After the Google Home smart speaker got some additional smart home device partners earlier this week, August became the first smart lock company to work with all three major voice control platforms -- Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa and Google Home. This is good news for customers who haven't yet pledged loyalty to a Siri-, Alexa-, or Google Assistant-specific smart home. It also likely means voice control coming to more and more security-centric smart home devices.
With the convenience of voice commands, come some safety concerns. Is it really a good idea to use your voice to lock or unlock your door? Here's a look at the role of voice control as it applies to smart locks, the August Smart Lock in particular, and some advice on how to be smart about using your voice to lock and unlock your door.
The smart lock landscape
August, Kwikset, Schlage and Yale are among the most well-known smart lock manufacturers today. Here's an overview of the voice-enabled locks/deadbolts they sell and the platforms they support:
Since the second-gen August Smart lock works with HomeKit, Alexa and the Google Home, I used one installed in the CNET Smart Home to test out the nuances of each voice control platform.
The voice control landscape
Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot are both fixed devices that you plug directly into the wall. The more mobile Tap runs on a battery and it launched with a push-to-talk function only, but it can also act like an Echo or a Dot when it's on its charging dock and you enable its new always-listening mode. Alexa devices don't have to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the smart devices you want to control. You can also access Alexa remotely via the Amazon app on your iOS device. Thanks to that new feature (and to a lesser extent, the portability of the Tap), you can now ask Alexa to unlock your door from pretty much anywhere.
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