Unlocking the smart home: Start-up pushes smart locks

Keyless smartlocks key to smart home

A Bay Area start-up has just the thing for early adopters of smart-home accessories: wireless deadbolt locks.

San Francisco-based August plans to release a "smart lock" this year. Co-founder and CEO Jason Johnson told CNBC on Friday that he expects to ship the $199 product later this year, and the company aims for a seamless installation process akin to Nest's wireless thermostat.

August's smart lock, which resembles a hockey puck and comes in four colors, affixes to users' existing deadbolt locks from the inside of their doors. It does not require a wireless connection, and users will still be able to use their low-tech keys.

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A signal from a smartphone app opens the door. Homeowners can send these digital keys to friends and relatives through the app, and delete them as easily, Johnson said.

August Smart Locks
Source: August

One plus? That makes break-ups in co-habitation situations a bit less awkward.

"You have to traditionally ask for that key back and you don't know, did they make a copy?" Johnson said on "Squawk on the Street." "It's kind of an awkward situation."

Johnson played down security concerns about the product, saying people can already copy physical keys with ease. Users can also turn off access from a desktop site if they lose their phones, and they can switch off an auto-unlock feature. The smart lock only fits over certain deadbolt locks, Johnson said.

Besides, he said, "metals keys—we've used for more than 150 years, they're quite easy to copy."

—By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen. Follow him on Twitter at @jmorganteen and get the latest stories from "Squawk on the Street."


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