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Understanding your Smart Home: What is an August Smart Lock?

Categories: Smart Homes | Posted: October 4, 2017

AUGUST Smart Lock

Next up in our series of blogs introducing the products and technology that we are including in our Smart Homes, August Smart Locks®.

Controlling who enters and exits your home is a basic tenet of home security. Up until recently, you had to patrol whether the doors are locked, and make extra keys so that everyone in the house had a key. But you also have to deal with lost keys, forgetting to lock the doors, and an uneasy sense that you weren’t quite sure who was in your house and when.

August Smart Lock

August Smart Locks® is a true game-changer. It offers unprecedented peace of mind, allowing you to use your smartphone as your key and your own personal bouncer. With these smart locks, you can lock and unlock your door and keep track of who comes and goes – all from your phone. You can give digital “keys” with controlled and timed access to who you want, when you want. Meaning you never have to worry about who has a key to your home again.

August Smart Locks let you use your voice to ask Amazon Alexa (or Siri or the Google Assistant) to lock your door. (Like maybe when you’ve already settled into bed and have that “Did I lock the door?” moment.) It also has an innovative auto-lock/auto-unlock feature that automatically locks the door behind you when you leave, and automatically unlocks it as you approach the house!

August Smart Locks also keep a 24/7 log of who enters and exits your home. Since each user has a unique key, you can tell who is or isn’t home, and what time they came or went. You can issue limited access keys, allowing guests or workers access for a few minutes or a few weeks.

August Smart Lock

The August Smart Lock is installed on the interior side of a standard deadbolt, so your exterior hardware looks like a normal lock. You can still use your keys, but don’t have to worry if you forget them.

With August Smart Locks you are the key master, and have unprecedented peace of mind.

Check out the next blog in our Smart Home series for LUTRON Caseta® Light Switches & Dimmers.

Which is the best smart home assistant?

Categories: Blog | Posted: September 30, 2017

If your name is Alexa and you’re an actual person, you’re probably getting asked a lot more questions these days. ”Alexa, what time is it?” “Alexa, when is the next full moon?” “Alexa, how far is it to the nearest coffee shop?”

And you can thank Amazon for this annoyance.

Amazon launched the Echo in 2015 in the U.S. This cylindrical speaker connects to a voice-activated, computer-generated, smart home assistant named Alexa. Alexa is capable of answering questions (when properly phrased), playing music, acting as a timer or alarm clock, requesting an Uber ride, checking your calendar, making lists, reading audiobooks aloud, and reciting the news and weather updates. Of course, Alexa can also place your Amazon orders, too.

Yes, Alexa is smart, but is she the best smart home assistant for you?

Google Home emerged soon after Echo, and at a lower price point, while offering the same type of assistance. The Echo Dot, a hockey-puck-sized version of the larger Echo, gives you a very affordable entry into the smart home assistant experience.

If you want the most accurate “intelligence”, Google Home appears to have a slight edge. Digital agency Stone Temple quizzed both devices. Google Home was able to answer 3,383 questions, while Alexa was only able to answer 1,030. Of those responses, Google Home was correct 89.5% of the time, and Alexa achieved 86.9% accuracy. Alexa relies primarily on Wikipedia for information, while Google reaches a wider range of third-party sources, like Google Maps for checking traffic conditions.

Google Home can also remember your last question. So, if you ask, “Who won the last Super Bowl?” and followed up with “What was the score?”, you’d get both answers. With Alexa, your second question would have to be, “What was the score of the last Super Bowl?”

Amazon Echo, however, currently has the edge on managing your smart home devices, like your thermostat, lighting, security, home entertainment, and appliances, but Google Home is gaining ground. Compare the Alexa-enabled smart home devices with Google Home’s list of supported devices and partners.

Google Home will also connect your videos, photos, and television, via Chromecast. You can even tell it to skip ahead 30 seconds on a video, and show photos of a selected person, location or time period. Alexa isn’t quite as savvy.

Both Google Home and Echo offer hands-free calling. Tell them to call a contact from your list or ask your smart home assistant to find a phone number.

Apple is finally responding to the demand for the smart home assistant. The Apple HomePod is scheduled to launch before the end of the year. It promises to have superior audio, but like all Apple products, will also emerge in limited quantities and at a higher price than Google Home and Amazon Echo.

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