American lock manufacturer Schlage has formed a partnership with Amazon in a bid to bring the capabilities of the Alexa smart assistant to its products.
As well as traditional locks, the company also makes an internet-enabled model, the Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt. Owners will soon be able to activate this product via voice commands.
This integration will let consumers use their Alexa-enabled devices, including Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, to lock or check the status of their door wherever they happen to be in the house.
Putting IoT first
Schlage has been on a mission to make its locks more compatible with smart homes for a few years now, and it already has an integration with the Z-Wave smart home brand.
Z-Wave gives homeowners the ability to manage all aspects of their home from a smartphone, tablet or computer. The Alexa integration furthers Connect’s capabilities, according to Schlage executives.
They claim Schlage Connect is one of the most versatile smart locks on the market, with the ability to work with a wide range of smart home platforms, including SmartThings from Samsung.
The Touchscreen Deadbolt is a multi-functional device. Features include one-touch locking, a fingerprint-resistant touchscreen, an anti-pick shield, the ability to hold up to 30 unique codes and three customisable alarm modes.
Schlage said that it decided to implement Amazon Alexa into its products because it wants to produce stronger, smarter and more secure locks for consumers.
Rob Martens, futurist and vice president of strategy and partnerships at Schlage, said: “Smart home technology is all about incrementalism, whether it’s consumer adoption or brands integrating with mega-technology platforms.
“Schlage is committed to providing the ultimate security and convenience, and we are proud to now integrate with Alexa to provide consumers with added convenience through Alexa-enabled devices.”
Smart hubs are leading IoT
Michael Hobbs, head of mobility at Accenture UK&I, believes that artificial intelligence (AI) technology and smart home hubs are helping to grow the potentially lucrative consumer IoT market.
“Consumer IoT is a quickly growing area of focus for many businesses and home voice hubs are just one manifestation of consumer IoT. They can help boost their customers’ experiences and offer new ways of interacting with service owners,” he told Internet of Business.
“We used to think of IoT as an industrial phenomenon, but now it’s having a clear impact in our everyday lives, because devices like home hubs are connected by default. This helps offer consumers a seamless, delightful experience.
“But to make this ecosystem succeed it’s important that the industry works together; for example, building on open standards. But once that happens, it changes everything: shopping patterns, how we control energy usage, the way we insure our homes and the manner in which we travel.”
Amazon is leading the market
Richard Windsor, an analyst at Edison Investment Research, said that Amazon is emerging as the market leader in the smart assistant industry but must keep up with demand.
“Google has to act quickly as Amazon is on the brink of becoming the industry standard for controlling smart home devices as, at CES, everyone was integrating with Echo, with Google Home and Apple HomeKit barely present,” he said.
“The problem that Google has had has been related to an inability to source more components than it originally planned for. In contrast, Amazon Echo is out of stock everywhere but there are plenty of the much cheaper ($50) Amazon Echo Dot available.
“This is a reflection of the fact that the vast majority of purchases of the Amazon Echo are made by users whose primary requirement is a Bluetooth speaker rather than a smart home control hub or a digital assistant.”