August is currently rolling out new features to its Smart Lock and Doorbell Cam products designed for improved ease of use through a deeper integration with voice assistants, including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, as well as the IFTTT app. The new features include a new visitor announcement option, the ability to set custom routines or automation, and the ability to unlock the smart lock using just voice commands.
The new visitor announcement feature informs the user when a person rings the doorbell by making an announcement through Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa smart home devices. To activate this feature on the Google Assistant, users will need to access the Home Control section of the virtual assistant's settings. On Amazon Alexa, homeowners should first enable the August Smart Home skill on Alexa's mobile application, and then turn on the Doorbell Press setting in the Announcements section. In addition, users are also gaining the ability to unlock the company's Smart Lock using voice commands given to Google Assistant. After unlocking the Smart Lock, Google Assistant will then ask for the security code that the homeowner set during the integration of the security devices with the virtual assistant. August does point out to properly activate these new features, some users may need to unlink and then relink their August account first.
Users can also now set custom routines for when the Doorbell Cam detects motion or when a person rings the doorbell using Amazon Alexa or the IFTTT app, including assigning a special greeting, playing a specific music track, or changing the color of smart lights whenever the Doorbell Cam detects motion. On the Amazon Alexa app, users can create a new routine by proceeding to the Routines section of the software and selecting the Doorbell Cam when creating the custom routine, while homeowners can also create a new automation at the My Applet section of the IFTTT app.
Background: August has routinely added a number of new features over the past few months that improve the usability of the company's security devices. Last May, the tech firm rolled out the Auto-Connect feature, a function that automatically locks or unlocks the smart lock depending on the proximity of the homeowner. Although users do need to open the lock screen on the August Home app for this feature to work. Furthermore, August made it possible for users to check the status of the locks and the doors using Google Assistant with the help of the company's Doorsense technology. August also stated that it plans to roll out additional features in the near future, which may include the ability to speak directly to the people standing at the door with the help of Amazon Alexa.
Impact: These new features further highlight the potential of smart locks and help to add to the ways in which these products can add value beyond just protecting the homeowner and their property. What's more these new features only provide insight into the most basic of connections between a lock or camera and other smart home products with the expectation the relationship between smart home and security products will continue to deepen in the near and long-term.