August Smart Lock
by Yves Behar


August Smart Lock by Yves Behar

San Francisco designer Yves Behar of Fuseproject has designed a lock that replaces physical keys with a smartphone app.

August Smart Lock by Yves Behar

Developed by Yves Behar in collaboration with technology entrepreneur Jason Johnson, the August Smart Lock is a cylindrical metal device that fits over the existing deadbolt and syncs with the user's smartphone.

It uses Bluetooth to sense when the phone is approaching in your pocket then unlocks the door automatically, while remote allows you to open the door for guests from anywhere.

August Smart Lock by Yves Behar

With an access code, other people can be given assigned entry times and dates - for example a cleaner could have a code that only grants access on a specific morning each week, or guests staying for a week could have a code that expires after they leave.

It's possible to send invitations to events and grant access to guests through the app, where guests and owners can also leave notes for each other or share pictures and comments.

The user interface of the app features flat coloured circles to indicate whether the door is open or closed and control who has access when. The lock has an anodised aluminium case and incorporates LEDs to indicate whether it's locked or unlocked.

August Smart Lock by Yves Behar

The battery-powered device uses the same secure secure communications technology as online banking and August is not dependent on the house's power supply or WiFi.

"Whereas traditional keys are easy to lose and copy, keypad codes can be easily shared, and biometrics are expensive and a challenge to install, the smart lock is a beautifully designed, easy to install, sociable device accompanied by a single mobile app that runs on your smartphone," explain Behar and Johnson.

The product will be ready to ship later this year and is the first from new brand August, co-founded by Behar and Johnson, which launched on Wednesday at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

August Smart Lock by Yves Behar

Here's some more information from Behar:

August: you are invited

Have you ever lost your keys? I am willing to bet that 99% of us have. In the last year, 20% of Americans have been locked out of their homes at least once. Humanity has been carrying keys, sharp pieces of metal in our pockets, for 200's time we think of something else.

This is the task my co-­founder Jason Johnson and I have decided to address: to make home entry magical, safer than keys or keypads, and something that makes our lives a little better. We set out to design the August Smart Lock hardware so that it works with existing deadbolts, it is easy to install and is beautiful on a door. The user interface of the smartphone app is intuitive, and allows for great control about who and when friends, family as well as services will be able to access your homes. The best user interface is often invisible: August auto-­‐unlocks your door as you approach, and sound design creates an audio confirmation.

The name and logo is warm, friendly and elegant; these qualities are extended to the app, which uses a flat design of simple color circles as indicators for door status, a keychain of all your keys, and scheduling guests’ access. The lock itself is also a simple circular extruded shape, hand sized and made of durable anodized aluminum. The craft details increase tactility with diagonal knurling and the LED's micro-­‐perforations, as well as a physical scoop on the lock, are visual indicators as to whether the door is locked or unlocked.

Changing the archaic key system is also a way to shift the conversation from keeping people out to ways of making our homes both secure and social places that our family and friends can easily access. With a beautiful and minimally designed smart lock, and an easy, safe, social app experience, August is the first step towards seamless interactions with useful technology we will experience everyday in our home.

  • Tom Gibbons

    What happens when you come home to find your phone battery has run out? That happens to me a lot more then losing my keys. Seems like you would still need a physical key as a back up system.

  • George

    Shame when your phone dies.

  • Kate

    And if my phone battery dies how do I get inside to charge the phone?

  • cuneese pignolo

    Cool. Just make sure you don’t run out of battery.

  • doyoueatfood

    What if your phone dies on your way home? Can you set it to open at your estimated time of arrival with your last 4% battery power?

  • Rachch

    What happens if you lose your phone, or it gets nicked?

  • Hayo

    Better bring your charger everytime you go out!

  • Max

    Some brilliant ideas. I especially like the possibility of limiting access for guests to pre-defined time windows. However there is still one big problem: the iPhone’s miserable battery life!

  • Olly

    Really nice, but:

    “Have you ever lost your keys? I am willing to bet that 99% of us have.”

    “Has your iPhone ever run out of battery? I am willing to bet that 100% have.”

    What happens then?

  • future architect

    Have you ever lost your phone? I am willing to bet that 99% of us have.

    And have you ever had your phone stolen? Don’t worry, they will just invite themselves in to your house and pour you a big glass of burglary.

    And if you ever lock yourself out, the locksmith is going to charge you so much money that you’ll wish the burglar had broken in, because at least they would have opened the door for you and saved you the trouble of calling a locksmith.

  • revirescot

    And I hear iPhones are unhackable.

  • RyanDemp

    If it's not broke, don't make an app for it.

  • TI-83 Plus

    "Another comment about dead batteries!"
    Yay, we're all being unique and creative in our criticisms!

  • Mike Reddy

    Interesting. Much more likely that you’ll forget to use fresh batteries in the actual device then forget to charge your phone. If you let your phone die knowing its battery life issues you’re a knucklehead anyway. In any case both issues can be resolved by being a bit more responsible for your life and proactive rather than wandering about with a false sense of entitlement and expecting life to baby you.

    • metatrend

      Agree. Four batteries powering a mechanical lock? Short life span. Better products already exist.

  • ENP

    An IP address in your door – hack that!

  • And if someone steals your phone, you’re REALLY f**ked!

  • Yoda Man

    How is this product different from Unikey? And how does it not violate their patent?

  • Perfect for holiday home landlords (such as those on Airbnb). Get holiday makers to download app, assign them a code for their stay, and when they leave it deactivates. The cleaner has a code, comes in after they’ve gone, and then the next holiday makers have a code to get it. Saves on the risk of leaving the key ‘under the plant pot’ or having the trouble of skipping round between houses letting people in.

    Also with the anticipated wearable tech, such as smart watches, etc, the chance of losing the device is greatly reduced. (Who loses their watch when they’re wearing it?) And the new supercapacitator makes it unlikely that our phones will stay out of battery for long in the future. Maybe with wireless charging the lock could have an inbuilt charger?

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    • Dumbo

      Ever heard of a keypad lock? They do the same thing without needing a smartphone app.

    • Bob

      Well, landlords would still have to drop by to sync their device with the lock in order to activate the guest codes and dates. Combine that with the dead battery problem and the fact that every visitor will need to have a smartphone in the first place, which is still not the case for everyone, and I see too many faults with the system to be truly helpful.

    • Sam

      My first thought was hotels also.

      Could be an alternative to the sometimes temperamental swipe card systems. It also would be handy if the app could keep a record of who went in and out of a hotel room, in the case of theft.

      This could be a little more commonplace in a couple of years, as you say, with the soon to be released smart watches.

      • beatrice

        Except in a hotel, I just go down to the lobby and say “my card doesn’t work” and they give me a new one in ten seconds. What exactly is so complex that it needs this solution?

  • Nathan

    If any of the 349 commenters above crying “what if my phone battery dies” had bothered to look at the website, they’d see that you’re still able to open the door with a traditional key if needed.

    And if your phone is stolen, then you jump online on a different device and revoke access from your phone.

    • beatrice

      Ah thank god. I didn’t look at the website because their press release (featured here) doesn’t say this.

  • Ben Slee

    And if you don’t have (or want) a smart phone?

    • Then you probably don’t have anything in your home worth stealing, so you might as well leave the door open :P

      *writes the Mexican without a smartphone*

  • beatrice

    What a crappy day where your phone is nicked and you are shut out of your appartment.

  • Anton Huggler

    Here is an old guy reading this… all I need to unlock my door is a key. No batteries. No smart phone – I only have a dumb one – key is much smaller, easy to carry, not possible to hack and very definitely cheaper to replace. I keep it simple.

  • David

    Headline: “Thousands locked out of their home due to power outage, one locked out due to Comcast not coming on time, three didn’t pay their cell bills, six used too much data on their plan, 18 didn’t have smartphones, 12 were too old for apps in general, eight couldn’t download the update, one was just totally confused on how something so simple became so complicated and two guys get to speak at TED again.”

    These would be great in Rincon Tower.

  • And what about unwelcome virtual friends as opposed to real friends getting virtual keys to your house? The NSA will love this app!

  • pet

    What’s wrong with the good old fingerprint? No charging or losing it :)