Alexa now offers its users the ability to set up their Amazon Echo to locks an August deadbolt. In order to make it work, you will need to have the August Connect Wi-Fi bridge as well as a Bluetooth lock. The app will work with both first and second-generation August Smart Locks. This is probably the first time that the Amazon Echo can be set up to enable security features in the home and it is an exciting step towards the future of home security.
As of now, the lock can only be locked using the setup, but not unlocked. The company is working on allowing it to unlock as well. Another lingering concern with the system is the ability of anyone to lock the door if they are within range of the Echo. Alexa is looking into additional security commands in order to address this issue. Due to the programming of the Alexa system, the phrase “tell August” must be added in order to tell the Echo to lock the deadbolt.
Beyond the lack of voice specification, another security concern is the sharing of electronic information on when the lock is closed (and potentially in the future opened). August does not share that info with Amazon, but Amazon would know when a particular command is given. August does not, however, connect their information to the address, so that may ease some minds. All geographic information actually exists locally on your phone and not even in Alexa’s system. Amazon also allows users to delete specific instances of past commands which may be of utility to those who worry.
This product is still in development and neither Alexa or Amazon have given much guidance as to when we can expect an updated version that can unlock or what that may look like. There is also the issue of full integration which we are left waiting for. Some speculate that the next step in security may look like the Capital One skill in which a four-digit passcode is needed in order to issue the command.
The unlocking aspect is likely the biggest hindrance right now, but for the particularly inclined, there is a workaround. Using other systems such as IFTTT to tie the lock to Echo may work but can be complicated. It can be a cumbersome process but may make you look more savvy than you locksmith if you can pull it off!
At the end of the day what we all want a secure system to protect our homes and families (or whatever else we are trying to lock beyond our houses). Convenience plays a roll, but at this point there are still too many holes in the Alexa system in terms of feature set. Future renditions will likely make it more worth pursuing this system and this really may be the start of the future of home security via locks. It is an exciting time for the space and Alexa along with Amazon Echo are at the forefront.
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Image credit: august.com