within Assa Abloy, the lock conglomerate that owns both August, Yale, and many others. August’s tech is likely to come to other companies in Assa Abloy’s umbrella. But at the same time, August isn’t giving up on making its own devices, and Johnson says the company has “some exciting new products in development.”

Yale also won’t be going all in on August. The company is going to continue to be open to many smart systems, allowing customers to choose what they’d like to connect to. Yale recently launched a lock in partnership with Nest, and Williams still says that’s the right choice for people who have a home connected by Nest products.

The August partnership could, however, become more of its standard option, instead of requiring consumers to choose the smart expansion module they want to connect with. “This is the first time we have an out of the box experience with our own [software]. The consumer can pick it up off the shelf and it works,” Williams says. “We’re not going to ask them now to make three decisions after they pick out a lock.”

Yale will start selling the August module today for $129, allowing existing Assure lock owners to add it to their setup. It’ll also begin selling two locks in the Assure line bundled with the August module for $279 and $299.