Lockitron Introduces New $99 App-Enabled Smart Deadbolt Lock 'Bolt'

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Lockitron today announced a new product in its lineup of smart keyless home locking system devices, the $99 Bolt. Lockitron previously entered the market a few years back with the somewhat rocky launch of an earlier smartphone-enabled deadbolt lock, and the company is now shifting gears to focus on Bolt.

The basics of the device allow users with the free-to-download app to unlock and lock their home deadbolts via Bluetooth Low Energy, meaning a user must be near the lock to interact with it, but the lock will keep working in event of a power outage.

As reported by TechCrunch, Lockitron co-founder Cameron Robertson assures customers the company has learned a lot from the problems faced with its last product. The team simplified component costs by sourcing high quality parts elsewhere, and subsequently got both the lock's price and size reduced.

Screenshot (146)

Bolt is smaller, more elegant and more robust than the crowdfunded Lockitron. It has a better battery life, more fault tolerant embedded architecture and includes Lockitron’s most popular features like sharing access, activity logging and Sense. Most importantly, however, Lockitron Bolt has been designed with mass manufacturing in mind from day one.

The Bolt also features sharing access to other smartphone users, activity logging to track when someone interacted with the lock, and "Sense," which either automatically unlocks the Bolt when you walk up to the door, or prompts the user with an easy-to-confirm notification. Lockitron will also sell the Bolt Bridge, which connects the Bolt to the internet and acts as a middle man to send a Bluetooth signal via a user's phone to the Bolt itself, meaning customers could unlock the deadbolt for someone else while away from home.

The new device replaces a deadbolt on a user's door altogether, versus the original's attempt at universality in fitting over an existing deadbolt. While the company's aims were admirable, many users found difficulty in setting up and properly using the slotted-on device. Lockitron decided to look to learning thermostat Nest as an example of a product that requires a signifcant amount of setup but leaves its users with a far more agreeable experience upon completion.

“Basically, as long as we could break the setup down into 20 tiny, doable steps, it didn’t really matter that it required removing the old deadbolt,” Robertson told TechCrunch last week.

The Lockitron Bolt can be pre-ordered from the company's official website. A Preview Edition, with a limit of 1,000 units, will begin shipping in March. A final consumer-ready edition is slated for "late Spring" and will arrive in a variety of finishes to match a user's door.

Top Rated Comments

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75 months ago
Sorry, no homekit = no buy for me.
Been waiting to buy any smarthome products until homekit integration.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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75 months ago

I refuse to buy anything until HomeKit comes to market. I don't want to buy something now and then find out it will never work with homekit.


Can't happen with this product. Has to be all HomeKit or nothing if it's in any way a security product.

There are restrictions on which accessories can be bridged to HomeKit. For starters, Apple will not allow home automation accessories connecting over Wi-Fi, such as a Nest Thermostat, to be bridged. Those will have to go the HomeKit protocol route and become licensed MFi products.

Apple will allow some Bluetooth LE accessories to be bridged, but only those that don’t offer users control of the home. For example, a non-MFi Bluetooth lightbulb product must not be bridged. Instead, like Wi-Fi products, it would have to go through the HomeKit protocol and get MFi certification. Apple’s restrictions on bridged accessories appear to be at least partially security-related. The company also notes, for instance, that any accessory regardless of how it connects cannot be bridged if it allows physical access to a home, such as a door lock.

That doesn’t leave a lot of products that will work with a HomeKit bridge, but Apple will permit bridging of Bluetooth products that don’t provide control of the home and only provide data to HomeKit, such as a reading from a sensor. In addition, accessories that use alternative transports like ZigBee or proprietary RF sensors can be bridged, so long as they use an MFi-certified HomeKit bridge. All others wanting to support the platform will have to go through Apple’s MFi program, which will require manufacturers follow Apple’s usual long list of guidelines for connecting to the platform, use only Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and include a MFi authentication chip.

Apple’s specs will also allow bridges to connect to other bridges, and each can connect up to 100 accessories, according to Apple’s specs. Allowing an accessory to connect a HomeKit bridge will require a MFi product approval, which means accessories that work with bridges will have to be approved first by Apple.



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Not a smart move to require a separate piece of hardware to enable interacting with the lock remotely. Why didn't they just charge $25 or $30 more for the lock and build that functionality in? That's one of the main reasons someone would want a "connected" lock in the first place. The whole "add our proprietary bridge to your network" idea is getting old.


$99 pricepoint is attractive. Just raising it $30 to $129 would have taken a HUGE cut out of sales. If they can come in sub-$100, they have a much larger potential market. As it's a feature not everyone would use, why not cut it out if it means that you can reap a ton more sales.

Is it idea? No but from a business standpoint it makes sense.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
I refuse to buy anything until HomeKit comes to market. I don't want to buy something now and then find out it will never work with homekit.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago

You'd need to leave a generic lock for the new owners.

In fact, the realtors will need a generic lock in order to show the house to potential buyers.


From the article: "The team also decided to go back to their original design of replacing the deadbolt altogether (while still letting you use your old keys as a backup)"

Can't the agent just use one of your old backup keys to show the house? Same thing if you need a friend to check your pets, etc.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
I originally crowdfunded Lockitron and was charged and promised a shipping date in Oct 2013 and then in Nov 2013. I finally had them refund me in fall 2014 when the product still hadn't shipped and more importantly their product was not working as advertised.

While it is interesting that they have attempted to circumvent their WiFi issues by adding a Bluetooth to WiFi bridge add-on, I cannot seriously believe or trust in the reliability of this company to deliver a product that will work as advertised. Well intentioned, but out of their league.

Truth is we are not quite there yet with smart locks for residences. I haven't seen too much out of August Lock and whether that product is working well and reliable nor whether Kevo is either. The biggest issues are battery life, reliability, and remote locking and unlocking. It isn't enough to use NFC or Bluetooth, these locks need remote monitoring and the ability to operate via WiFi.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
75 months ago
Thank you for making a product that will work, even if there is a steeper curve to getting it there.

Smart, and a point some need to look at. So many products try to go too simple, and they turn out to be crap for 95% of the world.

Learn from Nest is a good example, yes, Grandma isn't going to replace her thermostat, but have someone do it for her, and the benefits are there!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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