August has a new, smaller smart lock for the US market, and its parent company Yale is also releasing a few other new products. There’s a home safe, a tiny latch that can be used for cabinets or delivery boxes, and a new smart door lock for Europe and a few other parts of the world.
Let’s start with the door lock, because it actually solves the most interesting problem of the bunch. It’s named after Yale’s founder, so it’s called the Linus Smart Lock and looks like a beefed-up, professionalized version of the regular August Smart Lock. Its chief innovation has little to do with the circuits or motors inside it.
Yale instead had to solve a different problem: making a single lock that could work across the many various standards you’ll find on doors throughout Europe. Different countries have very different door locks, torques, number of turns the deadbolt has to make, and so on. So Yale made a modular system that can work with multiple mounting backplates for each region.
It’s Bluetooth, but if you get a Yale Wi-Fi bridge you can sync it up with a digital assistant. It should retail for €250 (about $277). It will work in “Nordic, Central, Eastern and Southern European countries as well as the UK, Israel, Middle East and South Africa.”
Yale is also releasing a smart safe. The company says lots of people forget their safe pins because they access them so rarely, so having a smart one will make it less likely people will be fully locked out of getting to their valuables.
The last new product will be released globally — including in the US. It’s a tiny smart latch that you can use in multiple contexts. Yale suggests putting it on a liquor cabinet, for example, or on a drawer you don’t want Airbnb guests to access.
The more interesting use case for the little lock comes when it’s paired with a delivery box — pictured up top. It should keep most casual thieves from accessing packages that are dropped off in it.
The hassle, though, is giving delivery people access. Until Yale can form partnerships with delivery companies, it has a different solution. They suggest you leave it unlocked and then, when it detects the lid is open, it will automatically lock itself when it’s closed again. You can of course remotely lock or unlock it if you have more packages coming. It’s not a super elegant solution, but it’s easier than getting UPS, FedEx, Amazon, and the USPS to all agree on a standard for secure delivery.
It’s not a super strong lock, of course. In fact, it has a safety mechanism that releases it if you pull on it with about 100 pounds of force. There’s another safety mechanism: a big button that blinks with a bright green light. You press it and the latch will open. That’s for kids who might climb into the box and get trapped.
All of these products are expected to come out later this year, some as early as spring. They’re all compatible with both Yale’s own app as well as the major digital assistants.