The beauty of Yale Assure Locks is you can swap out a simple module to change how the smart device communicates – Z-Wave, ZigBee, HomeKit, and now the IoT language of August Home. Yale’s parent company Assa Abloy acquired August last year, and now the Yale/August collaboration is beginning to bear fruit.
The two companies just announced a new module that turns the same great Yale Assure Lock products into virtual August locks, employing the August app and a rich cloud platform that enables integration with other products, services and platforms – Nest, SimpliSafe, IFTTT, Amazon Alexa, Homekit, Honeywell, Airbnb, HomeAway, and many others.
For its part, Yale has dominated the smart-lock industry over the years, with a wide array of products supporting virtually all of the popular home-automation protocols … and then some, like Crestron Infinet, Thread/Nest Weave, and Control4 almost-ZigBee. But Yale has never had a home-control platform of its own.
Instead, its products simply attach themselves to third-party controllers, which incorporate the lock features into their own branded apps and ecosystems. In this way, Yale sort of lacks its own identity other than being “that lock” controlled by Control4 or Crestron or SmartThings or Nest or a number of other smart-home systems.
With the August integration, however, Yale gains a platform and a purpose. Existing Yale Assure locks become “Connected by August” via a Bluetooth module that even the feeblest of DIYs can install themselves.
Bluetooth alone enables a variety of functions, including auto-lock/unlock (based on cellphone proximity), local app control via Bluetooth, and integration with August keypads and doorbell cameras. (August beat Nest Hello to the market with integrally linked doorbell cams and “parasitic” locks.)
The full August goodness, however, is only recognized through cloud-based integration, which requires a small Wi-Fi gateway called August Connect.
For existing Assure locks, Yale is selling Connected by August kits for $129, including the Bluetooth module, August Connect Wi-Fi bridge and DoorSense sensor, which tells you if a door lock is actually engaged or not.
The company also is selling Assure locks and Connected kits in bundles for $279 to $299.
August + Yale Now Formidable in Home Access Control
And just like that, the August/Yale collaboration makes parent company Assa Abloy a dominant force in the residential market for access control.
Founded in 2012, August has focused on software and platforms since the early days, pushing the smart-home industry into unattended access – when dog walkers, delivery people, housekeepers and maintenance workers enter an unoccupied home with their digital credentials, do their business, and leave with a big digital “paper” trail.
For all of its big-platform ideas and relationships, however, August was still a niche player with a severe lack of hardware and a dearth of supported protocols. On the other hand, Yale has a wealth of hardware in a wide range of form factors, plus unrivaled integration capabilities through its multi-protocol support.
One more really big thing going for this collaboration: Yale and its partner companies at Assa Abloy have a rich heritage in locking hardware and access control systems, especially in commercial markets including multifamily facilities.
A little bit of August's platform-centric, scrappy, start-up ways could do wonders for the lumbering hardware company.