Big moves in the digital door tech world on Thursday as mega group ASSA ABLOY announced it was to acquire smart-lock maker August. August has been making big moves in the US with their digital smart-lock, and I have feature the company and their products on DGB in the past.
Here is the full ASSA ABLOY press release, as featured on their website:
ASSA ABLOY has signed an agreement to acquire August Home, a leading smart lock business in the US.
“I am very pleased to welcome August into the ASSA ABLOY Group. August constitutes a strategic addition to the Group and reinforces our position in the residential smart door market,” says Johan Molin, President and CEO of ASSA ABLOY.
“August Home strengthens our residential smart door strategy with complementary smart locks, expansion into video doorbells and comprehensive solutions for home delivery,” says Thanasis Molokotos, Executive Vice President of ASSA ABLOY and Head of the Americas Division.
August was founded in 2013. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California and has approximately 90 employees.
Sales for 2018 are expected to reach around USD 60 million (approx. SEK 500 million). The acquisition will be dilutive to EPS.
The acquisition is conditional upon regulatory approval and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2017.
Although an American purchase, this acquisition has all sorts of ramifications for smart home tech and general door technology.
But before I move on to that, it’s worth noting that within the ASSA ABLOY group there is Yale, who have recently launches their own smart door handle, the Conexis, as well as a range of home security products that link to your home’s WiFi and can be integrated with Amazon’s Alexa AI platform. So the question is, with another rival like August moving into the stable, will they be kept apart and be allowed to operate as separate entities? Or will the two firms move closer together, naturally influencing each other’s tech? Or, could one eventually out-power the other in a battle of the door tech products?
Hardware giants moving with the times
This is a signal of intent to get heavy into the smart door look game. Obviously they have their own arm in that department with what Yale are doing, but it is not yet established in the way they perhaps might have liked. Yale have been at it with their electronic door handles for a few years now, and whilst they have continued to sell, I don’t think the numbers are enough to start changing the locking habits of the British public.
In the US however August, along with other smart door lock start-ups have been making waves in both the door market and the tech markets. Something which isn’t easy to do. August is regularly featured in leading tech website The Verge and other similar sites, helping to create a bridge between tech and the residential door market. Through this purchase ASSA ABLOY gets ready made access to that combined crossover without having to create their own.
ASSA ABLOY aren’t the only hardware giant to have smart door locks in the product portfolio. MACO have their own smart door tech in the forms of openLife and openDoor, which are both comprehensive offerings in their own rights. These are mega hardware businesses that recognise eventually the conventional forms of locking entrances, be them residential or commercial, will turn digital.
It will go this way not because of ease or the frankly archaic and very mechanical way of securing a door, but because of the additional benefits it will bring. Smart door locks and other similar products bring us the ability to record who might be lurking outside, or to direct a delivery person to not just leave a package hanging about somewhere. We can be given alerts to our phones for when we have a visitor. We can lock or unlock a door remotely depending on who we want to let into our homes. They can make sure our door is locked if we forget to do it manually ourselves.
Right now, at least in the British market, I don’t think we have done all that good a job in integrating the existing technology into the everyday use of our doors. We have not yet properly convinced the public that this is tech worth spending on. That day is coming though I believe. We are edging closer to a point where home owners will want to actively seek out door tech like August. When that happens, we know we’ll have turned that corner.
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